Armchair Builder

Material Deliveries: Avoiding Damage, Delays & Theft

Early Window Delivery


In many parts of our lives, getting things done early is a good thing.  However, when we are building a home, this is just not the case.  Having materials for your new home arrive on the job site early can lead to all sorts of problems.  Let’s take a look at some of the issues and talk about how to deal with them as an owner builder.

Road Blocks

Have you ever had a project to do around the house but before you could get going, you needed to move something out of the way?  It could be a pile of firewood, boxes or paint cans.  These types of road blocks tend to delay home maintenance and repair projects.  The same principle applies when building a new home.  If the insulation is delivered early, it makes it difficult for the plumber and electrician to navigate and work around it to complete the rough-ins.  So early delivery can add time to the project.


I can count on one hand how many times material has been stolen from a new home site after it was installed.  I actually had an air conditioner and furnace stolen from a new home under construction after it was installed…but this is very rare.  But material that is neatly stacked waiting to be installed is another story.  Be sure to have your material delivered just before installing to prevent theft.


The old adage, “What can go wrong will go wrong”, applies perfectly to damage on any new home job site.  For each day new material sits on the job site, the probability that it will be damaged goes up.  From cracked siding, to dented aluminum soffit, to broken window glass, the opportunities are endless.


What if there is no more siding in the exact color dye lot that you ordered?  Maybe the windows you are using are special order so if one gets broken, you may be delayed for weeks or even months!  Having to replace material can cause major delays to your new project.  This is why you need a detailed construction schedule showing when each piece of material should be delivered (you may want to check out the Armchair Builder Schedule Resource if you haven’t already).

You should also include in your schedule the lead times needed for ordering materials.  You don’t want to order the windows the week before you need them if they take six weeks to manufacture and ship.  This is one of the pieces of information we ask the companies submitting prices to provide on the Bid Sheets.  You don’t know the required lead times for material unless you ask and this can help you determine which company to work with.  If it takes six months to get a replacement window, you may want to work with a different company.


Obviously there are costs associated with material that has been stolen or damaged.  Even if the insurance company pays for the actual loss (check with your insurance agent before starting your project), you will still incur additional costs for delays in loan interest, utilities…etc.  It’s hard to put a price on them…but these are the types of problems that cause major headaches for owner builders.  Do yourself a favor and properly schedule all your material to be delivered just before installation.

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