This is a big issue, the question of leftover building materials – who do they belong to, that gets people quite passionate about the answer, mostly because of a lack of trust that has developed between the building industry and clients. Builders are often seen as the big bad wolf, although with most stories, they tend to grow untruths between fact and story, which only heightens the fear surrounding issues such as this one. Despite the passion surrounding the answer it is a simple question to answer and one that is clearly spelt out in your contracts.
Leftover Building Materials – Who Do They Belong To?
It’s common at the end of a construction job for there to be a surplus of materials. Tiles, bricks, paints, colorbond etc, there is bound to be leftover materials onsite. When builders order their materials they need to allow for waste, including accidental breakage and therefore order usually 10% more than what is calculated to be required.
Sometimes this is enough, or more than enough and other times, it wont be and a reorder will need to take place. Occasionally builders make mistakes and over-order materials, and there will be a significant surplus of materials.
In all cases, these materials belong to the builder. Surplus materials have cost the builder additional amounts above the quoted price in most cases. Most builders will happily leave a quantity of tiles, and paint for the home owner to keep for replacements and touch ups when required, although it is not required.
When builders deliver a fixed price quote, it includes the costings for everything, that is your final price to have your home delivered as it is documented in your building schedule. From there, the ordering of materials is the builders job, and if he orders more or less than necessary, this is their cost to bear.
You have paid for your completed job only, not for individual materials.
Likewise if the builder or sub-contractors make a mistake, or take longer than anticipated for the job to get done, this is the builder’s responsibility not the clients, it is also the builders cost to bear.
The question that is often posed, is why should the builder receive the excess, as the client has the misconception that the excess materials belong to them. The misconception comes from the distrust of builders.
Another question could be posed if we were to accept that the surplus materials are the client’s to keep, “Does this mean that if the Builder is short on materials, then the client pays for additional materials?” No.
This question often makes people stop and think and put the original question into perspective.
What question gets you most passionate?