How to Calculate Building Material Quantities

So you’re looking at doing some building work at home. Maybe you are building an extension, a brick wall or laying down the foundations for a conservatory, but do you know what materials you will need and in what quantities? In this Building & Brickwork Guide we provide help on how to calculate materials needed in a building project.

Step 1

Whatever your project the first thing you need to do is list all the materials you will need to do the job. This can be done with pen and paper or on a computer using a spreadsheet.

Step 2

Now that you know all the materials you need consult your plans or blueprints for the sizes and dimensions of walls, floors, or other items such as roofing areas.  It is easy to calculate the square footage of the area you are working on by taking the length and multiplying this by the width.

Just remember there will always be a certain amount of wastage, due to breakages or cutting materials to the wrong length or width – it happens – so remember to add at least 10% on to the materials you need to cover any possible mishaps or calculation errors.

Step 3

Now that you have all this information, take it to your local builder’s merchant. The staff there will be able to work out the quantities you need to complete the job as per your plans or blueprints and the measurements you have.

Step 4

Try searching around the internet – there are building materials calculators available online and many of the large Home Improvement retailers provide these on their websites to help you.

Just remember the 10% rule – it is better to order a little more than what you actually need, any good builder will tell you this.  There is nothing more infuriating than finding you made a couple of errors only to have to go back to the store to order more.  What’s worse is that there is always that situation where you do go back and the product you need is out of stock and you have to wait a few days before it becomes available.

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