Setting up a construction material logistics plan

Identify materials for your construction project

Guide

Once you have established the roles and responsibilities within your construction material logistics plan (MLP), and sorted out any relevant training, you will need to identify the project's material requirements. This includes the types and quantities of materials to be used throughout the project, how and when they will be delivered to the site, and any constraints. You should also set key performance indicators (KPIs) for purchasing all key materials.

Identify construction materials

As a main contractor or subcontractor, you will need to prepare a bill of quantities as part of your MLP. This will require input from manufacturers, suppliers and distributors of all the materials you need for your project. You should also set guidelines on how much material you will need and how and when it will be purchased throughout the project.

If you are a subcontractor, you will need to allow for wastage - this may be unavoidable where designs require materials to be cut. However, if the MLP includes good on-site material management systems - such as 'just-in-time' deliveries - and if you have provided for adequate storage areas to reduce any damage to materials, you should be able reduce this contingency allowance. This can save money and reduce your waste.

With each order, you should ensure that only materials that are planned for immediate use are ordered. You should then give this information to the logistics manager to ensure that only those materials intended for a particular area at a particular time are allowed onto the site.

Construction material logistics plan KPIs

In order to measure the activities on your project, and identify areas for improvement, it is important to set KPIs. This can help in the overall management of a construction project, especially in project timing and in the consistency of a plan for workers. You should also set and monitor specific and relevant KPIs for both the main contractor and subcontractors. This will allow you to analyse their current performance and show where improvements need to be made.

For every project that you run, you will have different KPIs. However, understanding the flow and quantities of materials in detail will ensure that measurement and the benefits can be quantified. It is important that for each project you have some initial data based on past performance, in order to develop meaningful KPIs that ensure continuous improvement.

The main contractor or subcontractors should ensure that the project KPIs are implemented and monitored regularly during project reviews. At each project review, you should produce reports on achievement against KPIs, as this will enable you to identify opportunities for improvement or areas of concern.

Download a template construction material logistics plan (DOC, 308K).