National Building Specifications

Choosing building materials, taking off material quantities, obtaining supplier prices for building supplies, and estimating house extension costs, is no small task.. This section aims to help self-builders, house extenders and home improvers to do this, with reference to standard specifications produced by NBS - National Building Specification, who are owned and promoted by the Royal Institute of British Architects (RIBA).  Since 2005 they have been the publisher of the Building Regulation Approved Documents.

Building Material Manufacturers, Suppliers & Budgets

Of course, whoever takes on this task of specifying what type of building materials to choose, which manufacturers are best, and those suppliers who are most reliable, should have a good idea of national building specifications and building material prices in order to work out an appropriate building budget with you.

To do this satisfactorily, ideally your designer/specifier also needs to understand building material weights, as well as building loads, for the structural calculations and performance of the building.  

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At the same time as understanding these areas and building materials testing, they need to be a building materials cost estimator, able to calculate everything. In practice, architects and other architectural designers usually refer their clients to chartered quantity surveyors to ‘take off’ building material quantities and then either price these building materials direct form their records or, more usually these days, get the costs of these building materials online from firms with specialist capabilities in wholesale building materials like Benfield ATT Group’s Builders Merchants division. 

Most such firms either have standard material price lists, or are willing to provide you with a quotation for the building materials you will need.   

Building Site Conditions

At least part of your overall design considerations may need to address the specific building site conditions.

While exposure to weather has for a long time been a factor even for planning authorities, as for example in West Wales, with many sites now being on reclaimed or made up ground, the design of foundations and the foundation materials used are equally as significant as the building render used on the outside walls, perhaps even more so.

It doesn’t have to be brick and tile

While your building materials specifier will need to ensure that any planning conditions attached to the planning permit are satisfied – particularly if secondary pre-construction approval is required -  in many cases you will still have a choice of materials.

The increasing importance of environmental concerns may even make this freedom of choice greater than in previous years.

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