What should you consider when choosing building materials?
Learn the 7 things to consider in this ‘how to’ in choosing building materials.
Listen (or download the transcript) to learn more.
This is episode 256 and in it, I’ll be sharing 7 criteria or checks to consider when choosing building materials and products for your future home.
Choosing products and materials for your project can be a big and confusing process, so having this selection criteria will be super helpful in making better choices, and also comparing products with each other when you‘re finding it difficult to decide.
Now, let’s dive in.
I’m often getting asked about specific building materials, products and brands. In the world of building and renovating, it can feel like there is A LOT to choose from.
And what I see homeowners often find, as they dive into their projects and work with professionals, is that – as a homeowner – you’re often only seeing a small percentage of what is actually available.
Professionals have knowledge about brands and products, and access to businesses, that can be difficult for homeowners to be aware of or be able to directly deal with. So the options can open up even further for you, as you move along your project journey with your team.
As someone in the industry, staying up to date with the latest materials and products, and the legislation that applies to them, can take up a lot of time. I spend a lot of time looking for, researching and finding out about products.
And often my HOME Method members are also asking about items and products as well that can guide my research when I have specific questions. In fact, many of the guests we’ve had on the podcast are because we’ve been discussing those products inside HOME Method!
Now, it can be really common for businesses like mine, who are operating online and run online courses, to create partnerships with businesses, and also organise savings and discounts for their course members. There’s a few other courses out there that I know of that have the selling point that the discounts you access pay for the cost of the course itself.
You may wonder why Undercover Architect doesn’t do this in the same way. And, to be frank with you, it would probably make it a lot easier to run my business and to attract people into my online courses, if I did do this.
However, it’s been a conscious decision for Undercover Architect to not become a walking billboard for random and different brands and products.
I have had partnerships with brands here and there. Caribou Lighting in Brisbane was Undercover Architect’s very first podcast sponsor in Season 3, and there’s still a coupon code available for Undercover Architect members for their Kiiko LED lighting. Colorbond sponsored Season 6 of the podcast. And DIY Blinds still offers Undercover Architect members a saving on DIY Blinds with our coupon code. These are all businesses I really believe in, and I’ve either used them for over a decade in my own projects, or got to know the founders really well, or both.
But, with the brands that have reached out to Undercover Architect, and the brands I see working with others in this online space, I’ve personally found this tricky to navigate.
Firstly, I know I’m an architect, not a brand ambassador or marketer or anything like that. And as an architect, I have specific obligations regarding liability, that whilst we can include all the legal disclaimers in the world, this professional responsibility has been imprinted heavily on my brain in my architectural career.
Also, to be frank with you, I’ve sat in meetings with some really big brands, who I know are in brand partnerships with others in this space, and I’ve said to them … “you know that ‘x’ is doing a lot of footage with your product, and they’re not installing it as per your manufacturer’s specifications? They’re voiding your warranties by doing that? And they’re showing homeowners that this is what they’re doing with your product?? This is what they’re teaching homeowners, with your products? You’re aware of that, right?”
And they’ve said … “yes, we know. But they send so much traffic to our website, and we get so many enquiries from their audiences. We tell the homeowners when they ring up, or their builders tell them, that they can’t install it like that. So, we’re ok with it.”
But I’m not ok with that. I actually think that’s irresponsible. On the part of the brand ambassador, and of the company itself.
What I’ve also seen, in the 28+ years I’ve been doing this, is how much products can change over the years. They can go from being manufactured locally, to being manufactured off-shore and their quality changing as a result.
They can go from using specific materials and manufacturing techniques, to changing them for cost or other reasons. And so a product I might think is awesome and happily be endorsing at one point, can change to one I’m not comfortable to endorse anymore.
I only want to share and talk about products I really believe in as great choices for your future home. Ones I think will stand the test of time and deal with what homes can be subjected to over years and decades. And ones that are made by businesses that are thinking long term, improving their sustainability and taking care of their suppliers and clients.
When I worked at Mirvac, we had a Customer Relations department that dealt with all follow-up after projects were sold and settled. And the intel they got from how owners used and experienced the projects we were designing and building fed back into the design process.
That, and the construction’s opinion on how workable various materials and products were, fed into all of our selections. We had lists of products that were off limits, and anytime we wanted to use something new, we had to undertake a testing regime to demonstrate its viability.
When you’re putting things in buildings you want to last decades, or you want to ensure that the maintenance or end-of-life replacement of that item doesn’t cause huge headaches and dramas, then these are the things you do. That’s how I’ve been trained.
I just don’t see that happening in a lot of online projects and reality TV I see get shared publicly, which can be super challenging if you’re a homeowner using these as inspo for materials and products to use in your home.
So, I thought, in this episode, I would take you through a list of the criteria I use to assess materials and products.
And, I’m not suggesting that you, as the homeowner, need to become an expert in the world of building materials and products.
I’m hoping that this guide helps you then have more informed conversations with your team, and with salespeople that you’re speaking with. And, if you’re working with a builder who says “we only ever use this product”, you can perhaps dig a little deeper into why, and whether their reasons are valid for your needs and home.
And before I share these 7 things, please know that a product or building material meeting your local building codes, standards and legislative requirements is a given and not something I feel I need to provide as a selection criteria! It can be super risky choosing things that don’t meet code, so I really recommend you don’t!
Hopefully it also goes without saying that the selections you make should be fit for purpose as well. And some of these specific selection criteria will help reinforce that, or enable you to eliminate certain materials and products as well.
Let’s dive into the 7 things to check when choosing materials and products for your future home.
Listen to the episode now.
Join me for my free online workshop, happening early November 2022 >>> https://undercoverarchitect.com/register
Episode 224 | Sustainable Home Updates >>> https://undercoverarchitect.com/podcast-sustainable-home/
Global Greentag website >>> https://www.globalgreentag.com/
Jeremy Spencer, Positive Footprints
- Episode 232 >>> https://undercoverarchitect.com/podcast-carbon-zero-homes-jeremy-spencer-positive-footprints/
- Episode 233 >>> https://undercoverarchitect.com/podcast-choosing-a-sustainable-builder-jeremy-spencer-positive-footprints/
For great information on the interior design choices for your home, check out Season 11 of the podcast >>> https://undercoverarchitect.com/podcast/season-11
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Access the support and guidance you need to be confident and empowered when renovating and building your family home inside my flagship online program >>> https://undercoverarchitect.com/courses/the-home-method/