13.1. Understand general construction standards and practices by referring to trade, professional, and consumer associations. Spend some time at your local library browsing the Encyclopedia of Associations, which offers more complete details on the services of these associations. Use the web sites of these associations to read “frequently asked questions.” Contact any local architectural, contractor or supplier associations in your region, inquiring how you can best work with their members.
13.2. Research your local telephone directory to discover what suppliers and manufacturers are available locally but make sure they’re selling the products you’ll be using in your home. If local suppliers and manufacturers exist in your region, inquire whether they sell direct to the general public. Determine supplier and manufacturer locations to get a sense of material logistics and delivery requirements. Ask suppliers for a list of “preferred contractors” whom they would recommend to install their products. Become familiar with Steven Bliss’ Best Practices Guide to Residential Construction.
13.3. Select products and materials to be used in your home. Choosing building and remodeling products and materials is a difficult process due to the consequences of style, finish, cost, installation, and maintenance. Go online to manufacturers’ web sites to examine the entire array of product and material choices currently available in the market. Once a decision is made on what product/material is right for your project, you'll request details on different models, color choices, pricing, installation instructions, guarantees, and warranties from the manufacturer. All of this information together will become the substance of your written "Specifications." Take a peek at Jaffe’s Warranties and Disclaimers for Remodelers.
13.4. Choose suppliers based on product "Specifications" that most fit your life style and the home style you want to create. Negotiations with suppliers will proceed in the same similarly to negotiations with contractors except your terms will appear on "Purchase Orders" rather than "Conditions" statements. Since suppliers' proposals will be based on Drawings, copies of these documents may also be made available to them. When possible, go online to shop your job to suppliers rather than drive around town. Ask suppliers for a copy of their “Terms of Sale” so you understand terms of purchase before you buy.
13.5. After specifying what products and materials are required for your project and negotiating terms with a supplier, you'll be ready to issue an order for purchase of goods. You may generate “Purchase Orders” or use order forms available at the supplier. Just be sure to reference Drawings and Specifications, and don't duplicate material purchases by contractors. If you’re working with a General Contractor, coordinate all purchases with him/her; otherwise, coordinate directly with the Specialty Contractor. Schedule delivery when required, and be on site to conduct quality control inspections. Make payment only after completely satisfied with products/materials!
13.6. Send "Thank You" notes to suppliers. Be sure you have a copy of all manufacturers' parts lists and record customer service phone numbers. Operate all products as soon as possible to verify that the product works properly.
13.7. Complete and mail registration cards that accompany products and appliances to the manufacturer. Keep all literature inside shipping containers and all warranties in your "Cardboard Box Files."
Suppliers are in business to buy direct from manufacturers then distribute goods to trade contractors and the general public.
What are your criteria for supplier selection?
Here are procedures for purchase, delivery, inspection, and payment of goods required for residential construction.
What we need is a fiscal method to record the specific conditions of agreement between buyer and seller. This is what a purchase order system accomplishes.
Are your conditions of agreement accurately presented as terms of purchase?
Here are 21 issues you'll need to consider when making a purchase.
Bliss, Steven. Best Practices Guide to Residential Construction.
New York: Wiley, 2005.
Encyclopedia of Associations.
New York: Gale Group, 2003. (Reference area of your library)
Jaffe, David. Warranties and Disclaimers for Remodelers.
D.C.: Home Builders Press, 1998.