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estimating off drawings

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  • estimating off drawings

    I have to wonder how much others allow themselves to order extra when they place a lumber order when going off a set of drawings. My question is for a deck that I have coming up. Just one item we will use for an example. My plan shows that I will need 15 2 x 10 x 14 ft long pressure treated boards for the floor joists.

    This size of lumber and the amount of other material that I get from my supplier I never see until it shows up on site. While I consider my yard to be pretty good about selection of materials and what they send out I almost always have something that I prefer to not use. It may not be that bad and could maybe be cut up for blocking or something like that but is not good for a floor joist for what ever reason. It is the same way with all the lumber that I get this way whether it be the 6x6 posts, the 2 x 8 ceiling joists.

    So my question is if it was your job would you order a few extra so you can sort them out, take a chance on everything being good material? If we order extra we may save a delay of waiting for a few pieces of lumber but them have to send them back and get a restock fee. In the case of the 6 x 6 posts I know that they will not be wrapped so prefer to have something nice looking but do I want to order several extra so I can pick the best and return the rest.

    My question is do others simply add a few extra boards, is there some sort of formula say 10% more than the plans show, order only what the plans show and hope for the best? I also realize that on a bigger project you might pad the amounts more than for a smaller job but just wondering. Partly because when I bid a job I do not pad the estimate for buying extra materials and then having to send it back.

    30 years in the business and still trying to tighten up my business approach.

  • #2
    I never order extra lumber for decks because it's a waste of money. Either go select all the pieces myself (or my carpenter) at the yard or have them delivered early, inspect and reject all the bad ones. None of my yards charge anything for replacing rejected lumber.
    This is particularly true with PVC decks, as the boards are expensive and I usually cannot return them unless there is something wrong with them.


    • #3
      kind of surprised that your yard will let you go and select the lumber like that. I guess my yard is more of a wholesale type place or something. You can select it but they get pretty fussy if you take too much time going thru a pile. Basically I get the feeling they don't really like you in the yard.
      The other issue for me is this particular yard is close to a 50 mile trip one way. I can get the material at the big box stores but no matter the size of the order there is a service charge from the big box stores. I usually save close to 20% from the lumberyard and I can get free delevery. They have a route that they run with their trucks and they cover just about all of St Louis every 2 days or so. It used to be that say everyone North of 40 got Monday and Friday loads, south got Tues and Thurs loads, Wed was misc places. If they are in your area starting about noon they will take back what you don't want but charge you for a restock fee.


      • #4
        Beez, they let me go in and select at pretty much all the yards in the area because the alternative is worse for them. If they deliver and I reject some, they have to make another trip to pick up the rejects and deliver good ones. In fact I had a particularly bad one last year where they kept delivering PVC deck boards and about half of each load were warped. It cost them a ton of money for all the trips and they were threatening to drop that brand if they keep having issues.

        I do pay a delivery fee at some yards but $50 on a $3,000 order doesn't make a difference in where or how I buy.