Construction Sites In Jalan Ampang Kuala Lumpur Construction Essay

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Materials management is an important function in order to improve productivity in construction projects. Bell and Stukhart (1986) defined materials management functions which include planning and material take off, vendor evaluation and selection, purchasing, expenditure, shipping, material receiving, warehousing and inventory, and material distribution. The result of improper handling and managing materials on site during a construction process will influence the total project cost, time and the quality (Che Wan, et al. 1999). Proverbs, et al. (1999) stated that costs for materials handling may range from 30-80% of total construction costs. In addition, Dey (2001) indicates that almost 60% of the total working capital of any industrial organization consists of materials costs. Therefore, there is a need for efficient materials management in order to control productivity and cost in construction projects (Kasim, et al. 2005).

There are many issues which contribute to poor materials management in construction projects. Zakeri, et al. (1996) suggested that waste, transport difficulties, improper handling on site, misuse of the specification, lack of a proper work plan, inappropriate materials delivery and excessive paperwork all adversely affect materials management. Furthermore, Dey (2001) noted that the common issues related to materials management are as follows:-

Receiving materials before they are required, causing more inventory cost and chances of deterioration in quality;

Not receiving materials at the time of requirement, causing loss of productivity;

Incorrect materials takeoff from drawing and design documents;

Subsequent design changes;

Damage/loss of items;

Selection of type of contract for specific materials procurement;

Vendor evaluation criteria;

Piling up of inventory and controlling of the same; and

Management of surplus materials.

An important problem that adversely affects the performance of construction projects is the improper handling of materials during site activities. The inappropriate handling and management of materials on construction sites have the potential to severely hamper project performance. There are major issues which affect materials management activities such as construction on storage areas, site logistics with regards to materials handling and distribution, and also ordering and delivery of materials to the construction site. Previous research has also highlight materials management issues such as; improper storage, requirement for large storage capacity, transportation difficulties and inappropriate materials delivery. Other issues include; late delivery, shortage of materials, manual processes, and non-compliance with specifications (Kasim, 2010).

In any form of construction, there are only two fundamental activities: (a) the handling of materials and equipment and (b) by the skill of the work force in the positioning of the materials and equipment to produce the desired completed whole. It follows that the overwhelming majority of plant on site will be concerned with the handling of materials and equipment (Figure 1). (Illingworth, 2000).

Figure 1: Representation of materials management process at construction site

Problem Statement

Materials management is one of the main aspects in project planning and control. Materials are the major expenditure in construction; therefore, controlling the purchasing activity will lead to a lower purchasing cost and eventually lowers the total cost of the project. Poor materials management will cause great and unnecessary costs during construction. Materials that are purchased early will cause the capital to be tied up and higher interest charges will be incurred on the excess inventory of materials. Not only that, materials may damage during storage or be stolen if protection is not given such as electrical equipment must be stored in waterproof locations. Besides that, delays and extra expenses may be incurred if materials required for particular activities are not available. Therefore, making sure that materials are available all the time and flow on time should be the main focus of all the project managers.

Materials management is not important only during the monitoring stage but decisions regarding purchasing of the materials should be taken into account during the initial planning and scheduling stages. For example, information about purchasing some major items such as elevators for buildings should be included in the project schedule. The availability of material influences the schedule in projects with a very tight time schedule: Sufficient time is required in order to obtain the necessary materials. Sometimes, more expensive suppliers or shippers are employed to save time.

An effective management of materials with a proper planning from the beginning stage of the construction until the end is a fundamental to the success of any development. In some cases, when the construction sites is located in a busy city/area, this process become more difficult, where the space to accommodate the materials is limited with congested working area. A well planned management of a combination of storage areas, management can effectively supervise the delivery and allocation of materials even though the construction site is located in a busy city/area.

Objectives of the study

The aim of this study is to determine the materials management system at construction sites. The objectives of this research are:

To study the entire process of managing materials at construction sites including ordering, delivering, storing and distributing materials effectively.

To understand the relationship between good material handling and overall project performance.

To provide suggestions on achieving efficient material management at construction site.

Scope of the study

This study focused on materials management at construction sites in Jalan Ampang, Kuala Lumpur. Three (3) construction sites have been chosen for this study and four (4) project managers been interviewed on managing the materials at construction sites. The construction in busy city is highlighted in this study because the construction sites in busy city have less space for materials with congested work areas and need an adequate planning on materials management.

The interview session allowed for clearly defining the managing process of materials at the construction sites, and the responsibilities of those involved in carrying out the material management functions.

Based on the interviews, a detailed understanding on the materials managing process which includes ordering, delivering and storing was identified, and the handling of these materials at the construction sites have been observed.

Significant of the study

Materials management is the key item that is responsible for co-ordination of planning, sourcing, purchasing, moving, storing and controlling materials in an effective way to provide a planned service to the customer at the lowest cost. Materials management helps to improve productivity in construction projects. The management of materials should be given importance throughout the construction and production period. Poor materials management will affect the overall construction time, quality and budget. Bell and Stukhart (1986) stated that it is important for planning and controlling of materials to ensure that the right quality and quantity of materials and installed equipment are appropriately specified in a timely manner, obtained at a reasonable cost, and are available when needed .Nowadays, most of the construction projects are applying manual methods to track materials, and to overall manage the materials. This method involves paper-based techniques and it has been reported inaccurate many times due to numerous human errors. Finally, this study is to identify the materials handling process and the importance of materials management system at construction sites.

Case Study on Materials Management at Construction Sites in Jalan Ampang, Kuala Lumpur

Literature Review

Materials Management

Materials management is an important element in project planning and control. Materials represent a major expense in construction, so minimizing procurement or purchase costs presents important opportunities for reducing costs. Poor materials management can also result in large and unavoidable costs during construction. First, if materials are purchased early, capital may be tied up and interest charges incurred on the excess inventory of materials. Even worse, materials may deteriorate during storage or be stolen unless special care is taken. For example, electrical equipment often must be stored in waterproof locations. Second, delays and extra expenses may be incurred if materials required for particular activities are not available. Accordingly, insuring a timely flow of material is an important concern of project managers. Materials management is not just a concern during the monitoring stage in which construction is taking place. Decisions about material procurement may also be required during the initial planning and scheduling stages. For example, activities can be inserted in the project schedule to represent purchasing of major items such as elevators for buildings (Dubler and Burt, 1996).

Materials Management is simply the process by which an organization is supplied with the goods and services that it needs to achieve its objectives of buying, storage and movement of materials. Materials Management is related to planning, procuring, storing and providing the appropriate material of right quality, right quantity at right place in right time so as to co-ordinate and schedule the production activity in an integrative way for an industrial undertaking. Most industries buy materials, transport them in to the plant, change the materials in to parts, assemble parts in to finished products, sell and transport the product to the customer. All these activities of purchase of materials, flow of materials, manufacture them in to the product, supply and sell the product at the market requires various types of materials to manage and control their storage, flow and supply at various places. It is only possible by efficient materials management.

Purchasing, procurement of materials, transportation, storage, inventory control, quality control and inspection of materials and goods supplied at various production centres before production are also managed as routine work. Materials handling, packaging, warehouse, planning, accounting, scrap, surplus and obsolete materials disposal, finished goods safety and care are the activities managed by the materials management department. (sadiwala et al., 2007).

Materials management is a process: It is how a building is designed and how materials are estimated. It is how materials are acquired and even how the packaging is specified. It is how the delivery schedule is designed. It is how contractors plan materials use and how they manage previously used materials and cuts. It is how waste is managed for use elsewhere or recycling rather than being discarded in a landfill. It is a culture: It is how the customer expects the contractor and contractor its subcontractors and the subcontractors its workers -- to care for and properly manage the materials provided. (Houston, 1994).

Materials management is a total concept having its definite organization to plan and control all types of materials, its supply, and its flow from raw stage to finished stage so as to deliver the product to customer as per his requirements in time. This involves materials planning, purchasing, receiving, storing, inventory control, scheduling, production, physical distribution and marketing. It also controls the materials handling and its traffic. The materials manager has to manage all these functions with proper authority and responsibility in the material management department. The historical background about the materials management is as follows. (Sadiwala et al., 2007).

An important problem that adversely affects the performance of construction projects is the improper handling of materials during site activities. The inappropriate handling and management of materials on construction sites has the potential to severely hamper project performance (Ogunlanael 01., 1996). There are major issues which affect materials management activities such as constraints on storage areas. Site logistics regards to the materials handling and distribution, and also ordering and delivery of materials to the construction site. Previous research has also highlighted materials management issues such as; improper storage (Canter, 1993). Requirement for large storage capacity (Agapiouel aI., 1998), transportation difficulties and inappropriate materials delivery (Zakeriel al., 1996). Other issues include; manual processes, and non-compliance with specifications (Dey, 2001). (Kasim, 2008).

Importance of Materials for Project

Problems related to managing the flow of materials can be found in every organization. The efficient management of materials plays a key role in the successful completion of a project. The control of materials is a very important and vital subject for every company and should be handled effectively for the successful completion of a project. Materials account for a big part of products and project costs. The cost represented by materials fluctuates and may comprise between 20-50% of the total project cost and sometimes more. Some studies concluded that materials account for around 50-60% of the project cost (Stukhart, 1995 and Bernold and Treseler, 1991). It is obvious that materials should be obtained at the lowest cost possible to provide savings to the company (Damodara, 1999). In the late 1970's, construction companies experienced an increase in costs and a decrease in productivity. Owners of these companies thought that these increases in cost were due to inflation and economic problems. Further research concluded that these companies were not using their resources efficiently and that the decrease in productivity was also attributable to poor management (Stukhart, 1995). Material management has been an issue of concern in the construction industry. 40% of the time lost on site can be attributed to bad management, lack of materials when needed, poor identification of materials and inadequate storage (Baldwin et. al, 1994).

Can better material management practices to increase efficiency in operations and

Lower total cost. Senior management is paying more attention to materials Due to lack of materials management, and high interest rates, high prices Materials, and competition. There is a growing awareness in the construction industry that the management of materials need to be addressed and a comprehensive integrated Management activity.

Materials Management Problems

It is gathered that current manual materials management practices and control procedures are unsatisfactory as they are labour intensive, inaccurate and error prone. The implication leads to waste and surplus of materials, delays, decrease in productivity and lack of up to- date and real-time information.

Interestingly, many problems related to management surface amongst local contractors even in developing countries. The problems normally vary in nature and intensity but are usually related to the inefficient management of construction resources including materials, labour, plant and subcontractors.

Few main materials management problems were being identified in the construction industry in the UK and are summarised as below:

Lack of site storage space

Problems with tower crane distribution

Problems on logistic of materials

Small loading area

Problem with one site access point

Difficulty in delivery of materials on site during aircraft operation

Operation limitation due to security considerations

Inadequate loading area at consolidation centre

Problems with congestion time at loading area

A survey in the construction productivity in Iran reveals the major causes of the lack in productivity boils down to the improper deposited material, improper material handling, improper material application and improper material deliveries (N. Kasim 2011).

Materials Management

A Materials Management Plan, formulated through the process of these guidelines, consist of procedures guiding all the professionals and trades involved in the entire process of the building creation from design through finish. It is a two-phase plan corresponding to the Design Phase and the Construction Phase of your project. (Houston, 1994). Stukhart (1995) stated that the needs an appropriate materials planning to be done concurrently with engineering, construction, and other project plans. He also mentioned that material planning would provide guides to all the subsequent activities and that this could have a great impact on the project plan. The materials planning process covers the set up and maintenance of records and determines the target inventory levels, and delivery frequency (Payne et al. 1996). Planning of access and routing of materials within a construction site has an important implication for the development of an effective materials management strategy (Faniran et al. 1998) particularly in terms of increasing productivity and profit, and facilitating the timely completion of construction projects (Wong and Norman 1997). (Kasim et al.,2005).

Materials Handling

Tompkins and White (1984) defined effective material handling as using the right method, amount, material, place, time, sequence, position, condition, and cost. This involves handling, storing, and controlling of the construction materials. Handling of materials is the flow component that provides for their movement and placement. The importance of appropriate handling of materials is highlighted by the fact that they are expensive and engage critical decisions. Due to the frequency of handling materials there are quality considerations when designing a materials handling system. Material handling equipment selection is an important function as it can enhance the production process, provide effective utilization of manpower, increase production and improve system flexibility (Chan 2002).

Material storage on site requires close attention in order to avoid waste, loss and any damage of materials which would affect the operation of the construction project. Problems always arise during materials supply because of improper storage and protection facilities (Canter 1993). Previous studies have identified that building materials often require a large storage capacity which is rarely available on site (Agapiou et al. 1998). However, Stukhart (1995) suggested that there are a few considerations to take in the planning of the storage space such as timing of the initial buy, and historical information and experience. Materials management on site should seek to reduce loss of profit due to theft, damage and wastage, as well as running out of stock. It is also important to ensure that the right quality and quantity of materials and installed equipment are appropriately specified in a timely manner, are obtained at a reasonable cost, and are available when needed (Bell and Stukhart 1986). (Kasim et al., 2005).


The nature of a construction enterprise is such that the timely delivery of project materials is of extreme importance. if required items are not available when need , the contractor can experience major difficulties because of the disruption of the construction schedule. Such delays are expensive, awkward, and inconvenient, and every effort must be made to avoid them. When purchase orders are written, delivery dates are designated which, if met, will ensure that the materials will be available when needed. These dates are established on the basis of the project progress schedule and must necessarily make allowance for the approval of shop drawings (Richard H. et al,. 2005).

Unfortunately, the contractor cannot assume that the designation of delivery dates in its purchase orders or the securing of delivery promises from the sellers will automatically ensure that the materials will appear on schedule. To obtain the best services possible, a series of follow -up actions , referred to as expediting , are taken after each material order placed so as to keep the supplier constantly reminded of the importance of timely delivery expediting may be a job site function , or the construction firm may provide all of its construction projects with a centralized expediting service . a full -time expediter is sometimes required on a large project . When the owner is especially concerned with completion of a job, or when certain material deliveries are curial, the owner often participates with the contractor in cooperative expediting efforts.

A necessary adjunct to the expediting function is the maintaining of the check -off system or log where the many steps in the material delivery process are recorded. starting with the issuance of the purchase order, record is kept of the dates of receipt of shop drawings their submittal to the architect -engineer, receipt of approved copies, return of the approved drawing to the vendor, and delivery of materials because shop drawing from subcontractor are submitted for approval for through the general contractor, the check -off system should also include materials being provided by the subcontractors. This desirable because project delay can be caused by any late material delivery, regardless of who provides the material. this same documentation procedures is followed for samples , mill certificates concrete mix design ,and other submittal information required general contractors sometimes find it necessary ,in regard to critical materials items, to determine the manufacturer production ,testing schedule on calendar testing schedule if required method of transportation to the site and data concerning the carrier shipment routing . This kind of information is especially helpful in working the production and transportation around strikes and other delays

Each step in the approval, manufacture, and delivery process is recorded, and the status of all material is checked frequently. At intervals, material status report is forwarded to the project manager for his information. This system enables job management to stay current on material supply information and serves as an early -warning device when slippages in delivery dates seem likely to occur. The intensity with which the delivery status of materials is monitored depends on the nature of the material concerned .routine materials such as sand, gravel, brick, and lumber usually require.

Little follow -up. Critical made -to-order items, whose late delivery would badly cripple construction operations, must be closely monitored. In such cases, the first follow -up action should be taken weeks or months in advance of the scheduled delivery date. This action, perhaps via letter showing order number, date of order, and delivery promise, requests specific information on the anticipated date of shipment. Return answers return answers to such inquiries can be very helpful. If a delay appears likely, strong and immediate action is necessary. Letters, telegrams, telephone calls, and personal visits, in that order, may be required to keep the order progressing on schedule, (Richard H. et al,. 2005).


In addition to working for the timely delivery of materials, the expediter is also usually responsible for their receipt, unloading, and storage. In general, deliveries are made directly to the projects minimize handling, storage, insurance, and transportation costs. However, there are often instances when it is preferable or necessary to store materials temporarily at off-site locations until they are needed on the job. A common example of when this is done is in the construction of buildings in crowded urban settings where storage space is extremely limited.

When notice of a materials delivery is received, suitable received arrangement must be made. Advance notice of shipments provided directly by the vendors or though bills of lading or other shipping papers. If a shipment is due at a job site, notice given to the project superintendent. If suitable unloading the equipment is not available on the site, such equipment must be scheduled or the project superintendent must be authorized to obtain whatever may be required.

The scheduling of materials deliveries to the job can be especially important on some project. For example, consider the delivery of the structure steel to a building project in a downtown city area. On the projects of this type, storage space is extremely limited and the deliveries must be carefully scheduled to arrive in the order needed and at a rate commensurate with the advancement of the structure. There must also be close cooperation between the contractor and the supplier. An additional factor is the routing of the trucks through the city streets, often at off-hours, and arranging for the direction of traffic around the vehicles during the delivery and unloading operations. Arrangements for necessary permits, police escorts, labor, and unloading equipment must be made in advance. On such projects, many material deliveries are not made directly to the site but to temporary storage facilities owned or rented by the contractor. When such off-site storage is used, deliveries to the job site are made in accordance with short-term job needs (Richard H. et al,. 2005).


Job materials are usually delivered directly to the job site. There are times, however, when it is either undesirable or impossible to accept shipments at the project. Construction in congested urban areas is an instance already mentioned. Another example is early delivery of items that would be susceptible to damage, loss, or theft if stored on the job for extended periods.

Truck shipments may be made by common carries or the vendor's own vehicles. In either case, the material must be checked for damage as it is being unloaded, and quantities checked against the freight bill or vendor's delivery slip. Observed damage must always be noted on all copies the freight bill and be witnessed by the truck driver's signature. The receiver should not sign the delivery slip or freight bill until the quantity delivered has been checked against that indicated.

When shipment is made by rail car, the contractor advises the carrier as to where it desires the car to be spotted as soon as the contractor is advised of the car number. The shipment should be checked after the car is places for unloading and any visible damage reported to the railroad claim agent. In case of damage, unloading must be deferred until the shipment has been inspected and proper notations made on the bill of lading. A claim of damage or loss is submitted to the freight claim agent on the carrier's standard form. This claim must be accompanied by the original bill of lading, the receipted original freight bill, the original or a certified copy of the vendor's invoice, and other information in substantiation of the claim. Should damage be such that it is not visible and cannot be detected until the goods are unpacked, the contractor must make its claim at that time on the carrier's special form that is used for concealed damage.

The party who receives a shipment on behalf of the contractor should immediately transmit the covering delivery ticket, freight bill, or bill of lading to the contractor's office. Information pertaining to damage or shortage and the location of material storage should be included. As a result, materials often arrive at the contractor location with freight charges to be collected. Therefore, it is important that freight bills for collect shipments be transmitted immediately to the contractor's office for payment. Where the purchase order amount includes freight, it is usual for the contractor to pay the freight charges and backcharge the account of the vendor (Richard H. et al,. 2005).


The movement of equipment, materials, and personnel to the job site represents a unique and specialization element of materials management. Experienced traffic personnel can have a positive impact on the execution of the project while minimizing transportation cost (Ahuja and Dozzi 1994).

Significant saving is possible with national agreements or negotiated project transportation, and through various commercial arrangements for the transportation of goods, materials, documentation, or personnel. Special consideration is required in setting terms, thereby determination the proper point for transfer of materials ownership and liability. The prime contract, especially insurance clauses, may have a direct impact on the purchasing terms and conditions concerning transportation (Eyad, 2006).

Early specialized activities in the project planning phases, such as properly performed route survey and consideration of local traffic conditions, can significantly affect later execution of the work. These front end efforts affect engineering by defining shipping envelopes, weight limits, and schedule limitations, the traffic function or group significant input to purchase documents including packing specifications, shipping instructions, invoicing instructions, and document requirements. This group's expertise is necessary in developing routing guides, shipments progress reports, and troubleshooting as transportation problems develop.

Transportation or traffic expertise aids the materials management team in handling numerous types of special loads from delicate electronics to massive modules, each requiring transport equipment that is specially designed or of limited availability. Knowledge of requirements, source and availability of this equipment may be critical to successful execution of the work.

Transport permitting requirements also must be considered early in the project. Assigning the above responsibilities to suppliers may present an easy upfront decision, but can later lead to painful lessons if the expertise is not available to the materials management team to ensure that traffic functions are handled properly.

Traffic or logistics for foreign sites present an added dimension to the transportation requirements for a project. Each phase of the transportation effort is more complex, with often-stringent requirements due to ocean shipment and transportation to remote areas of the world. Each country's customs requirements are unique with potentially significant duties, taxes, and delays that must be considered in the planning efforts (Eyad, 2006).

Testing and Quality Control OF Materials

Testing, in terms of construction projects, is an impartial and systematic way to prove that the construction components that have been installed meet the criteria established by the construction documents, the various agencies, user groups, quality control groups, and building codes.

The basic material that is used for construction has to meet industry standards. Thus, structural steel has to conform to an A36 (or higher) standard. In other words, the manufacturer process must produce steel that will have yield strength of at least 36,000 psi (pounds per square inch). (Richard et al.,2009). The quality of the product manufactured by the organization depends upon the quality of the materials used to manufacture that product. It is a very important and necessary function of materials management to purchase the right quality of materials. The inspection, quality control, simplification, specification, and standardization are the activities which are to be followed for the measurement of quality of the materials. The quality assurance is decided by inspection and checking and the various properties of materials as per their specifications and standard. The size and dimensional measurements within tolerance limits assures the interchange ability and reliability of components and parts.

Material quality control aims at delivering product at higher and higher quality at lower cost. The product will be specified not only by its dimensional accuracy but its quality standards, durability and dependability, high performance, reliability and aesthetic value. The specifications, size and quality of materials must be referred and if possible the standard should be followed for specifications and sizes. The types of tests required for assuring the quality should be specified and conducted to establish the standards. (Sadiwala et al., 2007).

Material management process

Approval process

Installation process

Fabrication and delivery process

OrderThe materials that comprise facilities in building construction are subject to review by the architect or design professional. The contractor usually delegates responsibility for some of the categories of work involved in the project to subcontractors and suppliers. This delegation is accomplished through subcontractors and purchase orders. As a result of this delegation, a distinct life cycle is depicted in Figure 2.

Figure 2. Material life cycles


When the contract for construction is awarded, the contractor immediately begins awarding subcontracts and purchase orders for the various parts of the work. How much of the work is subcontracted depends on the individual contractor. Some contractors subcontract virtually all of the work in an effort to reduce the risk of cost overruns and to have every cost item assured through stipulated-sum subcontract quotations. Others perform almost all the work with their own field forces.

The purchase order is a purchase contract between the contractor and supplier. This document depicts the materials to be supplied, their quantities, and the amount of the purchase order. Purchase orders vary in complexity and can as simple as a mail order house (e.g., Sears) order form as complex as the construction contract itself. When complex and specially fabricated items are to be included in the construction, very detailed specifications and drawings become part of the purchase order.

For the contractor's protection, reference is made in complex purchase orders (requiring special fabrication) to the contractor specifications and other documents that define the materials to be supplied. The provisions of the purchase order and the subcontract agreement require the subcontractor and supplier to obtain approval for their materials (Daniel et al., 1998).

Approval Process

The contract drawings prepared by the architect are generally not specific enough to facilitate accurate fabrication of the materials involved. Therefore, to produce the necessary materials for a project, subcontractors and suppliers must provide details that further amplify the contract drawings. These details can be classified into three groups;-

Shop drawings

produce data.


Shop Drawings

Shop drawings are define in the General Condition as (All drawing, diagrams, illustrations, schedules, and other data or information which are specifically prepared or assembled by or for contractor and submitted by contractor to illustrate some portion of the work). The detailing, production, and supplying of shop drawings are the sole responsibility if the contractor or the contracted agent. However, the design professional is responsible for verification that supplied shop drawings correctly interpret the contact documents.

Product Data

Product data may be submitted to illustrate the performance characteristics of the material items described by the shop drawings or may be submitted as verification that standard product meets the contract specifications. Product data are illustrations, standard schedules, performance charts, instructions, brochures, diagrams, and other information furnished by the contractor to illustrate a material, product, or system for some portion of the work. Mill test reports, concrete mix designs, masonry fire rating tests, curtain wall wind test reports, and mechanical equipment performance tests are examples of product data (Daniel et al., 1998).


Samples usually involve the finishes of a project and are physical examples of materials to be supplied. The architect may require samples of plastic laminate finishes for doors and counters, flooring, wall coverings, paint, stucco, precast concrete, ceilings, and other items. These are used by the architect in developing the overall building finish scheme.

Once a submittal is received by the contractor, the process of checking for conformance with the intent of the contract documents is performed. A submittal, whether it is a shop drawing, product data, or sample, is governed by the contract drawings and specifications. Once the contractor has completed the review of a submittal, the document is transmitted to the architect for approval. The contractor may indicate on the transmittal the data when approval is needed. Here again, the amount of time required for the architect to review a submittal depends on its complexity and whether or not other engineers (i.e., mechanical, electrical, or structural) must participate in the review. As a general rule, 2-3 weeks is a good estimate for the time required by the architect to complete the review and return the submittal (Daniel et al., 1998).

The final sub-stage of the approval process for a material item is the of the submittal to the supplier or subcontractor. The submittal may be in one of the following four states when returned to the architect:


Approval with noted corrections; no return submittal needed.

Approval with noted corrections; however, a final submittal is required.

Not approved; resubmit.

When the approval process is completed, the material has been accepted as part of the project. Its details have been carefully reviewed for conformance with the contract documents. Also, through this process, the item has been coordinated with all trades involved in its installation and verified for inclusion into the project. The materials are now ready for fabrication and delivery (Daniel et al., 1998).

Fabrication and delivery process

Of the four phases of a material's life cycle the fabrication and delivery process is the most critical. Generally, the largest amount of time is lost and/ or gained in this phase. The duration of the fabrication and delivery process depends on directly on the nature of the material and the amount of physical transformation involved. For the reasons, the contractor must employ every available method of monitoring materials throughout the fabrication and delivery process.

At the completion of fabrication, the delivery of the material is made and the final phase of the life cycle is begun. Materials delivered are checked for compliance with the approval submittal as regards quality, quantity, dimensions, and other requirements. Discrepancies are reported to the subcontractor or supplier. These discrepancies, whether they are shortage or fabrication errors, are subjected to the same monitoring and controlling process as the entire order. Occasionally they become extremely critical to the project and must be given a great deal of attention until delivery is made (Daniel et al., 1998).

Installation process

The installation process involves the physical incorporation into the project of a material item. Depending on how effectively materials were scheduled and expedited, materials arriving at the job site may be installed immediately, partially installed and partially stored, or completely stored for later installation. When storage occurs, the installation process becomes directly dependent on the effective storage of materials.

One of the most important aspects of the effective storage of materials is the physical protection of material items. Careful attention must be given to protection from weather hazards such as prevention of water damage or even freezing. Another important aspect is protection against vandalism and theft. Finish hardware, for instance, is generally installed over a considerable time period. A secure hardware room usually set aside where it is stored, shelved, and organized to accommodate the finish hardware installation process (Daniel et al., 1998).

Location of materials stored outside the physical building on the project site or within the building must be carefully planning and organized to facilitate effective installation. In high-rise building construction material storage, each floor can be disastrous if careful planning is not used. For instance, materials storage concurrently on a floor may include plumbing and electrical rough-in materials, ductwork, window wall framing, glazing materials, drywall studs, and other items. The magnitude of the amount of materials involved warrants meticulous layout of materials. Equally important is the storage of materials to facilitate hoisting with a minimal amount of second handling. Reinforcing steel, for instance, may be organized in a (lay-down) area and then directly hoisted as needed. Adequate lay-down areas must be provided within reach of vertical hoisting equipment (Daniel et al., 1998).

Benefits of Material Management

An effective material management system can bring many benefits for a company. Previous studies by the Construction Industry Institute (CII) concluded that labor productivity could be improved by six percent and can produce 4-6% additional savings (Bernold and Treseler, 1991). Among these benefits are:-

Reducing the overall costs of materials

Better handling of materials

Reduction in duplicated orders

Materials will be on site when needed and in the quantities required

Improvements in labor productivity

Improvements in project schedule

Quality control

Better field material control

Better relations with suppliers

Reduce of materials surplus

Reduce storage of materials on site

Labor savings

Stock reduction

Purchase savings

Better cash flow management

Stakeholders in materials management

Successful materials management - like any successful project -- relies on the skills of many professionals from the architect and designers through project management to the trade contractors. Table 1 presents a list of those people typically involved before the materials arrive on site, and the roles they play in effective materials management. (Houston,1994).

Table 1

Pre-construction people involved in materials management.

Team Member

Role in Materials Management


Designs for best use of standard sizes, for multiple applications and for their recyclability. Specifies materials with recycled content, responsible packaging and from renewable resources.


Ensures appropriate structural component dimensions, quality and spacing for use of standard fasteners and materials for multiple applications and recyclability. Specifies materials with recycled content, responsible

packaging and from renewable resources.


Uses latest materials takeoff technologies and exercises accuracy in estimates. Reviews actual waste generation data and updates actual waste factors regularly.


Plans purchases and deliveries to reduce surplus and to balance materials maintenance during on-site storage versus transportation energy consumption. Specifies recyclable and returnable packaging.

Table 2 lists those people directly involved in the use of the materials. They may participate in the planning process, since they know first-hand the actual site and working conditions. For commercial buildings or multiple-housing projects, it may be prudent to employ a Site Materials Manager, a function that is not common in today's construction practice. Or the role may be given to one or more individuals as a part of their assignment on smaller projects.

Table 2

Construction site people involved In materials Management.

Team Member

Role in Materials Management

Site construction


Applies the materials management plan to the site and oversees its implementation. Takes into consideration physical space available and ensures subcontractors are familiar with and committed to the plan.

Site materials


Keeps track of new materials, cuts and used materials; organizes and stores them for availability by the various trades throughout the project in accordance with the materials management plan.



Communicates with site management and Materials Manager regarding the types of materials they may be able to use for various purposes, even if temporarily. Ensures trades follow the Plan's practices.

Trade workers

Use materials properly, store new materials properly, handle and cut them carefully for maximum use and minimum waste. Consider using cuts before new pieces.

People not employed by the owner, contractor or subcontractor are a part of the materials management team as well. Suppliers, haulers and recyclers each play a role in the successful reduction of waste and optimum utilization of materials (Refer Table 3). (Houston,1994).

Table 3

Off-site people involved In construction materials management.

Team Member

Role in Materials Management


Use recyclable packaging and returnable containers and pallets, and accept the returned containers and pallets or informs the site of others who will accept them.

Recyclers & Haulers

Provide containers for convenient materials storage and retrieval if appropriate. Instruct the site personnel in separation and quality requirements.

Materials Management Organization

The major resources in any organization to manage are the materials out of seven main resources required to run any organization. They are management, materials, money, man power, machines, methods and matrix or facilities which include systems, plants, location and buildings etc. The purpose of materials management organization in any industry is to plan the materials requirements for the production of goods and services. The structure of the organization must be such so as to have the efficient management of materials controlling its flow, conservation and utilization. Its objective is to use judiciously and economically. The product must be produced from the available materials purchased at the economic price and bring together under one organizational component sharing responsibilities of all the aspects affecting flow, conservation, utilization, quality and cost of materials. Materials management includes inventory management, purchase management, value analysis, store keeping, maintenance and upkeep of the inventories in hand and in process.

The organization of materials management must be such as to efficiently integrate the activities concerned with materials and regulate its use as per requirements in the production so as to have stability. The structural development and authority within the hierarchy of the system must be harmonious and integrative for proper decision making and achieving goals of the organization through proper information supply system. (Sadiwala et al., 2007).

Security of construction materials

Construction materials are delivered to a temporary loading dock for the site, which is usually located on street level, adjacent to the hoist. A security guard should be posted at this location to control the delivery of all materials, as well as the removal of all debris from the site. The guard should have a copy of the delivery schedules and hoist log to ensure that the deliveries are scheduled, and occur in the sequence as scheduled, or make the necessary adjustments as the day's construction operations may require. The security guard should record all deliveries and removals, company name, license plate and operator of the truck, and any unusual activities.

Any personnel accessing the site with construction materials should also be documented and controlled. The loading dock entrance should not become an alternate back door entrance to the construction site. The loss of construction materials is costly to the project in both money and time. For a large project, consideration should also be given to utilizing closed circuit television cameras to provide surveillance of the construction site 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. The cameras should be laid out and installed by a professional company to ensure adequate coverage of the site at all major points of entry and egress, as well as central locations through which personnel and materials flow. These video recordings should be kept in a permanent electronic file, in the event that an issue develops.

Consideration should be given to supplying the security guard with a radio to be able to communicate with the other security guards, construction managers, etc. In addition, the guard should be given an emergency contact list for police, fire, ambulance, hospital and first aid station, all essential CM personnel, etc. A landline telephone is essential to have at the guard's booth at the site.

The use of a mobile telephone may also be considered for the guard to allow for a more timely response if there is an event in the building away from the guard's booth. Timely response and notification of an incident can make a substantial difference in minimizing the implications of a situation. (Richard et al., 2009).

Materials storage

Description and Purpose

Prevent, reduce, or eliminate the discharge of pollutants from material delivery and storage to the storm water system or watercourses by minimizing the storage of hazardous materials onsite, storing materials in a designated area, installing secondary containment, conducting regular inspections, and training employees and subcontractors. (California Storm water BMP Handbook, 2003).

Types of material storage

On-site stored materials

Material must be stored in a secure location that protects the material from the negative effects of weather, humidity, damp or wet floors and like conditions and must be supported, piled or arranged as set forth in manufacturer's printed recommendations or warranty requirements or as set forth in any related ASTM Standards. General Contractor (GC) to provide all background information necessary to document it has identified all such standards and requirements and has followed such - in some cases it is helpful if the GC provides record photographs.

Printed material inventory log must be provided by Owner and/or GC recording that it has inspected and verified material meets specified quality and quantity. In some cases the Owner's Architect-Engineer should also provide evaluation. If so, Architect Engineer may find that it will limit its verification since the material, products or equipment has not been installed and combined with other materials, products or equipment necessary to demonstrate that the entire assembly or component is in working condition.

Stored materials must be clearly labelled in a manner that identifies the component using as much as possible information from the 'Approved Plans'.

Material being paid for must be incorporated into the specified construction within next (30) days (this period can be the subject of debate; the (30) day period is to ensure that material is not delivered and stored too soon on to the site for reasons not really related to good and necessary organization of the construction; in some unique case (30) days may not be enough time but in general we feel good equity partner 'Risk Management' considerations dictates that if the GC finds it must order and store materials for a longer period it take the risk including any shelf-life period) (Garry, 2006).

Off-site stored materials

Same as for On-site Stored Materials above with the following additions:-

All stored materials must meet 'Industry Standards for Bonded Storage', this includes segregated storage so materials can be easily viewed and inspected by Owner-Architect Engineer and/or GC personnel and to protect the Owner should manufacturer declare bankruptcy after payment as to owner entering property and obtaining its paid for materials.

In the case of off-site-stored materials, cost of possible repairs necessary after payment and possible transit and erection damage need to be retained by Owner. Retain age requirements should be higher for Off-site Stored Materials than for incorporated work. For example, if they retain age requirement is 10% for incorporated work, it should be, say, 20% for Off-Site Stored Materials. Payment for materials located out of the US should normally not be provided (Garry, 2006).


Materials management is not a science and depending upon the relevance and importance that company officials place upon controlling material flow, the level of expertise changes. Some companies place materials management on a level whereby there is a logistics director, other companies see the importance level as managing at the plant level by hiring an inventory manager or materials manager, and still other companies employ the concept that the supervisors in the plant are responsible accompanied by a planners.

The goal of materials management is to provide an unbroken chain of components for production to manufacture goods on time for the customer base. The materials department is charged with releasing materials to a supply base, ensuring that the materials are delivered on time to the company using the correct carrier. Materials is generally measured by accomplishing on time delivery to the customer, on time delivery from the supply base, attaining a freight budget, inventory shrink management, and inventory accuracy. The materials department is also charged with the responsibility of managing new launches.

Case Study on Materials Management at Construction Sites in Jalan Ampang, Kuala Lumpur.

Methodology -


This chapter explained the study methodology and the method which is used in carrying out the study in order to achieve its objectives by focusing on the materials management systems practicing at the construction sites. The construction sites which are chosen for this study are based in Jalan Ampang, Kuala Lumpur area.

This study is divided into five (5) parts; the first part talked about the problem statement, objectives of study and scope of work. The second part explained the literatures on materials management systems practiced at the construction sites. The third part is on reporting the results based on interviews and an observation which is carried out at the construction sites. Forth covers the analysis and discussion on the results and the fifth part are conclusion and recommendation for future study. Figure 3 shows the research flow chart for this study.

Chapter 1-Introduction

Highlighting problems

Objectives of study

Scope of work

Identify area of study

Chapter II - Literature Review

Secondary data;

Books, journals, internet and articles.

Decide topic, Introduction, Scope of Study

Literature review

Chapter III-Methodology

Primary data;



Sample Selection

Chapter IV-Results, Analysis and Discussion

Analysis explanation

Discussion on results

Data collection and analysis data


Chapter V-Conclusion and Recommendation

Conclusion findings

Recommendation future research

Figure 3: Research flow chart

Identifying the Area of Study

This study is designed to investigate the resources (materials) management system at the construction sites in Jalan Ampang, Kuala Lumpur area, handling procedures/method of the materials, and lastly provide suggestion on achieving efficient material management at construction sites.

Topic Selected, Objective and Scope

Based on the topic chosen, the objectives and the purpose are identified in order to achieve the requirements of the study and the scope is clearly adopted relevant to the topics.

Literature Review and Sample Question

The factors determined are based on the literature review compilation from the books, journal papers, internet and articles. The review comprised the implementation of resource (materials) management systems at the construction sites. The method used to get the information related to this research is by comparing, evaluating, collecting and interpreting the information from various sources. The information was gathered through two means of descriptive instruments which are:

Primary Data

Secondary Data

Primary Data

The primary data for this study was collected from 2 types of survey which are;




An interview has been conducted with project managers on materials management at construction site. Interview is an interaction between two people or more, and in this study an open-ended (face to face) questions/discussion method was used, and all the information has been gathered and analyzed to make conclusions. Furthermore the interview provides additional information and opinions from this construction professional.

Open-ended interview

There are basically two (2) types of questions are asked in an interview: open-ended and close-ended. An open-ended is designed in order to encourage a full, meaningful answer using the subject's own knowledge and/or feelings. Open-ended interviews are also divided into three (3) groups based on how structured they are. Meanwhile, the close-ended encourages a short or single-word answer.

In this study, the third type of an open-ended interview has been carried out where the interview questions are typically used and the same questions are asked to all the interviewees. This type is the most restrictive where the interviewer can only use the exact same questions on specific topics for each interview, and those questions was divided into two (2) sections which is;-

Section A: Background of the Interviewee

Section B: Interview Questions


Ordering materials

Delivering materials


Materials Distribution on site

The interviewees have to answer the questions and there are no yes or no or right or wrong answers, they have to respond all the questions. Generally, the interviewer doesn't know what the contents of the response will be and this type of interview is more focused on the participant's thoughts, experiences, knowledge, skills, ideas and preferences.

The interviewer met the interviewee's to set for the date and time before carry out the interview. This situation creates a friendly atmosphere and environment between the interviewer and the interviewee, and all the data collected would be used only for research and would not be transferred to any other party.

Observation (Site Visit)

An observation (site visit) has been conducted at the chosen study area in this study on how materials are managed at the construction sites. The construction sites are located in Jalan Ampang, Kuala Lumpur and the sites are as below;

Dedaun Condominium, Jalan Ampang, Kuala Lumpur.

Madge Mansion Condominium, off Jalan Ampang, Kuala Lumpur.

Sastra U-Thant Condominium, off Jalan Ampang, Kuala Lumpur.

The observation is also focused on the arrangements and storage of the materials at the construction sites. On the other hand, photos been taken with the permission from the project manager for the analysis part.

Secondary Data

Secondary data is the data obtained from the reading materials and literature references like journals, text books, and internet articles, printing materials published by government on private sector, magazines and research report. The purpose of the secondary data is to enhance the understanding of the theory regarding the construction project management knowledge especially in project management tools and techniques. It is also give an overall view of the research statement and helps the researcher to meet the objectives highlighted.

Data collection and analysis data

Research strategy can be defined as the way in which the research objectives are questioned (Naoum, 1998). The people who provide information to the researchers are referred to as subjects, study participants, or respondents in quantitative research or as study participants or informants in qualitative research (Polit and Hungler, 1999). There are two types of research strategies, namely, .quantitative research and qualitative research (Naoum, 1998).

Qualitative research has been carried out in this study, where this type of research focused on gathering of mainly verbal data rather than measurements. Examples of data collection method used in qualitative research are individual in-depth interviews, structured and non-structured interviews, participant's observation and documentary analysis. Gathered information is then analyzed in an interpretative manner, subjective, impressionistic or even diagnostic. The data from qualitative research is in the form of words (from interviews) and images (video/observation) or even can be in the form of objects (such as artifacts).

Interview and observation was the method that has been used to collect the data for this study. For qualitative analysis, all the information from the interviews is reviewed and evaluated to be used as the result. In this approach, the responds for each topics/questions from the individual is focused, and organized the data by questions to look across all the respondents and their answers in order to identify consistencies and differences.

Observation is a technique of obtaining data through direct contact with a person or observed something with naked eyes. An observation has been carried out on the materials management at the construction sites, where pictures was taken at each of the study area. All the pictures was observed and classified based on the arrangements and storage.

Conclusion and Recommendation

Information that has been gathered from the interviews and observation is analyzed to draw the conclusions for this study. The recommendation for future research is also identified throughout the study and it is believed to be useful on materials management at construction sites in future.

Case Study on Materials Management at Construction Sites in Jalan Ampang, Kuala Lumpur.

Analysis and Discussion

Data Analysis of Primary Study - Interview

The findings of this research through primary study was analyzed and presented in this chapter for a better understanding. The management of materials at the construction sites in Jalan Ampang area was identified and evaluated based on the interview and observation that has been carried out throughout the study period.

Interviews has been carried out with project managers from different projects in Jalan Ampang area, and highlighted the underlying prevalence of the various issues on management of materials within confined sites, and a qualitative analysis was conducted for this case study. This qualitative analysis encompassed three separate case studies located in Jalan Ampang, Kuala Lumpur. Each of the case studies was chosen due to the noted difficulty in the management of materials when construction is carried out in a busy city such as Kuala Lumpur. Each