How much Building materials affect cost of construction

Jun 02, 2021

Cost of construction hinges on multiple factors. We wrote a first-course guide to prepare an accurate construction project estimation elucidating the daunting task and indicating components to consider while preparing a quote. In continuum to that, we set a ballpark estimation calculatora simple tool to calculate project budgets.

The construction cost influenced by various events includes building materials which constitute about 60% of the total cost. Before assessing the material influence on the project cost, a project overview drawn to outline the different aspect of construction cost is essential. The considerations split under Structural component, Design features, Architectural finishes, Specification, and peripheral amenities are essential to streamline project requirement & categorize materials that determine the construction cost. Depending on the degree of work under each category the cost of material will vary. This will reflect the overall cost of construction. Consideration factors as follows

Structural construct – No. of floors, basement, will set the cost of foundation & load-bearing frame

Design Features – Openings, projections, skylights & additional design elements

Architectural Finishes – Material finishes & surface design

Schedule of Specification – or the BOQ that verifies the standard/ quality of the material and brand used for all fixtures, fittings

Amenities & other developments – Additional improvements, peripheral expansions like the compound wall, pavements, landscape features

The cost of construction can be viewed as labor & installation and cost of building materials. The global pandemic saw the rise in material cost that affected demand and supply dynamics. These dynamic influences and market trends that are the driving force behind the upsurge of construction industry. It is crucial to follow building material prices as the economy rise and fall because materials constitute about major portion of the construction cost.

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Establishing material cost at the concept stage is challenging and involves time and networking to understand market rates. To bridge this gap, Arkihive an intelligent digital product discovery platform enables sales and collaboration among Architectural and construction professionals. With Arkihive, you could explore, acquire knowledge about the material and find professionals to procure.

There are different ways construction projects are executed, a turnkey contract, a design & build or design and build separately. With each module, the cost of construction is determined at a different stage of the project. Whichever model is your choice, the cost of construction must be established at the concept development stage for various reasons - to set the project budget, to estimate timeline of the project and to anticipate material lead time and workflow planning.

Design & Build process with Arkihive


Building material cost estimated will depend on the Built-Up Area of the project and will vary according to the construction contractor. The following estimation is based for a 1000 Sq. Ft Built-up area and the area can be extrapolated according to the size and scale of the project.

Cement is indispensable to construction project, an essential binding material. Cement is used along with sand, aggregates and water for concrete, masonry, and plasterwork. Available in two grades, OPC 53 is used for concrete grouts and instant plugging mortars while grade 43 is used for plastering and non-reinforcement structures. OPC 43 is preferred when the initial setting time is not crucial.

The approximate cement consumption per Sq. Ft of the Built-up area is 12.5kg. It constitutes about 16% of the overall material cost

Steel is the primary structural material for framed construction. Majorly used in RCC, TMT rebars comes in different grades (Fe-500 TMT, Fe-500 D, Fe-550 TMT, Fe-550 D, Fe-600 TMT). Fe 500 TMT refers to Thermomechanical treatment and is generally recommended steel grade for structural stability.

The approximate steel consumption is 4 kg per Sq. Ft of built-up area, this rule  for low rise construction up to 4 floors. Steel constitutes the most among the building materials considering its use in foundations, plinth, column & beams, and floor slabs. It constitutes about 25% of the total material cost.

Aggregates include fine and coarse gravel used for plastering and concrete works. The approximate consumption is .6 ton per Sq. Ft of Built-up area. Both aggregates are used in different fractions and constitute about 8% of the total material cost.

Sand constitutes about 12% of the total material cost, it is approximately consumed by 0.8 ton per Sq. Ft of Built-up area.  

Bricks & Blocks are necessary for masonry wall construction. Walls are constructed either with burnt clay brick or fly ash blocks. On average brick constitute about 5% of the total material cost. Widely used burnt clay Bricks cost about 8000 per 1000 units of Bricks. It is consumed at 1.45 per Sq. Ft of built-up area.

Tile or flooring material should be considered for three different surfaces - anti-skid flooring for bathrooms, ceramic for floor and wall and external pavement tile or roofing tiles. Flooring material contributes about 8% of the total material cost, the average consumption per Sq. Ft of built-up area is 1.3sq. ft.

Paint can be broadly classified as water-based and solvent-based with application varying from the interior, exterior, wooden and metallic. On average, paint consumption per Sq.ft is - 0.18 litre ( with 0.14 ltr for interiors and 0.4ltr for exteriors). Broadly values about 4.1% of the total material cost.

Other Fittings & Fixtures include hardware, door, sanitary, plumbing, and electrical fittings together constitute about 21.9% of the total material cost.

The cost established is generalized value from multiple projects, however detailed estimation must be drafted before commencing a project. Watch out this space for material prices and specification.  


Anusha Ashok

I believe only art can change the world! Although, I constantly critique the design approach & in dispute with my belief. But usually found having tea & listening to Coldplay.