Supply Only v. Supply & Install – what is the right option for me?

Are you wondering whether to procure your Interior door & wall protection, expansion joints or cubicle tracking as a Supply Only order or go with a full Supply & Installation package?

Are you trying to weigh up the pros and the cons? The risk versus the reward?

Well, you have come to the right place to find out.

Although the short answer is ‘it depends,’ we have done a deep dive in this article into the factors that you need to take into account to determine whether Supply Only or Supply & Installation is the right method for you.

The factors that may depend on which option is best for you can generally be determined by looking at the following areas.

  1. Budget
  2. Risk
  3. Human Resources
  4. Skillset and Experience
  5. Complexity

Budget

This is the obvious one. Often builders prefer to procure material supply only in order to save on installation costs. If the builder has their own team of qualified carpenters, then this may be a suitable solution.

Sometimes builders want to procure Supply Only and subcontract out the install separately. This can assist in saving money especially where the contractor is already on site performing other work.

Although you may save money from the outset by installing yourself or letting the installation separately, it is important to consider the downsides of supply only, which if not managed, could lead to significantly increased costs. The cost associated with risk (see below), could significantly outweigh the money saved initially. 

Risk

As just mentioned, if you take responsibility for the installation, you are also taking on a lot of additional risk, that could negatively outweigh the initial budget savings.

When managing the installation yourself, you generally take responsibility for the following areas as well…

  • Quantities
  • Material leadtimes and delays
  • Scope changes/slippage
  • Design & construction (of the Door & Wall protection package)
  • Warranty

Want to know how to mitigate your risks? Read ‘How to avoid door & wall protection material delays’ to find out more.

Your level of risk really depends on the size and nature of the project. For a large, high-pressure project these responsibilities carry with them consequences that can far outweigh and cost savings of managing the installation yourself. These consequences can include liquidated damages, back charges, warranty claims and reputational damage.

Human Resources

No project can be completed without human input, whether it be installing the product, or project managing the package. The level of human resources required compared to what resources you have available is a very important factor when considering whether to let supply & install, or manage the installation yourself.

Installing yourself is a very labour intensive process. This however, may be a suitable option if your business is facing a downturn, as it is an excellent way to utilise your existing team on productive work – at the same time recouping costs that may have gone to a third-party installer.

Project managing the package also takes time, which shouldn’t be underestimated. Keeping track of lots of different product components and installers in a live construction environment can be very time consuming, if it is to be done well enough to mitigate the risk. Once again, it may be viable if you need to recoup costs on the project and may make sense if you are already managing other trades/packages that logically fit in together.

Skillset and Experience

As with any trade, skills and experience are vital to ensure the project is completed to a high standard and as efficiently as possible.

With installing door & wall protection, expansion joints and cubicle tracking, it is recommended that you are a carpenter with previous experience in this field or with similar products. Although most suppliers provide detailed installation instructions with their products, these are no substitute for experience.

If you lack installation experience, it is likely that the time saved by getting an expert to install could well offset the additional time taken to install it yourself.

Even with project management, industry experience is important, as it can help you avoid common pitfalls that may cause you grief down the track.

Complexity

In short, the more complex the project, the higher the likelihood that something will go wrong with the installation.

Some products are more complex than others. Those among the most complex are expansion/movement joint covers, door frame protection and rigid vinyl wall protection. If the substrate is not prepared correctly for an expansion joint then it could be disastorous. If the door frame is not measured with sufficient tolerances then it may not fit, or may prevent the door from closing.

Among the least complex are corner guards and crashrails.

Despite the complexity of some products and the benefit of skills & experience, we like to make DIY installation possible, by identifying common mistakes and how to avoid these. See below list…

  • Door Frame Protectors

Summary

Although in most instances a turnkey Supply & Installation package is the most suitable option for builders, there are some situations where Supply Only is the best option.

Supply Only is best for you if you are…

  • A small builder or contractor, working on small and relatively flexible projects
  • You have spare human resources
  • Your team has the necessary skills or has had prior experience with installing like products
  • Experiencing a financial downturn and needing to utilise internal resources and cut costs wherever possible

In addition to the above, procuring Supply Only and engaging another contractor to install is best for you if you…

  • Already have another carpenter engaged on site with similar works who is familiar with installing like products

Supply & Install is best for you if you are…

  • Working on large or high-pressure construction projects
  • Your team are typically time poor
  • You want to ensure that the product and installation is defect free and covered by a warranty

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