For any construction project, ranging from simple home renovations to multi-billion dollar large-scale developments, some materials are less available than others, depending on the location of a project. That’s why international shipping and logistics have been a cornerstone of the construction industry for years. Thanks to today’s global trade network, you can source the perfect building material from nearly anywhere in the world. 

The A Customs Brokerage team has worked with businesses in the construction industry to move building materials globally since our start. We specialize in importing and exporting granite, marble, tile, and stone, among other materials, and we’ve learned a great deal along the way. 

Here are five of the most important things to think about when importing and exporting building materials: 

Local Laws and Regulations

Every location in the world has different laws and regulations that dictate how a material can be used. The A Customs Brokerage team will guide you through US local laws and regulations, but you should also research and consider the local laws and regulations of any other country that will play a part in the purchase, shipment, or use of your building materials. 

Local legal parameters will address how a material can be used, the standard or grade of said material, and in some cases, its intended use. It is vital to understand what is and isn’t allowed before putting in an order for any building material. For example, while some types of glass may be more cost-competitive depending on end use, it may not be allowed in specific locations. In other places, it may be completely acceptable and legal. The concept can be applied to metals, ceramics, stones, and just about any other type of building material. Clarifying the legality is the first step to ensuring your project meets the local job’s acceptable standards. The last thing you want to do is waste time and money importing a material that can’t be used throughout the construction process. 

Choosing a Supplier

Choosing a supplier, especially when working abroad, can be very difficult – and there are plenty of possible obstacles in sourcing the correct ones. Well-known suppliers often charge more but can also be more reliable when it comes to quality and customer service. Lesser-known suppliers may sell low-grade products at a much lower price but with little to no customer support. A good rule of thumb here is “you get what you pay for.” Thanks to internet reviews and reports on suppliers, though, previous transactions can be used to make an informed decision on the right supplier for your needs. 

Receiving an Estimate

Once you figure out what you can and can’t import and who you want to import from, price negotiations can begin for the materials you need. There may be minimum or maximum order limits, and depending on the material and size of the order, shipping logistics may also play into your decision. It is essential to carefully incorporate and consider the total cost of importing all materials in your order. Jobs can quickly become financially skewed if the contractor is not cautious.

Negotiating Logistics

Once a price is set, it is critical to make sure the logistics for the rest of the project come into consideration. You need to calculate how long it will take for an item to reach you and ensure that the timeframe for arrival is accurate and acceptable. For example, if someone is looking to import marble tiles, the material must arrive at the job site well before the expected completion date – with enough time for the tile team to complete construction. Potential delays, holidays, and construction time should all be carefully considered to ensure the job is not delayed. Companies are commonly penalized for delays through contracts and agreements with the builder. Building materials range in size and weight, and these factors can help determine the best method of transportation. Consider costs and timeframe carefully when deciding how to transport your building materials from end to end. 

Making the Purchase

Once everything else is arranged accordingly, you are ready to purchase the materials. You should be available for the materials’ arrival, and it’s often best to buy the materials through a broker or agent to manage the arrival process. Arranging delivery this way provides an extra level of protection to ensure that if something goes wrong, there is somebody to be held accountable. These outsourced arrangements usually include management making adjustments and corrections if something goes wrong – ensuring the project continues uninterrupted. The global import and export of building materials also involve a significant amount of paperwork, ranging from insurance to customs documentation. We cannot stress enough how vital it is that you ensure all paperwork is filed accurately and promptly. 

The A Customs Brokerage Team is here to help your business negotiate the complexities of building material imports. Reach out to our team to talk about how we can fulfill your global shipping needs for your construction project.