Step 3: Bill of materials

With the foundation subcontracting taken care of, the next step is to get a bill of the materials (BOM) you will need to order and have delivered to do the actual construction of the building. This can be difficult and daunting but I will fill you in on a little secret. Many building supply stores (such as Menards or Home Depot) have a handy kiosk that will let you enter in a rough design and will print out a list of all the materials required to build your building and they will even order and deliver it for you.

A key decision to make prior to embarking on building the BOM is what framing system you want to use. 16" on center or 24" on center studs? For most garage needs 24" is fine and uses less lumber. Check your local codes, as you may not be able to have a 2nd story above the garage with 24" framing. 2x4 or 2x6 framing? If you plan to have a heated garage and live in a cold part of the country, go 2x6 and insulate.

So I took my building sketch to the Menards design center kiosk and answered a series of questions about the building I wanted and viola I had a recommended bill of materials in under 5 minutes. I would recommend going over this print out manually to add, remove, or substitute items. For example, you may want to use a pneumatic nailer (recommended!) for framing/roofing and thus would not need to buy as many regular nails as the print out suggests. Additionally, you may want to add insulation, space your studs to 24", use OSB (oriented strand board) instead of plywood, or specify a different style of window. The key thing that the print out gives you is an idea of the number of pieces needed, and the parts that you might miss such as drip edge, drip cap, shingle starter strip, etc that you will need. It is also a good idea to add a few extra pieces of lumber such as 2x4's and 2x6's in case you measure once and need to cut twice.

You will also need to be aware of building codes when ordering, although often the print out from the kiosk will take many of these issues into account. For example, the bottom plate on your framing is in contact with concrete and thus must be treated to prevent rot. Also, when sheathing your roof, you need to use H-clips between the trusses on the horizontal seams. Snow and ice shield membrane may also be required along the lower portions of the roof. These little details can be anticipated if you spend some time reading the building code and chewing the fat with your experienced construction buddies. The International Residential Code is maintained by the ICC (International Code Council) and serves as the basis for the home building codes in most municipalities. You can buy a copy of the code from the ICC website (click here) and while comprehensive it can be tough to digest.

You don't need to make all the BOM decisions at once and may need to mix and match suppliers to get the right materials. For example, in order to match the shingles on my existing house I had to order from a specialty roofing supply house. The key will be to get all the critical parts on the building site at the same time so that you can effectively use your beer-paid volunteers and get to a stable work point (i.e. the roof shingled) in case you need to take a temporary vacation from your project. Details such as what lights and color siding can wait a bit. Once you have finalized the BOM, place the order and arrange for delivery. Even the largest suburban command vehicle will have trouble hauling a dozen roof trusses and 50 sheets of plywood so shell out the $50 for delivery.

The following is a sample bill of materials for a 20' by 22' garage with 5/12 roof pitch. This is not an exhaustive list (I must have run to the store about a hundred times to get something I forgot), but the major components are there. All dimensional lumber is #2 grade or better.
Qty	Item						Unit Cost	Subtotal
75	2x4x8' Stud					2.18		163.5
20	2x4x12'						2.95		59
10	2x4x16'						4.58		45.8
6	2x6x10'						3.99		23.94
2	2x12x18'					20.49		40.98
12	1x6x12' Quality grade				6.75		81
8	2x4x12' AC2 treated				4.59		36.72
45	1/2" 4'x8' exterior grade OSB			7.49		337.05
14	5/8" 4'x8' exterior grade fire rated drywall	9.44		132.16
12	1/2" 4'x8' BC grade plywood			12		144
10	5/12 20' Residential 60# Truss			30.25		302.5
20	Rafter tie hangers				0.63		12.6
2	5/12 20' Residential end frame truss		38.21		76.42
2	Roll of 15# felt roofing felt			13.25		26.5
2	Roll of 3' wide ice and water seal		25.85		51.7
2	Roll shingle starter strip			10.48		20.96
3	bags 1/2" H-clips				2.24		6.72
18	Bundles 3 tab 30 year shingles			20		360
2	3.5x50' roll sill seal foam			4.18		8.36
1	16' insulated sectional garage door		439		439
1	Garage door opener				179		179
1	Set vinyl garage door stop trim ~32'		23		23
1	Set vinyl garage door jamb ~32'			52		52
1	Set vinyl garage door brick mode ~32'		32		32
1	Set garage track hanging kit			16.98		16.98
11	10' D style roof edge				2.46		27.06
3	R11 3.5x23x70' kraft faced insulation		31.99		95.97
2	30x42 vinyl windows				107		214
1	5lb box of joist hanger nails			6.79		6.79
1	32x80 Prehung exterior door			153		153
1	Deadbolt and doorknob kit			55.92		55.92
4	6"x12' Aluminum fascia				11.79		47.16
2	16"x12' vented aluminum soffit			13.68		27.36
4	12' soffit frieze				6.99		27.96
4	1-1/4"x10' dripcap				2.38		9.52
1	Large box 16D size nails for pneumatic nailer	45		45
1	Large box 8D size nails for pneumatic nailer	40		40
2	5 lb box of galv roofing nails			4.28		8.56
1	Box 40' Ridge-vent				95		95
2	Box roofing staples for hammer-tacker		6.19		12.38
							Total		3537.57
Whew! The above will get your garage framed, sheathed, roofed, and the windows and doors on. It is up to you to make the decisions on finishing touches like siding, accent lights, etc.

If possible try and arrange delivery of your building materials after the foundation has been poured and is cured enough to build on. That way you can get your materials delivered right next to or on the slab for convenience. I had to hand carry each and every piece around to the back, which was a pain. Sometimes an "alley" delivery will cost extra, depending on your job site layout. Talk with the driver and if you can float him a few bucks you may have luck getting your materials dropped wherever you want. Those guys are magicians with those forklifts.