What does a Construction Buyer do?

Misty Amber Brighton

A construction buyer usually works for a large construction firm, rather than a small one. This person is often responsible for maintaining a budget for materials. He might do this by getting bids from a number of suppliers. The buyer could also set up a schedule for goods to be delivered. This worker is also responsible for communicating with vendors concerning defective products, delivery methods, and payment.

A construction buyer is often responsible for maintaining a budget for materials.
A construction buyer is often responsible for maintaining a budget for materials.

When a building is being designed, a project manager typically comes up with a budget for constructing it. The plans may also include a list of materials needed in order to complete the job. A construction buyer may read these proposals and determine whether all the materials that might be needed have been taken into account. He might make recommendations to the project manager based upon better methods of construction or using different products.

Construction buyers can recommend materials that might work best with certain building designs and techniques.
Construction buyers can recommend materials that might work best with certain building designs and techniques.

After looking at the plans and making recommendations, the construction buyer might double-check the figures listed on it. He might do this by comparing the estimated cost of goods with the actual prices. This could involve calling vendors to check prices. The purchasing agent may try to establish a contract with a supplier in order to lock in prices. That way, he can be sure they do not fluctuate during the construction period.

A construction buyer may travel to the job site periodically to inspect materials.
A construction buyer may travel to the job site periodically to inspect materials.

When a construction buyer places an order for goods, he normally has a delivery date in mind. This means he may establish a delivery schedule with the vendor to make sure construction is not interrupted. He may arrange for merchandise to be picked up, delivered to a warehouse, or dropped off at the construction site. The cost of any unusual delivery methods are typically negotiated by this individual as well.

Construction buyers typically work with construction buyers to determine the budget for constructing a new building.
Construction buyers typically work with construction buyers to determine the budget for constructing a new building.

If a company receives the wrong products or defective merchandise, the construction buyer is usually notified. This person is then responsible for ensuring the right products are received and the wrong ones are returned. He may keep in contact with the supplier in order to make sure the company is properly credited for any returns that are made.

A construction buyer may spend part of his time in an office environment, and also travel to the job site from time to time in order to inspect materials. He might also visit a lumberyard or home improvement warehouse in person so he can look at goods before buying them. This means the job may require him to drive from one location to the other, haul materials, and wear safety equipment.

When a building is being designed, a project manager typically devises a budget for constructing it.
When a building is being designed, a project manager typically devises a budget for constructing it.

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Discussion Comments

Monika

I bet most construction buyer jobs descriptions mention "people skills." I imagine being good with people is pretty essential to getting this job done. Not only do you have to deal with the people you work for/with, you also have to deal with vendors.

Having a good relationship with vendors can probably really help a construction project along. Especially if the buyer is able to build up relationships over time and work with the same vendors on project after project. It's probably much easier to negotiate a good price with someone you already have a great working relationship with!

sunnySkys

@SZapper - It does seem like a lot of pressure, but I imagine most construction buyers have worked in the business before. Out of all the construction jobs available, I doubt someone with no experience would apply to be a construction buyer. And even if they did, I doubt anyone would hire them!

Anyway, working as a buyer is one of those jobs that sounds fun (who doesn't like buying stuff?) but actually takes a lot of organizational skills. Not to mention in-depth knowledge of the industry!

SZapper

Since the construction buyers job involves getting the materials for the project, it seems like the buyer could make or a break any construction project. The actual building materials are pretty crucial to getting the job done. Obviously you can't start a building project without the right materials!

Also, I'm sure a bad construction buyer could really mess with the budget of a project. If you don't order the materials for a reasonable price, that cuts into the profits. If you order the materials too early, you need someplace to store them. If you order the wrong materials and have to send them back, that costs time and money! It seems like a lot of pressure to me.

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