3 Reasons Why Architects Specify Certain Building Products

Posted On: 
Sep 1, 2017
3 Reasons Why Architects Specify Certain Building Products

Why do architects specify certain building products? Why do project teams select certain types of masonry products, insulation, or paint? According to a recent study by the American Institute of Architects (AIA), there are several reasons for an architect’s specification decisions. The study identified three significant reasons why an architect would specify one product over another. Let’s take a look at this exciting information…

An Architect’s Relationship With A Building Product Manufacturer

The AIA study found that architects prefer to specify building products that are known commodities. Architects utilize existing and long term relationships with building product manufacturers to select products. Instead of specifying insulation made by a manufacturer who opened shop last week, architects prefer to use time and tested materials. When pressed for time, project teams typically specify products that they are familiar with and have used on several previous projects.

The AIA study of 300+ architect practitioners found that nearly sixty percent of the time an architect already knows which building products he or she is going to specify. Building product manufacturers who are new to the industry can have a very difficult time obtaining market share. AIA online education courses, AIA webinars, and LEED courses are important tools for these newbie manufacturers to get the word out about their products.

Conservative Architects Versus Risk-Takers

Another important take away from the AIA study are the differences between conservative and risk-taking architects. Forty-one percent of the architects surveyed were deemed “professionally conservative”. Most conservative architects were over 55 years old, male, and less likely to work on LEED projects.

Thirty-three percent of the architects surveyed are termed “dynamists.” These architects tend to be more male-dominated, younger, and more likely to work for an architecture firm with an outspoken corporate culture.

Twenty-six percent of the architects surveyed were identified as “risk-takers.” Risk-takers have a mixed age demographic, typically work for a multidisciplinary firm, design LEED projects, and are more likely to be based on the West Coast. Conservative architects are less likely to specify building materials based on environmental factors. However, all groups base specification choices on price.

Innovative Building Products

How are building product manufacturers supposed to launch new products? The study concluded that the risk-takers and dynamists who make up nearly sixty percent of the architects are the best decision makers to reach out to. Building product manufacturers should target risk-takers when trying to launch a new product. AIA continuing education, well written guide specifications, and access to product information are all recommendations for manufacturers.

How does your company influence product selection for a project? What strategies does your company use to get specified?

For more information or to discuss the topic of this blog, please contact Brad Blank