Helping architects write specifications for their projects

A specification is developed out of the design brief in the early stages of the project (concept, design, documentation). This means that product suppliers need to be involved as early as possible to influence design specifiers (architects, interior designers, landscape architects and engineers) product choices and even influencing the client if possible.

Design specifiers can use different types of specifications including performance, nominated and descriptive specifications. For functional products a performance specification is usually used, for finishing or decorative products a nominated specification is typically used. In recent years, with design specifiers being quite time poor, many have taken to using generic product specification or ‘cutting and pasting’ previously used specifications. There is a danger in doing this as the product specification may not be fit for purpose.

TIPS IN WRITING SPEC’S

  1. Get involved early – concept or design stage before a spec is confirmed.
  2. Make sure you ask great quality questions to uncover exactly what the architect is after.
  3. Write the spec in such a way that it makes it hard for your competitors to be the ‘or equivalent.’
  4. Develop a library of general spec’s that you can edit when necessary to save you time.
  5. Offer your spec writing services – they might not ask you so make sure you make it known to them.

 WRITING SPECIFICATIONS

Offering to review an architect’s specifications or even writing it for them is a great opportunity to get your product involved in their current and future projects.

BRINGING SPECIFIERS UP TO CODE ON FIRE PROTECTION – Flammable cladding in the Victorian high-rise market

Unions and fire prevention experts warn of the dangers in using cheap building materials in high-rises.
A number of new high-rises have been installed with flammable cladding, prompting an audit of buildings across Victoria and new investigations into building professionals. The issue came to light after a blaze at the Lacrosse block in Melbourne’s Docklands, where fire spread rapidly due to flammable cladding, which had been imported from China, that had not been tested to Australian standards.

The Victorian Building Authority (VBA) says the construction industry has an “inconsistent understanding” of how aluminium composite panels should be applied, which has lead to an audit of 170 Melbourne buildings with findings indicating 51% were using cladding that was not to code.

Victorian Building Authority (VBA) chief executive, Prue Digby, said “We have a problem with what the people who are designing and constructing and signing off buildings know and understand about compliance. And that is the issue that has to be fixed.”
The authority is planning to educate industry professionals to reduce confusion around materials and is supporting the Victorian Government’s bid for mandatory product certification of cladding and other sensitive building materials.

Specifying and installing inferior products is a common act across many Australian construction projects especially as the number of imported products reaching our shores increase. Fire Protection Association CEO Scott Williams said it could be impossible to tell the difference using the naked eye. He said it was a real problem for building surveyors who are often only involved at the end of the process.

Educating construction professionals on the importance of fire protection is crucial when it comes to developing safe and sound buildings across Australia. Sometimes, unfortunately it takes problems arising before change is taken seriously. Attitudes are beginning to change but product suppliers and manufacturers can help in enlightening construction professionals of best practice procedures. Designers and builders are very much generalists when it comes to which products and services are the best fit for a project, product suppliers and manufacturers are the experts and it is important to share that technical knowledge and experience with clients.

We recommend taking on a problem solving and consultative approach in your meetings with designers and builders. This can include:

  • Discussing what applications are suited best to different types of projects.
  • Talking about problems that have arisen in the past and the best practice approach to overcoming them.
  • Referring to testing that has been done on your products and how that compares with Australian building standards and codes.
  • Reviewing a past project reference and what design procedures and product choices were made and why they were the best options for your clients.
  • Risks in using cheaper products.

 

Greening Your Products and Processes

With rising energy prices, stricter governmental regulations and public attention focused on environmentally friendly approaches to design and construction, green building is becoming an increasingly essential matter for the Australian building and construction industry.

BCI Australia has conducted research into green building since 2006. Industry stakeholders were asked their opinions on the status quo of green building and how it affected their businesses.

Since 2006, participation in green building projects has risen to 90% of those stakeholders, which in turn means more green products and processes are bring employed.

The three most prevalent motives for companies to pursue ‘green building’ principles were:

  1. To achieve lower lifecycle costs
  2. To protect the environment and reduce the impact of global warming
  3. To achieve increased building value or marketability

Green Star-rated buildings will continue to escalate, as developers, investors and end-users all recognise the ‘green’ makes good business sense. Some areas to consider when marketing your products and processes include:

  • Types of materials
  • Manufacturing process
  • Packaging
  • Energy efficiency
  • Recyclable

Here are some tips to remember when developing your green marketing message:

  • Tell a story – Why do you invest in making your products green? Why is it important to you?
  • Be specific – Many decision makers are sceptical about what is green, so being certified and having evidence to back up your message is important.
  • Keep your promises – Your business needs to live by what you promise. Not delivering on that can damage a brand.

Click here to download the full article on ‘Greening Your Products & Processes’.

8 Ways to Get the Most Out of Your Equinox Experience

Trade shows are a great way to get face time with busy specifiers. They are an integral part of any marketing strategy and this is proven by the hundreds of suppliers that exhibit at Equinox every year.

These tips and tricks can help you get the best return on investment for your exhibition space:

  1. First impressions count – Specifiers are visual people so make sure your stand is engaging and showcases your products at their best.
  2. Create an open space – Make the front of your space open and inviting. Place tables and equipment at the back so there is plenty of room for interested people to stand.
  3. Make it visual and tangible – Specifiers are tactile people, so inspire them with plenty of samples.
  4. Get competitive – Running small competitions at your stand is a great way to draw people in as well as collect business cards.
  5. Be project specific – Specifiers may not relate to your products but they will relate to the projects you have successfully had your products implemented in.
  6. Pick the right people to represent you – You want people working your stand that are friendly and welcoming but not too overbearing.
  7. Capture conversations on business cards – Speaking to a specifier? Grab their business card and jot down some bullet points about your conversation.
  8. Follow up – Schedule time within 2-3 days to follow up on leads.

Practice makes perfect, so next time you’re exhibiting at Equinox try out the tips above. Good luck and we hope to see you soon!