The construction of a building involves many people: Architects; Designers; Engineers; Contractors; Sub-Contractors all working together to meet the needs of the Client. These construction professionals are brought together for a specific construction project and then disbanded once construction is complete. This blog provides an introduction to the more high profile roles in the Construction Project Team, their responsibilities and influence on construction product selection.
The Construction Client
The Client is the person/company for which the building is being built. The Client will define the aesthetic and functional needs for their building. They usually rely on experts to select products, Clients only get involved because of special requirements such as sustainability or life time value/costs. Traditionally it is the Architect that guides the Client when it comes to product selection. Yet Clients with large property portfolios will often indicate preferred products.
There are Specialist Consultants for an array of subjects; sustainability, acoustics, fire, security to name just a few. Most will not get involved in product selection, but do write the overall performance specification, which indicates the performance criteria that must be attained by the chosen product. So Specialist Consultants indirectly influence product choice. It is usually the Architect who is responsible for interpreting these requirements. Requirements can present conflicting demands and the consultant may then advise on the best way to achieve a result – that is suggest products. So it’s important that they know what benefits your products can deliver.
Specialist Consultants will be interested in how your product meets performance and safety requirements.
The Architect develops the buildings’ design, taking the Client’s brief and combining it with the advice of the Specialist Consultants. This then has to be developed to meet the requirements of the Building Regulations and increasingly sustainability. Architects have significant involvement in product selection.
Architects want to understand how your product contributes to their overall design and the building’s performance. They are often short on time so it is important, when presenting your product, that the information is easy to understand and to the point. Provide tools, such as pre-written specification documents, to make it easy for the Architect to specify your product.
Working with the architect will be a number of engineers that are responsible for structural, mechanical and electrical design. The Structural Engineer is a key member of the Project Team. Structural Engineers design the skeleton or structure of the building, enabling Architects to focus their talents on creating a design that satisfies their client’s demands.
Structural Engineers will monitor the progress of an Architectural project. They create initial design models, using in-depth mathematical and scientific knowledge. When work has begun, they inspect the work and advise contractors.
Structural Engineers must ensure their designs satisfy given criteria, that they are safe, serviceable and perform well. They will want to understand how your product meets their performance requirements.
The Contractor oversees and manages the construction of the building for the Client, following the Architect and Engineers’ designs. The work is delivered under a contractual agreement. The Main Contractor will select Sub-contractors based on the capability, availability and price. Sub-contractors include many specialist trades.
The Contractor is looking for products that offer ease of installation, good availability & represent value. They want confidence that their Sub-contractors are familiar with installation, to avoid complications. They need to know that building work will not be delayed by lack of product availability and that product cost remains within the estimate, so they can remain profitable.
Understanding each member of the Construction Project Team is important when marketing building products. Tailoring marketing for each decision maker is important, to represent the key benefits that answer the issues that matter to them. Knowing who has the most influence on product selection, at what stage in the construction process, helps to target communications. This is where research can help.
Construction markets present some unique challenges for the marketer. The Construct Project Team is a complex Decision Making Unit, one that comes together for a specific project and then is disbanded when construction is complete. The time from product selection to installation can be lengthy with many decision makers influencing product selection.