Does your Market Researcher Know their CAD from their BIM, their BREEAM from their SKA Rating, PF2 from D&B?

When planning a piece of construction market research there is much to consider, such as your objectives, target market, and research methodology. But possibly the most important factor is the nature of the research company you choose to work with.

The construction industry has a complex Decision Making Unit. With the team responsible for designing, selecting, purchasing and installing products usually created for a single construction project, employed by different organisations and then disbanded.

In this article we present the benefits of choosing a research consultant that is familiar with construction markets.

Is your researcher familiar with researching the construction Decision Making Unit?

This is not just about their ability to conduct the market research you require, but their familiarity with your construction target market. When researching views of people working in the construction sector – developers, architects, engineers, contractors or stockists – then it’s important to look to the companies with experience of researching these markets.

That experience includes knowing how to create a representative database of respondents to interview. For example, its not good enough just to have a list of architects (the top 100 is easy to obtain) but it is important to identify and talk to people who are familiar with the products or services you offer. This requires the selection of organisations working in your target sectors. The attitudes and views of respondents designing for offices could be very different to those designing for residential.

Is your researcher familiar with construction terminology?

When it comes to talking, its important that the researcher has a good understanding of construction terminology. If, for example, they don’t understand that the answer “at Stage 4” means the Technical Design phase in the RIBA Plan of Works they will have difficulty developing the response.

If you are researching sustainability credentials if they are unaware of BREEAM, Ska Ratings, Part L of the Building Regulations, then how can they gather and interpret the data effectively?

This background knowledge is also important when developing a questionnaire. It can ensure that questions are asked in a language the respondent can relate to. And by having a background knowledge of the subject your research consultant can also suggest issues to investigate. The implications of Value Engineering in the light of the Grenfell tragedy for example.

Does your researcher have an up-to-date knowledge and understanding of construction markets?

Often, Competitive Advantage are approached to conduct a research projects on a subject we have already published a report on. Our Construction Media Index and Personas are two good examples where we can share the knowledge from these with a client, allowing them to use this to refine their requirement into a more incisive research project.

When looking for a research partner remember to look for a company with more than research expertise, find one that also has construction industry experience. The team at Competitive Advantage has more than 125 years combined experience in the construction sector! This means we have a good knowledge of the key industry drivers through researching subjects such as the adoption of BIM and digitisation, the importance of Sustainability, the impact of Grenfell on specification.


Relevant and well-structured market research, that informs or supports decision making is an essential tool. So it is important to think carefully when choosing your research partner. Market research is not a ‘nice to have’ but essential in making knowledge-driven business decisions. Make sure your research partner is able to provide the knowledge you need. Choose a research consultant like Competitive Advantage, that has the industry knowledge and understanding to interpret findings and help you apply them to your specification strategy. Find out more.

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