How Does the Building Client Influence Construction Product Specification?

The construction of a building involves many people: Architects; Designers; Engineers; Contractors; Sub-Contractors all working together to meet the needs of the Client. The Client is at the head of the procurement chain; ultimately the Client decides what is to be constructed, where, when and by whom. In this blog we take a look at the role of the Client in the construction Project Team and their influence on construction product specification.

The Construction Project Team – the role of the Client

The Client will define the aesthetic and functional needs for their building. The client is rarely a single person.  There are likely to be a number of groups and individuals with an interest in, or control over, the project. These include, but are not limited to, the Investors, Owners, Occupiers, as well as Project Managers, Engineers, Designers and Specialists.

What makes a Client organisation different is that there are many specifiers all with different functions.

Put simply the Client is at the head of the procurement chain. They fund the project either directly or in-directly. They arrange for the design work, engage the contractor and initiate the work.

The Client’s influence on product specification

On Traditional contracts the Client will usually rely on experts to select products, only getting 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.

On projects that are delivered via a Design and Build contract or PFI then there are greater levels of decision makers, with the construction supply chain agreed prior to design. Learn more about how contract type affects construction product specification.

Clients with large property portfolios will often indicate preferred products, using the guidance of in-house expertise.

Large property portfolio Client’s wish to ensure that the products selected will project the right image for their company and meet their safety and performance standards, which may be higher than National Standards. They may insist on Prescriptive Specifications for products which might impact upon the operating costs of their buildings.

Briefly the Client drivers fall into:

  • Image
  • Building productivity
  • Build cost
  • Operating costs

It is important to recognise that the initial stages of a project can have a significant influence on the products used, with 70% to 80% of the cost of a project decided at concept stage.

BIM and the Client

There is a clear benefit to the Client to design with BIM. Not only is it a wonderful tool for managing the project, and so monitoring costs, avoiding defects and minimising delay. It is also a great tool for managing the maintenance of a building over it’s lifetime as BIM can help reduce operating costs. A key factor for the building Client.

What the Client wants from the manufacturer

In brief the manufacturer needs to demonstrate how their product can help meet the buildings aesthetic and functional objectives. And how your product meets regulation, or indeed exceeds it. Any examples on how your product can help with safety and performance standards would also be of benefit.

The manufacturer needs to show that their product is sustainable and can provide long-term benefits during the operation of the building, as well as being easy to maintain. And importantly your solution needs to be readily available and cost justifiable. This is because the Client wants to deliver a building to a set standard, on time and to budget, whilst also achieving a profit and maintaining reputation.

Marketing Personas for the Construction Decision Making Unit