Sources of Technical Information

In the ever-evolving construction industry, product information is the lifeblood that drives innovation and facilitates the selection of the right materials for a project. As construction professionals and architects seek to find the perfect building components, manufacturers play a crucial role in providing the necessary data and support. The challenge, however, lies in collating, verifying, maintaining, and disseminating this information effectively. This blog post explores how construction product manufacturers have adapted to the digital age and the changing demands of specifiers.

Digital transformation has left no industry untouched, and construction is no exception. From Building Information Modelling (BIM) to augmented reality, technology is reshaping how the sector operates. Amid this transformation, product information has become more accessible than ever before, providing architects, specifiers, and contractors with the tools they need to make informed decisions.

Construction product manufacturers house a vast array of data on the products they create and offer to the market. This wealth of information includes aspirational imagery, technical product datasheets, illustrations, application photography, BIM models, enhanced data for product directories, installation videos, brand logos, and promotional imagery. This diverse range of resources is vital to the idea generation and product selection processes that specifiers undertake.

The challenge for manufacturers lies in the accurate and timely dissemination of this information. This task can be particularly daunting for those with extensive product lines. As a solution, construction product manufacturers are increasingly adopting Product Information Management (PIM) systems. These systems not only streamline data management but also support government initiatives like “Building a Safer Future,” aiming to maintain a “golden thread” of information.

To successfully cater to the needs of specifiers, it’s crucial to understand where they look for product information and how they access it. Competitive Advantage’s recently published Construction Media Index reports on two key groups of specifiers – Main Contractors and Architects, and their behaviour varies.

Main Contractors primarily turn to online searches and manufacturers’ websites during the idea generation stage. Over 90% of respondents, use these channels as their first choice or regularly. Other forms of direct contact with product manufacturers are also popular, followed by the use of online directories. Architects are also increasingly using social media for product information and ideas, with Pinterest and YouTube seeing significant increases in use since the 2019 survey.

When it comes to further technical information and advice, the product manufacturer’s website is the most popular source. There is little doubt that a construction product manufacturer’s website is an important marketing tool and should be a key focus in any marketing strategy as it offers 24/7 access to product information. When further validation, interpretation, or technical support is required, again, it is manufacturers who are seen as the best placed to provide it through meetings and phone calls.

The starting point of any building is the products that form it, and for the golden thread concept to work, the product information being supplied to specifiers at the outset needs to be accurate. To support this, a new voluntary code was launched in spring 2022, and after a period of administrative delay, the first wave of product manufacturers received certification of their products in September 2023. The Code for Construction Product Information (CCPI) works on the basis that all product information should be clear, accurate, up to date, accessible, and unambiguous. Product manufacturers signing up to the code and having their information processes and products verified will further position themselves as trusted advisors to architects and other specifiers.

Julie Croasdale

Associate, Compeititve Advantage

The Construction Media Index is a set of comprehensive and impartial research reports detailing the communication channels available for engaging with the UK construction sector. The 2023 reports on Architect and Contractor communication channels are now available and provide information on Publication Readership, Online Sources of Information and Influence, Social Media, Sources of Technical Information and Engagement Preferences. They are must-have documents for anyone who wishes to engage with these important decision makers, be it via advertising, social media or CPD. You can get further details or order here