manufacturer resources

What the 2023 AIA “Journey to Specification” Report Means for Manufacturers

Acelab Team

The Architect's Journey to Specification is a research study conducted by the American Institute of Architects (AIA) in collaboration with industry partners. The AIA's follow-up report aims to shed light on the evolving relationships between architects and building product manufacturers. The data focuses on how architects gather information about materials, interact with manufacturers, and specify products.

We wanted to give manufacturers a short guide to the essential takeaways of the report, because understanding architects' needs, preferences, and decision-making processes is essential for getting your products specified and growing your business.

Let’s explore the biggest insights from the report.

1. Architects’ Role in Product Specification Remains Strong

One of the biggest and most important stats in the report is that over 80% of architects are responsible for finding new products and materials for their projects. They are the most influential individuals in product selection, especially at small firms.

These responses highlight the crucial role architects play in determining which products are specified for a project. Manufacturers who understand and cater to the needs and preferences of architects, particularly those at small firms, can significantly increase their chances of having their products selected and specified in projects.

However, current satisfaction levels with product manufacturers across all attributes are only neutral or slightly satisfied.

When architects were asked if they were satisfied with how well manufacturers keep product information up to date, only 66% said they were satisfied with performance in this area. Similarly, only 65% reported they were happy with the usability of manufacturers’ websites.

These findings present an enormous opportunity for product manufacturers. You can increase your chances of being specified and becoming the basis of design if you support architects in their product research and selection process (and provide the up-to-date information they’re looking for, when they’re looking for it).

2. Manufacturers Can Do a Better Job of Meeting Architects’ Top Needs

According to the report, architects' top priorities when working with manufacturers are responsive, knowledgeable representatives and easy-to-navigate websites.

Respondents were asked to score each attribute (by importance) when working with building product manufacturers.

According to report data, the digital experience for manufacturers is important to all age groups, but it’s particularly significant for younger architects.

Over half of the architects surveyed rely on technical descriptions, product specs, design guides, CAD/BIM files, and pricing information to make informed product selections.

To better serve architects, manufacturers should invest in improving their online resources and training their representatives. This includes:

  • Creating user-friendly websites with comprehensive product information.

  • Offering resources like BIM files, and design guides, and making them easy to access.

  • Ensuring reps are well-versed in their products and can provide helpful guidance.

Manufacturers will need to create a seamless digital experience and offer value-added support, so they can build trusted relationships with architects.

3. Lunch & Learns and Continuing Education Opportunities Are Valuable for Architects

Architects heavily rely on continuing education (webinars) and lunch & learns to stay current on product and materials trends.

Lunch & learns provide an opportunity for manufacturers to showcase their products, build relationships with architects, and generate leads. When offering continuing education opportunities for architects, focus on delivering useful and engaging presentations so you can position your company as a trusted resource.

At Acelab, we make continuing education experiences even more valuable for architects and manufacturers. Through Acelab’s targeted workshops, we connect manufacturers directly with architects who are seeking solutions for their current projects and invite them to workshops that are specific to their needs. This targeted approach can lead to more effective lead generation and a higher likelihood of specification for your company.

Actionable Insights from the AIA's 2023 Report

The 2023 AIA "Architect's Journey to Specification" report provides valuable insights into the evolving relationships between architects and building product manufacturers. Key takeaways include the strong influence of architects in product specification, the importance of meeting architects' top needs through responsive reps and user-friendly websites, and the effectiveness of lunch & learns and continuing education presentations for generating leads.

As the architecture industry continues to evolve, it is crucial for manufacturers to understand and adapt to architects' changing needs and preferences — and to understand their biggest pain points when they’re trying to research products for projects.

By prioritizing relationships, providing valuable educational resources, and offering targeted support, manufacturers can strengthen their connections with architects and better support them throughout the specification process.

Manufacturers should leverage the findings from this report to refine their strategies and better align with architects' needs. This may involve investing in digital resources, training representatives, and exploring innovative lead generation opportunities like targeted workshops.

Connect with Architects with Acelab

Looking for help connecting with architects? By partnering with Acelab, you can:

  • Showcase your products in a user-friendly digital library

  • Collaborate with architects using integrated design tools

  • Provide personalized support through chat functionality

  • Connect directly with specifying architects during targeted workshops

  • Gain valuable insights into emerging trends and specification techniques

Schedule a free demo of Acelab today and experience the power of early-stage collaboration firsthand.