How to build connections with the key players in construction projects

Building projects are easy. Said no one. Ever. The process involves endless variables and countless key players. But who are they? And what do you, as a manufacturer, need to deliver to meet their needs? Let’s break it down role-by-role.

This is a break-out piece from our easy, yet comprehensive, e-book on the key players in BIM projects. This article focuses on four of the target personas covered in the report: architects, engineers, interior designers and contractors.

Do manufacturers matter in the digital building process?

OK. You clicked on this post because you wanted greater insights into the key players in building projects, so we'll keep this section brief. But the answer to the question in the subheading is: YES.

See, all players need manufacturers to turn the building project into a reality. They need your products, innovation and data to make their lives easier and projects better. But you also need them. It's in the collaboration between all players where the real magic happens.

But here's the crux: the terms and conditions of reach, engagement and specification are not the same as they were ten, five or even two years ago. Digitisation is commonplace and our (rather laggard) industry is finally catching up and adopting digital innovations to improve the overall building process. One of them is BIM (building information modelling), and the digital building process is booming: contractors, architects and engineers need it. Some governments even crave it.

But in this new BIM world: you need to target professionals in the building process as early as possible and then throughout the entire project. With BIM, you’ll be able to provide valuable interactive 3D visual content and product data, enabling you to not just be a supplier to AECOs (Architects, Engineers, Contractors and Owners/ operators) but to also market to and ultimately partner with them.

So, who are they and what do you need to deliver to meet their demands? Let's get into it.

twisted electric wires. Concept alignment and connection

The architect's role in a building project

Architects are trained to design and plan buildings. They can range from landscape and technical to residential and industrial architects. Architects are often regarded as the creatives in the project. But in stark contrast to the eccentric and eclectic Gaudí*; most architects today aren’t given the same creative freedom as their predecessors. 

See, the design is often the result of the client’s vision, budget and performance requirements. That’s exactly why BIM and data are becoming a central aspect of construction. By using BIM, architects can gain major insights early on and with BIM objects: access all essential information such as physical properties, sustainability data and product lifetime.

*to be fair, data wasn’t a thing during Gaudí’s lifetime.

What architects need from manufacturers

It may come as a happy surprise, but a 2021 study by AIA reports that 90% of architects want manufacturers to get involved in the specification process and 88% consider the collaboration critical to their success.

modern townhouses connected. Concept connecting with architecture

By publishing your products as BIM objects, you will aid the architect to design quicker, run tests and show the client a more detailed 3D overview of the final results. It will strengthen your cause and build a competitive advantage for your brand – imperative to get on the architect’s shortlist. Giuseppe Tortato, owner and architect at Giuseppe Tortato Architetti studio, expands on the subject matter in 7 cases for the business value of BIM:

"The use of BIM objects has allowed us to build new synergies and partnerships with manufacturers."

An architect might start off with generic BIM objects during the early design phase – particularly if working for a public client. But they tend to be swapped out with manufacturer-specific objects that provide greater and more precise data. Tenacity is key here, so make sure that you reach out, engage and communicate regularly.

The interior designer's role in a building project

Interior designers make buildings feel like home. Or work. Or any other interior space, really. But it's not just pure aesthetics, soft cushions or odd modern art; they work with all project stakeholders to complete the internal function of a project. By using BIM, the interior designer can be involved right from the start, helping with visualising space and design adjustments. This means better project coordination.

Interior design featuring a wooden desk and chairs

How to meet the interior designer's needs

When dealing with interior designers; don’t forget that you’re not just a manufacturer, you also need to be a marketer. Generate an interior product programme that details how the product performs, enhances productivity and increases the occupier experience.

Designers are highly visual, so focus on aesthetics and functionality data. Decorative products need embedded colour and material options for information and visualisation purposes. Plus, creating BIM objects in both low and high LOD (level of detail) is critical if you want to please interior designers and their clients.

Connecting with interior designers through BIM is crucial for marketing success. However, your website remains a key touchpoint on the buyer’s journey and the designer will certainly check it out. That’s why we’re making it super easy to integrate your products on bimobject.com into your own or a partner website. It’s a seamless process that keeps your products across platforms in sync. The best part? Interactions and downloads from website visitors are tracked and shared back to you.

The engineer's role in building projects

The engineer provides expertise in design, installation and maintenance. They evaluate the structural, electrical and mechanical condition of a project, as well as carefully inspect the design before implementing it. These tasks would also incorporate reviewing energy-efficiency systems, such as lighting, water and air conditioning.

Image of a ventilation system

Much like architects: engineers need to meet client requirements and analyse the performance of their designs. And as we know: that quickly amounts to a lot of information. With BIM, the engineer gets a single source of data, and an easier way to manage it all. In a recent interview, Matteo Gianninoto, BIM Coordinator at Tecnoprogetti SA explains:

“BIM gives architecture, engineering and construction professionals a holistic digital source of information. This is a great step forward when it comes to mitigating a project’s environmental impact.”

Want to dive deeper into why and how data contributes to sustainable designs? Get the green answers you seek >

Building bridges between manufacturers and engineers

The key for the manufacturer is strong communication and reliable information. Supply all the right product and performance data in a clear and succinct way so that they can quickly insert it into the model or adjust as necessary, even in real-time.

But...

You’re only going to connect if you become visible to them. Outside of the digital world, building brand awareness is tough. It can be hard to understand where to focus your efforts and cash – advertising can often be hit and miss. Within BIMobject we wanted to help manufacturers get their products directly in front of their target audience. So, we included Search Ads to put you in front of engineers searching for objects for their projects.

Cement strong connections with contractors

The boss of the builders. Contactors take the architect’s and engineer’s design and turn the vision into a reality brick by brick. Focus here is on schedule, planning and costs. It’s all about understanding that the building will work and so product availability and cost management are important to keep the project schedule on track.

Construction site with scaffolding and cranes

But that's easier said than done. Poor documentation and lack of coordination can turn a project sour. McKinsey reports that:

  • 98% of megaprojects suffer cost overruns of more than 30%
  • 77% are at least 40% late.

The contractor and construction workers are normally the ones to experience your physical product in person. We all know that poor fits, insufficient product installation documentation and uncoordinated deliveries severely impact the building project’s bottom line. And frankly: your time. So how can BIM create a great experience for all?

The answer lies in the digital building process’ visualisation capabilities and open access to project information. Having all that data at everyone’s fingertips fortifies frustration-free construction logistics, coordinated deliveries and smooth installation. So, manufacturers who create and supply BIM objects help construction professionals keep to schedule and the quantity surveyor up to tabs. But it goes deeper than the single project; happy customers are happy to return.

Maintain solid relationships after the final brick is laid

Design and build are only two of the phases of a building project and there are a few more people involved than covered in this article. For instance: manufacturers can play their part in prolonging the products' and buildings' lifespans.

brick building

Hopefully, you now understand why collaboration with all parties in a building project is hugely important. The ability to exchange insight, knowledge and data is imperative to reducing risk and cost but also to boost service offerings, develop relationships and gain and retain clients. Better builds, better business – for you and your customers.

Want to get closer to the key people involved in building projects? Book a chat to find out how we can help you reach your goals.

Understanding the need for green building design

20 April 2022

What does green design entail? And how does an architect actually work with it? We had a chat with Negar Daneshpour, Lead Architect at Tyréns, to get her perspective on sustainable architecture, climate data and BIM.

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