European architects clearly state what they find important. First of all it concerns the manufacturers themselves: trustworthy, knowledgeable and professional. After these characteristics of a manufacturer comes the services they can offer: clear website, technical advisors assisting on projects and hotline for technical questions. There are only minor country specific differences or difference between the type of manufacturer (aesthetical, functional or technical). These are some of the conclusions of the Q4 2014 European Architectural Barometer report, a quarterly research among 1,600 architects in eight European countries.
In the old days it was important to deliver a product with good or even high quality. Nowadays that is still important, but it is not a unique selling proposition anymore. Other aspects have become more important in order to make a difference. Therefore Arch-Vision asked the architects to rate a number of services and company characteristics on their importance. The results show that the company characteristics are most important, 4 out of the top 5 aspects can be traced back to the company characteristics: trustworthy, knowledgeable, professional and long-term guarantees.
The aforementioned company characteristics are mainly based on experience and can be seen as the brand image of a company. A brand image cannot be changed within a few months and takes years to build or change. Services on the other hand can be implemented and improved on a shorter term. Most important services a manufacturer needs to deliver are a clear website, technical advisors assisting on projects and a hotline for technical questions. These are quite ‘traditional’ services, although new services are already being offered, such as tools (calculation, energy performance, engineering, designing) on a website, webinars, apps for smartphones and BIM data, there are not the most important yet.
When looking at country specific requirements in relation with possible offered services, it turns out that:
- A product documentation map is still important in France, but not in the Netherlands and Belgium
- The availability of BIM data is most important in the Netherlands of all countries
- The design service is most wished for by architects in the UK
- German architects prefer invitations to social events the most
- There are hardly any differences when looking at manufacturers providing aesthetical, functional or technical products.
The list of services consisted out of 22 possible services split by availability of training and tools, availability of information and providing assistance and the company characteristics consisted out of 12 aspects.
These and many other results and trends of the developments of the European construction market can be found in the European Architectural Barometer, an international market research conducted among 1,600 architects in Europe. This study is conducted in Germany, France, Italy, Spain, United Kingdom, the Netherlands, Belgium and Poland by Arch-Vision four times a year. Besides indicators to forecast the European building volumes, a specific topic is highlighted each quarter. The topic in Q4 2014 was “Cooperation with building product manufacturers”. The topic for Q1 2015 is “Love Brands”, an essential topic to investigate since we’ve seen that the brand is very important.