Never have I encountered a group of people as eager to learn about new products as architects. When this publication sends out surveys asking about your product preferences, you eagerly respond. When we ask what you want to know about, product topics far outweigh management and human resources issues.
For the past 2 years, ARCHI-TECH has hosted an event called Archi-TechXchange, in which we pair 15 to 20 high-level architects with manufacturers in one-on-one, customized meetings. Before the event, a colleague and I interview each architect, asking detailed questions about their product specification processes and challenges.
Those interviews teach us a lot of things. One is that architects are actively involved in choosing products and services. This may seem obvious to you architect readers, but there are manufacturers out there who bypass the architect and market to the building owner or contractor. Don’t worry: We have you covered. Regardless of how products are marketed, we try each and every issue to show you how technology products are integrated into cutting-edge facilities.
Another thing we learn is that architects have many ways of acquiring information about products: trade shows, lunch and learns, articles, advertisements, conferences, websites, e-mail, in-house training, vendor relationships, product literature. Some firms talk to people who are using a product they’re considering. Some visit facilities they’ve done in the past and learn how the products have performed before specifying them again.
Still, the product specification process poses problems. Some architects want to stick with products they’ve used for years and know that work. Others want to innovate and try new things. Many are stuck in the middle, wanting to experiment and be cutting edge while knowing that the products they’ve specified will function as planned and not cause problems for other building systems.
To help you along, we’ve included our first technology guide in this issue. It’s categorized into these MasterFormat™ 04 categories: Audio-Visual Equipment and Communications (MF 11 52 00 and 27 00 00); Electrical (MF 26 00 00); Electronic Safety and Security (MF 28 00 00); Fire Suppression (MF 21 00 00); HVAC (MF 23 00 00); Integrated Automation (MF 25 00 00); and Plumbing (MF 22 00 00). We’ve also alphabetized company contact information in another section for your convenience.
The guide will not solve all your product specification questions, but we hope it’ll be a good reference. Look for more listings on www.architechmag.com right now and in the months to come.