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Is the influence of European architects on product & brand choice declining?

Architects still play a very important role in the building process, there is little doubt about that.

Architects still play a very important role in the building process, there is little doubt about that. They are leading when it comes to how a building is being build. For many years they were the ‘master builders’, the ultimate controllers of the building process. They were at the center of a very complex process.

In recent years, architects appear to have been losing influence to other parties involved in the building process. One of the possible explanations could be the increased technical complexity of construction and new building technologies. Furthermore, increased focus on risk management could lead to an erosion of influence of architects in favor of other parties like the subcontractor, contractor and engineering companies. In some areas, architects want to reduce their liability, however this could also lead to loss of influence.

But how much influence have they lost, if any? How big is their role when it comes to product & brand choice at this moment? In what area’s is their influence the strongest? How will this develop in the future?

These and many more questions are answered in the Q1 2016 report of the European architectural barometer. This research is based on 6,400 successful telephone interviews with architects in 8 European countries annually. Reports are published quarterly. The theme of the Q1 2016 report is Decision making unit & media consumption of architects.

The attached image shows a small part of the DMU results for Belgium (similar information is available for Germany, France, the UK, Poland, Italy, Spain and the Netherlands).

When taking a closer look it’s clear that Belgian architects have the biggest influence and end decision when it comes to façade materials. Insulation is another area where they have relatively high influence. The percentage of influence drops quickly when it comes to other types of products, but the influence never drops below 10%. Even the percentage of architects who make the end decision is, in most cases, above 10%. And although the Belgian architects do recognize that the role of construction firms is increasing, the majority doesn’t think their role in the product & brand selection process is diminishing.

As mentioned previously, the Q1 2016 report of the European architectural barometer also covers media orientation & consumption. We have investigated what media the European architects consume, both traditional and new media. But also what information should be present on the website of the manufacturers, for example. Basically all the information you need to optimize your marketing efforts towards the architects. I will write a separate post on this topic.