The sheer amount and variety of materials available when it comes to commercial builds pose a challenge to architects and designers.
This is especially true now that there is so much product information online.
“An architecture project will have its own individual character, and the materials the architect specifies very much contributes to this character,” explains Nichola Robinson, business development expert specialising in the commercial build sector.
“Material choices have a huge importance in ensuring a completed project is a full realisation of the architect’s vision, and, crucially, they are integral to the finished structure’s appeal and marketability.”
What must architects consider when specifying these materials?
Why Do Material Properties Matter?
“Architects make distinctions between the physical aspects of the materials they specify and the sensorial aspects. The physical aspects are to do with the material’s performance and durability. The sensorial aspects are more about what the material evokes through aspects such as texture, colour and surface appearance.”
The physical properties focus on the building’s performance, and meeting certain technical and functional requirements. This will also include the sustainability of materials.
The sensorial properties, on the other hand, are important for the architect’s intended expression and appearance for the finished building.
While many architecture firms have in-house catalogues of materials, they are also storing more of their data digitally.
However, when it comes to the physical and sensorial properties of materials, there is no substitute for seeing them close up, in the flesh.
“The pressure on shelf space may mean many architectural practices do not have the range of physical samples they could really benefit from”
There is a huge amount of product choice, but limited capacity to store it, which means that architects are more likely to stick with what they know works for them.
“That’s good news if you already supply to architects, but bad news if you have a new product to bring to their attention.”
The Key Role of CPD Presentations
CPD presentations are a key communications channel for architects. Design professionals are looking at ways they can improve what they do, for their practice, and for the built environment to evolve.
“They are looking for accurate information, not the hard sell. But they are also looking for things to inspire them.
“Continuous professional development is hardwired into the architecture and design community and it’s something that manufacturers and suppliers of specialist commercial build materials can use to raise awareness of their products”
Helping architects, designers and engineers grow a portfolio of knowledge benefits them, the suppliers and manufacturers, and, ultimately the buildings they help bring to life.
“At the same time, it is vital that these suppliers find the right platforms to showcase the physical reality of their products, to improve access to them, and to forge strong, useful business relationships with architects, designers and others in the commercial build sector,” Nichola concludes.
For an accompanying read, please visit:
- Could Landscape Architecture Improve Building Concepts?
- Can Quality Materials Help to Market Building Projects?
Nichola Robinson hosted The Commercial Build Show in Manchester, in association with Modu Exhibitions and Property Aspects Magazine.