Decision Makers in the Building and Construction Industry

To maximise your sales success, it’s essential to know who the key decision makers are in the building and construction industry. Without this knowledge, it can be difficult to know who you should be targeting and at which stage in the construction process in order to get your product specified and used.

To help you get an idea of who’s who, we’ve created a profile for each of the key decision makers in the building and construction industry. So, let’s get to know your audience.

The key decision makers in the building and construction industry

Developer/owner

Role

The role of the owner or developer will primarily depend on whether they are building to occupy or building to sell. If building to occupy or hold as an investment, the owner or developer is likely to be a lot more involved, with more interest in how the chosen product performs once it’s in the building.

If building to sell, the owner or developer may have less interest in what goes into the building, so they will usually go for more generic products.

Ultimately, their aim is to complete the project with maximum profitability, which translates to the most cost-effective, fit-for-purpose build. Even though other roles are often more prominent in the building or product-selection process, the owners are ultimately the client that have the final say in the decision-making process.

Stages of involvement

Developers or owners participate in the construction process from conception until completion.

When to contact

Generally, not many product suppliers will make contact with developers or owners at all. The exceptions are manufacturers of products that will help the developer reach their goal of maximum profitability. If your product falls into this category, aim to contact them very early on; ideally at the concept stage.

When to contact is also influenced by whether your product goes on the inside or the outside of the building. Contact during the concept stage is a must for exterior products, whereas communications regarding interior products can sometimes be made during the design stage.

What they like

What the owner or developer likes depends on whether they are building to occupy or to sell. If occupying, they are likely to take an interest in products of higher quality and lower lifetime costs. If selling, they are more likely to be concerned with purchasing cost and availability.

What they dislike

Salespeople making unnecessary contact instead of reaching out to the appropriate decision maker.

 

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Architect

Role

Architects liaise with the developer or owner through initial conceptualisation and work towards bringing that concept to fruition. They focus on the key architectural features and central structures of the project. Some architects exclusively work on the exterior or interior, and some do both. Architects also determine the specifications for design and performance, and select the products that satisfy the project requirements.

Interior designers and landscape architects generally work with or under the architect. Interior design may be included in the head architect’s role, but when working on a project for hotel operators or major office tenants, the client will often have their own preferred interior agency.

Stages of involvement

Architects enter the construction process during the concept or design stage and usually exit when construction is complete. However, architects can be involved with a project only during the concept and design stage and then hand over to the builder.

When to contact

For architectural features that need to be on the development application, try to get in contact during the concept stage. For products that are not required to be on the development application, the design stage is generally regarded as the ‘sweet spot’.

What they like

Architects are usually open to hearing about products that are new, innovative or creative, or products that are the perfect fit for function. They like products that work well, with a proven track record, and products that meet the building codes of the project’s location.

What they dislike

Salespeople that push their product too hard or are inconsistent; for example, not showing up for meeting, lacking in-depth product knowledge or failing to follow up after meetings.

Engineers

Role

Engineers perform the detailed plans and specifications on commercial construction, such as the electrical or mechanical works. They assess the risk and performance requirements of the projects, and ensure that the designs meet industry building standards.

Engineers may work for the developer directly or under the architect. Engineers often collaborate with architects to meet the design requirements of the architects, as well as the local building standards.

Stages of involvement

Engineers enter the construction process at the concept stage and exit once the project has been completed.

When to contact

Generally, it’s best to contact engineers during the early design stages.

What they like

The perfect fit. Engineers are highly technical people who look for the optimum solution for every project requirement.

What they dislike

Conversations that waste their time. Like architects, engineers also dislike salespeople who push their product, particularly if the product is clearly not a good fit for the project.

Builders

Role

Builders create and implement the building schedule; coordinating the costs and designs throughout construction. They also hire and manage subcontractors, and keep developers up to date.

Builders work for developers/owners, not for architects.

Stages of involvement

Builders enter the construction process at the tender stage and exit at the construction stage, unless it is a design-and-construct project, in which case the builders will be managing the project in its entirety from the design stage.

When to contact

If you are tendering to the tendering builders, you should get in touch with estimators at the tender stage. If you are only intending to price the winning builder, you should be engaging with the project manager or contracts administrator post tender. For design-and-construct projects, you will be dealing with the project manager from the concept stage onwards.

What they like

Products that are the best fit for purpose with a reasonable price tag; usually not the cheapest, and not the most expensive. Builders also highly value products that fit into the building schedule, and are guaranteed to be delivered on time.

Quick installation is also an attractive product feature as this will help with their building schedule. Like architects, builders are also very selective to choose only products that meet the country’s building codes.

What they dislike

Being contacted at irrelevant stages by salespeople who have not done sufficient research into the project. Builders also strongly dislike when salespeople overpromise as they are ultimately responsible for the build cost and consequently cover overruns.

Subcontractors

Role

Subcontractors price and execute specific trade packages (plans and specifications) as provided by the builder.

Stages of involvement

Subcontractors enter the construction process when the project goes out to subcontracting tender and exit when their portion of the project is complete.

When to contact

If possible, when the subcontractors are tendering to the builder. If not, aim for when the subcontractor has won the project.

What they like

Products that provide methods that make them more competitive for tenders, such as price, delivery, ease of handling/installation, or quality. If you can offer them a better product for the same price, you’ll definitely grab their attention!

What they dislike

Salespeople wasting their time with irrelevancies, such as products that are not suitable for the project. Similar to builders, subcontractors dislike untimely contact, particularly if the project has already started installation.