When To Approach Architects? A Guide For Manufacturers

As a product manufacturer, when is a good time to approach an architect about using your product?

Marketers want to get products considered as early as possible in a construction project, but this is often left until after the planning application has been submitted. After the registration of a planning application, a project becomes public for the first time. At this moment, with confirmation that the practice in question has work and will soon be entering a specification process, architects get inundated with calls, letters and emails from product manufacturers and suppliers all vying to be considered for the project.

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These manufacturers and suppliers will also aim to gather as much information as possible on the upcoming project. They may try to ascertain when the application is expected to be confirmed so they can call back with further information. At this point they may send out some literature, follow up with some emails and try their best to arrange a meeting with the name on the application. They will want to know when the project is going to tender, who is being considered for the tender list and any set dates for submission.

But perhaps planning is the not the best time to get involved in a project. Perhaps planning is too late and there is a need to be considered before this stage. This is because many materials need to selected, at least in principal, before the planning application is made. In fact, the choice of materials may be an essential part of not only the design brief, but also whether or not the planning application is ultimately approved. The choice of construction method may also dictate some of these choices

As the demands on the thermal performance of a building fabric increases, so does the need to specify suitable products at an early stage of design. Changes made later on can be extremely costly, both in terms of cost and time-scales, and can even impact on the actual design of the building, in terms of size and layout.

Many local planning authorities now set standards such as the Code for Sustainable Homes or BREEAM which must be met in order for planning consent to be granted; so the materials and products to be specified must make up part of the planning application process.

So, when is the best time to talk to an architect about your products? The answer is that it is impossible to give a specific time that is best. In fact, you really need to be talking to architects all the time, providing information and support, not just when you realise they have a planning application in the pipeline.

Aaron Tomkins is a manufacturer who works alongside architects as he provides them with free 3D models. He knows the importance of timing when it comes to promoting a tool such as the CADcube to architects.

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