Last year, I surveyed architects and designers to identify the changes they are undergoing and what methods of information delivery best suited their current process of specifying products for their projects. One of the items that piqued my interest was that 80 percent of architects start their search for product information on the web.
The need for printed resources such as the “3-ring architect binder” has changed significantly from what it once was; hard-copy binders used to be the primary source for architects seeking product information, installation instructions, technical data, code approvals, and occasionally a bit of inspiration. More recently, changes in technology combined with the more rapid pace with which products are developed and brought to market have made the internet a natural place to house these types of information.
With the shrinking market in the build community, there is also the reality that many architects have abandoned larger offices for small spaces or home offices. Some may also have limited access to junior architects or interns to research products and need tools that save them time and resources. Design professionals in these situations do not have room for large, binder driven libraries.
As a response to these changes, the siding section of the CertainTeed website now has a digital architect binder with product information and specification documents for siding, house wrap, fence, rail, deck and trim products laid out just as they would be found in the traditional 3-ring binder. The information is easy to find, always current, available 24/7, and does not take up valuable office workspace.
Now that is what I call working smarter.