Contributed by Michael Chambers
As an architectural marketer, educator, and trainer, I have tried to identify and present the most effective ways of reaching architects, establishing relationships, getting products listed in specifications, developing great educational programs, improving presentation skills, minimizing substitutions, networking, and a host of other strategies and tactics to effectively market architectural design professionals.
Marketing not Sales
I have long pounded home the notion that you don’t sell design professionals; you market them. The critical strategy is how to overcome the “peddler” image of the product rep and become a key resource and industry expert. Time and time again, I have made the point that architects don’t buy products; they specify them. I have offered the notion that marketing is really education; so, don’t sell, educate.
While marketing is a key aspect of the effective construction product representative, it still is not the whole package. Issues on specifying and specifications are integral to success. Developing and presenting outstanding continuing education programs are incredibly effective in opening doors into design professional offices are crucial. Learning to be marketer-educator instead of a salesperson is the hallmark of a successful construction product representative.
What is Missing?
What then is the missing element in highly effective construction product representative? I have found myself coming full circle in the process and am convinced that in the end, the bottom line is selling. Not selling products, no, never that, but selling solutions. Design professionals operate on the basis of identifying problems and developing solutions for those problems.
Products Rarely Solve Problems
Products are merely elements in a solution, and it is critical to being effective with design professionals to make this key differentiation.
Solutions solve problems; products are a part of a solution, but not the solution itself.
Don’t misunderstand, products are critical to good solutions but are rarely the sum total of an actual solution to a problem. Solutions are made up of a series of issues, elements, constraints, and opportunities that can be simple or complex and require a range of responses to solve. A product is merely on element of a solution.
Contributed by Truwin Windows, Doors, & Siding
Insulation is a vital aspect of any home. It maintains the indoor heat during winter, while allowing less cool air to escape during the summer. Heat energy leaving your house or finding its way through raises utility costs and causes discomfort all year round.
Ranging from cellulose, fiberglass to plastic spray foam, insulation ensures that your furnace or air conditioner sustains the right indoor temperature.
As with any other energy efficiency topic, insulation is likewise clouded with myths and misconceptions. Listed below are the most common myths.
Attic and Internal Wall Condensation Result from the Absence of Ventilation
This is not entirely accurate. The right ventilation in a building may allow condensed water to escape the walls or the attics, but the lack of it is not entirely to blame for condensation. The major cause is air leakage during periods of the year where the air outside the building happens to be colder than the indoor air.
The capacity of air to hold moisture together is proportional to the temperature. It means that when the air is too warm, a higher amount of moisture is held. Should warm indoor air find its way into the cavities of the wall or the attic spaces, it cools slowly and penetrates deeper into the building.
Because the air is warm and moist, it leaks into the cavity of the wall and may encounter a sharp temperature gradient. With time, the air ends up losing its ability to hold the moisture leading to condensation and leaking. Condensation at this point occurs in the form of tiny droplets.
The state where temperatures experience a drop leading to condensation is known as the dew point. Any amount of water in the wall cavities can lead to the development of mold. Ventilation in a building is vital, not only to deal with moisture, but also to prevent air leakage and condensation.
R Values Reflect Real World Energy Performance Accurately
R-value remains the most crucial metric in the evaluation of the thermal protection given by insulation. It is the only acceptable standard for measuring the effectiveness of insulation to retard heat transfer in Canada and the US. In fully metric countries, the other similar system used is RSI.
Building inspectors, professional builders, and homeowners all depend on R values, given that there is no other number that can be used to measure the performance of insulation. The problem is this metric often changes depending on what is being measured.
As determined in the labs, there is often a major difference between R values and the real-world energy performance delivered by different insulations. The lab analysis of R values presents significant issues considering that air movement is eliminated from the results.
Any professional builder knows that air movement lowers the performance of insulation, and air currents and drafts occur within the attics and wall cavities. Any insulation product that hinders the flow of air within it gives higher insulation values than those that do allow.
“People are very open-minded about new things, as long as they're exactly like the old ones.” —Charles F. Kettering
There are fewer industries that exemplify that statement than construction. Slower that most to implement technologies and trends, AEC continues to lag behind in keeping up with the times and acknowledging industry and world issues.
We'll be hearing plenty of 2020 vision lines over these next twelve months as we look into this new year and beyond. The economy is strong, construction is booming and "The Times They Are A-Changin'", as Bob Dylan says.
A quick reminder that if you want to do your part in implementing a bit of change and future vision into the construction industry, the time is ripe to submit your thoughts as the initial round for the Call for Sessions for CONSTRUCT 2020 is closing tomorrow evening, January 8.
Being held September 30 – October 2, 2020 at the Gaylord Texan Resort & Convention Center in Grapevine, TX,
CONSTRUCT offers "a platform for exploring and refining innovative solutions to solve complex problems facing the AEC industry today. During the three-day educational program and two-day expo, industry leaders converge with a common goal of educating and inspiring for the betterment of the industry."
The same old sessions need not apply. Industry leaders at CONSTRUCT are looking for solutions to real-world problems, in diverse areas such as:
Your complete presentation does not need to be submitted now. Put your summary and learning objectives together and act fast as the call for education session proposals closes at 11:59 pm PT on January 8, 2020.
Be a part of CONSTRUCT 2020 and be a part of the solutions that the construction industry needs, learn how to submit your proposal and share your knowledge today!
Disclaimer: As the author of this piece, I should let it be known that I have had the honor to be on the CONSTRUCT Education Advisory Council since 2017. The Council assists CONSTRUCT show management in developing the Education Program by reviewing and grading the call for presentations submitted for consideration, providing input and suggestions for improving current and future educational activities, including recommending new and diverse educational presenters, topics, and formats.
Whether an emerging professional, new to your company or new to your position, personal advancement through a professional certification is a tremendous asset in more ways than one.
In the construction industry, the certifications through the Construction Specifications Institute (CSI) carry weight with many of the major players of a project – the owner, the architect, the general contractor, product representative or construction manager.
CSI’s Certifications include the Construction Documents Technologist (CDT), Certified Construction Contract Administrator (CCCA), Certified Construction Specifier (CCS) and Certified Construction Product Representative (CCPR).
If you are new to the construction industry or a 50-year veteran, the CDT can and will help you with an overall building project - it is truly the ultimate guide to project delivery. If you find yourself lost in a 1500 page, 49 division project manual, the CDT can help you understand where to find what you are looking for and just how that project unfolds right through to commissioning.
I can tell you first hand how much attaining the CDT has assisted me in my job. Before I attained my CDT, I focused almost solely on Division 9 of architectural specifications, where you can find the sport flooring that I represent. Week after week of studying and learning from the (then) PRM (Project Resource Manual), my eyes were opened to just how much broader of a scope a project is. From project conception right through to commissioning, I was able to more thoroughly understand all of the facets and parties involved.
You are never alone when you work with CSI, either. Whether a member or a CDT test taker, fellow CSI members like myself are always there to help. Through blogs, Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn, or the tried and true phone call, we’re always glad to offer assistance.
CSI Bloggers include David Stutzman, CSI, CCS from Conspectus. “What was my first project after graduating college with an architectural degree? A prominent design? No, measuring and documenting 65 existing buildings at Letterkenny Army Depot; calculating energy savings; estimating construction costs; and finally writing the project specifications using the Corps of Engineers master specs.” Read David’s blog: www.conspectusinc.com/blog/author/david-stutzman
Liz O’Sullivan, CSI, CCS, CCCA: “There’s SO MUCH to learn – all of us in the construction industry are constantly learning (or should be). Much of this knowledge can ONLY be gained through experience, but not all of it has to be.A really good way to learn about how your documents may be interpreted by the users is to prepare for a CSI certification exam, starting with the CDT (Construction Documents Technologist) exam.” Read Liz’s blog: www.lizosullivanaia.com/
Marvin Kemp, AIA, FCSI, CSI says "What if we used the great manufacturer's reps each chapter has to mentor the next generation of manufacturer's reps? How great could our industry be if each and every rep that entered an architect's or engineer's office or stepped onto a job site held the CCPR certification or at least CDT? How great would CSI be with that sort of involvement?" Read Marvin's blog: www.accidentaleader.blogspot.com/
CSI only offers CDT certifications during a spring and a fall testing window each year and the spring window is approaching. 2020 CDT Exam early registration is February 19 to March 18 and the late registration is April 1 to Apr 30. The exam testing window is May 4 – June 5, 2020.
To read more about CDT Certification, please visit wwwcsiresources.org/certification/cdt
2020 CSI CDT Certification Study Groups and Courses
Editor's Note: Let's Fix Construction is not endorsing any particular CSI Chapter, group or company that is providing these study groups. This list is meant to be informative only. If your Chapter is offering a CDT Study Group for 2020, please email us at firstname.lastname@example.org with the details to be added. )
Central Pennsylvania Chapter CSI will be hosting an 8-session in-person course on Thursday evenings running from January 23 to March 12th from 6-8:30pm at Gannett Fleming, Inc., West Building, Room W260, 209 Senate Ave., Camp Hill, PA. More information is available at cpc-csi.com/certification
CSI Baltimore will be running 11 weekly sessions for CDT starting on January 7th from 6:00 p.m. to 8:00 p.m. Download the syllabus and registration information here. Depending upon interest, we will also offer the CCS and CCCA sessions (4 weekly sessions each) in April instead of as listed in the syllabus.
CSI Vermont will be hosting an eight week CDT Study Session starting Tuesday, February 4th and will meet each Tuesday March 24th from 5:30 to 7:30 at TruexCullins Architecture + Interior Design, 209 Battery Street, Burlington, VT 05401. Please visit http://ow.ly/5kmE30q4w07 for more information or contact lead instructor Cam Featherstonhaugh at 802.658.2775 or via email@example.com should you have additional questions.
Greater Lehigh Valley CSI is hosting 2020 CDT Study Sessions with instructors Mitch Miller and Clint Newton at ATAS International, 6612 Snowdrift Road, Allentown, PA. Earn up to 12 AIA/CES LUs and register no later than January 31. FREE to CSI Members. Non-members $50. All classes will be held on a Thursday, from 6:00 to 8:30 PM on the 1/16, 1/30, 2/13, 2/27, 3/12 and 3/26 Details & Registration: ow.ly/E1En30q4w2M Download a flyer on this study group here.
Columbus State Community College offers a one day CDT Boot Camp in conjunction with the CSI Columbus Chapter twice a year - April and October, including a review of the CDT with sample questions and strategies to improve your success on the CDT. Join them this year on April 18, 2020. Download a flyer with schedule here. They also offer the same one day program embedded in the CSCC CMGT 1105 Documents course, along with a CDT Exam attempt. The course is offered every term through Columbus State face to face, and most terms online. Contact Dean Bortz firstname.lastname@example.org or 614-287-5033
CSI Chicago is hosting an in-person class starting January 6 and running through March 23, 2020, 5:30pm - 8:00pm at HACIA 650 W. Lake Street, Suite 415 in Chicago. More information and register at http://csiresources.org/chicagochapter/certification/cdt/study-class and act fast as there are only a few seats left.
Metro Detroit CSI is hosting study classes for the Spring 2020 CDT Exam beginning January 23, 2020. Classes will be held on Thursday evenings at 6pm in Walled Lake, MI. There is no charge for these classes. They are made available courtesy of Metro Detroit CSI and Hansen Marketing Services, Inc. Please visit www.detroitcsi.org/certifications.html for additional information and to register.
CSI Portland is offering live AND ONLINE classes beginning February 5th at Walsh Construction at 2905 SW 1st Ave in Portland. All classes will be held from 6pm - 8pm on Wednesdays February – 5, 12, 19, 26, March - 4, 11, 18, 25, 31 (Tuesday) and April - 8. Details and registration fees can be reviewed here.
LACSI is offering preparation classes for all four levels of certification. AIA CEU/LU credits will be offered. Classes to be held at DLR Group, 700 Flower St., 22nd Floor, Los Angeles, CA 90017 and held Saturdays, February 1st– March 14th, 2019 9:00 am – 12:00 Noon (CDT Training Sessions), Saturday, March 7th, 2019 9:00 am – 12:00 Noon (Mock Exam) and Saturday, March 14th, 2019 9:00 am – 12:00 Noon (Review of AIA document, A201). More info at https://www.lacsi.org/events/lacsi-certification-preparation-classes-winter-spring-2020/
CSI Portland - Please review above and visit here.
It is difficult to go a day without hearing of the skilled trade shortage that we are suffering within the construction industry. The issue is by no means new, but has been brought to the forefront by voices like Mike Rowe of "Dirty Jobs" and John Ratzenberger.
These independent voices coupled with prominent companies stepping forward to combat these problems, such as Home Depot and Lowes, gives me hope that we've recognized the need for course correction and we're acting on it.
An industry that is near and dear to me - floorcovering - stepped forward last week to announce their part in addressing the skilled trades shortage with their "We are Part of the Solution" initiative. Kudos to the World Floor Covering Association (WFCA) for fighting this fight. We're only in the early rounds of this 12 round battle if you ask me, but we need more industry associations to drop personal (and political) interests and instead draw industries, businesses and groups together to tackle these matters. We're not going to resolve this overnight, but we will get to the later rounds of the fight, as we all need to be a part of the solution.
Please read on for the official WFCA announcement...
World Floor Covering Association Spearheads Industry-Wide United Front to Address the Labor Shortage Through its “We are Part of the Solution” Initiative
December 12, 2019 – Chattanooga, Tn. At a press conference earlier today, the World Floor Covering Association (WFCA) announced the first ever industry-wide initiative, “We are Part of the Solution,” to impact the most pressing matter facing our industry - the installation crisis. The World Floor Covering Association has committed an initial seed-funding donation of $1.0M and challenges industry leaders to join with the WFCA in solving the labor shortage. This breakthrough collaborative effort will include two distinct initiatives that will serve to broaden industry support and participation. As an initial step, the WFCA has spearheaded the formation
of the Floor Covering Education Foundation (FCEF), an organization dedicated to recruiting and training individuals in preparation for a career in the flooring industry. In another unprecedented move, to be truly inclusive of all industry partners, the WFCA has made its membership FREE to all independent floorcovering dealers.
FCEF exists to lead a collaborative network of industry and educational partners aligned to support student development, training, certification, and transition into the flooring industry workforce, but its initial focus will be on solving the installation crisis at the root level of the problem – student recruitment and education. According to the FCLC (Floor Covering Leadership Council) study, the industry will need to recruit and educate roughly 6 thousand new installers annually for the next 10 years to replace attrition in the workforce, or the crisis will deepen.
Let's Fix Construction is an avenue to offer creative solutions, separate myths from facts and erase misconceptions about the architecture, engineering and construction (AEC) industry.
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