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  • Implementing a construction research project
    whether you conduct a survey to get more conclusive information This element can be integrated into your project at the beginning or indeed the end of a project and findings can be included in the overall report to provide further context and depth to research findings Your research partner will be able to provide guidance on how to use desk research to enhance your project When establishing your research project it is important to discuss the elements that define how the project will be executed 5 Demographic target When establishing your research project it is important to give clear guidance on the demographic target This is the group you are seeking to survey This target can be defined by customer category job role market sector project type etc This group defined by the same demographic characteristics can also be known as a cohort This classification information should reflect your overall target Within this target you can then segment into subsets by common attributes such as company category geographic location etc if your research objectives require Once you have clearly defined your demographic target it is important to agree the sample size 6 Sample size In market research the purpose of selecting a sample rather than the whole of your target audience or target population is to make the process more manageable and to reduce cost When determining a sample size it is important it represents the whole of your target population Within the sample you may want to include several demographic subsets or quotas Careful consideration should be given to the selection criteria so that you create a representative sample The size of the sample also needs to be sufficiently large to avoid any bias in the results Your chosen research partner will have expertise in this area and be able to provide guidance For further information see our sample size document 7 Methodology This is the method used to collect responses for example via an online survey telephone interviews face to face interviews desk research either singly or in combination It is important that the procedure used can be replicated and the stages should be recorded accurately so when repeated it yields comparable results The methods used could represent either an exploratory or conclusive research approach or indeed a combination of these Your research partner will be able to bring their experience to planning the methodology recommending the right method to get the best information to inform your decision making 8 Questionnaire Once you have mapped out your research requirements in terms of research approach demographic target sample size and methodology the next step is to craft your questions The methodology you have chosen will consequently shape the questionnaire style Your research partner will have the expertise to ensure the correct techniques are used that open and closed questions are used in the correct manner and that you are not tempting bias in your responses Questionnaires should be carefully worded so that the necessary information is collected to fulfil

    Original URL path: http://www.cadvantage.co.uk/the-12-elements-of-research-every-construction-marketer-should-know/ (2016-02-12)
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  • Understanding Forecasts – an interview with Noble Francis | Competitive Advantage
    I believe you have a forecasting panel to help you decide future trends Who is on that For the private construction sectors we have economic models that help in forecasting but that isn t possible for public construction sectors which are determined more by government and local authority spending plans which can often change Our forecasting panel is made up of Director level and above from people across the industry Some of these people are our members product manufacturers and distributors as well as major contractors and cost consultants Heavy products like steel and concrete are used at the start of construction so provide a good near term indicator Contractors work across lots of different sectors so are a good guide on how the industry is developing Cost consultants provide an indication of how workloads are changing and how much of this is price inflation and how much volume They also provide a good guide for the commercial sector offices retail etc the largest construction sector Q What information do you use to decide how the market is going to change We use new orders data project pipeline data for medium size projects constantly monitor news on large projects have historic data and forecasts of key macroeconomic drivers of sectors for instance in the private housing repairs maintenance and improvements sector we look at real household income savings housing equity property transactions etc and also monitor government policies and the impacts of them such as Help to Buy Q You quoted all of your figures at 2005 prices until the last forecast when you changed to 2010 prices Why do you use a fixed year and what makes you move the year The point of using forecasts fixed in a base year is to measure volume rather than value What we essentially want to be able to tell people is how much sales of construction products and workloads on site will rise rather than what is happening due to prices Having a fixed year is important as it enables us to measure volume Yet we do not want this base year to be irrelevant in terms of today s prices In addition we also do not want to change the base too frequently otherwise we cannot build history This is why we look to change the fixed year every five years so the information reported stays relevant in today s terms Q Finally why are some forecasts more optimistic than others The short answer is differing assumptions The long answer is that when forecasting it is not an exact science This is especially the case in any construction sector with a strong influence from government and more so in the longer term For instance Help to Buy is currently boosting the housing market and house building but what will happen when it finishes Technically the scheme finishes in 2016 but at the rate it is going the finance may run out in 2015 Will that be it or will government

    Original URL path: http://www.cadvantage.co.uk/understanding-forecasts-an-interview-with-nobel-francis/ (2016-02-12)
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  • Managing your Specification Strategy – what do architects want? | Competitive Advantage
    of creating awareness and interest A more proactive approach is to deliver CPD seminars to introduce your company and demonstrate your technical expertise This potentially also has the benefit of enabling you to meet several architects at the same time which can itself often lead to a discussion about specific projects To be effective the seminar must have the correct content and be well presented Understanding the different forms of specification Having finally persuaded the architect to use your product it needs to be specified Here he or she has the choice of performance description nominated or the widely used equal or approved specification There are a variety of reasons for selecting these different forms Performance is often used for technical products such as fire resisting constructions where it s important they perform correctly A performance specification passes the responsibility for choosing the correct product onto the sub contractor Nominated is often selected for aesthetic products where it s important to ensure that exactly the right product is used There is a concern though that Nominated also undermines the contractor s ability to negotiate price Equal or approved tends to be used because it nominates a product without making it a firm choice However many contractors will tell you that they interpret it as meaning use what you like With the increased importance of sustainability the meaning of equal is changing It no longer means simply made of a similar material to a similar shape and able to do the job Now factors such as responsible sourcing and factory location can mean that two similar products are very different The whole process of specification writing is changing BIM In the early 1990 s the last recession changed the process of specification selling expanding it to include the contractor Today new technology and changing building requirements are having a knock on effect on the specification process again One of the biggest changes to the industry is the introduction of Building Information Modelling This may seem like a design issue but it also has its place in marketing as a feature which delivers a number of benefits For a manufacturer the need to provide BIM objects will become as necessary as the provision of standard specification clauses or CAD details The suggested benefits include a quicker understanding by the architect about how the product works certainty of compatibility and off the shelf selection of existing product design All of this enables time saving and because architects are often pressed for time they can often opt for the quick fix when two objects are similar And we can expect to see further changes as optimism growths with a strengthening construction market Conclusion The decision to specify a product is based on many factors some of them conflicting The overriding concern is that it is fit for purpose performing its role effectively and throughout the design life of the building Products are selected because of more than their performance or price Government drives product

    Original URL path: http://www.cadvantage.co.uk/managing-your-specification-strategy-what-do-architects-want/ (2016-02-12)
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  • Specification Strategy – 5 steps to building strong relationships with specifiers | Competitive Advantage
    A word of caution avoid a sales message instead look to share valuable information and solve problems the aim is to develop and maintain relationships with individuals not to sell to them as with CPD seminars provide good impartial technical content Step three Broaden your relationship circle Once a project has started explore opportunities for product specification talking to your advocates to learn more about others in the decision making unit who can become targets in your relationship building process Map the other players in the decision making unit client architect engineer sustainability consultant QS main contractor and specialist contractor both buyer and project manager They can all influence the selection of products Very rarely does one person have the power to force through a product choice but most have the power of veto As the project progresses and more influencers join the team the specification sales person will need to build relationships with all of these players and understand how influential they are as well as try to move his or her product offering up their priority lists Step four Stay in touch Specifiers have changed the way they work using social media more making it easier for the product manufacturer to stay in touch with requirements Our research Construction Media Index found that 60 of construction professionals use it for help with work mostly to network or keep informed about industry news Remember when participating in social media avoid the sales message Instead listen and engage in online conversations providing solutions to specifiers listen be useful and be found We have also seen a start in the adoption of Apps in the construction sector led by architects QR codes are used by a third of industry decision makers and video is watched by more than half of architects and main contractors There are more ways than ever to stay in touch with specifiers and provide useful information Samples still remain an important sales tool sample specifications and CAD images are important items for manufacturers to provide and with the adoption of BIM BIM objects Product samples are an opportunity for dialogue with the specifier don t always post when it could provide an opportunity for a meeting with a hard to contact specifier A face to face demo can make the product properties more memorable Offering to visit practices to review and update samples removing any that are out of date or surplus to requirements provides a reason to stay in touch Such a visit will also provide valuable insight into competitor products being considered Step five Remember to work at it It is important to maintain customer records often with CRM as then you can review and analyse leads lost and won Monitor a project throughout its life to identify what you are doing right and where you are going wrong Monitoring customer relationships can provide an opportunity to make improvements and strengthen the relationships you have carefully built The information gained can also feed into your

    Original URL path: http://www.cadvantage.co.uk/specification-strategy-5-steps-to-building-strong-relationships-with-specifiers/ (2016-02-12)
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  • The Changing Dynamics of Product Specification – growing future prospects | Competitive Advantage
    important to remember to keep your staff up to speed and to provide them with the necessary specification sales training so they can help their customer and their customers customer understand the green credentials of your product A recent study by the NHBC into Low and zero carbon technologies in new homes reveals that homeowner s don t understand green technologies and presents the need to help housebuilder s demonstrate the advantages of these green technologies to potential homebuyers Further thoughts Our Green Deal Update webpage advises of the latest developments The latest in government initiatives and regulations is covered every month in the Competitive Advantage eNewsletter Read How to market your sustainable building products a lesson from those doing it right Consider our research about how Architects design non residential sustainable buildings and the information they need from manufacturers Consider our research about how Regional Social Landlords will improve energy efficiency in existing housing their upgrade programme the options being considered and their product selection process Building Information Modelling BIM The government is keen to see BIM adopted as it has the potential to improve integration of the different elements of the project team Architect Engineer Main Contractor Specialist Contractor and potentially manufaturer leading to reduced construction costs But more important the potential cost savings during the life of the building could be much greater This will be achieved through reduced maintenance and operating costs A report commissioned by the Department for Business Innovation and Skills in 2008 and based on extrapolation of figures derived from the USA suggested construction cost net savings of 5 for new build and 1 5 on refurbishment For a manufacturer the need to provide BIM objects will become as necessary as the provision of standard specification clauses or CAD details At the moment we are talking about early adopters but very soon it will become mandatory for companies that wish to achieve effective specification selling So what are the advantages to the manufacturer Providing BIM objects can provide early confirmation of design intent and improve the likelihood of a design being specified The use of manufacturer specific embedded information gives the product visibility raising the probability of it being referenced during procurement and reducing the chances of it being value engineered out at a later stage More important are the benefits to the architect which contribute to product value The suggested benefits include a quicker understanding about how the product works certainty of compatibility and off the shelf selection of existing product design All of this enables time saving and because architects are often pressed for time they can often opt for the quick fix when two objects are similar Being at the forefront of providing BIM objects is a good PR exercise If your business has invested in BIM it is one of the features you can promote demonstrating that yours is a forward thinking organisation which potential customers can work with Peter Hansford Chief Construction Advisor to the Government says Innovation

    Original URL path: http://www.cadvantage.co.uk/the-changing-dynamics-of-product-specification-growing-future-prospects/ (2016-02-12)
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  • Becoming a Trusted Advisor – adding value via the technical CPD seminar | Competitive Advantage
    Rooflight Company as Trusted Advisors to Architects as design experts so making them the Architects choice for rooflights Demonstrate technical competence Think about what the Specifier will gain from attending your seminar they are looking for answers to design challenges as well as presenting technical know how remember to provide solutions For the Rooflight Company we built the seminar around their popular CPD presentation Bespoke Rooflights a Specifiers Guide Competitive Advantage drew on their industry knowledge to source an additional speaker to compliment the Rooflight content so to add a wider appeal to the progamme Each presentation was pitched towards the Architects interests and covered technical data with a problem solving approach to design Technical advice is the key reason for a specifier to have a relationship with a construction product manufacturer CPD seminars are a proactive way to introduce your company and demonstrate the technical competence of your team and their problem solving approach Deliver inspiration Architects are creative creatures so draw on case studies use visuals and drawings look to provide an inspirational element to your seminar The Saint Gobain Innovation Centre was recommended by Competitive Advantage not only for its location but as an inspirational venue that would suit the seminar objectives The combination of this together with a guest speaker allowed for a broader appeal and so the opportunity to gain new contacts During their presentation the Rooflight Company provided a spectrum of case studies in a visual format allowing the specifier to relate to the products and see how they could apply it to their own design projects Make it engaging Just because CPD is technical does not mean that your seminar should not be well written and presented Victoria Tarrant from the Rooflight Company presented clearly she had rehearsed her presentation and had all the technical information at her fingertips Her presentation was also visual with photos depicting a number of case studies Written and delivered properly a CPD seminar establishes the manufacturer s sales representative as a Trusted Advisor The CPD certification bodies provide guidance as does Competitive Advantage on writing and delivering CPD It is important to take the time to develop your presentation this way you can ensure that it delivers results Take the time to continue communications This half day technical seminar gave the Rooflight Company a new platform to strengthen their position as an innovative company that delivers design solutions Yet the delivery of the seminar was not treated as the conclusion rather the beginning as communications with specifiers were continued via email and eNews with a number of key specifers asked to participate in a focus group Once you have established a relationship it is important to take time to continue communications and so continue the relationship Conclusion CPD has the benefit of opening doors meeting many specifiers at one time and can often end with a discussion about a specific construction project opportunity It is an essential tool in the Trusted Advisors toolkit Further information View the

    Original URL path: http://www.cadvantage.co.uk/becoming-a-trusted-advisor-adding-value-via-the-technical-cpd-seminar/ (2016-02-12)
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  • CPD – selling without the sales pitch | Competitive Advantage
    seminar objectives These included informing the audience about key features of the product raising awareness of the consequences of not specifying correctly facilitating an introduction for the company and providing opportunity to review specifications and identify sales leads Learning point Take time to consider why you are delivering CPD and what you hope to achieve Consider your objectives when developing an agenda it should be interesting and engaging for your audience but also deliver the messages about your product that you want to get across Striking the right balance is important so the audience do not feel they are being sold to Develop the story you want to tell Again in a workshop environment with the sales team who talk to specifiers all the time Competitive Advantage facilitated the creation of an outline that tracked the story to be told The technical content was mapped to the message to be delivered with each slide Having got the story right in terms of the messages content and length for delivery each individual slide then needed to be perfected Learning point Once you have defined your objectives pull together the story line for your presentation tracking it against each individual slide Scrutinise each slide Every slide has to deliver maximum impact consider the words and images and how they are used in combination to achieve this in a visually stimulating format that will be acceptable to the certification authority and appealing to Architects Learning point The next step requires the careful review of each slide This is more than graphic design as every phrase and word must be composed with care and complementary imagery selected And each slide must support your objectives as indicated in your outlined story Road test your presentation Once the presentation was considered satisfactory the sales team then need to arrange for the seminar to be road tested with a number of friendly architects Their comments were noted and incorporated into the content Learning point After completing all of this work take the time to get feedback deliver the seminar to some friendly specifiers to ensure it is credible And before submitting for certification ensure you have incorporated any comments Make the description appealing The final element is to write the description which will be used by the certification body Very often this has been a last minute exercise which does not do the seminar justice This is the shop window for your CPD seminar so make sure it is well written making it clear what benefits the audience will gain from attending the seminar Conclusion CPD is a valuable tool in the process of specification selling The key is to make sure your presentation strikes the right balance between technical content and product information without an overt sales pitch To achieve this you need to invest time in considering your objectives building your presentation agenda and scrutinizing the language and images used on each slide With careful consideration it is possible to deliver a seminar that satisfies

    Original URL path: http://www.cadvantage.co.uk/cpd-selling-without-the-sales-pitch/ (2016-02-12)
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  • 5 reasons your CPD is not working | Competitive Advantage
    in front of an audience reading from a script Rehearse your speakers so that they can deliver the script without reading it Investing in presentation skills training will repay itself many times over You are not selling your seminar Remember that it s not just architects who need CPD and can influence the selection of your products Draw up a list of targets from among the top specifying organisations working within your sectors Make sure that everyone knows about your seminar Issue a press release have details clearly displayed on your website and directly approach your target organisations Have material you can immediately send or email which introduces your seminar presents the benefits and has a call to action You are not doing your research When you receive a booking it is important to complete some background research What projects the practice are currently working on Have they used your products before and if so on what projects Make sure your presenter knows as much as possible about the practice before the seminar You are not following up Delivering the seminar is not the end of the process but the start You need to define a series of follow up actions to ensure that you get the maximum return from the visit help build relationships and create opportunities This will allow you to maximise and measure the return you get from your investment Conclusion When done well CPD seminars are an extremely effective tool that can lead to long term relationships and significant business gains Done badly they re a waste of money and can even discredit your company So get it right First published by RIBA Insight March 2014 View original article Further reading 12 steps to delivering effective CPD Effective CPD An essential part of becoming a Trusted

    Original URL path: http://www.cadvantage.co.uk/5-reasons-your-cpd-is-not-working/ (2016-02-12)
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