During a construction project's design and planning stage, architects and engineers review many products and systems for potential inclusion in a design. They seek out products that align with the design vision, meet their requirements for safety, performance, and sustainability, and have enough readily available product documentation to specify the product. Architects and design professionals rely on a range of product information and file types to gather information about products and systems. A wide range of information is used during the design stage of a construction project  The range of file types used reflects the wide range of projects and firms involved in construction. Manufacturers with well-coordinated and maintained design content that is easy to find are at an advantage when it comes to being specified in construction documents.

Design Professionals’ Use of Product Information

The types of files sought after by design teams include BIM, CAD, and 3D design files. The specific file formats, quality, and detail levels needed by design teams depend on many factors. The stage of planning and design will impact who in the firm is involved. Different design professionals have distinct preferences for what software and file formats to use. The files they use in their construction documents and contract documents may be more detailed and of higher quality than shop drawings and submittals that are used to support product specification decisions. Larger firms tend to have more advanced software and computers and prefer BIM or advanced 3D models. Small firms may be more limited regarding the models and design files they prefer to use.

Well-written 3-Part specifications are also valuable product information for design professionals. Design teams may use manufacturers’ 3-Part specification documents when writing their project specifications. Product guide 3-Part specifications save design teams time and help them create project specifications.

Beyond specification documents and design files, architects and design professionals also look for product information that takes other forms from marketing information to certification and reference standards. 

Product information of interest to design professionals can include installation guides, which provide essential information for contractors and may become part of a project submittal package. Product brochures give designers a range of information and context for the use of the product. Warranty information may play into decision-making and support product selection. Product declarations such as Health Product Declarations (HPDs) and Environmental Product Declarations (EPDs) are increasingly required by designers as these documents provide transparency into the health and environmental impacts of product decisions. 

Architects and design professionals may need to adhere to specific safety, sustainability, performance requirements, and reference standards. Products that have undergone testing at verified laboratories may be preferred, so the published test results may also become part of submittals and may be part of the project specifications. Safety Data Sheets provide vital product information such as hazard identification, first-aid measures, fire-fighting measures, accidental release measures, handling and storage, exposure controls, personal protection, physical and chemical properties, toxicological information, ecological information, disposal considerations, and regulatory information.

Certifications are another form of product information demanded by architects and design professionals. Certification can be indicative of a variety of properties of a product. Various sustainability initiatives offer certifications that may relate to emissions, recycled content, energy efficiency, or other indicators of sustainability.  Performance can be assured through certification relating to reference standards and product performance benchmarks. Other important signifiers such as code compliance or product safety can also be communicated through certification.

Consistency is Key for Architectural Product Information

Architectural design files, including CAD, BIM, SketchUp, and 3-Part specifications, must be coordinated effectively to ensure a seamless and accurate construction process. If product information needs to be updated, it is crucial to ensure effective coordination between design files. This can be a daunting task for building product manufacturers as it requires several areas of technical expertise. Product updates should be synchronized across all design files and 3-Part specifications and reflect the most up-to-date information that is included in product brochures, data sheets, installation instructions, website copy, and other sources of information.

Failure to update content across the board can create risks for the manufacturer. Architects may be reluctant to specify products, and contractors may be reluctant to purchase products with inconsistent product information. Loss of trust in the manufacturer's reliability can lead to missed business opportunities and decreased market share. Contradictions in design files reflect poorly on the manufacturer and cause disputes in construction projects. If inconsistencies are significant enough to result in product failures or safety issues, the manufacturer may face legal action.

CADdetails Offers Solutions to Building Product Manufacturers

For over 25 years, CADdetails has specialized in helping manufacturers reach industry professionals by digitizing, managing, and presenting design files to be accessible to the AEC market. Our team of in-house technical experts is dedicated to developing, maintaining, and updating a variety of design content, including BIM Revit files, 2D CAD files, 3D SketchUp models, and comprehensive 3-Part Specifications. Our primary technical goal is to organize and keep this design content current, ensuring that it can be easily specified into design projects. CADdetails also offers a unique platform that showcases product design files to an extensive network of over 680,000 design professionals across North America. Additionally, building product manufacturers can greatly benefit from the CADdetails "Design Hub", a comprehensive website integration that enhances the visibility and utility of their organized and up-to-date design content. All CADdetails distribution services are complemented by an advanced metrics program, offering intuitive analytic tools and leading industry insights, empowering manufacturers with valuable market intelligence and performance feedback.

If you are a building product manufacturer, you need quality design files that are up-to-date and easily accessible by architects and specifiers seeking products. Reach out to CADdetails to discuss how we can manage your product content and showcase your products.

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