DesignBUILD Report flags supply chain sustainability and tightening regulations around product compliance as core issues for buyers and specifiers in Australian construction

Global GreenTag International features in the analysis and evaluation of a new report by DesignBUILD and Diversified Communications Australia, which has released a 2018 study titled ‘An Insight Into The Ever-Changing Specifier Buying Cycle … Current Market Trends and Future Challenges. The hot issues uncovered in the survey represent a serious call for product regulations and compliance, sustainability across the entire supply chain and an increase in focus on technology to drive project efficiency and collaboration. The needs of customers also was highlighted as having ‘the greatest influence’ on product specification and buying and so was ‘trust’. .

According to the main conclusions of the 2018 report, the first core issue affecting the industry is a call to tighten regulations around product compliance,  “This is an important finding, which indeed highlights the need to protect the industry from using unknown, potentially unsafe, uncertified or unverified products in building projects,” says David Baggs, Global GreenTag’s CEO and Program Director, who is cited in the Report’s commentary sections.

All data for the report was gathered by DesignBUILD through its survey of architecture, design and construction professionals who attend the DesignBUILD exhibition, which is held biennally in Sydney and Melbourne. The respondent sample provides clear insight into the thinking behind industry professionals, particularly in the buying process, and where they are paying attention: The most significant responses from the survey reveal:

  • 94% identify as being involved in the product specification process.
  • 71% source their product information from trade shows.
  • 63% believe imported products have a negative impact in the market.
  • 45% expect there to be a change in the way products are specified over the next 3-5 years.

However, a strong finding in the Report, was the call by industry for sustainability across the entire supply chain, indicating an important need to access products and materials that they can trust.  The term sustainability,  in fact, is mentioned a total of 43 times in the 22 page report and certainly highlights that sustainability and by implication a cleaner supply chain is important.  However, what this will take also resides with the Australian industry,  David Baggs comments within the Report:

“Sustainability is often considered an extra cost. But in our experience comparable quality, highly rated and sustainably certified ‘fit for purpose’ products are often competing in the marketplace head to head on cost, with little cost difference. Generally only if quality is sacrificed are cost savings possible, and the flammable cladding debacle is an example of where that path leads.”

In the Report Summary, Jamie Butler-Underwood, DesignBUILD Event Manager also refers also to the responsibility of the industry to uphold standards, stating: :

“There is an evident need for defining regulations over what constitutes product conformance and compliance and where the ultimate responsibility lies across the design and build process to meet standards.  It is evident from the comments in the report that there is concern around products being re-specified during the build process and how this can compromise the design, performance and therefore compliance of a product or project.”  

“Trusting product from both domestic and overseas suppliers or manufacturers is in line with Australian standards and seems to be an ongoing issue for those involved in the specification process and will be a significant challenge to address in building regulation reform”

Ultimately,  what is driving the market the most in product specification and selection, the Report finds are customers.  They have the greatest influence on decision making, while product source and quality and customer preference and product availability also rate highly.

Access to product information was another featured finding of the Report and it was interesting to note that 59% of survey respondents “see product reviews as an important source of information …  however, only 41% said they trust product reviews ‘fairly well’ and that “product reviews from established publications and websites are seen to be more reputable than other sources such as social media.”

The DESIGNBUILD 2018 REPORT  findings came from a diverse cross section of professionals directly involved in the Australian building industry. The survey representation comprised:.

  • 30% Architecture
  • 22% Residential Construction
  • 16% Design
  • 13% Commercial Construction

Sectors in which respondents operated:

  • 63% residential
  • 28% retail
  • 22% corporate
  • 21% education.