When should an A/E be contacted to offer specification assistance?

Posted by on July 17, 2019 in Uncategorized | Comments Off on When should an A/E be contacted to offer specification assistance?

(Article 3 of the series on “Becoming an Independent Manufacturers’ Rep who Develops Specifications with Architects and Engineers”)


It is important to understand the complete design process and how construction documents are developed to understand when the architect or engineer (A/E) needs to be contacted by an independent manufacturers’ rep to offer specification assistance.

A very simplified description of the design process is comprised of the following phases:

  1. Schematic Design – a client’s design objectives are discussed. Alternative approaches to design and construction are developed.
  2. Design Development – constructability and integration of products and systems become defined.
  3. Construction Documents – final architectural drawings and specifications are developed. The specifications are written during this phase.

Often the A/E will call a trusted advisor rep if he needs specification assistance. If he does not, or if a rep is not well established with a particular A/E office, a challenge for a rep is when to make contact to offer assistance for a particular product a rep is working to get specified. The timing depends partially on the type of product.

When should an A/E be contacted to offer specification assistance?

The timing for contacting a busy architect to offer specification assistance is important.

If the product is highly technical or if it is important to the aesthetics, constructability, and final performance of the project, it normally will be necessary for the rep to introduce his product during the design phase. Although the specification will not be written until the later construction documents, the product must be incorporated into the project design for the rep to be asked to help with the specifications.

If the product does not meet the criteria above, such as a commodity type product, the appropriate time to offer specification assistance is during the construction document phase.

With this understood, it leads us to our next question, addressed in Article 4, “How does an independent manufacturers’ rep for architectural products become a trusted advisor?”

Questions so far? Scott Lau Consulting is ready to be a trusted advisor for you. Contact Scott today.