3 Product Manufacturer Specification Strategies Ranked

Posted On: 
Aug 25, 2021

The COVID-19 pandemic has changed the way building product manufacturers get their products specified. Economic hardships, loss of jobs, remote working practices, and other significant obstacles have challenged manufacturers and their ability to reach decision makers. What strategies should manufacturers use to reach the decision makers?

Our team conducted a survey amongst several hundred design professionals, many working at prominent AEC firms, who divulged information that can help manufacturers reach decision makers. The survey included three major strategies – most requested education courses, favorite CE course formats, and most requested sustainability reports.

Most Popular Types of CE Course Formats

Design professionals which included architects, specifiers, engineers, interior designers, contractors, and other AEC professionals were asked what their favorite type of continuing education course format was. The formats were ranked as follows:


  1. Online courses


  1. Live webinars


  1. In-person lunch and learns


The online course format accounted for nearly 70% of the total. This makes perfect sense during the COVID-19 pandemic as many design professionals banned or avoided face to face lunch and learns at their offices. Free AIA Online courses dominated the education industry during the height of the pandemic and are still the hands down favorite of professionals. Live webinars were the second favorite format and a popular choice during the height of the pandemic as well. In-person lunch and learns were at the bottom of the list.

Most Requested Types of CE Courses

Next, design professionals were asked what type of CE course they desired the most aside from the standard AIA course. The results paint a vivid picture of what professionals are seeking in the marketplace and how your company can respond to these requests.


  1. GBCI General Hour course


  1. LEED Specific course


  1. ADA course


  1. IDCEC course


The GBCI General Hour course topped the list of most desired and requested courses by design professionals. There are over 100,000 LEED professionals who must take mandatory CE courses to maintain their credential. If your company doesn’t have at least one GBCI General Hour CE course you’re in trouble.

Second on our list is the LEED Specific Hour course. Once again, LEED professionals need a certain amount of these types of courses to maintain their credential. These courses have the highest participation rates in the industry, with some generating several hundred completions a month. Finally, we have ADA and IDCEC courses at the bottom of the list. ADA courses are of great interest to design professionals in states like California and Texas where they are mandatory for state licensing requirements.

Most Requested Transparency Documentation Featured In CE Courses

Transparency documentation is a critical part of getting your products specified. If you don’t have the right document, you may lose out on a project. In our survey, we asked design professionals what transparency documentation they would like to see featured in a CE course.


  1. Environmental Product Declaration (EPD)


  1. Health Product Declaration (HPD)


  1. Cradle to Cradle


  1. Declare Label


The EPD was the most requested document to be included in CE courses followed very closely by the HPD. The Health Product Declaration (HPD) is the most requested transparency document in the industry even more so than the EPD, but we assume design professionals wanted to learn about EPDs in greater detail. Cradle to Cradle and the Declare Label were the last items on the list. If your company has developed any of these transparency documents, they should be included in your continuing education courses.

Transparency documentation became a much-requested specification resource by design professionals at the height of the pandemic and continues to be a critical part of product selection. With the launch of LEED v4 in 2013, a multitude of product declarations and certifications swept the industry. Progressive companies at the forefront led the vanguard and produced these documents for LEED projects. They were the early adopters and product specification winners, as many companies delayed developing these transparency documents.

2020 saw an unusually intense development schedule for HPDs, EPDs, and Declare Labels. As product manufacturers downshifted their operations during the COVID-19 pandemic, many companies that had delayed developing transparency documents for years, suddenly invested in producing them. In addition, many AEC firms tightened up their project requirements during the height of the COVID-19 crisis and continue to do so now. 2021 has also seen a surge in LEED documentation and HPDs being developed.

Building product manufacturers who have delayed development of HPDs are going to be left further behind in 2021. Manufacturers who have been reluctant to produce HPDs from 2013 to 2020, need to understand that this document is becoming mandatory for not only LEED projects but many other ratings systems. If your company doesn’t offer published HPDs, you’re in trouble in 2021. This is definitely one of the top specification tools and resources we suggest for manufacturers in 2021. Your next job could depend on it.

For more information or to discuss the topic of this blog, please contact Brad Blank