Specialist Product Directories
RIBA Insight's 2013 report 'What Specifiers Want from Product Manufacturers' surveyed (in 2012) approximately 500 specifiers to ascertain how specifiers research and select products. In response to the question 'How do you source product information?', 85% agreed with the statement 'I prefer to find product information online' and 71% agreed with the statement 'Hard copy product directories are still important for reference'. Responding to the question, 'What's the best way for manufacturers to show you their products?', the entry for 'Product Directory (online)' recorded 48%, whilst the entry 'Product Directory (print)' recorded 32% . More recently, the usage of product directories was covered by the 2015 edition of Competitive Advantage's Construction Media Index. In RIBA Insight's October 2015 Monthly Briefing, Competitive Advantage's Chris Ashworth said:
"When it comes to seeking out information, the manufacturer is still the preferred source through meetings, phone calls, emails and websites. After that it is online search and product directories, of which ribaproductselector.com is the most popular with Architects".
Whilst online directories appear to be, very slowly, displacing hardcopy versions, both formats continue to represent a very important component of any communication plan targeting construction specifiers. Usage levels will vary depending on the professional discipline, for example, a contractor is likely to use them much less than an architect; however, overall levels are significant – e.g. RIBA's hardcopy annual 'Product Selector' is requested by 16,000 professionals, whilst its online equivalent www.ribaproductselector.com receives some 110,000 visitors every month. The outlook is one of continual evolution, as directory publishers adapt to the industry's trends and changing practices, with many now including manufacturer's BIM Objects (see http://www.constructuk.com/directory/category/building-information-modelling-bim), and others offering advanced features, such as SpecifiedBy's product search and compare functions, enabling specifers to employ a series of filters to more precisely identify products based on a range of technical criteria.
The construction industry has many dedicated product directories, some with a broad range of product categories and some focused on specific sectors. In general, these directories’ publishers will include suppliers' basic entries free of charge (unless considered inappropriate), with enhanced entries or advertisements incurring commercial rates. In this section, we have detailed over 50 which can be viewed below or downloaded in database format. In addition to these, we have compiled an extensive list of those online directories produced by journal publishers which can be found here (please log in first).
Index of 50+ Construction Product Directories (log in to view the full list. If you are not logged in, you will see below only those companies who have enhanced their entries.):