Market Research

Building Technology Incorporated (BTI) provides market analysis and product development services to the building industry. Its clients include building product manufacturers, manufacturers of building subsystems or components, trade associations interested in particular market segments, and government agencies interested in the potential impact of particular government policies.

Because the building industry is both fragmented and complex, the following factors must be analyzed to determine the most appropriate market niches and market penetration strategies:

Regional Factors — Several regional factors affect the market for buildings, building systems, and building products. First is the climatic variability among different parts of the country, that leads to different values being placed by the marketplace on climate-dependent products such as insulation, exterior wall and roof systems, doors and windows, and mechanical systems. Second is the growth rate variability among regions and among specific cities and counties within them. Third is consumer preference variability, which is particularly significant with respect to housing but affects other building types as well.

Building Type Characteristics — There is significant variability in the national markets for single-family housing, multifamily housing, office buildings, retail and commercial buildings, institutional buildings, and industrial buildings. Each of these market sectors has a unique system of decision making related to the specification and procurement of building products, and each has its own unique set of key decision makers.

New Construction Versus Rehabilitation — Although related, the new construction and rehabilitation markets have some key differences, including types of participants, suppliers, and regulatory controls. The percentage of rehabilitation work compared to all construction is substantial and continues to grow, making the differences in these two markets an important marketing consideration.

Regulatory Factors — The U.S. building regulatory system consists of a multitude of state and local codes and ordinances administered and enforced by a wide variety of regulatory authorities. These are supported by three regional model code organizations and by a complex system of voluntary standards. The latter, in turn, are supported by trade associations, industry-wide associations, and testing and certification organizations. The absence of a thorough understanding of this regulatory system can pose serious constraints to the penetration of new products and systems into the marketplace.

BTI specializes in the analysis of these factors and in providing its clients with a detailed understanding of the building industry and specific building product markets as well as with realistic strategies for market definition and market penetration.

BTI's expertise can be a unique resource for companies interested in introducing new products to the U.S. market and can contribute decisively to success. The following project descriptions illustrate BTI's experience:

  • Monsanto Polymer Products Company (Saflex). BTI conducted a detailed study of the building industry as a marketplace for laminated architectural glass. This included an analysis of the various product attributes as a function of discrete segments of the market. The result was a detailed plan describing a large number of specific activities that could lead to broader and deeper penetration of existing markets as well as proposed strategies for entering new markets. BTI has been providing ongoing services to assist in the implementation of these recommended actions.
  • Aarding Ltd. (Aarding). Aarding is located in Nunspeet, Holland, and produces a number of products with potential applications in the U.S. building construction market. BTI, working with Stockman and Associates, Inc., assessed Aarding's products and developed recommendations for improvements and strategies for marketing in the U.S. and Canada.
  • Apogee Enterprises, Inc. BTI assisted this company in its analysis of a particular segment of the window and exterior wall market. BTI helped to identify and define new product opportunities and the necessary development and marketing steps to be taken to secure a significant portion of this market for Apogee.
  • Dryflow Ltd. Dryflow has developed a gypsum panel system used for non-load bearing interior partitions. This system is being used in Europe, and BTI assisted Dryflow Ltd. in its assessment of the U.S. market potential for this product.
  • International Masonry Institute (IMI). BTI examined the present and future use of panels and panelized construction techniques for the fabrication and erection of exterior walls and prepared a plan for increasing the involvement of the IMI constituency in promoting the growth of this market. BTI has been providing ongoing services to assist IMI in the implementation of this plan. BTI has conducted special studies on the use of brick with metal stud systems, the use of the Dodge Reports as a market analysis tool, and the use of masonry construction in residential buildings.
  • National Institute of Building Sciences. BTI studied the potential use by architects and engineers of an Automated Facilities Engineering Information System (now marketed as the Construction Criteria Base). Such a system provides the design professionals with guide specifications, standards, and related documents via an electronic database. As a follow-up to this work, BTI completed a market survey of building product manufacturers to determine their level of interest in a Product Disc enhancement that had been developed as part of the CCB. This survey and related recommendations were made to assist the NIBS Board of Directors with their decision regarding the marketing of this service.
  • U.S. Congress, Office of Technology Assessment (OTA). BTI analyzed the rehabilitation segment of the building construction industry in support of the OTA study, "Technology and the American Economic Transition." As part of this effort, BTI examined the present and future potential impact of "smart buildings" technology on the rehab portion of the marketplace.
  • The Arcaid Partnership. BTI conducted a study of the market potential for a large (main-frame) computer-aided design and drafting (CADD) system aimed at the architecture/engineering and facilities management segments of the market. The study specifically focused on the adaptation of a foreign software product for the U.S. market and resulted in a complete business plan for a new company to further develop, deliver, and service the product.
  • Hittman Associates, Inc. As a consultant to Hittman Associates, Inc., BTI provided technical information on building products, building regulations, and the building process in a study of barriers to the introduction of energy conservation technology into the homebuilding industry. The study identified practical options whose implementation would aid in increasing the rate and degree of the market penetration of energy conserving products for residential buildings.
  • General Electric Company. BTI performed an analysis for GE on the alternative uses for cementitious materials in industrialized housing systems.
  • Arthur D. Little, Inc. (ADL). In support of an ADL evaluation of HUD programs, BTI developed a user preference model to analyze trends and related demographic information in the housing market.
  • Singer Company. For this major HVAC component manufacturer, BTI conducted a feasibility study of several alternative energy conserving HVAC systems and a detailed analysis of each system's cost using a GSA life cycle cost formula that had been developed by BTI principal David Hattis.
  • U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development. BTI was awarded a HUD grant to determine the current and potential role of technology in reducing the costs of modernizing existing housing. The grant was one of only five awarded under HUD's 1986 Research Grants in Building Technology program.

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