In 2018, the AIA collaborated with construction companies Avitru and ConstructConnect to explore the relationship between architects and the manufacturers of the products designers consider specifying. With 400 survey respondents from across the country, 83 percent of whom are licensed architects, the AIA published the 44-page report “The Architect’s Journey to Specification: Rethinking the Relationship Between Architects and Manufacturers.”

Based on the survey results, the AIA found that architects often fall into one of three personality categories—conservatives (34 percent), dynamists (35 percent), and risk takers (31 percent)—that inform their specification tendencies, relationships with manufacturer representatives, and priorities.

Conservatives are more likely to be male baby boomers who rely on products they have worked with in the past and seek relationships with representatives and brands. Dynamists are often younger and tech-savvy; they rely on past experience with products and prioritize digital interaction with manufacturers. Risk takers are also young and statistically more often based in the West Coast. They focus on the environmental superiority of products and are therefore willing to experiment with new solutions.

The group also interviewed 42 building product manufacturers to better understand their motivations and approaches to working with architects.