Why Do Architects Need Market Research? 

 March 7, 2022

Architects are creative professionals who are tasked with designing spaces where people live, work, and play. In addition to their own experience and design expertise, their work also relies on the input they receive from the developer and other stakeholders. Furthermore, for a construction project to be financially successful, it also has to meet market demand.

Unfortunately, many project owners fail to provide a strong design direction and specific project requirements necessary to ensure the financial success of a construction project. All too often, architects are given vague requirements that are liable to change even after the work is already underway. This frequently leads to skyrocketing costs, extensive delays, and a completed building that fails to meet its market demand.

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To prevent these issues and enable architects to do their best work, developers or architects are advised to perform extensive market research as early as possible in a project. In this article, professional construction consultants from VERTEX will provide a brief explanation of what market research in construction is and why conducting it is critical to ensuring the long-term success of a project. Read on to learn more.

How is market research used in the construction industry?

Since construction projects can be huge in scope, research-based decision-making and planning is necessary to maximize returns and minimize costs. Many professionals (architects, engineers, construction managers, developers) perform market research to collect data about a variety of subjects, including new materials, changing regulations, competitive landscapes, consumer and business behaviors, and more. 

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For stakeholders and professionals working at the beginning of a project (well before construction), the collected data is analyzed for insights that support budgeting, planning, decision-making, market-entry and communications, and more. In cases where no secondary research is available – such as in niche markets within the construction industry – researchers may even have to conduct primary research.

Market research collects and analyzes data about:

  • Industry trends
  • Market environment
  • Customers
  • Competitors
  • New technologies
  • Construction decision makers
  • Relevant laws and regulations
  • Local opportunities

Market research is crucial in the construction industry due to the high cost of suboptimal decisions and the impact economic trends can have on the industry as a whole. Without proper research, market or customer insight becomes guesswork with a significant chance of failure. 

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How do architects benefit from market research?

In some cases, the directions developers give to architects are sparse at best. For example, in multi-family projects, architects are usually told to maximize FAR (Floor Area Ratios), height limits, and convenient parking spaces. In these situations, architects frequently turn to existing, time-tested sizes and unit ratios that are already used widely in the same area.

While these developments may still be financially successful, copycating the functional qualities and layouts can reduce the building(s) identity that can command a more favorable position on the market. They may also not be taking full advantage of the unique benefits provided by their location. Moreover, some of these projects will inevitably fail to achieve financial success due to their target market segment getting overserved and “drying out” over time.

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By conducting extensive market research from the offset of a project, an architect or developer could accurately determine the depth of the market and pinpoint niche opportunities that haven’t been filled. This data enables the developer and architect to design and build more unique and exciting structures that receives positive reception, fully meets the needs of its future occupants, and ensures financial success.

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