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An analysis of the North American specifiers of structural materials in nonresidential construction

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Title: An analysis of the North American specifiers of structural materials in nonresidential construction
Author: Kozak, Robert A.
Degree Doctor of Philosophy - PhD
Program Forestry
Copyright Date: 1995
Abstract: An assessment of the market environment for wood products as a structural material in nonresidential buildings four storeys or less has been undertaken. This was accomplished by performing extensive marketing research on the specifiers of building materials in the North American nonresidential market — namely, architects and structural engineers. It is hoped that information obtained in this analysis will form the basis of a comprehensive market assessment which will, in turn, facilitate the development and implementation of distinctive marketing strategies aimed at improving the market situation for wood products in the nonresidential sector. The method of mail questionnaires was utilized to sample slightly fewer than 6,000 architects and structural engineers across North America. Of the design population that were qualified to respond to the survey, 22.06% did so. This response rate is sufficient to make valid population inferences. In fact, given the vast quantities of information that were collected in the questionnaire, it is considered high. Topics in the survey included building design, structural material use (with special attention to wood products), education, promotion, the design process, environmental issues, and personal information. While the focus was on ascertaining the market position for wood in the nonresidential sector, every effort was made to gauge the attitudes and perceptions of specifiers on a wide variety of subjects pertaining to this type of design. Results of this analysis clearly show that the market position for wood products in the nonresidential sector is, indeed, unfavourable. This is despite high levels of wood use in three of the more uncommon applications. In every other nonresidential building, especially the larger-scale structures, wood use ranks lowest. That said, the market shares reported for wood products here are relatively high, which is due, in part, to the presence of residential buildings in much of the analysis. Although wood has several benefits (e.g., aesthetics, simplicity, low cost), these seem to be outweighed by the many concerns that specifiers have towards its use in a nonresidential context (e.g., lack of fire resistance and permanence, inconsistent quality and pricing). As such, materials like steel, concrete, and masonry are often used in its place. Some recommendations for overcoming these barriers to wood use in nonresidential construction are offered here. These generally take on the form of specifically tailored marketing strategies aimed at increasing the shares of wood products in segments where wood use varies.
URI: http://hdl.handle.net/2429/4820
Series/Report no. UBC Retrospective Theses Digitization Project [http://www.library.ubc.ca/archives/retro_theses/]

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