As part of its comprehensive suite of market research services for building product manufacturers, the NAHB Research Center offers a quick, thorough, and cost-effective method to evaluate the field readiness of new products. Evaluation like this can be invaluable to manufacturers in preventing unforeseen installation or usage problems before market launch—and invaluable to the builders and contractors who ultimately use the products and materials and require a seamless transition.

The Research Center’s service is unique to the home building industry because it is based on our 1) state-of-the-art observational research facility that allows clients to observe, record, and analyze building material installation or tool usage in a controlled environment; 2) extensive experience in evaluating new construction products, installation practices, and forensics of building material failures; and 3) expertise in observational research methods specific to the construction industry.

There are four key benefits to this type of pre-launch evaluation:

? It’s quick. The evaluation can be completed in a short period of time, typically less than a week.

? It’s confidential. All research is conducted in one private location, and all materials are controlled by one project manager.

? It’s thorough. The Center’s extensive experience assisting manufacturers develop and launch new products, observational research facility, experience in field evaluations of building materials, experience in forensics of construction defects, and relationships with the industry/contractors all add up to provide a turnkey evaluation experience for manufacturers.

? It’s cost-effective. Travel for research and development staff is minimal compared to conducting multiple site visits. It’s also possible to have participation from a large group of both on- and off-site staff, accommodated by cameras, streaming video on secure websites, and observation rooms behind one-way glass.

The process for this type of research is relatively straightforward but is customized for each client’s needs. The first step is to define the objectives and scope of the desired evaluation. These are influenced by where a product is in the new-product development cycle and the unique nature of the product that will be evaluated. From there, a research plan is established. Once the plan is approved, the Research Center organizes the construction of any mock-ups needed, recruits participants, and coordinates the audiovisual capture of the evaluation.