New platform offers a people-first approach to product specification

The Tect app connects architects with product experts without revealing personal or project information

The Tect platform offers real-time access to product category experts from location-specific manufacturers, dramatically reducing research time while protecting their personal information and privacy.

three screens of the tect app

Researching product information is one of the most time-consuming parts of an architect’s job. Often, specifiers use the same products over and over to avoid researching new options or they spend untold hours searching the internet, not knowing where their path will lead.

Tect is working to change that, with a new app that streamlines designers’ access to product experts and the product information they need. By connecting specifiers and manufacturers in a more meaningful way, Tect is helping them truly work together to make more informed decisions.

Tect’s leadership includes founder Bob Habian, AIA, and fellow architect Evan Troxel, AIA. Early in his career, Habian recognized the challenges and sought out solutions. “What I determined long ago is that so many early decisions between design pros and manufacturers were a missed opportunity again and again,” he said, noting the ongoing dilemma of manufacturers wanting to sell and architects not wanting to be sold to.

Yet both parties need the other. The key, Habian believes, is to strengthen the relationships and streamline their communication.

The Tect app aims to do just that by bringing architects and manufacturers together in a way that is more efficient and productive to everyone by providing architects, engineers, and specifiers with real-time access to product category experts from location-specific manufacturers.

While on the surface Tect is a product search tool, it’s designed to avoid the challenge of too much information by connecting architects directly with experts in their area but without having to reveal personal and project information, allowing active Q&A to start immediately and eliminating the sales pitch. Tect allows the architect to decide when and if to disclose their information and project details. This “stealth communication” component gives architects in the discovery phase the opportunity to explore products and talk to manufacturers more freely, without worry that they will be quickly subjected to constant cold calls and marketing outreach.

“We need to find a bridge to more quickly and smoothly get together in a more aligned way,” Habian said. In this new form of communication, manufacturers aren’t selling and architects aren’t searching for data—they’re searching for people.

How Tect works

Tect operates around a search tool that functions with the same simplicity of a web search tool, but specific to the building industry. And it’s set up to bring the user from keyword to contacts in as few clicks as possible, with CSI drop-downs of relevant options to further narrow what the user is looking for.

Finally, architects can turn on the location feature so that the search returns only products available in the project’s geographic area.

The resulting list includes product brand and description, links to related web pages (such as a product library, color chart, etc.), and more. But most importantly, the search returns a vetted person to speak to. With stealth communication, the architect has the choice in how to engage—via phone, email, or anonymous email. Anonymous communication removes user hesitancy and concern about ending up on marketing lists. Once the architect decides they are ready to move forward, they can then further open the lines of communication with the subject matter expert.

Ultimately, Tect is drawing an important distinction between data and knowledge—and creating a path to help specifiers get to knowledge faster. Rather than poring over endless data packed onto multiple websites, Tect creates a two-way process that empowers manufacturer sales reps to help architects focus on their specific information needs.

Through Tect, “They’re learning to engage together in a people-first way,” Habian said, “in a knowledge-before-data way and a service-before-sales way.”

Participating manufacturers and subject matter experts are required to complete an online academy with coursework that helps them better understand architects’ needs and the design process as a whole.

“We’re working to reset expectations and shift the mindset toward better outcomes for both sides,” Troxel said.

Tect is free for architects and currently open to early adopters in California with plans to roll out nationally in the coming months. Visit Tect to learn more and to sign up for news and launch details.