Top 250 Design Survey 2007 - October 2007


By Darius Helm

This year’s survey leaves little doubt that the commercial market has remained stronger and more diversified than ever for a third year in a row. But for the first time in three years, designers at the nation’s top 250 firms are much more concerned about the more practical aspects of the design process, like quality, performance and pricing. At the same time, environmental concerns have reached an impressive level, with the majority of respondents committed to making their projects as green as possible. 

Green initiatives were the number one concern, for the first time, in the Specification Process Wish List. They were also the fastest growing concern in Technical Details and a rapidly rising concern in the Designers’ Priorities. Despite their worries about green initiatives, designers also had lots of praise for manufacturers and their latest green products and programs.

The combination of these rising concerns about both practical and environment issues, it seems, has made the specification process more complex and more costly, as designers seek out the best designs with the greenest profiles while finding it more difficult to maintain affordable prices to satisfy their clients. Throughout the survey, the Top 250 expressed the need for “more green selection at better price points” along with the need for “free reclamation,” explaining that often “clients don’t want to pay to recycle carpet.” 

This dynamic equation is further amplified by the increasing diversity of projects top design firms are handling as they continue to expand their work into new, more moderately priced markets and beyond the corporate sector. For two years in a row now, the Top 250 design firms have reported about a quarter of their top projects are now in healthcare, compared to only 5% and 7% in 2001 and 2003, respectively. Furthermore, all signs point to healthcare remaining a top market for years to come, particularly the fast growing assisted living segment of that market, which contains closely related design elements of the hospitality and high end residential markets—and even some retail store looks.


For the complete survey results, see the October 2007 issue of Floor Focus Magazine.

 

BEST OVERALL BUSINESS EXPERIENCE

The greatest praise designers can give to a supplier is that they like working with them more than any others. On the carpet side, InterfaceFlor and Shaw Contract have dominated this question since at least 2004, but Bentley Prince Street rose closer to them this year. Meanwhile, Tandus, Lees, Durkan Commercial, and J&J have shown impressive growth over the past year.

The hard surface ranking has shifted more over the past two surveys, with Dal-Tile, Armstrong and Johnsonite jockeying for the top spot. Over the last year, Formica has also come on strong.

Survey respondents rate the manufacturers using these criteria: Very Satisfied, Moderately Satisfied, Good for Certain Jobs Only, Never Worked with Them, Never Heard of Them, and Dissatisfied. The companies listed are ranked by the number of Very Satisfied votes, and in the event of a tie, the Moderately Satisfied votes are tallied.

CARPET HARD SURFACES


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INTERFACEFLOR
SHAW CONTRACT
BENTLEY PRINCE ST.
C&A/TANDUS
DURKAN COMMERCIAL
LEES
MONTEREY/TANDUS
INVISION
J&J INDUSTRIES
ATLAS CARPET
KARASTAN
MASLAND COMMERCIAL
CROSSLEY/TANDUS
MANNINGTON COMMERCIAL
MOHAWK COMMERCIAL
MILLIKEN
PATCRAFT
DESIGNWEAVE
CONSTANTINE
DURKAN COMMERCIAL

2007
64%
58%
52%
47%
45%
45%
44%
44%
43%
43%
42%
41%
41%
40%
36%
33%
33%
32%
32%
30%

2006
60%
60%
49%
33%
38%
36%
36%
45%
33%
49%
31%
42%
--
55%
35%
29%
27%
29%
--
27%


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DAL-TILE
ARMSTRONG
JOHNSONITE
ROPPE
AMERICAN OLEAN
FORBO
FORMICA (KRONOTEX)
CROSSVILLE
MANNINGTON COMMERCIAL
NORA RUBBER
TARKETT COMMERCIAL
AMTICO
WILSONART
FLEXCO
TOLI
ECO-SURFACES
GRANITIFIANDRE
AZROCK
ABET LAMINATIE
BISAZZA

2007
69%
68%
68%
54%
54%
51%
44%
41%
40%
38%
32%
29%
27%
26%
26%
26%
24%
21%
21%
21%

2006
62%
73%
69%
53%
43%
45%
29%
58%
53%
42%
29%
38%
--
25%
24%
20%
24%
25%
22%
--

 

FAVORITE CARPET MANUFACTURERS

This year, more manufacturers than ever were named as favorites in the five carpet categories, reflecting the dynamic and increasingly more competitive nature of the industry and the commercial market. However, the top of each list was dominated by two firms, InterfaceFlor and Shaw Contract, with the winning edge going to InterfaceFlor. Another two carpet producers with strong overall performance were Bentley Prince Street, a division of Interface Inc., and Lees, a division of Mohawk. Both have reputations for design and innovation.

SERVICE

QUALITY

DESIGN

InterfaceFlor is the perennial winner in this category though it tied for first with Shaw Contract for the last two years. In this category, over half of the designers picked the top three firms. Tandus, which wasn't even mentioned last year, flew up to the fourth spot, tied with Lees. Constantine also made its way back onto the list.

This category was closely contested, with InterfaceFlor barely edging out Shaw Contract. There was a gap between those two and Lees and Bentley Prince Street. Constantine and Mohawk were back on the list this year. Over half the designers chose one of the top four firms as their top pick.

Shaw Contract has been in the second or third spot for the last several years, but this year it made the top of the list. InterfaceFlor, which topped the list in 2005, came in a close second. Atlas, last year's winner, dropped to third. Over half of the designers named the top four companies, and 22 firms in all were named as favorites.

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INTERFACEFLOR
SHAW CONTRACT
BENTLEY PRINCE STREET 
LEES
TANDUS
MASLAND
DURKAN
PATCRAFT
CONSTANTINE
MOHAWK
J&J

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INTERFACEFLOR
SHAW CONTRACT
LEES
BENTLEY PRINCE STREET
TANDUS
ATLAS
DURKAN
KARASTAN
CONSTANTINE
MASLAND
INVISION
MILLIKEN
MOHAWK
C&A

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SHAW CONTRACT
INTERFACEFLOR
ATLAS
BENTLEY PRINCE STREET
CONSTANTINE
DURKAN
MASLAND
TANDUS
MILLIKEN
KARASTAN

Also mentioned: Milliken, Crossley, Designweave, Atlas, Mannington, Monterey, C&A, Karastan, Cambridge, Bigelow, Blue Ridge, Invision

Also mentioned: Mannington, Brintons, Designweave, Tuva, Blue Ridge, Patcraft, Tai Ping, Monterey, Crossley, J&J

Also mentioned: Patcraft, J&J, Lees, Monterey, Brintons, Designweave, Bolyu, Mannington, Invision, Bigelow, Mohawk, Edward Fields

PERFORMANCE

VALUE

 

InterfaceFlor's win for Performance was the most dominant in all the categories, though there was also a big gap between Shaw and Lees. In fact, about half of the designers picked one of the two top firms as their favorite in this category. Durkan made a strong showing this year.

Shaw barely edged out InterfaceFlor in this category. Interestingly, the two three positions are exactly the same as last year, with Patcraft solidly in the third spot. Masland climbed a spot, Atlas fell to the Also Mentioned category, and both Bigelow and Designweave made the list this year.

 

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INTERFACEFLOR
SHAW CONTRACT
LEES
BENTLEY PRINCE STREET
TANDUS
MILLIKEN
DURKAN
C&A
KARASTAN
MOHAWK
PATCRAFT
MASLAND
ATLAS

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SHAW CONTRACT
INTERFACEFLOR
PATCRAFT
J&J
LEES
MASLAND
BENTLEY PRINCE STREET
BIGELOW
DESIGNWEAVE
TANDUS
MANNINGTON
DURKAN

   

Also mentioned: Constantine, J&J, Invision, Mannington

Also mentioned: Karastan, Milliken, Mohawk, Cambridge, Constantine, Crossley, Monterey, Atlas, Invision

   

 

FAVORITE RESILIENT & HARD SURFACE MANUFACTURERS

This year more hardwood manufacturers were mentioned than ever before. And reflecting growing strength in the commercial market, more porcelain producers than ever were also mentioned. A whopping 32 companies were mentioned in the design category. Last year, Wilsonart was the sole representative of laminate producers, and it made the Also Mentioned list for Service and Quality. By contrast, this year three laminate producers made the list: Abet Laminati, Wilsonart and Formica.

SERVICE

QUALITY

DESIGN

Crossville climbed from the fifth spot last year to this year's top spot. Armstrong and Dal-Tile dropped a spot and Forbo climbed one. The top three firms were mentioned as favorites by a little less than half of the respondents. Stone and tile producers fared well, as did hardwood manufacturers.

Forbo claimed the top spot in this category for the second year in a row, barely edging out Dal-Tile, which climbed to second from the sixth spot last year. Armstrong was down one spot while Crossville climbed three. Amtico, which spent the last three years in the Also Mentioned section, climbed to share the fourth spot with Nora.

In this category, the top five or six manufacturers were all fairly close, with Armstrong winning for the first time in years. Mannington, last year's winner, dropped to ninth place, while Amtico dropped from second to fifth. The top seven companies accounted for a little over half the designers' votes.

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CROSSVILLE
ARMSTRONG
FORBO
DAL-TILE
TOLI
MANNINGTON
AMERICAN OLEAN
JOHNSONITE
NORA
AMTICO
STONE SOURCE
ALTRO
ECOSURFACES
WILSONART

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FORBO
DAL-TILE
ARMSTRONG
CROSSVILLE
AMTICO
NORA
JOHNSONITE
MANNINGTON
TOLI
ANNE SACKS
STONE SOURCE
ROPPE
GRANITIFIANDRE
STONEPEAK

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ARMSTRONG
CROSSVILLE
FORBO
WALKER ZANGER
AMTICO
ANN SACKS
DAL-TILE
JOHNSONITE
BISAZZA
NORA
TOLI
ECOSURFACES
MANNINGTON

Also mentioned: Kahrs, Anderson, PermaGrain, Mirage, SonePeak, Roppe, Ann Sacks, Azrock, GranitiFiandre, Estrie, Centiva, Bisazza, Abet Laminati, Sincol

Also mentioned: Kahrs, Lonseal, L&M, Teknoflor, Am. Olean, Centiva, Flexco, Altro, Mondo, EcoSurfaces, Casa Dolce Casa, Abet Laminati, Halo, Expanko, Bisazzi, Interceramic, Parterre, PermaGrain, Walker Zanger, Wilsonart

Also mentioned: Abet Laminati, Centiva, Am. Olean, Formica, StonePeak, Chilewich, Anderson, Stone Source, Estrie, Lonseal, Kahrs, LG, Parterre, Mirage, Altro, Roppe, Casa Dolce Casa, Carlisle, Wilsonart

PERFORMANCE

VALUE

 

This was another close category, with Armstrong beating Forbo by a hair, with Crossville and Dal-Tile close behind. This is the fourth year that Armstrong has won this category. Dal-Tile climbed a spot from last year, while Amtico went from Also Mentioned to fifth. The top four firms were listed as favorites by over half the designers.

Armstrong won this category for the second year in a row. Dal-Tile climbed from third to second while Crossville and Forbo each climbed a spot. Amtico climbed to the seventh spot. Nora and Roppe, not mentioned last year, took the eighth and ninth spots, respectively. Close to half the designers voted the top two their favorites.

 

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ARMSTRONG
FORBO
CROSSVILLE
DAL-TILE
AMTICO
NORA
JOHNSONITE
MANNINGTON
ROPPE
TOLI
AMERICAN OLEAN
TARKETT
WILSONART
CENTIVA

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ARMSTRONG
DAL-TILE
CROSSVILLE
FORBO
AMERICAN OLEAN
MANNINGTON
AMTICO
NORA
ROPPE
WILSONART

   

Also mentioned: Lonseal, Expanko, StonePeak, Stone Source, Altro, Bruce, GranitiFiandre, Kahrs, Teknoflor, Ann Sacks, Flexco, Bisazza, Abet Laminati, Estrie, Mondo, EcoSurfaces, Walker Zanger, Caesar Ceramics

Also mentioned: Kahrs, Johnsonite, Estrie, Teknoflor, Toli, Altro, StonePeak, Abet Laminati, Flexco, L&M, EcoSurfaces

   

 

Copyright 2007 Floor Focus Inc


Related Topics:Masland Carpets & Rugs, Interface, Mohawk Industries, American Olean, Mirage Floors, The Dixie Group, Parterre Flooring Systems, Mannington Mills, Stonepeak Ceramics, Shaw Industries Group, Inc., Daltile, Tarkett, Roppe, Armstrong Flooring, Karastan, Crossville