As an architectural consultant in many arenas, for a dozen firms and for hundreds of architects, spec writer Richard Gonser spends his days digging into the details of numerous projects. He handles waterproofing, roofing, curtain walls and, most often, paint coatings. “Basically, designers think in colors,” says Gonser. “But when it comes to the actual application, colors are very transitional. They’re trendy. They’re culturally sensitive. They’re regionally sensitive. They change over time, and it’s difficult to say you’ve got the right answer.”
When a designer’s vision for the perfect color clashes with environmental or economical limitations, Gonser’s role is to step in and use the suite of BEHR PRO™ Professional Services to ensure the coating will match the vision.
Behr and Spec Central
On a daily basis, Gonser sits down with designers to walk them through the differences between a semi-gloss and a flat coating. He examines actual materials they want to paint and how it will affect the technical details. For instance, hospital walls have to be washed down every day and school surfaces need to stand up to graffiti — major factors that affect coating choice. “Also, you get into certain regional applications. The eastern seaboard sun issues are not the same as they are down in Florida, California or Arizona or even up into the altitudes of Colorado,” Gonser says.
His role as a specifier is to take the visuals that designers want to achieve and translate them into products that will meet the economic demands of the owner. California in particular, often presents a major challenge with its VOC restrictions that force new demands in chemical compositions, calling for water-based paints instead of solvent-based. The variety of these constraints call for a large supply of products, and Gonser turns to BEHR® to meet these complex demands. “I work with designers to help them get their answers to what’s working together, and Behr does this quite well on their website.”
As a long-time user of BEHR Products and its supporting Services for Professionals, Gonser has even had the opportunity to visit the Behr Research Facilities in Santa Ana, California. It was there that he got a full sense of the scope of offerings Behr has to meet the needs of spec writers just like him. “It blew me away,” says Gonser. “The electron microscope and all the labs that they have. It’s very, very impressive. When you have those kinds of resources available, people can really get the answers they are trying to get to.”
Behr Color Matching
One of the main tools Behr offers that both spec writers and anyone with a local Home Depot can appreciate is the color-matching service. “People will bring something in and say, ‘I want this color,’” Gonser explains. “In the early days of using color-matching tools, we would always be one or two shades off, but that has not been the case with the technology changes and the tools that Behr now has available right in their Home Depot stores. And, it works.”
Gonser sees color matching as a particularly important service because designers might find colors they want to reproduce from materials that aren’t even a paint chip. Giving them easy fast access to match colors makes it that much easier for designers to zero in on the specific colors they want to reproduce for a building. At the same time, features like the BEHR® Color Box make it easy for designers to explore and find new options that they might not have thought of before.
A designer wanting to recreate the feelings of a lush green landscape in Hawaii, or a brown landscape in Phoenix, can easily match their inspirations with BEHR Products, look at new options and then trust Gonser to ensure the coating will work with the environment. “Our job is to give them the tools to make their color decisions. I take the design and the colors and then take their problem away.”
Behr Architectural Reps
When it comes to the specific problems Gonser faces, such as finding the perfect abuse-resistant paint for a metal staircase that will last longer than standard residential coatings, Gonser turns to Behr’s Architectural Reps. Gonser’s ongoing relationship with the Reps helps him navigate the vast product offerings and always come back to the clients with just the right solution. “As a specifier, I like to say, ‘OK, here’s what I need to do,’ and the Reps will deliver that information to me in person. That works fantastically.”
Between the roofing systems, glazing, concrete, insulation, weather barriers, electrical fixtures and everything else in the building that Gonser has to consider, he admits there is no way for any one person to know how the thousands of products might work together. The expertise of a Behr Architectural Rep helps remove one of those obstacles, ensuring that the right coating will be in place for all of a client’s needs. When it comes to individual products and their applications, working with the Behr Architectural Reps is an essential tool in getting the project done correctly.
While designers and even those tackling their own renovations might be thinking in terms of the best colors, spec writers like Gonser are tackling all the little details to ensure those choices work and last a lifetime — and in turn, they can count on BEHR Professional Services to make sure they get it right.