International Technology Transfer

I recently had two encounters that remind me how difficult it is bringing a building product technology from one part of the world to another:
  • I had a discussion with a rep from a company that claims to be one of the leading European suppliers of accessories for planted, "green" roofs. The concept may be well established in Europe, but it is in its infancy in the US. The rep, taking clues from her European boss, had difficulty understanding that Americans want a roofing membrane manufacturer to warrant the planting accessories as part of a total roofing system. In Europe, apparently, the "waterproofing" and the "green roofing" are considered two completely separate trades, like we might consider the floor slab and carpeting to be almost completely separate. I tried to explain some of the differences, including a different legal system that assesses risk and liability differently.
  • Today, I went through the sales and technical literature of a Turkish company that has an innovative, thin ceramic sheet. While the bilingual documents were translated into "English", possibly into "American," they were still in a foreign dialect with regards to the language of American construction. I will forgive them the use of metric -- Americans should get their head out of the sand on that point. But the tools the related materials such as underlayments and sealants were unfamiliar, the types of assemblages, and even the drawing conventions used in their details were all "weird".
Fortunately, Chusid Associates has had experience with many other off-shore building product manufactures coming to North American. We have been able to assist them to understand US markets and plot their best course.

In some cases, once they understood the market conditions here, they have decided to not risk coming to the US. But when they have decided the investment was worthwhile, we have been able to act as their guide through the maze of acculturation, testing and regulatory hurdles, and start-up.