For the Birds: Considerations for effective specification of bird deterrence

Most of the providers of the materials used in bird deterrence tend to be incapable of fully addressing the needs of the architectural community on large and scattered projects. The bird control industry has two main sources of information—the manufacturers who benefit from sales of product and the installers (effectively distributors) who benefit from pricy installations.

On the manufacturer level, there is neither a big enough market for their products, nor a profit margin high enough on each job to justify the expense of a truly capable dedicated architectural project management staff. At the same time, the local ‘proxies,’ the pest control companies bidding on the installation, are hardly capable architectural product representatives.

An appropriate analogy would be to the healthcare industry’s pharmaceutical manufacturers and pharmacies. You would not call a manufacturer to ask about the ailment you are potentially developing or hoping to cure. Their products may be well-researched and developed by professionals, but they do not have the resources to dedicate to your specific—and potentially complex—project to truly analyze and advise the individuals who may need care. At the same time, you would not go straight to a pharmacy to see what they would sell you to address the problem you are mitigating. The pharmacists are knowledgeable about the drugs, but not as intricate with their knowledge of the individual patient. Their job as a distributor is to sell product and they will try to sell you what they have—even, perhaps, if something else they do not carry could, in fact, be better for you, the patient.

The best source of information in this scenario is a physician who can analyze your unique situation and follow you through the process of preventative care or rehabilitation. This is what an independent consultant with the relevant expertise can offer.

Similarly, when faced with the bird control scenario of having a product manufacturer and a subcontractor pointing fingers at each other for an ineffective system, it can be helpful to think of this same analogy. In other words, in this hypothetical situation, you purchased ineffective medicine from the pharmacy. The drug company can show you all the studies about how the product has efficacy, but then tell you since it was not the one that sold you the product, it should not be liable for the medicine not working for you. Then, the pharmacy you got it from tells you they just distribute, but it is really the pharma manufacturer’s product, and that it was delivered as you ordered it, so it should not be their fault it does not work.

So what do you do to prevent this? You could write a performance spec for the pharmacist, telling him or her to solve a particular ailment without causing certain side effects. Now you have asked the pharmacist to mix you up a cocktail of drugs based on your stated needs (as cheaply as can be to win the bid). Since this sounds like a recipe for disaster, a better idea would be to go see a doctor—someone who can take the time to analyze your needs and write a prescription that can be taken to multiple pharmacies for competitive pricing. This is what an independent bird-control consultant does. 

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