Specs 101 – Really?


A couple weeks ago, I taught a Specs 101 class at the Portland Chapter of the Construction Specifications Institute.  This class covered some of the most basic principles of writing specifications and the importance of their status as CONTRACT documents.

The following week, I did a CSI webinar on best practices for Product Representatives.  This webinar included a segment on spec writing and where manufacturers are falling down when they provide specifications for design firms.

The class sold out and we had to turn people away.  We had a ton of people sign up for the webinar.  What was most notable was the variety of disciplines that turned out for the class.  I had architects, engineers, contractors, subcontractors, product reps and even an owner in the room.

The overwhelming response was “I didn’t know that”!  This more than gave me pause.

The fact is every project is governed by the Contract.  The drawings and specifications are the contract and are complementary.  They carry equal weight.  Yet design professionals and others on the project team receive NO education in the project delivery process, contract documents or contract administration as a part of their higher education.  All involved in a project are bound to the requirements of these documents like any other contract that you would encounter in your life.  All take on some level of risk when embarking on a new project.

I encounter so many misconceptions and misunderstandings of contractual roles and responsibilities on a project that it is absolutely dizzying.

We have failed in AEC by not preparing our professionals with the knowledge to not only design and build a project, but also to administer it with as little risk and conflict as possible.

So to the architects, the engineers, the contractors and the product reps – educate yourself.  There is no excuse.  Minimize the risk and know how to do your job fully and collaboratively.  Make the built environment a better place by having the knowledge to do it right.

While I am not on the CSI payroll, I am very passionate about what this organization has to offer.  Registration is open now to get just the education you need.  http://bit.ly/1uVRi39

I have found no better place to get it nor I have a found a more complete program.

You can thank me later!


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