It occurred to me that I could make note of some of the interesting things that happen every day in my specification consulting practice. I will try to keep this going for the second half of this year, posting a couple of times a month. They are all learning experiences for me – maybe for someone else, too.
Friday, August 14, 2020
Feedback: The most valuable emails SpecGuy receives are the ones from the architect that illustrate what can go wrong on a job site installation. We are frequently tweaking masters to help head off these problems next time. W. Edwards Deming, the Father of Total Quality Management, called this “the Quality Loop.”
Thursday, August 13, 2020
MasterSpec Product Listings: These are only as good as the information the manufacturer gives to Deltek staff. If you are a manufacturer, have a technically experienced product manager (or your friendly specifications consultant) help you get this correct, as it goes to 50,000 architects. If you are an architect or specifier, always double-check the current product data sheet on any product you are going to list in your specifications. Mistakes are made. Product names and manufacturers change.
Tuesday, August 11, 2020
Roofing: I just connected a young project architect with the NRCA Roofing Manual. Every architect’s office should have one. Your roofing details should be at least as good as the detail plates in this manual; shop drawings will take over from there.
Monday, August 10, 2020
ZOOM: We’ve been using cloud software for webinars for … 12 years! Several of our client firms have just gotten their feet wet with remote team meetings, and they are doing great! What used to be just long teleconferences to walk through specs now include real faces: of our architect clients and their kids and dogs. This makes our work more personal and interesting and meaningful. And the meetings have quickly become more focused and productive.
Friday, August 7, 2020
Covid: We’re now in the fray regarding classroom social distancing and how to integrate screens. Looking at acrylic and polycarbonate glazing panels; their lines are all running overtime due to demand. That demand is way out in front of the science. School clients are under tremendous stress to do the right thing – but what is the right thing?
Thursday, August 6, 2020
Back to Glazing: We perform ongoing peer reviews on glazing sections. It is not boring – there is a real satisfaction in doing something to the point that you are pretty close to mastering it! But for this one, I needed to call my glazing engineering guy. He agreed that there is a problem in the code not addressing the potential installation of interior glazing also acting as a guard where there is a change in floor level on one side. This is a large floor to ceiling glazed opening that overlooks a lower floor. If it were a glazed railing, it would be required to meet the performance requirements of a guard. So we are looking at options of 1) engineering the glazing to meet the thickness requirements of guard loading or 2) modifying the framing to provide an intermediate safety rail.
Wednesday, August 5, 2020
Alternates: Anyone who has attended a bid opening knows that alternate pricing is all over the map on bid forms. This is because 1) the bidders have a complex formula for achieving profit, or 2) the documents were not clear, and they threw a bid number at each alternate. I’m going with the latter. Some years ago we developed a format for describing alternates that we’ve since injected into MasterSpec’s Section 012300 “Alternates.” Each alternate has a distinct title that also appears on the bid form. It has a line item to describe what constitutes the base bid, and another to describe the alternate. Space is allowed for referring to specific drawings and specification sections if needed. Taking that little extra time to properly describe an alternate seems to help. Don’t forget to add a specification section for a work result that only appears in an alternate!
Monday, August 3, 2020
Good News Peer Review! I reviewed a glazing section for a client today that showed that there are architect firms out there who really know how to write a specification! Glazing sections are notoriously difficult and should always involve an experienced manufacturer’s representative – especially if the project includes fire-resistance-rated or security glazing. We added some quality control language and corrected some glazing unit performance requirements.