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.
Wednesday, July 15, 2020
- Waiting to join a webinar on glazing performance presented by a long-time manufacturer client.
- Finishing a white paper on manufacturer specifications our colleague Colin Gilboy at 4specs.com requested a couple of months ago. Then turning back to Division 01 project.
- Have a 15 project backlog with all projects moving at half-speed largely due, I think, to Covid-19 related delays. They will probably all start moving at the same time in September.
Tuesday, July 14, 2020
- Spent most of the day on a master Division 00 and Division 01 for a turnkey firm in a sensitive industry. No details here because we’re under an NDA: Non-Disclosure Agreement. This is common in our work. I will say that they have very talented staff and are a great pleasure to work with.
Monday, July 13, 2020
- Looked over the presentation for an upcoming Mason Contractors Association webinar written by long-time friend and colleague Paul Potts. Paul spent 30 years in the field as an architect site representative and knows some things about construction contracts. We’re fortunate in this industry to have so many experienced people willing to share their knowledge.
- Completed a peer review on an architect firm’s 088000 Glazing master on behalf of a manufacturer client. Got it tuned up with some reference updates. Found a few phrases coming from a national master specification publisher that just are not right; their writers are human, too, therefore not perfect. Too much to know!
Friday, July 10, 2020
- Working with a new client who uses Autodesk BIM 360 as a cloud based collaboration tool. So we will add that to SharePoint, Newforma, Bluebeam Studio, firm FTP sites, Sharefile, Basecamp, and ExaVault all used by our other clients, as well as our own Dropbox for Business. It’s a cloud jungle out there.
- Do you read Liz O’Sullivan’s blog Comments from a Spec Writer? https://lizosullivanaia.com/. You should. Very wise lady.
Thursday, July 9, 2020
What do your open joints look like in a rainscreen wall panel application? Reviewed trims, screens, and open joint painting options with an architect client.
Where do clients come from? You can advertise, do mailings, and make cold calls forever. But then a retired former client calls and says he’s consulting with a startup business that needs some help.
Wednesday, July 8, 2020
Roofing Warranties: We often require the metal flashing components related to low slope roofs to be tied into the roofing system warranty – it makes sense to avoid finger pointing over the source of potential problems down the road. A question from an architect client on submittal review made us aware that we need to write the coping and roof edge and roof expansion joint specifications to allow the roofing manufacturer/installer to select the manufacturers of these items. It’s obvious once pointed out. Tweaked our masters.
Sent off materials for an RFQ on a Caribbean health care project. We’ve done a lot of hurricane zone projects and health care projects; now they come together!
Tuesday, July 7, 2020
Specifiers work to keep abrest of who acquired whom, who went bankrupt, who’s hot, and who’s not among building product manufacturers; it’s never ending. Ourbest source for this is Colin Gilboy’s www.4specs.com.
Spent the end of the day reviewing and commenting on an architect’s specifications for a project on which we are handling project manual coordination. Some issues and a few missing sections. Lack of compliance with public agency bidding requirements needs to be fixed.
I think it is challenging for most practicing architects to master specification writing given the complexity of managing the design of modern buildings. The project architect may work on two or four projects a year; a full time specifier may work on three or four projects each month, so we have deeper knowledge along a much narrower channel.
Monday, July 6, 2020
- A manufacturer client is having a specification struggle: their products almost but not quite fit into the pre-determined slots in MasterSpec. I’m trying to help them resolve the issues, as their products appear to be very promising for fast turnaround projects with impermeable floor finishes (ie., most projects).
- Preparing a proposal to develop guide specifications for a specialty manufacturer who is clearly an industry quality leader. This is always a challenge – a generic specification will not do, and a lowest common denominator specification will not do. The specification needs to support the raising of the quality bar without being so exclusive that it just becomes a hidden proprietary specification.
Friday, July 3, 2020
- Advised our architect client on how to handle a municipal owner’s document with requirements for treatment of soil containing hazardous material: Keep the Owner’s name in the header and in the Table of Contents; architects should not mess with hazardous materials, as we’re not expert in that arena. Of course, the owner document is not written like a contract specification and will confound the bidders, but it is the Owner’s to answer questions about the requirements and manage that part of the work.
Thursday, July 2, 2020
- Helped a manufacturing association client apply to the CSI MasterFormat Committee to get a section name tweaked to bring it up to date with current industry terminology.
- Explained to an architect client that we avoid giving dimensions in the specifications to items such as tackboards that typically are dimensioned on interior elevations or schedules. As we all know: “Say it once.” Sizes and locations go on drawings; descriptions and quality go in the specs, with a few exceptions.
- Another architect client is struggling with how to get a natural cement finish on a cast-in-place utility building while also treating it for graffiti protection – this one will not be easy to solve.
Wednesday, July 1, 2020
- We are preparing a project manual for adding two stories to the top of an existing hospital. Yes you can do that, and it is done all the time. All you need is a very experienced architect and an experienced contractor/CM. We wrote a custom Roofing Removal section for the soon-to-be 9th floor. Chased down consultant specs to wrap up the project manual and saw that the MEP sections did not follow our format document for filenaming – we send our format document to all the consultants, and some of them followed it, some of them did not. MEP were gracious and redid the filenames using a bulk renaming software I recommended: http://www.gmayor.com/document_batch_processes.htm.
- My go-to product representative for Stage Curtains has retired! But he was kind enough to take my call and answer a question for me about the recommended clearance between the bottom of the grand drape and the stage floor. This retirement thing is happening a lot lately.