Contributed by David Bishton
Breakfast? With a specifier? You may wonder about the wisdom of such an engagement, but it is a unique experience. It occurred to me today that there are some uncanny similarities between project specification preparation and the simple (or complex) task of preparing breakfast. In this case, breakfast for a crowd.
The first thing to know is that the Specifier comes to YOUR house, either in person or virtually or both, to help YOU plan and make the breakfast. So wait, I can hear you say, the SPECIFIER DOES NOT DO ALL THE WORK? In case you hadn’t noticed I use capital letters for emphasis – I learned it from this really smart 5th grade (I assume) kid I found on Twitter. Anyway, the answer is no, but the Specifier can be your most able assistant.
So how does it work? The first thing I as a Specifier want to know is more about what’s on the menu – what did you have in mind to serve this big crowd that you’ve invited over? Oh, it’s a pot luck! You have the main course and everyone is bringing something to the table. So how can I help – what’s in the fridge?
I open the refrigerator door and what to my wondering eyes should appear? A miniature sleigh – wait, that’s from another story – a really large tray of the most beautiful eggs I’ve ever seen. And every nook and cranny stuffed with marked and unmarked containers of every size and shape. You are REALLY PROUD of those eggs! So how can I help? I can chop onions, garlic, veggies, make sausage, prepare a fruit salad, get all the herbs lined up, make toast, help set the table – I’ll even go to the store if you need something. Just tell me what you need. “First, look through this 150 page recipe and find the ingredients. Then figure out what’s in all these containers. I might be missing some things.”
Contributed by Roy Schauffele
The air barrier technology used in today’s construction and mandated by the International Energy Conservation Code (IECC) are firmly grounded in science. That database of knowledge continues to grow at an astounding rate. Research efforts by the Air Barrier Association of America (ABAA) will be presented at the ABAA Conference in 2019, and you will be astounded by how much research and testing that ABAA has been conducting to ensure better knowledge for all.
Currently, air barrier systems are being marketed with having passed only the air barrier part of the testing (ASTM E2357 - Standard Test Method for Determining Air Leakage of Air Barrier Assemblies) and pay little to no attention to the other architectural performance attributes, such as crack bridging, water resistance, adhesion to a substrate and fastener sealability, which when successfully passed, results in an ABAA Evaluated Assembly.
So, what I’m asking you to consider is an upgrade of performance requirements for a better and stronger air barrier specification. Here are my suggestions for ensuring the best possible air barrier performance for your project:
Performance requirements for a proper air barrier specification are vital. The above are four of my suggestions as how you can elevate and upgrade your specs. Should you have any questions or comments, I appreciate you commenting below. Thank you for reading.
Contributed by Cherise Lakeside
If you haven’t read my previous blogs, as a bit of history, I have worked in Architecture for most of my career (in 3 different firms), as well as in Construction and Engineering. All of these firms did some form of public work. A couple of them performed public work almost exclusively, one of which I was at for 23 years.
I guess that is a long way of saying that I have worked on, and prepared architectural specifications, standards and documents for a ton of public projects over my 30+ year AEC career. I would venture to say that I am fairly well versed in what it takes to get a public project out the door. You could also say that I have seen it all.
For those without experience in public projects, the differences in the documents between public and private work are notable and they typically take a lot more time. Why is that you ask?
Besides the typical code compliance items that need to be addressed, public work requires compliance with public contracting laws and bidding procedures. Public contracting laws vary from State to State. In addition to State rules, you may also have to deal with Federal, City, County, Environmental, local jurisdictions and then the actual specific public agency’s rules, as well. Also, many public agencies also require at least three equal products on everything in the building to promote competitive bidding, since it is a low-bid wins environment. This is not always easy to do and there really is no such thing as perfectly “equal” products. This also leaves room for dispute.
These rules are the law and must be complied with. If they are not, a Contractor may have right to file a dispute and have the bids thrown out to force a rebid. Contractors watch for these things, as it may give them another avenue to pursue if they are not the low bidder.
To add on to the complexity, many of the specific agencies have their own front end documents (Divisions 00 and 01), which may not be coordinated with your technical specifications. Some agencies have their own technical specifications, as well. These are documents that you are expected to work with, you have never seen before and you have no background on the decision making process of the content or the qualifications of the agency staff who wrote the content. You have no idea if it is even current. And often, it isn’t.
Contributed by Eric D. Lussier
Eugene and Portland, Oregon.
Providence, Rhode Island.
Arlington and McLean, Virginia.
Las Vegas, Nevada.
Las Vegas, Nevada. Again.
Edmonton, Alberta, Canada.
New York, New York.
If you had told me 365 days ago that I would have presented twenty-one times in twelve cities alongside my Let's Fix Construction co-founder, Cherise Lakeside, I would have laughed at you.
Every idea has to start somewhere.
When CONSTRUCT 2017 had a call for presentations, Cherise and I submitted for a 'Let's Fix Construction' workshop. What it would entail, we weren't 100% sure, but we knew that we had to get face-to-face with individuals and start talking real time about the issues that we were all facing in construction and writing about on our website.
So, what happens when you get accepted for a presentation? Not only do you have to create the presentation, but to have it go well, you need to practice! Cherise sent out two emails to two acquaintances and within two days, we had buy-ins. Not just any guinea pigs, either, but Willamette Valley CSI in Eugene and Carleton Hart Architecture in Portland, Oregon. To tack on practice, we coordinated a CSI Portland chapter meeting in downtown Portland immediately following the Carleton Hart session.
What did we learn? Our idea worked.
People within the AEC industry WANT to talk about the issues that we're all faced with. They WANT to move things forward. They WANT to make things better. They WANT to share knowledge and implement new concepts. The mightiest problem may be that we are typically operating within the contract model, not able, or not wanting to communicate directly with parties we aren't obligated to and perhaps don't have the time or place to move the laundry list of WANTS forward.
Enter Let's Fix Construction.
We had a website that was attracting eyes. We were recognized as an independent AEC industry sounding board that was unsponsored and unbiased. We provided a place, a format and the ask to share: your knowledge, your solutions and your industry answers. Three things that can be implemented and benefited from immediately. This medium was only as good as those that found their way to LetsFixConstruction.com. The workshop, however, seemed to be a different story.
The feedback was immediate and gratifying. Everyone seemed to have a takeaway. Whether it was a Monday-morning implementation, a new contact, a laugh or a new lens, those that attended and participated were engaged. It turned out that most of the time, ninety minutes wasn't enough. People wanted to keep talking. To keep sharing. To keep brainstorming.
So, we kept going. CONSTRUCT led to CSI Chapter meetings, which led to another architectural firm, which led to talking to PROSOCO customers at World of Concrete, which led to CSI Region Conferences, which led to CSC Canada's Conference and then to New York City for PROSOCO again.
And we've got more work to do.
Total World Domination doesn’t come overnight.
I look forward to where the next 365 days will be leading Let's Fix Construction.
(If you want to find out where our next stops will be, check out our 'Upcoming Workshops' page.)
Contributed by Eric D. Lussier
The world is in love with social media. We use it to stay connected to those we know, as well as meet new acquaintances. We use it to share pictures of our family, our surroundings and perhaps even our lunch and dinner. We use it share our current status, both in work and life, and our acquired knowledge.
Using social media intelligently has become more important as it becomes more widely used and as it dominates more of our time. The most valuable commodity in the world at this moment is attention and everyone is battling for the same 24 hours that you possess. This is why it’s important to thoughtfully choose which network you utilize when it comes to professional usage and development.
For those that have attended our workshop ‘She’s a Specifier, He’s a Product Rep: Different Roles, Same Goals’, or listened to our latest podcast, you know how much importance we place on using LinkedIn. With 562,000,000 registered members, including close to 150 million in the US, we view it as THE social network to use for a professional presence in Architecture, Engineering and Construction and the working world in general.
Launched just over fifteen years ago, LinkedIn was taken seriously as a social media network when Microsoft acquired them just over two years ago for over $26 BILLION, which was over three times the price they paid for Skype in 2011 at $8.5 billion.
If you aren’t taking full advantage of the benefits that LinkedIn has to offer, you may need to ask yourself why? Please don’t say that “it’s just for job seekers” or “I don’t have time for more social media”. First, just like other social media platforms are not about sharing what you had for lunch, LinkedIn isn’t solely about finding a job. While job seeking is certainly one component of LinkedIn, as an active user, I see few posts mentioning job opportunities in comparison to the industry knowledge being shared.
One of the clear benefits, and alone a reason to use the site, is that Google LOVES LinkedIn. Let’s face it, we all want Googleability as an individual and to appear on the first page when someone queries a name. Have you ever tried searching for a name only to find the first result comes from LinkedIn? I have, daily! If you can’t be found on Google, you might as well be intentionally living off the grid. If you are in sales, or it benefits your brand to be found, LinkedIn is an absolute must.
Let's Fix Construction is an avenue to offer creative solutions, separate myths from facts and erase misconceptions about the architecture, engineering and construction (AEC) industry.
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