Contributed by Cherise Lakeside
With the ever increasing speed and change in projects and products every day, this blog could have been about anything. I chose to write about something that I am not hearing much about but that I am seeing with increased frequency. Something that really concerns me:
Where are the trained Specifiers? Am I the only one noticing a major shortage?
Please understand that when I say “trained” specifier, I am referring to the folks that have had contract document, project delivery and specifications education. I am talking about the folks who are well versed in the latest and greatest in the products worlds and know exactly how to incorporate that information into the Contract Documents for the best possible project outcome. I am not talking about all the folks out there who write specs but do not have this very special and specific training.
I am aware of a number of firms, in different locations around the country, who are having a very difficult time finding a specifier with this kind of training.
Why is that? I will tell you what I think (which anyone who knows me would expect).
Please note that there is no scientific research or analytics behind this blog. It is merely my observations in my local area and other parts of the country as a result of my involvement and connections in CSI.
I think we dropped the ball and I think two recessions have taken a huge toll on Generation X. Trained specifiers are a rare breed as it is. I see tons of (untrained) people in our industry writing or editing specs and creating risk and potential conflicts in the process because they do not know what they are doing. The hard cold truth is that it is common in our industry to discriminate against the specs. It is common to treat them as less important than the drawings. It is common to see only cursory attention given to this CONTRACT document. This document that carries equal weight with the drawings in the eyes of the law. As a result, many firms will let anyone in the office dump information into the specs. That is a critical mistake and I have seen the fallout of this decision first hand. More than once.
On the flip side of that coin, the firms that are smart enough to hire trained spec writers can’t find them. Finding a trained spec writer to hire these days is like looking for Bigfoot.
Why are we so short in this valuable, absolutely necessary resource in Architecture, Engineering and Construction (AEC)? Here is my take:
So where does that leave us? That leaves us without qualified, trained spec writers to fill the shoes of the exiting Baby Boomer spec writers (which, honestly, is the majority of them). What is the consequence? Firms are letting anybody with a pen in their hand write specs and the conflicts on projects are increasing.
What can we do about it? It’s not like we can close our eyes, twinkle our nose and have a boatload of trained Generation X specifiers appear out of nowhere.
We have to change the way we think about our Contract Documents and their importance. We have to change the way we educate our staff. We have to give the millennials the skills they need, far earlier than we have ever done before, so they can step into these empty shoes and incorporate spec education and knowledge into their design experience.
WE HAVE TO CHANGE!
How do we do this? There are many ways.
We have two choices here:
Seems like the answer is simple. It’s time to do a better job.
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