Specifying Process

Who is involved? What roles do they play? What contributions
do they make? And when do each contribute? The CSI Specifying Practice Group
explored these and other questions about the specifying process at the April 1,
2010 meeting.


If you have an opinion, join the
. Everyone that reads or writes specs is welcome and it is FREE. Participation, controversy,
and disagreement are encouraged so we can learn from one another. The group
meets for one hour the first Thursday of every month.


The perception is that architects and engineers make the
product selections. Is the perception reality? Perhaps. But there are thousands
of choices to make, and many factors influencing those choices. Architects tend
to focus on products affecting the visual and spatial experience of the project.
Mundane and commodity products receive scarce attention, if any. So, who makes
those decisions?


Explore the meeting discussion presentation. Add your own
opinions by leaving a comment at the end of this posting.

Owners may have significant influence on product selections
and what is ultimately specified. Because of other facilities and maintenance
experiences, owners tend to have strong opinions, especially about products
that have not performed well. Poor performance and failures tend to generate
design standards that must be met for future construction projects.


Specifiers, whether independent or in-house, exert a great
deal of influence on product specifications. Specifiers usually keep the
corporate memory of what works and what does not. The specifications reflect
the memory and the designers' selections. The mundane products, ignored by the
designers, are relegated to the specifier.


Contractors and subcontractors buy the products. Forcing
builders to buy outside their normal supply chain will exert pressure on the
designers to review substitution requests. And when builders can show owners
significant first cost savings, those pressures mount.


Manufacturers, Distributors, and Product Representatives can
play a significant role in influencing product specifications for construction
project. This group works with the designers during the early stages of the
project showing potential product applications and offering advice on product
selections. The same group also influences the builders' product selection
process during bidding and construction, especially when delivery times become


So there are many players with changing roles depending on
where the project is in the design and construction process.


Read additional notes about the meeting and listen to the meeting
recording at the CSI Blog.

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Owner Focus
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