CSI Certification - It's Worth the Effort

I heard specs mentioned once in school. It was in one class of the professional practice course - the 30 hour course to teach students everything they need to know about running an architecture business, including writing specs. Still I had never seen a spec and had no clue what it was.
What was my first project after graduating college with an architectural degree? A prominent design? No, measuring and documenting 65 existing buildings at Letterkenny Army Depot; calculating energy savings; estimating construction costs; and finally writing the project specifications using the Corps of Engineers master specs.

Did school prepare me for this assignment? YES and NO. I could certainly measure and document the existing buildings. Thanks to 4 years of MEP engineering in school, I could do the calculations. Estimating was a joint effort with the project manager, so I got by.

The Specs, Oh the Specs!
I heard specs mentioned once in school. It was in one class of the professional practice course - the 30 hour course to teach students everything they need to know about running an architecture business, including writing specs. Still I had never seen a spec and had no clue what it was.

Career Lessons
Joe Shatto, the project manager, guided me while I wrote my first spec. Joe was a great help. He was a long term CSI member and the president of the Central Penn Chapter of CSI at the time. He taught me what would become the content of CSI's Certified Document Technologist (CDT) program. Invaluable lessons early in my career.

Today, it is easier for many to learn the CDT concepts. There is no need for one-on-one teaching as for me. CSI has a well established program. CSI chapters help students prepare for the exam with local classes. Even on-line help is available.

Important Dates
Early Registration (discounted) February 22, 2020
Final Registration April 30, 2020
Test Dates May 4, 2020 - June 5, 2020

Registration
Spring 2020 National Exam Information

Basic Information
CDT - Certified Document Technologist https://www.csiresources.org/certification/cdt
CCS - Certified Construction Specifier https://www.csiresources.org/certification/ccs
CCCA - Certified Construction Contract Administrator https://www.csiresources.org/certification/ccca
CCPR - Certified Construction Product Representative https://www.csiresources.org/certification/ccpr

Choose Your Battles; Win the War
I must admit that I completed my CCS certification before CDT was conceived. But I must tell you that the certification gave me credibility as an architect specifier in an engineering company. When I challenged the engineers' specifications, there was a sense of authority. I could cite the CSI Manual of Practice. The engineers could not. I could provide reasons for writing as I did. The engineers could not. Did I win every battle? Certainly not. But the war was mine with a studious determination to make the specifications better.

The Challenge
Now I pass the challenge to you, as I have to my staff, to earn your certification and to bring the same credibility and respect to your work in construction. Begin with the CDT, the basis for all other certifications.

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