Practical Learning You Can Put to Use Today

The CSI Academies brought expert instructors and students together, a total of about 140 individuals, for 13 hours of advanced education and learning over 3 days. The program was arranged in three tracks: Construction Specifier, Product Representative, and Construction Administrator.

The classes were at least 300 level.  And some were 400 level and beyond. These were advanced classes designed to help experienced individuals improve their skill sets and their knowledge to their particular work practices.

Every instructor and student was fee to attend classes of their choosing in every track. The audience mix allowed for lively debates from differing opinions and points of view. This dynamic - a mix of all players in the construction industry - makes the CSI Academies a great place to gain insight about all the inner workings within the industry.

Here are some things I learned that I will put into practice. I am excited about improving our work and our services from personal experiences fellow CSI members are willing to share. Read the linked TweetChats and presentations for additional information.

Building Envelope Integration:
Seemingly common, simple exterior building walls are complex assemblies. Each component has an effect of one or more other components. Material, performance, and detailing decisions are never easy.

  • Rely on network for trusted individual experts that can help advise on assembly construction and details.
  • Review assemblies as complete assemblies rather than pieces and parts to be sure the entire assembly functions as intended. Verify decisions when final assembly is confirmed.
  • Pay attention to the details. Review the interfaces between materials carefully.

Specifications Toolbox:
Every design team is different and approaches the specification process differently. It is important to manage the process to improve coordination.

  • Proactively control of problematic coordination issues between design disciplines to increase the service value to the design team.
  • Assume role, responsibility, and risk as Building Information Manager; more than being a specifier and much more than being a spec writer.
  • Develop keyword list for coordination between drawings and specifications.

Lunch & Learn Presentations:
Conspectus offers Lunch & Learn presentations about specifications and related design issues. I learned from the Product Reps that are making the presentations routinely.

  • Be the expert on the topic to begin building a relationship. Identify credentials that show our expertise to lend credibility to the presentation.
  • Research the firm and individuals before giving the presentation. Then tailor the presentation (at least the verbal portion) to suit the specific firm.
  • Watch and listen for an ally during the presentation. Draw additional information about potential opportunities from that ally.

I was honored to be selected to teach two Specifications Academy sessions. Here is what I hope everyone learned.

Delegated Design & Design Assist

Designers are tending to require contractor participation as part of the design process for specialty engineering delegated design and entire system design through design assist - most commonly under Integrated Project (IPD) Delivery methods.

  • Delegated design is all about the performance. Be sure to specify the design criteria and required performance to ensure the end result.
  • Design Assist is all about the process. Specify how the contractor and subcontractor will contribute to the design process to achieve the design intent.
  • Advise the owner and request approval for systems will be specified as delegated design and developed through design assist.

PPDFormat - the Uses and Benefits:
Preliminary Project Descriptions (PPDs) are a unified, structured approach for presenting basis of design or design intent, especially during early design phases, in place of design narratives and outline specifications.

  • PPDs can be used throughout the life of a construction project as a quality assurance tool.
  • PPDs can combine graphics and text to provide a powerful explanation of design intent.
  • PPDs are the Rosetta Stone. The building information model objects to link to a PPD system description that contains multiple components ultimately linked to the construction specifications.

So what can you learn?

Tell me if you plan to attend. Then watch for the 2014 CSI Academies registration to open in August 2013. Space is limited so reserve your spot early. I hope to see you there.

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