Proven specification strategies that deliver better-built projects
Today, writing specifications is about managing information and data from many different sources and transferring that data to the appropriate specifications. Technological improvements have helped architects, engineers, and specifiers become more efficient in writing and processing individual specifications.
However, several challenges remain, such as out-of-date or inaccurate product information, the absence of historical data, and individual component thinking. Tackling these challenges means you can fully utilize data to make better specification decisions.
Here are three specification strategies where information can significantly increase productivity and efficiencies on your next project.
Strategy #1: Transform your office master
Office masters offer a central location for firm knowledge—outlining and documenting product preferences, information on products that the firm usually specifies, and requirements for contractor review before installation. Rather than reviewing and interpreting the same information and making the same decisions over and over, use the office master as your firm’s resource for specifications previously vetted, researched, and proven.
Creating an office master within one or more Word files is less than ideal—you could be working from the latest authored section from the last project rather than standardized vetted information. The data may not be correct and may be missing vital pieces. Instead, modernize your office master using technology that ensures information is kept current.
Tip: Look to utilize industry tools such as AIA’s MasterSpec® that is part of Deltek Specpoint, modern software making the building selection process, creation of accurate specs, and delivery of high-quality projects much more manageable.
Strategy #2: Mine historical data
The architecture, engineering, and construction (AEC) industry has a wealth of information, specifically historical data. However, there is no current way to mine and research that data. Most of the information is in requests for information (RFIs), submittals, specifications, and drawings in formats that make mining the data cumbersome. Imagine if you had access to years of project information. Wouldn't that help you make data-driven decisions and achieve a better overall project?
Using technology to gather and analyze AEC data is a game-changer for evidence-based specifying. With this type of data, you can make better and more accurate decisions, and spend the right amount of time on a complex issue.
Tip: Look for intelligent database-driven software, such as Specpoint that aggregates your firm’s data points and best practices to streamline and improve the process of developing construction specifications.
Strategy #3: Specify in assemblies
Typically, specifications are individual components. For example, if you take an exterior cement plaster wall, think of how many unique sections that is. There could be as many as eight sections. Managing that one assembly and translating it into eight individual sections doesn't make sense. This approach can lead to errors within the specifications and potentially result in change orders. Instead, a specifier can take an assembly-based approach to manage that information and ensure all assemblies are covered.
Specifying in an assembly-based format helps to better manage information. There is no need to translate that assembly into individual components, which may lead to omissions or errors within the specifications.
Tip: Using an assembly-based approach offers team members a better understanding of the construction elements required to meet the overall project performance and design requirements.
The AEC industry is reshaping how it builds and manages projects, which means implementing new technology. Deltek and AIA have teamed up to deliver Deltek Specpoint, home of AIA MasterSpec®, which consists of comprehensive online building product research and selection content combined with a streamlined specification design and publishing tool that pulls from decades of experience serving the industry’s specialized needs. Learn more here.
Better software means better projects. Deltek is the leading global provider of enterprise software and information solutions for project-based businesses. More than 30,000 organizations and millions of users in over 80 countries worldwide rely on Deltek for superior project intelligence, management, and collaboration. This includes more than 11,000 architecture and engineering firms, representing 80% of the Engineering News-Record (ENR) Top 500.