A&E Firm Specification Challenges and Possibilities for Improvement
In the Architecture and Engineering (A&E) industry, specification challenges involve balancing comprehensive detail and clarity, sourcing skilled specifiers, and the need to optimize workflows, and foster better collaboration.
This article outlines these challenges and provides strategies for A&E firms to leverage technology and practical approaches to prioritize and empower current staff for improved specification development.
Key Specification Challenges in the Industry
For A&E firms, putting together specifications can be manual and time-consuming. These workflows include reviewing each specification section, line by line, to ensure accuracy and consistency. This inefficient process can delay finalizing specifications and impact the project's quality.
According to the Deltek 44th Annual Deltek Clarity Architecture and Engineering (A&E) Industry Study, when asked about the construction specification process, more than half (52%) of firms indicated the time needed to produce a complete product specification package as one of their top challenges.
Displayed below is a chart illustrating the primary specification challenges faced by A&E firms:
Crucial to ensuring that construction projects are executed seamlessly means overcoming the challenge of creating a comprehensive specification package and addressing the lack of a dedicated specification writer. Tools such as software can significantly aid a specification writer by automating the process of gathering product information, integrating it seamlessly into the specification, reducing manual errors, improving consistency, and streamlining the overall specification development process.
According to Eugene Ninnie, Senior Structural Project Engineer at Jorgensen, "When I look at new projects, I immediately think about how we can assemble the drawings, but we also need to focus on developing the specifications." He adds, "Writing specifications can take a lot of time, which is why it's important to take advantage of software that makes things easier.” With tools like Deltek Specpoint, the Jorgensen team has access to AIA MasterSpec®’s extensive product library and software that streamlines developing specifications, saves time, and enhances the quality of project documentation.
Advancing the Specification of Digital Transformation
There are positive signs of digital maturity across the industry. According to the Deltek Clarity A&E Industry Study, last year, only 15% of firms indicated they were advanced or mature in their digital transformation maturity, and this year, that number has more than doubled. What's even more encouraging is that 82% of firms expect to be in a stage of advanced or mature in the next five years, up from 69% only a year ago.
Nonetheless, the report indicates that close to 49% of participants revealed they do not utilize any tools for developing specifications:
Digitally transforming specifications offers A&E firms the ability to streamline workflows, reduce time-intensive tasks, and enhance project outcomes. This modernization empowers teams to adapt quickly, optimize communication, and make informed decisions, contributing to smoother project execution and improved client satisfaction.
Carlos Murrieta, Principal and Co-Founder at Merge Architectural Group, shares that “Software is powerful because it not only provides hints about what we need to be considering or reviewing but also provides options for materials with more detail, making it easier to incorporate them into the specs and in our drawings.” Using software like Deltek Specpoint allows Carlos and his team to handle more complex projects and complete them more efficiently.
Equipping Teams to Enhance Specification Quality
The industry faces a significant challenge in sourcing skilled specification writers, as their expertise in translating complex technical details into clear and comprehensive documents is in high demand. According to the Deltek Clarity A&E Industry Study findings, one of the top challenges cited by 26% of all respondents is the need for more specification writers within their staff.
Providing teams with the necessary tools is crucial for enhancing specification quality, ensuring consistent and accurate documentation, reducing errors, and facilitating improved stakeholder communication. The software can significantly aid specification writers by automating and streamlining various aspects of specifications. Using these tools enables specification writers to focus more on their work's creative and strategic aspects, ensuring quality and efficiency in the final specifications.
In a rapidly evolving construction landscape where top-notch documents are of utmost importance, providing teams with specification software can significantly streamline developing specifications, ultimately resulting in improved projects. By embracing this strategy, A&E firms can enhance specification quality and achieve improved outcomes.
Explore the Possibilities
The A&E industry is reshaping how it builds and manages projects, which means implementing modern 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. See the Software in Action.
About the Deltek Clarity A&E Industry Study
Deltek conducts an annual survey of firms in the A&E industry to identify benchmarks on key performance indicators, gain perspective on current market conditions, and better understand industry trends. This year’s results for the Deltek 44th Annual Deltek Clarity Architecture and Engineering (A&E) Industry Study include responses from 583 firms representing a broad section of small, medium, and large firms. Gain insights here.
Better software means better projects. Deltek is the leading global enterprise software and information solutions provider for project-based businesses. More than 30,000 organizations and millions of users in over eighty countries worldwide rely on Deltek for superior project intelligence, management, and collaboration. This includes over 11,000 architecture and engineering firms, representing 80% of the Engineering News-Record (ENR) Top 500.