4specs.com    4specs.com Home Page

Certified 'Green" Wood GuideSpecs - P... Log Out | Topics | Search
Moderators | Register | Edit Profile

4specs Discussion Forum » Sustainable Design Topics » Certified 'Green" Wood GuideSpecs - Phase II Uploaded « Previous Next »

Author Message
Jonathan Miller, FCSI, SCIP
Senior Member
Username: jmma_specs

Post Number: 12
Registered: 04-2009
Posted on Thursday, August 20, 2009 - 04:35 pm:   Edit PostDelete PostPrint Post

After 13 months.... supported by multiple non-profit and grant funding sources... I have completed nine different sets of Long-Form and Short-Form Guide Specifications for the Vermont Sustainable Jobs Fund, the Vermont Wood Manufacturers Association, and the Vermont Chapter CSI.

These are freely downloadable Word.DOC and Adobe.PDF files.
The only thing we ask is that you send us feedback on how to make them better.
(Unregistered Guest)
Unregistered guest
Posted on Friday, August 21, 2009 - 12:18 pm:   Edit PostDelete PostPrint Post

The USGBC does not recognize PEFC as a certification that counts toward achievement of MRc7. It recognizes only FSC. The spec i looked at allows certification by FSC and PEFC, but LEED points will not be possible if wood is submitted with PEFC certification.

These specs need to be corrected and/or removed from the web site immediately.
Mark Gilligan SE, CSI
Senior Member
Username: mark_gilligan

Post Number: 198
Registered: 10-2007
Posted on Friday, August 21, 2009 - 03:53 pm:   Edit PostDelete PostPrint Post

The strength of these model specifications is in their focus on green issues. I would suggest that these resources be used in conjunction with specifications that focus on the engineering aspects of wood construction.

The Sections 1706.2 and 1707.3 of 2009 IBC have special inspection requirements for wood structures in regions of high winds and earthquakes that are not reflected.
John Bunzick, CCS, CCCA, LEED AP
Senior Member
Username: bunzick

Post Number: 1097
Registered: 03-2002
Posted on Monday, August 24, 2009 - 08:42 am:   Edit PostDelete PostPrint Post

I was going to try to hold back, but I can't.

While I don't happen to like these sections very much, they don't purport to be specifically LEED specs, only sustainable wood, though truth is, they ignore CHPS and other sustainability systems. There are a number of problems with them, including their failure to follow CSI SectionFormat and general specifying recommendations; their use of very sloppy definitions; the fact that they mix submittals for a single product with those produced for an entire projet; the fact that these are a fairly blatant attempt to drive business to a short list of producers; and finally to the fact that these are so over-burdened with "sustainability" that the product they're specifying with its other important characteristics, is nearly lost.

And I can't help but be annoyed by the over-emphasis on sustainable wood in LEED and CHPS. Consider that this certification not only requires well managed forests, but includes a significant number of social goals, which, while some may argue are laudable, have nothing directly to do with preserving our forests. Why not certified sustainable steel, using mining techniques that don't destroy ecologies and requiring minimum wages for steel workers in China? Why not sustainably manufactured glass that does not use electrical power from coal-burning power plants? The point is, none of our other construction products are singled out the way wood is.
James M. Sandoz, AIA, CSI, CCS, LEED AP
Senior Member
Username: jsandoz

Post Number: 55
Registered: 06-2005

Posted on Monday, August 24, 2009 - 08:50 am:   Edit PostDelete PostPrint Post

John, you make a good point about the ecological aspects of obtaining all building materials. Indeed, the amount of wood used, versus other materials such as steel and concrete, on projects with which I am involved is miniscule. This is true even for interior finsh materials.
Jonathan Miller, FCSI, SCIP
Senior Member
Username: jmma_specs

Post Number: 14
Registered: 04-2009
Posted on Wednesday, October 28, 2009 - 11:13 pm:   Edit PostDelete PostPrint Post

Ahhh... some good feedback. I was ill for a few months and finally checked back in.

Unregistered Guest.... So far USGBC LEED does not recognize PEFC. The new update to Credit 7, when it is in place, will recognize different certification systems. The current proposal gives a multiple for the monetary value the more USGBC LEED MR7 defined criteria one meets.

Mark... thanks for the high winds and earthquake comment.
Our Connecticut River Valley region does get high winds.
Earthquakes here are very minor... less than a 4.4 at most with an epicenter usually in NY or towards Montreal.

John B. thanks for some of your critique.
These are not exclusively LEED specs but covered the active certification systems here in Vermont. In a few of the GuideSpec sections I do cover CHPS where finishes are important.

The only SectionFormat 2007 I failed to follow was putting FIELD CONDITIONS in Part 3..... something I disagree with.... but am constantly reflecting about.
I questioned the update team about it but never received a response to my input.

You do not like my definitions.... fine.... post something better to make this a better 'freely downloadable' GuideSpec.

As for my "blatant attempt"... know I was hired to promote Vermont resources and products along with certified wood.
It's a model you can match for your region with a little work.

In the definitions I had a comparison comment regarding PEFC and FSC differences pointing out that social requirements were one of the main differences. You appear to support PEFC with your opinion regarding the social requirements inherent to FSC.
To me sustainability encompasses local economics and a viable community, not only a well managed and legally harvested resource.

At the end of the "free" GuideSpec Sections feedback is requested to make this better. I appreciate the positive comments and ask that you be a bit more judicious and professional with your other words.

James.... it always depends on the project and client as to how much of one material or another one uses.
I for one believe that Sustainability is one of the base Green aspects that should be universally applied.
Anne Whitacre, FCSI CCS
Senior Member
Username: awhitacre

Post Number: 919
Registered: 07-2002

Posted on Thursday, October 29, 2009 - 02:22 am:   Edit PostDelete PostPrint Post

I reviewed two basic sections -- the wood sheathing and also the wood furniture sections. I have some general comments: There is a fair amount of commentary that is disguised as specification text: for example, the entire section of definitions under "Engineered Composite wood products" at 1.2.B.2 a-g. These items are defined by the standards and shouldn't be redefined here. In addition, you define MDF both in paragraph 1.2.B.2.c and 1.2.b.8. but the definitions differ.

In the northwest (and probably in other parts of the country as well) the critical issues with OSB and other composite panels have to do with screw holding capability and delamination when wet (most northwest roofers will not accept it as a substrate anymore for this reason, nor is it recommended by the NRCA) but screw holding, and delamination are not mentioned at all in this section. While there seems to be commentary about sustainability and toxicity of glue, there is little commentary about the usefulness or function of the panels that are specified.
In your samples paragraph, I wonder about the usefulness of these samples. The panels in this section are typically structural panels, and no one needs or wants samples of them. If these are not all structural panels, I would suggest spliting the section, since the suppliers would differ as would the installers, as would most of the other requirements.

You should note that the LEED credit for IEQ only applies to interior panels, which means its not appropriate for roof or exterior sheathing and this should be mentioned in your commentary.
Also, the air quality requirements, again are for interior spaces only, which generally means that "freeze/thaw conditions" would not apply. (paragraph 1.5.D.3) again for sheathing, I'm not sure why veneer panels are in this section, since they are quite different from exterior panels and have differing requirements.

In general, I question the usefulness of the furniture section.

I realize that were doing this as part of a job. I know of no LEED system that considers moveable furniture as part of the rating system (unless I'm really out of date, which may be possible). I am making the distinction here between "furniture" and "built-in" items such as casework. In addition, the pounds per lineal foot you have mentioned (15) isn't supported by either the AWI or the Scientific Furniture requirements (5 and 10 pounds per lineal foot, respectively), which means that you are asking for a custom fabrication, which will have cost implications that are not immediately apparent in the section.

as for the social implications: there are projects where social implications are implicit in the project type. However, contract documents are not social documents, they are legally emforceable documents, and unless the client specifically requests a social agenda, I do not believe it is our job as design professionals to impose one on them. Certainly if you have a very specialized client type, and a very specialized contractor, this would be a achievable.
David E Lorenzini
Senior Member
Username: deloren

Post Number: 87
Registered: 04-2000

Posted on Thursday, October 29, 2009 - 10:46 am:   Edit PostDelete PostPrint Post

Jonathan...Your comment about putting FIELD CONDITIONS in Part 3 is confusing. The only change that SPUTT made to that item was to change the previous edition's PROJECT CONDITIONS to an option of FIELD CONDITIONS or SITE CONDITIONS. (This FIELD vs. SITE option also appears in Part 3 as FIELD QUALITY CONTROL or SITE QUALITY CONTROL.)

Essentially, this is a change in vocabulary, not concept. There should be no question that FIELD/SITE CONDITIONS belongs in Part 1 where it has always been. Your documents are commendable in scope and effort, as well as conformance to SectionFormat, with the exception of FIELD CONDITIONS. On the other hand, there are some glaring differences with the recommendations of PageFormat.
David Lorenzini, FCSI, CCS
Architectural Resources Co.
(Unregistered Guest)
Unregistered guest
Posted on Thursday, October 29, 2009 - 12:10 pm:   Edit PostDelete PostPrint Post

Wow. These specifications are an embarrassment. Forget about the accuracy of the content for a moment, they are poorly written, wordy, and confusing. If a client asked me to use these for a project, I would refuse. Reading up on specifications writing in the PRM and a complete reworking is my advice. Here's a word you need to look up: STREAMLINED. Don't write the specs to the "shipper" or any other entity except the Contractor. You need to educate yourself on what Performance Criteria is as well. A good example is: Wind Load: 20psf. Your sections are littered with "performance" criteria such as: Siding: White Pine; and Shingles: Flat grained, hand split, sold in squares; and Flooring: Quartersawn. Descriptions yes, performance criteria, no. Here's a little tidbit for you: If you include performance criteria in the spec, you are asking the Contractor to design something. A thorough reading of AIA A201(see 3.10 for delegated design) is advised.

The specs are littered with the word "per." "Per" this and "per" that. It's called a colon. Check the PRM.

These specs completely ignore the 4 C's but sure hammer a 5th C: Capacious. Maybe your fee was based on length.

I doubt that this will be posted, but it should be. I suppose that there are good and bad among all professions, but I had no idea how bad it could be in ours until I read your specs. Please, do the profession a favor and don't write any more specs until you have your CCS.

D. Marshall Fryer, CSI, Assoc. AIA
Senior Member
Username: dmfryer

Post Number: 72
Registered: 09-2003
Posted on Thursday, October 29, 2009 - 12:33 pm:   Edit PostDelete PostPrint Post

No, (Unregistered Guest), the embarrassment is your anonymous stone-throwing and insults. State your name as we all do, or else please go away.

The specs are far from perfect, and the author has acknowledged this and indicated that he appreciates any constructive criticism.

Your criticism has stepped far over the line into offensive and cowardly.

Colin, perhaps it is time to reopen the debate about banning anonymous posts?
Tracy Van Niel, FCSI, CCS
Senior Member
Username: tracy_van_niel

Post Number: 284
Registered: 04-2002

Posted on Thursday, October 29, 2009 - 03:47 pm:   Edit PostDelete PostPrint Post

Apparently "unregistered guest" has had a bad day, but that doesn't excuse the insulting manner in which his or her message was conveyed.

I agree with Marshall and vote to ban anonymous posts.
Tracy L. Van Niel, FCSI, CCS
Ralph Liebing, RA, CSI, CDT
Senior Member
Username: rliebing

Post Number: 1079
Registered: 02-2003
Posted on Thursday, October 29, 2009 - 03:52 pm:   Edit PostDelete PostPrint Post

by Ralph Liebing, RA, CSI, CDT
Cincinnati, OH

When you joined CSI and/or SCIP, you just filled out a form and paid your dues. You were not asked to raise your hand and pledge allegiance to the group or to professionalism-- to the latter, it was a foregone conclusion. You were either professional or wanted to be! OK? Now in that scenario, there is absolutely no pecking order, precedent or hierarchy—we are the same, professionally! And we are gifted by some degree of “stigma of status”[as spec expert] within our bailiwick!

One thing we cannot come by in any form at any cost is intolerance! We can grouse, grump, and mutter, but pure, nasty intolerance is nothing but frustrated professionalism!

Let me offer an example:

He came over, quietly, a raft of papers in hand; smiled and asked if I had minute. What’s going on?

Always try to be available, open, and helpful [I am really a very fine person!!!] I assured him that I had time for whatever he was about. The reply came, “I talked to Ray and he helped me a little with these specifications [notice, the full word; too young to use “specs”!!!] but told me to ask you to guide me through the whole process”.

What the h _ _ _ is going on? Someone asking, 1] about specs, 2] for help with specs, 3] in a sincere, I-want-to-learn attitude, and 4] and showing profound interest in doing them right. What, indeed, IS going on??

Now see, at this point, I am taken by the thought that I have made some progress; made inroads into the fertile minds of at least one [could there be more] young, budding architects in our office! Me-- for a moment, I am simply stunned.

I am so used to the “Hey, Ralph, I need these specs to go out today, can you do them now”-- 41 Sections, 4000 edits and glitches, a million bad concepts, and 16 misplaced items. Sure, dumb me, I get them done.

But now euphoria has set in-- someone is here, ahead of time, asking for guidance, and trying to “do specs right”. I may cry!

Now show me, in there, where any level of intolerance is needed or appropriate? There is none! Who am I to berate or electronically “yell” at someone who comes to me and asks for help; who seeks to be better; and desires to produce a better product? To do so is intolerable, the height of unprofessionalism and without any reason, founding or substantiation! Why would anyone choose to do this? What could their reason possibly be? What result were they trying to achieve? Beats me! But then I guess I'm just a professional wimp!

Folks, the “discussion” above-- most regrettable!

We are much better than this!
David J. Wyatt
Senior Member
Username: david_j_wyatt_csi_ccs_ccca

Post Number: 125
Registered: 07-2005
Posted on Friday, October 30, 2009 - 09:22 am:   Edit PostDelete PostPrint Post


Thank you for offering the specifying community your work. I am sorry that some of us lack basic manners.

Of all people, spec writers should know how important the tone of writing is to communicating.
Jonathan Miller, FCSI, SCIP
Senior Member
Username: jmma_specs

Post Number: 15
Registered: 04-2009
Posted on Thursday, November 19, 2009 - 10:54 pm:   Edit PostDelete PostPrint Post

Thanks to all of you who gave constructive criticism !

As many of you might know when one gets too close to a subject you loose a little objectivity and need fresh eyes.
I can get back to editing this now to make a better product.

David.... My opinion regarding FIELD or SITE CONDITIONS belonging in PART 3 is based on environmental conditions in the field required for execution of the work. There are times when the Contractor is required to heat and/or dehumidify the space before installation can proceed.... which I see as preparation.
I do not believe this article belongs in PART 1, which revolves more around the Contractor's paperwork requirements.
I sent this opinion in during the review.... and it was probably one of many you received as chair of the task team... but my concerns were not addressed then.

Ralph... Thanks ! CSI is usually one big helpful non-competitive family unlike most other organizations. Civility is lost on some but always appropriate.
Lisa Goodwin Robbins, RA, CCS, LEED ap
Senior Member
Username: lgoodrob

Post Number: 46
Registered: 08-2004
Posted on Friday, November 20, 2009 - 01:17 pm:   Edit PostDelete PostPrint Post

Thanks for letting us know how you are doing with your project. Good luck.
Wayne Yancey
Senior Member
Username: wayne_yancey

Post Number: 289
Registered: 01-2008

Posted on Monday, November 23, 2009 - 12:18 pm:   Edit PostDelete PostPrint Post

Field or site?

SectionFormat is a joint publication by CSI and Construction Specifications Canada (CSC). My source is the SectionFormat Draft 3 - 11/24/06 and 30 years working in Canada.


Other differences are:



David E Lorenzini
Senior Member
Username: deloren

Post Number: 90
Registered: 04-2000

Posted on Monday, November 23, 2009 - 01:20 pm:   Edit PostDelete PostPrint Post

The final edition of SectionFormat doesn't distinguish between CSI and CSC teminology. As presented, the alternate terms are available for use by any specifier from either country. However, the list Wayne presents has been the common usage for each country.

There are some significant differences in the final version of PageFormat from Draft 3 related to CSC usage.
David Lorenzini, FCSI, CCS
Architectural Resources Co.

Add Your Message Here
Username: Posting Information:
This is a public posting area. Enter your username and password if you have an account. Otherwise, enter your full name as your username and leave the password blank. Your e-mail address is optional.
Options: Automatically activate URLs in message

Topics | Last Day | Last Week | Tree View | Search | Help/Instructions | Program Credits Administration