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David G. Axt, CDT, CCS, CSI, SCIP
Senior Member
Username: david_axt

Post Number: 2024
Registered: 03-2002

Posted on Thursday, May 25, 2023 - 12:13 pm:   Edit PostDelete PostPrint Post

I always thought CSI should have a specification file naming convention.

Here is how I name my Word files:

055113 Metal Pan Stairs - Eastlake

Section number first so the files will sort sequentially. Even if the body of the text has the section number as 05 5113 or 05 51 13, I still stick to one contiguous number.

After the section number is the section name. Sometimes I abbreviate the name to save space.

Lastly is the project name. I usually abbreviate the project name. The full name of the project in my example is "2947 Eastlake Avenue Mixed Use Apartments".
David G. Axt, CDT, CCS, CSI, SCIP
Specifications Consultant
Axt Consulting LLC
Steven Bruneel, Retired Architect
Senior Member
Username: redseca2

Post Number: 717
Registered: 12-2006

Posted on Thursday, May 25, 2023 - 02:53 pm:   Edit PostDelete PostPrint Post

Ours is very similar, with some additions because we do large projects that go on for (often many) years with multiple increments.
Section Number
Very Abbreviated Name (if you need more, open a Section file and look at the header/footer)
Increment Name (Literally Inc. 1, 2, 3, or "Issue for Permit", "Backcheck 1, 2, 3", "Project Record Set").
Lastly their may be a further indication of a change to that Section during construction: Change Order XXX, R1 (Revision 1), RFI XXX or similar to identify a change.
We do large healthcare projects where there may be 10 years between issue of a grading permit and the champagne grand opening, with the work divided into many separate increments and phases, each with their own documents. Project schedules often overlap significant building code reissues. Making sure everyone is literally on the same page, or working with the different pages related to the increments each is working on can be a full time job. I have seen enough time go by, with enough employee transitions, that a consulting engineer no longer recognized the Sections they had prepared years before that only now were being implemented.
David G. Axt, CDT, CCS, CSI, SCIP
Senior Member
Username: david_axt

Post Number: 2025
Registered: 03-2002

Posted on Thursday, May 25, 2023 - 07:27 pm:   Edit PostDelete PostPrint Post

If there are revisions to the specifications per addenda I will indicate it in the name.

055113 Metal Pan Stairs - Eastlake AD3.
David G. Axt, CDT, CCS, CSI, SCIP
Specifications Consultant
Axt Consulting LLC
J. Peter Jordan
Senior Member
Username: jpjordan

Post Number: 1185
Registered: 05-2004
Posted on Friday, May 26, 2023 - 09:33 am:   Edit PostDelete PostPrint Post

The individual sections/documents are named with the CSI section number (nn nn nn or nn nnnn, depending on the architect's preference followed by a dash (not a hyphen) and the section name. We use folders for different projects (and for my masters). Each project folder contains a "Source" folder with the original document (master or guide spec). If needed, we have subfolders for different phases. The Word files in the primary folder reflects the most current edit. Various versions are kept in PDF files and usually gathered in a ZIP file for the submittal. The ZIPed submittal files are named with a numeric indicating the date (YYMMDD) followed by a descriptive (90 Percent Revue, Add 03, etc.).

Everyonce in a while one of my clients (the architect) will misplace the most current set of PDFs. It is easy to send them a new set.
J. Peter Jordan, FCSI, AIA, CCS, LEED AP, SCIP
Phil Kabza
Senior Member
Username: phil_kabza

Post Number: 759
Registered: 12-2002

Posted on Friday, May 26, 2023 - 03:01 pm:   Edit PostDelete PostPrint Post

We maintain all our filenames in unspaced 6 digit format; we have enough to do in this business without fiddling with spacing section numbers. We do adjust section text numbers/spacing when requested by a client; otherwise we remain unspaced - did enough spacing out in the '60s.

We have one client who requests filename + their project number + consultant name.

When a section is issued/reissued for addenda or modifications, the filename is modified by adding YYYY MM DD at the end. We like this convention and use it as an office standard.
SpecGuy Specifications Consultants
Alex Haskell (she/her)
Advanced Member
Username: alexhaskell

Post Number: 5
Registered: 04-2023

Posted on Thursday, June 01, 2023 - 11:47 am:   Edit PostDelete PostPrint Post

I totally agree with no prefix characters and no digit pairs in the filenames. As long as those rules are followed, I have programmed a way to automatically check a spec section or the whole manual for bad cross references. I have some simple ways to rename the files when other consultants don't follow my format instructions.

But I donít want any trailing characters either, because I also programmed some automation for checking my table of contents and keeping section #ís and titles consistent wherever used, and I foresee some problems for me to reprogram all that to work with Davidís suggestion. Also I see no reason for putting the abbreviated project name in the filename, because my folder name already contains that info.

I just use:

######[.##] - Section Title
Kathryn Evans
New member
Username: hke432

Post Number: 1
Registered: 05-2023
Posted on Tuesday, June 06, 2023 - 11:45 am:   Edit PostDelete PostPrint Post

We use XX XX XX - Section Title
This helps when combining them into one file, creating clearly labeled bookmarks that fall in the proper order. Files for each project are maintained in separate folders, with subfolders used for phases or addenda.

@Alex, I have been trying to learn how to create automation to check my TOC and bad cross-references with no luck. What program are you using these in?
Alex Haskell (she/her)
Senior Member
Username: alexhaskell

Post Number: 6
Registered: 04-2023

Posted on Friday, June 30, 2023 - 04:39 pm:   Edit PostDelete PostPrint Post

Just VBA for Word.
John Bunzick
Senior Member
Username: bunzick

Post Number: 1918
Registered: 03-2002
Posted on Saturday, July 01, 2023 - 04:09 pm:   Edit PostDelete PostPrint Post

You can build automation by recording actions in Word, which creates a VBA program, still called a macro. You can then edit the VBA to add capability or alter it; to be more generic, for example. To access these tools, you should turn on the "developer" ribbon by clicking File>Options>Customize Ribbon.

Once you record a macro you can edit it from the developer ribbon. Opening help once there will open a very comprehensive website for VBA. If you select a command in the macro and then hit F1, it will give you a complete overview of that command. It's very useful. The learning curve is steep if you haven't done it before, but with some persistence you will get the hang of it.
Alex Haskell (she/her)
Senior Member
Username: alexhaskell

Post Number: 7
Registered: 04-2023

Posted on Friday, July 14, 2023 - 01:52 pm:   Edit PostDelete PostPrint Post

Yes, that's what I still often do, and then customize the commands as needed. After using the help system enough times (which I agree is very good), it may sometimes even become natural to just program without necessarily recording a macro first.
Alex Haskell (she/her)
Senior Member
Username: alexhaskell

Post Number: 8
Registered: 04-2023

Posted on Friday, July 14, 2023 - 03:08 pm:   Edit PostDelete PostPrint Post

For this endeavor I used the dir() command, all by means of VBA programming rather than macro recording, since there wasn't a user action that I could record.

It helped that I already had a little experience with the dir() command to write a simple batch macro (for running any macro on all the files in a folder) with the guidance of a mentor of mine way back when MasterFormat was expanded to 6 digits.

For this new task of checking a TOC, I repurposed that code to examine each filename in the folder where the TOC document resides, and if the section number and title of the filename cannot be found in the TOC document, it gets added to a list of spec sections to copy & paste into the TOC. Sometime I will program them to automatically insert at the correct place, to save the copying and pasting hassle.

To detect specs that are on the TOC but not in the folder, a variation of the program checks every 6-digit number that can be found in the folder, optionally with period and 2 more digits for level 5 section numbers, and examines the folder contents to see if the document exists. This is useful not only for TOC checking, but also checking cross references within spec sections. I programmed it to highlight in turquoise and add [brackets] around any cross references not found in the folder.

The automation requires a strict filenaming convention of ######[.##] - Section Title. It saves so much time that I find it worthwhile using Advanced Renamer (free program) to rename the other consultants' files when they can't seem to follow the formatting instructions we sent out. If we're right up against the deadline I'll do it for them. Otherwise I show them how. Prior to finding Advanced Renamer I did this using Excel with VBA and a bit of DOS, which wasn't at all user friendly.

My specific methods aren't important to the conversation David started, but they are an example of why I think it could create some extra burden for a few spec writers if CSI were to mandate a file-naming convention that includes redundant information (such as project name, redundant because the folder itself surely has something unique like project name or number or something), unless specifiers are putting all their projects' specs into a single folder. I'm not sure why anyone would need to do that. But if so, maybe make [ - Eastlake] an optional thing in the proposed filenaming convention?

I sometimes see other spec writers feel a strong need to use the end of the filenames as a code for which firm wrote each spec section. I have my own way of handling that through subfolders which contain their word files or a shortcut to their PDF if I only received a PDF.

I guess no filenaming convention will make everyone happy, and maybe I'm the weirdo in the room ;^) (zany face emoji &#129322 not working here).

Even if a filenaming convention is ever proposed, batted around, and finally recommended by CSI, there will be engineering consultants forever who put their own project number as a prefix or suffix anyway. If this is a problem you deal with often, you might like Advanced Renamer!
Anne Whitacre, FCSI CCS
Senior Member
Username: awhitacre

Post Number: 1479
Registered: 07-2002

Posted on Tuesday, July 18, 2023 - 07:21 pm:   Edit PostDelete PostPrint Post

We include section number (no spaces) and section name and a version number. On really large jobs that are broken into packages, the package comes in there, too. Like:
083626_High Speed Fabric Doors_DP04.04
in this case, the DP04 is "design package 4" and the .04 is the 4th modification of this section for this package.
We don't put the project name in the title because we keep project specs in their own folder with the project name and number so we don't need to repeat that information.
We require our consultants to use the same naming convention and if they don't we send the sections back for them to correct. For "which firm wrote the spec", we require each firm to put their copyright in the footer, so we can verify authorship by looking at the section. (we also keep consultant files in folders for each consultant).

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