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Edward J Dueppen, RA, CSI, CCS, LEED AP
Senior Member
Username: edueppen

Post Number: 85
Registered: 08-2013
Posted on Monday, November 28, 2022 - 09:52 am:   Edit PostDelete PostPrint Post

I’ve long awaited an improvement to Deltek Masterworks. Does anyone remember the promise of “ARCOM One”?

So, Deltek has developed Specpoint to replace Masterworks and compete with the likes of SpecLink, Visispecs, and Conspectus Cloud. But, after spending several days of watching the tutorials and testing out different functions, I am disappointed by what I find. I have over 30 years’ experience in the AEC industry and over 15 years as a full-time specifier. I find the product to be clumsy and non-intuitive. The product does not follow the process of a specifier (or at least no specifier that I know of).

This review is not to be critical of the developers. I can see they have good intentions, but the product seems at a beta stage, not ready for full release. In another year or two or development, it might be ready for mass consumption. But they have very far to go before they could match the speed and ease of a product such as SpecLink.

Fortunately, Deltek still maintains AIA Masterspec, known for its comprehensive library and quality specification content.

But here’s the catch, beginning in Jan. 2023 if you want access to the library of AIA Masterspec documents, you will need to access them through Specpoint. No big deal, right? No, very wrong indeed.

Under the current arrangement of downloading files directly from Deltek’s website, to download the entire library of AIA Masterspecs, and including Masterworks, Section Text, and Supporting Documents, it took me 1 minute 39 seconds from log in (that is based upon a fiber internet connection; your results may vary).

But, to Export Word documents from Specpoint, you need to individually select each and every specification section. But wait, not only do you need to select and “Add to Project” the spec section (“Family”), you also need to individually select each Product Type that is within that spec section. So, for a very simple technical section with 1-4 product types, it took me about 30 seconds to select, Add to Project, and Export the spec section.

That doesn’t sound too bad until you realize that a typical project might require 100 to 200 spec sections.

And what about more complex spec sections? For instance, Section 07 5423 – TPO Roofing with its 19 product types: 3 minutes 30 seconds. And Section 08 7100 – Door Hardware with its 45 product types: 4 minutes 10 seconds. But, there are also spec sections such as 07 9200 – Joint Sealants with a whopping 53 product types. Yes, if you want a full masterspec that you can edit using Word, Masterworks, or Visispecs, you need to individually select each spec section family and each product type within that family. I’m sure by now you are seeing many hours of work ahead for you, before you even begin to edit the specifications for the project. Unfortunately, time is money! The result, beginning Jan. 1, 2023 Deltek has taken a less than 2 minute process and expanded it to multiple hours and possibly days of work.

I’ve asked several Deltek employees to delay these planned changes for 1 year, which has generally been met with silence. One year would allow Deltek to create better processes within Specpoint to be able to more easily export AIA Masterspecs, or to develop Specpoint to a level where it might be preferable to Word, Masterworks, or Visispecs.

So, I ask again, Deltek, will you please delay the transition to Specpoint access to AIA Masterspec by one year (Q1 2024)?
Jeffrey Wilson CSI CCS SCIP
Senior Member
Username: wilsonconsulting

Post Number: 347
Registered: 03-2006

Posted on Tuesday, November 29, 2022 - 11:13 am:   Edit PostDelete PostPrint Post

Edward thanks very much for the detailed analysis. Deltek, please consider this a second to Edward's request: It is essential for everyone developing specs to have a reliable and easily useable system for spec editing and production.

I and presumably many others are exploring alternatives because we have little faith that SpecPoint will be viable.
Jeffrey Wilson CCS CSI SCIP
Wilson Consulting Inc
Narberth PA
ken hercenberg
Senior Member
Username: khercenberg

Post Number: 1534
Registered: 12-2006

Posted on Tuesday, November 29, 2022 - 11:23 am:   Edit PostDelete PostPrint Post

Agreed. I think a quick user survey will inform Deltek that many current users are looking at other options.

Once subscribers "vote with their feet" Deltek might not be able to reestablish its market share.

Perhaps they shouldn't be in such a hurry to feed us an apparently half baked system.
Alex Sperfeld
New member
Username: alexsperfeldhdrinccom

Post Number: 1
Registered: 11-2022
Posted on Tuesday, November 29, 2022 - 11:26 am:   Edit PostDelete PostPrint Post

I think a continued support of the "download only" option for the MasterSpec content would be a wise choice for Deltek...
Jeffrey Wilson CSI CCS SCIP
Senior Member
Username: wilsonconsulting

Post Number: 348
Registered: 03-2006

Posted on Tuesday, November 29, 2022 - 11:45 am:   Edit PostDelete PostPrint Post

Agreed! And since Deltek does not seem to be listening, we need to press MasterSpec's owner. If there are AIA MasterSpec committee members or board members monitoring this forum, suggestions on ways to give this issue a voice would be appreciated.
Jeffrey Wilson CCS CSI SCIP
Wilson Consulting Inc
Narberth PA
Brett Wilbur
Advanced Member
Username: brett_wilbur

Post Number: 5
Registered: 09-2022
Posted on Tuesday, November 29, 2022 - 11:59 am:   Edit PostDelete PostPrint Post

Frankly, we use e-Specs and I'm so tired of the glitches, even after all these years, and Deltek customer support is like talking to a wall, that I'm looking forward to any new software. However, preferably not an untested "beta" version disguised as a final product. Though I'd prefer that the database was based on MasterSpec so a downloadable option would be nice.

I'm curious, does Deltek read this forum? I would participate in a survey but, like I mentioned, they don't listen very well to customer recommendations. I would imagine they have an advisory team, though maybe not, but ramming changes on us without input from the larger population of users would not bode well in the long run.

I'm a little slow sometimes, but what is driving the change anyway? Who decided this was a good idea? Was it an anticipatory foresight of the changing market or some internal marketing team needing to stay relevant and earn their keep? :/
John O'Neil (Unregistered Guest)
Unregistered guest
Posted on Tuesday, November 29, 2022 - 11:55 am:   Edit PostDelete PostPrint Post

Deltek needs to keep MasterWorks alive for at least 3-5 years. Our firm does close to 300 projects a year, and a certain percentage of them go dormant for months or years, then re-emerge and require updates and/or changes. It's not reasonable to make us re-do these projects in SpecPoint.
Loretta Sheridan
Senior Member
Username: leshrdn

Post Number: 62
Registered: 11-2021
Posted on Tuesday, November 29, 2022 - 03:09 pm:   Edit PostDelete PostPrint Post

I would like to be able to try SpecCloud before committing to it and there does not seem to be a trial available. Even though I prefer MasterSpec content to what we use, what we use works well enough. And without trying it, I CANNOT recommend that we switch.

(As an aside, I have a sneaking suspicion that the people who work on the specs themselves are aware of the issues, but the decisions regarding the release was made at a higher level by management who does not understand the issues. Just a guess on my part. I could be wrong.)
David G. Axt, CDT, CCS, CSI, SCIP
Senior Member
Username: david_axt

Post Number: 1973
Registered: 03-2002

Posted on Tuesday, November 29, 2022 - 03:23 pm:   Edit PostDelete PostPrint Post

Did Elon Musk buy Deltek? (Sorry. I could not resist.)

Yes I to think it is crazy for Deltek to sacrifice their flagship MasterSpec product for a new, largely untested, SpecPoint product.

I also don't appreciate Deltek's "Buy or Die" tactic. If it SpecPoint is such a great product they won't have to force people into it. Word will get around and everybody and their grandmother will be clamoring to buy it.
David G. Axt, CDT, CCS, CSI, SCIP
Specifications Consultant
Axt Consulting LLC
Guest (Unregistered Guest)
Unregistered guest
Posted on Monday, December 05, 2022 - 01:43 pm:   Edit PostDelete PostPrint Post

The purpose of MasterSpec today is no longer to provide quality content to architects for use in their practice of architecture. Just look at the number of MasterSpec specifications sections that have been updated in the past 3 years, excluding sustainability language updates.

The last I heard, MasterSpec has less than 6000 subscribers. Do the math with your annual renewal rate to see how much, or how little, revenue subscriptions brings to Deltek and AIA.

Even dating back to ARCOM, it became evident to the second generation of ownership that additional revenue was required to maximize profits. And it did not take much to realize that the manufacturers of building products are a huge potential source of revenue. I believe the introduction of MasterSpec Paragraph Building and associated paid enhanced listings for manufacturers was the electronic beginning of where MasterSpec is today.

SpecPoint is the most recent development to achieve that additional revenue. As Ed points out, one must create a project and select specific products to access MasterSpec. Once one does that, Deltek takes the information about the project and the products you selected, and sends it to the manufacturers you have selected, assuming those manufacturers have pre-paid Deltek for that service. There is the revenue source.

Is anyone surprised of the level of difficulty, and time commitment, it takes to download MasterSpec files to one's hard drive so one can continue editing specification in a word processor? I believe it is by design.

RIB SpecLink works under a similar process, but includes, or at least use to include, an option for subscribers to "opt-out" of having their project information sent to manufacturers. Maybe SpecPoint has that option as well, but I have not heard one way or the other.
(Unregistered Guest)
Unregistered guest
Posted on Thursday, December 08, 2022 - 02:24 pm:   Edit PostDelete PostPrint Post

Better Brush up on Uni Format... The only language that Specpoint is going to use to communicate to Bim 360 which is the direction This is heading. Oh.. .And by the way, if you have detail elements in your groups and families that you have customized, those are not going to work any more either...

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