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Posted on Tuesday, October 04, 2005 - 09:01 pm:   Edit PostDelete PostPrint Post

What do you like about your job (spec writing)?

What do you not like about your job?
Tracy Van Niel
Senior Member
Username: tracy_van_niel

Post Number: 139
Registered: 04-2002
Posted on Wednesday, October 05, 2005 - 07:49 am:   Edit PostDelete PostPrint Post

One of the things that I like about my job is that I am probably the one person in my office (50+ employees) who gets to work on just about every project that goes out.

I do not like the hounding required to get project information out of some of the project architects (I am not their mother and I refuse to nag) and the ESP that seems to be required sometimes when changes get made, but not communicated to the specifier (me). Oh, just thought of another ... when a change does get made right before everything is to be completed. It seems that other team members don't understand that their one change can affect multiple sections, in addition to the one that got the change.
Doug Frank FCSI CCS
Senior Member
Username: doug_frank_ccs

Post Number: 124
Registered: 06-2002
Posted on Wednesday, October 05, 2005 - 08:31 am:   Edit PostDelete PostPrint Post

I really do like my job (primary specifier for a large Houston Architectural firm, with a Dallas office too)
Here are some of the reasons:
I get to participate in nearly every job we do (an average of 40 per year).
I get to use my ability and experience in training and mentoring young folks.
I get to be pretty much my own boss.
I maintain a company Project Calendar so everyone can be aware of all projects and their deadlines.
Iím thought of as part of the ďProject TeamĒ.
I get frequent flyer miles traveling to our Dallas office monthly.
The job is never boring; every job has different requirements.
I continually learn new stuff; new products; new techniques.
I recommend the best products / systems for each specific application.

I dislike my job because:
I have to work on Every #@^!* job we do (all 40 of Ďem).
I have to explain every #@^!* thing to every #@^!* one, every #@^!* time.
It seems like every Project Manager thinks heís my boss.
Nobody pays any attention to the Project Calendar or my workload.
Iím usually not included in Project Directories.
I have to go to Dallas every month.
Good Grief; another drywall spec?
Iím so inundated with new product literature that I canít see my desk.
Value Engineering.

In all seriousness, I do like my job; for all the reasons listed above and then some. Although sometimes itís a wonder Iím able to maintain my sense of humor (warped though it may be).
Richard L Matteo, AIA, CSI, CCS
Senior Member
Username: rlmat

Post Number: 120
Registered: 10-2003
Posted on Wednesday, October 05, 2005 - 10:42 am:   Edit PostDelete PostPrint Post

Doug, I probably couldn't have said it better myself. It's nice to know I'm not alone!
Anne Whitacre, CCS CSI
Senior Member
Username: awhitacre

Post Number: 258
Registered: 07-2002
Posted on Wednesday, October 05, 2005 - 01:09 pm:   Edit PostDelete PostPrint Post

I would agree with Doug's points, except that I don't have to go to Dallas. I go to Portland, LA and DC, depending on need, which makes me Alaska Gold and Hilton Gold every year. Too bad I don't have the time to use those miles and hotel nights for vacations...

I like the autonomy of spec writing; I love being able to monitor projects in all four offices to get an idea of the "industry" as a whole. Sometimes I get exactly the same question during the same week on projects in Virginia, Arizona, Iowa and Oregon.
I like having access to the national sales people and technical people for large manufacturing companies -- our office does big enough work that those folks actually return my calls.
I do get tired of explaining the same topic over and over, every two years to young staff or just staff that wasn't paying attention the last time.

I get tired of the relentlessness of the deadlines -- I seem to go from one critical deadline to another and at the same time have to answer RFIs on 14 other projects that had critical deadlines last month (or year).

My status in the office seems to vary from "absolutely necessary team member" to "naggy annoyance" depending on the project manager.

I absolutely love showing the contractor that he/she didn't read the documents very well, especially when we get a crabby RFI about "something missing in the specs" and I can cite paragraph location.

my desk ... I've been accused of stacking up drawings and specs so that no one can actually see if I'm AT my desk.
John McGrann
Senior Member
Username: jmcgrann

Post Number: 59
Registered: 03-2002
Posted on Wednesday, October 05, 2005 - 03:09 pm:   Edit PostDelete PostPrint Post

Ditto on the points made by Tracy, Doug, and Anne (including the messy desk). I don't have the travel opportunities, but I do enjoy working on various project types throughout the U.S.

Treating everyone as a client and realizing that someone with a question will be more productive with an answer helps me weather the storm of interruptions.
Wayne Yancey
Senior Member
Username: wyancey

Post Number: 78
Registered: 05-2005
Posted on Wednesday, October 05, 2005 - 04:01 pm:   Edit PostDelete PostPrint Post

What I like:

Coordinating terminology between specs and drawings.
Saying more with less on drawings and specs.
Purging the word "shall"
Streamlining language.
Using the imperative mode.
Seeing every project cross my desk.
Reviewing specs from our clients for technical content and realizing that I an a damn good spec writer and I have a better mouse trap.
Knowing my own spec so well and rubbing it in the contractors nose.
Enforcing the requirements of my specifications.
Being called a Rock Star by a client.
The metric system units of measure.
Working with AutoCAD.

What I do not like:

My fellow employees who do not know their way around a project manual.
My fellow employees who do not know the contents of the project manual and give the contractor direction that is at variance with the Contract Documents.
Contractors who don't know their Contract Documents and issue dumb-ass RFIs.
Having to be a clairvoyant.
Design architects who do not know a product option when they see one.
Finding trade names or brand names in drawing keynotes.
Waiting for color selections.
The phrase "TO BE REMOVED".
Imperial units of measure.
I don't get to travel like Anne (I do get to travel to Seattle by express bus.)
Requirements of my Division 01 repeated by M/E specs and contrary to my Div 01.
Last minute changes to my Table of Contents by consultants.
Phil Kabza
Senior Member
Username: phil_kabza

Post Number: 137
Registered: 12-2002
Posted on Saturday, October 08, 2005 - 04:05 pm:   Edit PostDelete PostPrint Post

It's mostly been said above by my wise colleagues, except for one more very obvious specifier benefit:

I'm grateful for the collegiality of this forum and for similar networks that exist throughout the US construction specifier community. I'm certain that no other group of practitioners within our industry obtains so much professional and personal value from such generous nation-wide associations. It increases all our knowledge assets daily. It's a rare privilege.
Mitch Miller,AIA ,CSI,CCS
Senior Member
Username: m2architek

Post Number: 62
Registered: 02-2004
Posted on Tuesday, October 11, 2005 - 01:35 pm:   Edit PostDelete PostPrint Post

I wholeheartedly agree, Phil!!
Ralph Liebing, RA, CSI
Senior Member
Username: rliebing

Post Number: 235
Registered: 02-2003
Posted on Tuesday, October 11, 2005 - 02:09 pm:   Edit PostDelete PostPrint Post

A resounding ME, TOO [to Mr. Miller's reply] Mr. Kabza.

And a very sincere thanks to all who helped me,and were patient with me on this board.
Vivian Volz
Senior Member
Username: vivianvolz

Post Number: 45
Registered: 06-2004
Posted on Tuesday, October 11, 2005 - 05:07 pm:   Edit PostDelete PostPrint Post

I like a lot of things about my job, but I'll name two.

I have great long-distance mentors, because I'm part of a firmwide spec group. We are far-flung, but we are teammates and friends.

I can work when and where it suits me, so long as I meet my deadline commitments. This was especially important when I was a newish mom, because I could be where my husband and daughter were, even if I knew I had to finish the day's work from 10 pm to midnight.

I grumble about a few things, but here are two:

My work gets treated as a magic black box. Nobody knows what's inside, everyone is afraid to open it, but it's supposed to be powerful enough to protect the project team against any construction catastrophe.

Writing guessifications because the project team can't communicate and/or get its act together.
David R. Combs, CSI, CCS, CCCA, MAI
Senior Member
Username: davidcombs

Post Number: 83
Registered: 08-2004
Posted on Wednesday, October 12, 2005 - 10:21 am:   Edit PostDelete PostPrint Post


I love it!

So would that make you a "guess-ifier"?

Based on the (lack of) input I get from some of the architects here, that moniker seems very fitting.

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