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Chris Grimm, CSI, CCS, SCIP
Senior Member
Username: chris_grimm_ccs_scip

Post Number: 532
Registered: 02-2014
Posted on Thursday, November 12, 2020 - 11:03 pm:   Edit PostDelete PostPrint Post

there's always an arquillian battle cruiser...

I can only upload a 100KB image, so if you're having trouble reading, it's a quote from Kay in Men in Black:

"There's always an Arquillian Battle Cruiser, or a Corillian Death Ray, or an intergalactic plague that is about to wipe out all life on this miserable little planet, and the only way these people can get on with their happy lives is that they DO NOT KNOW ABOUT IT!"

Ever feel that way while fixing a mess in the specs? LOL I don't mean to overestimate my importance. Emphasis is on the fact that there are times no one will ever see how much we spec writers have to fix. The reason they hire us is they do not want to know about it. I do not try to get appreciation for all of it, they get it for the most part and I'm happy with that :-)
Dave Metzger
Senior Member
Username: davemetzger

Post Number: 782
Registered: 07-2001
Posted on Friday, November 13, 2020 - 07:42 am:   Edit PostDelete PostPrint Post

Good one, Chris.

At least for those of us who are independent specifiers, proof that they do get it is repeat clients and referrals.
James Sandoz, AIA, CSI, CCS
Senior Member
Username: jsandoz

Post Number: 310
Registered: 06-2005
Posted on Friday, November 13, 2020 - 09:14 am:   Edit PostDelete PostPrint Post

My father is a retired pharmacist. I once heard him tell a relative that "when [he] does his job correctly no one notices. If [he] were ever to make a mistake someone would surely notice."

I try to satisfy myself with the notion that no news is good news. I have, on occasion, actually been complimented by contractors for writing a good specification and I believe they were being sincere. :-)
ken hercenberg
Senior Member
Username: khercenberg

Post Number: 1312
Registered: 12-2006

Posted on Friday, November 13, 2020 - 09:28 am:   Edit PostDelete PostPrint Post

I was just having a similar conversation with a former colleague who was wondering if there were metrics to measure the number of claims on projects with and without Specifiers. My attitude was that we're the tail wagging the dog. While we might catch a lot of content that may otherwise be missed, there's often a lot we don't see until it's too late.

A great compliment I've received in the past after leaving firms has been to hear from Architects that they missed having me as a resource.

Specifiers do matter!
Chris Grimm, CSI, CCS, SCIP
Senior Member
Username: chris_grimm_ccs_scip

Post Number: 533
Registered: 02-2014
Posted on Friday, November 13, 2020 - 12:00 pm:   Edit PostDelete PostPrint Post

I've wondered about that metrics question for a long time, but I think since every project is different there is no way to tell. You would have to do the same project with and without specs, and do this for a large number of projects, before any accurate stats could be collected. Of course that will never happen.

Back when CSI had the audiocast series of how not to screw up, I remember hearing of a project that was two identical buildings with identical documents being built by different contractors at approximately the same time. The interesting thing was that they had completely different RFIs and changes. So there's some anecdotal evidence that it would be tough to collect stats for with and without specs simply because of the other variables involved. A big one being who is the contractor!!!
Nathan Woods, CSI, CCCA, LEED AP
Senior Member
Username: nwoods

Post Number: 831
Registered: 08-2005

Posted on Friday, November 13, 2020 - 01:43 pm:   Edit PostDelete PostPrint Post

Chris, I did about 60 tilt-up concrete office buildings over a period of about 3 years. Same client, same footprint, same structure frame design, same engineering team, with only slight variations of exterior panel finish. Each project was built by a different GC, but all in the same city. Each project netted about the same number of RFI's, but never the same RFI. Many of the RFI's resolved around the site, because the site is always unique, but that only accounted for about half the typical RFI's. The rest where due to new sets of eyes reading the plans with their particular mindset. I distinctly remember at the very end, Bldg #60, when a structural RFI came in that was fundamentally critical, yet had never been asked before. We went back through all the other projects and noted that the superintendent or someone similar had solved the issue on their own, without feeling the need to RFI it. Amazing. Several good lessons learned:
1. Every new team on a project brings a unique set of skills, experiences, capabilities, and creativity.
2. Good Field Superintendents solve a lot more problem's than we will ever know as we sit in our offices struggling through an RFI response.
Dave Metzger
Senior Member
Username: davemetzger

Post Number: 783
Registered: 07-2001
Posted on Friday, November 13, 2020 - 02:36 pm:   Edit PostDelete PostPrint Post

Nathan, you are 100% spot on with your lesson learned #2. Given a choice between a perfect, fully-coordinated set of drawings and specs and an average contractor, or an average set of documents and a conscientious, experienced, honest contractor, I'll take the latter every day. A good contractor can keep the design team out of trouble in the same way a good specifier can keep the designers out of trouble.
bunzick (Unregistered Guest)
Unregistered guest
Posted on Friday, November 13, 2020 - 04:24 pm:   Edit PostDelete PostPrint Post

Every so often during my career I was told by a contractor that they thought specs I wrote were really good. (Hopefully others thought so but didn't say so.) Typically it was because they knew exactly what they had to do, so it made it easier for them. They also knew that they were bidding on a more level playing field.
J. Peter Jordan
Senior Member
Username: jpjordan

Post Number: 1139
Registered: 05-2004
Posted on Friday, November 13, 2020 - 06:18 pm:   Edit PostDelete PostPrint Post

One one of my projects about 10 years ago, the Contractor submitted a change order request right after executing the construction contract for about $60,000 for temporary roads and paving at the job site. Luckily, the Architect mentioned it to me. I told him to look at the section on temporary facilities which required the Contractor to provide this as part of the construction contract. The change order request was promptly withdrawn. Sometimes Division 01 saves you money!
J. Peter Jordan, FCSI, AIA, CCS, LEED AP, SCIP
Chris Grimm, CSI, CCS, SCIP
Senior Member
Username: chris_grimm_ccs_scip

Post Number: 534
Registered: 02-2014
Posted on Friday, November 13, 2020 - 07:33 pm:   Edit PostDelete PostPrint Post

Interesting from Nathan and Dave's insights to realize the meme I posted also applies to the contractor team or any participants :-)
Lynn Javoroski FCSI CCS LEEDŽ AP SCIP Affiliate
Senior Member
Username: lynn_javoroski

Post Number: 2251
Registered: 07-2002

Posted on Saturday, November 14, 2020 - 04:50 pm:   Edit PostDelete PostPrint Post

Shortly after I retired, I was attending a CSI meeting, and I actually had TWO sub-contractors ask me to un-retire because they valued my specifications. High praise, and I was (and remain) flattered. I also think that speaks to the impact specifications can have throughout the whole project.

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