4specs.com    4specs.com Home Page

"Selling" Project Manuals Log Out | Topics | Search
Moderators | Register | Edit Profile

4specs Discussion Forum » Ralph W. Liebing, RA, CSI, CDT » "Selling" Project Manuals « Previous Next »

Author Message
Ralph Liebing, RA, CSI, CDT
Senior Member
Username: rliebing

Post Number: 1129
Registered: 02-2003
Posted on Wednesday, January 27, 2010 - 06:38 am:   Edit PostDelete PostPrint Post

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

Last time we broached the topic of a “specification comparison” where we would display a sample of your Project Manuals, for others to see, review and…..well, do anything from admiring, to open dissing! It was not thought of as a competition, but rather a “show and tell” to put on display our products.

Interesting comments came back, including the thought that we are too shy to allow others to see our work! Is that true? In my response to the thought I noted that we, each of us, is so full of bravado about our work-- usually the technical part-- that shyness becomes an oxymoron! How can you be shy about your product overall, when you are so passionate, strident, and convinced in the content?

Look, I know we are not authors, per se, and sales thankfully are not considerations in our work, but I think we are missing the boat when we have a spiffy content, encased in a….uh…..non-spiffy casing! To enclose a well-executed specification, nearly 100% CSI-compliant in a non-plus, non-descript cover, for example is a disservice. To create pages using something akin to Pica 10 [old typewriter format] in a PhD disserative style and format will sacred the buhjeepers out of the contractor [“The last time I saw something written like this, I got sued/divorced!”].

Instead we need not only communicate technical data, but we also need to “convey” image and impression that the PM is a professional document, and something directly associated with the project design, including aesthetics. How often do you think Contractors look at our drawings and say, “What the hell are they trying to do?” The same WILL hold true for specs that really project more paper-weight and door stop images, than professionally astute and valuable document.

Book publishers require text that meets certain really levels [thank heavens we don’t need that] and print with open or “white space” to enhance readability [a hint we can use to our advantage. We aren’t competing with Grisham in intrigue and mystery, but we can learn from his approach and the overall impression of his book. We are not, hopefully, biblical, but the format of the Bible is not all that bad where it includes indenting, capitalization, added spacing, etc. Simply, there are techniques used in other similar printed formats that we really don’t think about, much less use-- and we, I think, are missing the boat.

We are not deal-breakers if we add one page per Section—especially if we print on re-cycled paper. Many note that we are true “tree-killers”, so maybe a side trip at the CSI Show, should be a tree-planting excursion! to re-supply [in the future] our needs.

Now we are not approaching flat out stupid glitz, but rather some thought toward making our product better in appearance; more meaningful in image; more attractive to the casual eye; surprising in that we show a caring for what we do; and illustration that our work is both needed and valuable, and that we do know how to communicate in a manner that assists-- and in a form that causes one to pick up the book
And see what the heck that orange book is all about!

Dare you to think about this all-- and to make some changes! Can’t imagine having to say this, but STOP BEING SHY!!!!!! Certainly t is valid to call some attention tour work ,not for our sake as “authors” but for the value the product brings to every project. Plain vanilla is easily ignored-- but pistachio, “bubble gum”, rocky road and other exotic flavors are challenges and call themselves out. Why not us!!

[Example available-- send e-mail: cannot attach here]

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