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Posted on Wednesday, November 10, 2010 - 08:18 am:   Edit PostDelete PostPrint Post

NO. 106
by Ralph Liebing, RA, CSI, CDT, Cincinnati, OH

From the innards of middle Illinois, I ran across this [written by John O’Neil, a gen-u-wine spec writer].

“SPECOLOGY: specology (spec ol’ o je) 1. the art and craft of writing and editing construction specifications;
2. the science of construction specifications; 3. miscellaneous observations on architecture, construction
and life as we know it.”

Zow-eeee! Ain’t never thought of it in all those terms and directions—Oh, yes I cheated! I added No. 2 to Mr. O’Neil’s original, not to intrude or contradict, but I think adding the “science” indicates a deep, insightful, understanding, flexibility and the ability to adapt to a given condition via the “art and craft….”

I don’t know what you think, but seems to me that this is a very true and accurate definition that is not expressed that often [if at all] We tend to short-cut it to “spec writer” all too often-- for either expedience or to cut off any need for explanation. Many therein lies we are so misunderstood, and ignored. Sometimes you have to become a little verbose just to get some depth to your explanation-- not to impress but to be accurate and true.

There is no need for puffery for our profession, but I think you agree that a little “transparency” [the current day word for it] is needed to open up to the world what exactly we do and why. We don’t use job signs [maybe we should] but simply do our thing back in the corner as ghost writers for clients or employers. And we don’t even get the exposure of a jazzy corner that most paperbacks have on them. We’re plain vanilla-- not even vanilla bean!

Might be an idea for a campaign for the organization in conjunction with outside talks to others and some ads, etc. Just again to make ourselves a little more known and perhaps to kick off a new campaign or both recognition and education [eh, what?]

You may wish to call this self-promotion, unprofessional and perhaps it is, but what else do we have to make known who are, where and what we do-- and how well! I think this is a need—truly! The mystique we labor under just is a gauzy venture most know and care little about. And more particularly what we can do for others in time of trouble or other construction confusion. And then again, our work is part of the Contract Documents-- almost like an ambassador without portfolio [there but of no consequence] Oh, sure?

Many will say, no doubt—that such effort is useless and unneeded. Do you agree? I am not suggesting a brass band parade through town, just a professional reinforcement of who and what we are and do. Sure there are many others in similar positions, but why can’t we be a little more visible-- and still not advertise in the yellow pages?

We are “into” communications and information, etc. so why don’t we do those very things? And do some of them for our own good.

This is not a suggestion for blind advertising and chest thumping, but rather the truth about efforts that do benefit the general public and have a great impact on the built environment, etc—and the people users therein. We seek nothing, but why not become more visible within the industry, first and then later follow with good information and …………..dare we say…….education!

Think about it!

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