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

Post Number: 1269
Registered: 02-2003
Posted on Wednesday, November 09, 2011 - 08:32 am:   Edit PostDelete PostPrint Post

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

We are all aware that there is a tsunami of information available to us, via the internet. Perhaps, TOO much! Still basic, fundamental individual construction materials, systems, etc. are some things that have been ignored, deemed irrelevant, inconsequential and a major distraction from the design mind and curricula. For far too long the schools have come to minimize it or ignore it, for most architect and most engineers.

The chasm between the lack of even a snippet of broad-based information and the trove of technical data about materials and systems [certainly within CSI members from the industry side and far beyond] and their flexible application are formidable, widening and becoming more and more disturbing. Every new product among the 5,000+ developed each year, presents a new problem/challenge. How do you begin to show or direct others in the construction of projects when you don’t know the basics of construction, the latest materials, etc., in a random, finger-crossed manner?-- nothing like walking the knife edge!

Here it seems like a new, directed effort by the professionals from industry seems to be a most viable portion of the saving grace-- at least for individual products [as they MAY be fashioned and applied—successfully-- to any given project]. This is voluntarily getting to new faces, on a new level to make them [young professionals] and yourself better. What a wonderful outreach! Ask to meet them if only for a few minutes; have 1 or 2 “neat” handouts [not sales literature-- but educational!

Product and manufacturers’ representatives in a real sense “teach” by product hype and information mostly in rather general ways. But to convert or develop a small array of varied and unique installations [Primarily unique features overall and actual construction details close up]-- not just by glitzy PR photos of your products as completed projects that reinforces the “design” aspect but not the needed construction information.

“Picture book” advertising is fine as a mere glimpse or impression of the products in overall or general terms. Do just a bit more than updating information, showing new products, or solely attempting to develop order. Something in detailing or usage is vitally important to students and young professionals, in that it is showing the product in a new light and a new function and gives them broadened insight. In turn, this allows both rep and student/professional to interface and learn beyond mere exposure to the products. Young architects are starved [or deprived of] situational knowledge, different details, different uses or applications of products, and really what the product can do and what they can do with it-- note same as learning points.

One of the best resources is www.4specs.com where you can see the type of questions being developed in the document production tasks. Here, are almost literally cries [in some cases] for help and insight— and students and younger professionals lie beyond such a resource. As a representative who knows the products inside out, sharing of information, in the smallest effort is a vital, generous and most influential task-- it is a contribution to the budding professionals and a reinforcement of what the profession truly needs

Architecture school L&Ls may be a good vehicle for you—but be sure to use construction info with design! Best to front-load students and young professionals than for manufacturers and reps trying to meet strange, unwise and questionable applications of their product, on the run later, at their expense and peril. Those uneducated tend to be unaware of what might happen and drag the project and all concerns to marginal or failed end results. Do you or your companies need that?

Whomever you take a little “education time” with, will be a more intelligent user, a better contact for you in years to come! And a tremendous help to them and their careers! Thank you!

“Ancora Imparo! Be part of it for the good of all-- including yourself!

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