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

Post Number: 1308
Registered: 02-2003
Posted on Wednesday, April 04, 2012 - 01:22 pm:   Edit PostDelete PostPrint Post

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

Yup! Just like the song says, and for a long, long time-- and still is in many instances [like the Student Performance standard of the National Architectural Accrediting Board—NAAB]. You may remember that in 2009 many CSI members commented to NAAB that in reworking their standard that the word “specifications” should not be removed since it is a defined part of the Contract Documents and pertains to important, relevant, and essential information for every project. [See A.4 below]. Excerpt follows:

Part Two (II): Section 1 – Student Performance—Educational Realms & Student Performance Criteria
2009 Conditions for Accreditation, National Architectural Accrediting Board, Inc.: P.22

A.4. Technical Documentation: Ability to make technically clear drawings, write outline specifications, and prepare models illustrating and identifying the assembly of materials, systems, and components appropriate for a building design.

B. 12. Building Materials and Assemblies: Understanding of the basic principles utilized in the appropriate selection of construction materials, products, components, and assemblies, based on their inherent characteristics and performance, including their environmental impact and reuse.

2009 Conditions for Accreditation, National Architectural Accrediting Board, Inc.: P.23
Realm B: Integrated Building Practices, Technical Skills and Knowledge: Architects are called upon to comprehend the technical aspects of design, systems and materials, and be able to apply that comprehension to their services. Additionally they must appreciate their role in the implementation of design decisions, and the impact of such decisions on the environment. Students learning aspirations include:
• Creating building designs with well-integrated systems.
• Comprehending constructability.
• …………………
[Comprehend: ….“to grasp the nature, significance, or meaning of”:…..]

Since there is current discussion about what CSI could/can do to improve construction education, the above certainly direct attention to basic [minimally] knowledge and comprehension of materials and their use. The requirements include drawings and specifications so the background and knowledge required is not just “Dick and Jane” and one plus one”. While the NAAB standards are not that firmly and distinctly worded, they do indicate that the “architect” coming out of an accredited school should comprehend materials, systems, etc. Obviously that is directed and deep need for advanced knowledge of same and not just a “wave at” or passing acquaintance with the information.

So how is it that over 100 schools are accredited and yet we have a dearth of new professionals who know the construction aspect of architecture? How is it that few are willing to acknowledge that this dilemma even exists? How will the future of the profession be impacted when some of the information finds only a graphic expression, and two-thirds of “traditional” contract documents are not founded in pertinent information well fashioned?

How does the excellence [or even mediocrity] of design become real size, occupiable/usable projects if the drawings must be blocked out by experienced hands, and the specifications may not even exist [much less be well written]?

There are too any organizations that claim some authority over the profession, and yet, each fails in seeing that what is required, and what is necessary to meet the law. There is need for immediate discussion between these independent groups to update and reform.

CSI, however, is the organization that has the insight, expertise and coverage to really do something about the education seem. And in that, CSI could become the documentation “guru” for the entire construction industry. They have the resources and its membership has the know-how, and experience along deep professional integrity. And CSI members who re product Reps [with their L&L’s] are important to impart their unique construction knowledge to younger staff in lieu of just experienced project leads. And, yup, still need one with the other!

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