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

Post Number: 1448
Registered: 02-2003
Posted on Wednesday, November 20, 2013 - 09:19 am:   Edit PostDelete PostPrint Post

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

We all recognize the differences that occur in the many aspects of our lives. Some we tolerate; some we encourage; some we merely accept with little more than a nod. But maybe we should just take a minute to reflect, and compare ideas or thoughts that come out in different context, and certainly with different meanings:

“NO!” [what don’t you understand about that?]
“Well, no, not exactly that way”

“There is no other way to do this!”
“Well, I understand you may need to do this in another way to suit your situation”

“You’ve got to it this way, all the time”
“Under some circumstances this can be changed, but try to retain the overall direction”

“It’s my way or the highway”
“I would like to see it done this way, but you may find another way to get the same result”

“The book shows it this way, so do it that way”
“As long as you understand how you did it, you can use another method”

“The ‘school’ solution is this”
“As a student, you can seek out your own solution”

“This is forever—it will never change”
“Change is the one constant in life”

“Memorize this mission statement and be ready to recite it anytime”
“Learn and understand the mission statement so you can explain it in your words”

“This is the Army way—just do it”

“You WILL do it this way!”
“You MAY do it this way, or any way you see that is better”

“Only say it once”
“In some instances, to emphasize the point, you may need [or it may be advisable]
to repeat or reinforce this”

“This door MUST always be closed”
“Uh........ it NEVER opens?” [why have a door then?]

“This is the way I think you should do it”
“That is one way to do it, but any way must comply with the regulations”

“I think that’s mandatory”
“It’s mandatory if so stated in the provisions”

“It SHALL be.........”
“It CAN, SHOULD, COULD, MIGHT be.......”

“There will be no Change Orders on this job” [Oh, sure; get real!]
“Change Orders should be minimized, but will be issued as appropriate in accord with contract provisions

Realistically, we all need to know and understand that we live in a thesaurus world—one where things can and are done differently. Much as we like things to be done OUR WAY, and in an unchanging manner, that just “isn’t in the cards”.

Basically, this calls for us to be aware of flexibility in both others and in ourselves-- and in our thinking and tolerance!

At the same time, we as specifications writers have another “master” to serve. This one is the project, and what, exactly, its needs may be. To this end, our specifications become the lens that focuses the information gathered through the product/system selection process, where flexibility is rampant. Our focus greatly narrows, but does not remove entirely flexibility. Installation or construction of portion of the projects as described, outlined and required in our specifications still are carried in an envelope of flexibility.

A simple example is fastening of wood framing. We may select a certain fastener by style, type and material, and even set out a spacing. But in the actual construction things maybe done differently, beyond what we specify. More fasteners may be used; spacing may be reduced, etc. due to conditions that exist but are not addressed in our specifications. Are those changes wrong? Or is this a valid expression of flexibility in the process to the betterment of the project work?

Remember-- “open mindedness does not mean a hole in the head”. It means intelligent recognition of flexibility in application!
Lynn Javoroski FCSI CCS LEED® AP SCIP Affiliate
Senior Member
Username: lynn_javoroski

Post Number: 1726
Registered: 07-2002

Posted on Wednesday, November 20, 2013 - 10:01 am:   Edit PostDelete PostPrint Post

Well stated - thanks again, Ralph!

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