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Brian Payne, AIA
Senior Member
Username: brian_payne

Post Number: 26
Registered: 01-2014

Posted on Friday, March 21, 2014 - 02:59 pm:   Edit PostDelete PostPrint Post

So, I just wanted to throw this idea out there. In a recent thread that I started, http://discus.4specs.com/discus/messages/4254/7071.html?1394296661, I challenged others to post ideas/tools to improve the specification writing process. Well here is my first stab at offering up a possible example.

SurveyMonkey - While not ground breaking, it does provide a easy to use internet-based tool for collecting information.

What information? In this case, I started by creating a Maintenance Material Survey that can be sent to owners (or owner's facility manager) in order to communicate back to the specification writer what attic stock they require.

You can find the beta version of the survey here... https://www.surveymonkey.com/s/QLCXFCR

Please feel free to check it out and provide feedback if you like. Our firm is already discussing other topics that this tool might be used for.
Jeffrey Wilson CSI CCS
Senior Member
Username: wilsonconsulting

Post Number: 135
Registered: 03-2006
Posted on Friday, March 21, 2014 - 05:01 pm:   Edit PostDelete PostPrint Post

That seems like a useful tool. In theory, it should be possible to use a method like this to gather & manage much of the data needed to produce specs, although it would be a monumental task to develop a database that includes all the thousands of possible questions & options.

Then, if there were an interface to automatically edit the specs from the collected data, that would really save some production time...
Sheldon Wolfe
Senior Member
Username: sheldon_wolfe

Post Number: 747
Registered: 01-2003

Posted on Friday, March 21, 2014 - 06:02 pm:   Edit PostDelete PostPrint Post

We can hope, but more likely when http://bit.ly/NAZeHc
Edward J Dueppen, RA, CSI, CCS, LEED AP
Senior Member
Username: edueppen

Post Number: 7
Registered: 08-2013
Posted on Monday, March 24, 2014 - 08:56 am:   Edit PostDelete PostPrint Post

Brian, I like this idea. It formalizes the process of asking about maintenance stock (rather than a brief 2 minute discussion at the end of long meeting with the owner's rep). And it would produce a record of what the owner requested (so that over a year later when the material arrives at their loading dock they can be given a reminder of exactly what they requested and who requested it).

One thing I would foresee is the desire to tailor each survey to the project so that it does not cause confusion over what materials are in the project ("the survey said 'wood ceilings' - does the project have any wood ceilings . . . ?").

One item I could propose for recording material selections within an office is Google Documents. Fill out a basic spreadsheet with categories for "exterior cladding", "roofing", "storefront", etc. and even add columns for "manufacturer", "color", "model number", etc. then "Share" the spreadsheet with all of the team members. They all can then access the file and input information as decisions are made and the spec writer can refer to it as specs are produced.

Unfortunately it is a "live" document, so it would require some protocols to try to limit continuous modification by the design team.
spiper (Unregistered Guest)
Unregistered guest
Posted on Friday, March 21, 2014 - 05:28 pm:   Edit PostDelete PostPrint Post

it is not exactly the same type system but the database spec programs can serve some similar functions. Speclink-E has a function within the print command where you can print project reports (or create pdf files of the reports) for a number of requirements including maintenance materials. The report would be generated when you have completed the spec draft (selected all sections relevant and included them in the project). The report would produce a document with all the information, quantities, percentages, etc. that are contained within the selected specification sections. The Owner could then review the report, offer feedback and then you could edit accordingly prior to final document completion.

It will also produce reports for submittals, LEED submittals, samples, mock-ups, warranties, etc. Most of these reports are beneficial during the CA phase so the project architect knows what to be looking for and what is still missing but it could have some benefit for the design phase as well.
Brian Payne, AIA
Senior Member
Username: brian_payne

Post Number: 27
Registered: 01-2014

Posted on Thursday, March 27, 2014 - 11:33 am:   Edit PostDelete PostPrint Post

Yes, my original intent was that this survey would be tailored for each project. The current version was my attempt at creating a master form that our project managers could "walk" the client through. I think there are benefits of doing both. Ultimately, I think I might use both. Larger projects would get a dedicated survey, while our smaller renovation projects might use the survey I linked to above.

Thanks for the input.
John Bunzick, CCS, CCCA, LEED AP
Senior Member
Username: bunzick

Post Number: 1566
Registered: 03-2002
Posted on Saturday, March 29, 2014 - 06:26 pm:   Edit PostDelete PostPrint Post

While I suppose SurveyMonkey would work, it's main function is to create cross tabulations and statistical analysis of multiple responses. So, I don't think that it makes a lot of sense. Plus, it forces one to go through absolutely linearly, which could be a problem. Why not use an Adobe PDF or Word form, or something like that? That would be a lot easier to revise over time as well.

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