Message from the President: An eye to the future

By Paul Gerber

Like so much in this industry, the way specifications are developed and used has evolved. Some call it progress, but one cannot help but wonder when, or if ever, the rapid changes in technology that shape our day-to-day lives will ever slow down.

During my career in the AEC industry I have seen changes in how specifications are produced, from electronic typewriters to personal computers.

Indeed, we are on the cusp of a switch to database software solutions that will change the way we write specifications and eliminate many time-consuming tasks associated with our job.

To date, building information modelling (BIM) is one of the biggest innovations this sector has ever seen, and its impact on how we conduct business is still to be fully recognized.

Working off the ‘cloud’ is commonplace in much of our business and personal lives, and it is reasonable to expect this to continue and evolve at a rapid pace. For spec writers, the benefits are seemingly endless. More access to data and an improved way of sharing information means connecting project teams in real time and, thus, better communication and project delivery. This brings me back to BIM. If architects are sharing the model, and engineers and contractors are interacting with it, I would think specifiers should have equal access.

Often, the specifier is considered the ‘corporate memory’ of the firms for which we work. We tuck away the products that are often used and the associated successes or challenges that come with them. The advantage we have over other production staff is we work on a much broader cross-section of a firm’s work, and specifiers are involved in more projects on a yearly basis than most others.

The management of this information is key in the world of BIM. Many individuals involved in the use of BIM are fluent in the software, but lack the vital industry experience. Who better to mentor these team members than the specifier! Some are already acting as the office educator and resource person. Perhaps all that is needed is a name change? How about information manager instead of specifier?

Whatever the future holds, you can be assured technology will play a pivotal role. How you embrace it is up to you, but know that as a CSC member, you can reach out to individuals who have a breadth of experience and can help guide you on your way down the tech highway.

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