President’s Message – September

BIM, Total Enhancement at Hand

Total eclipse of the sun, total inundation of Southeast Texas, and the total BIM immersion of CSI were my possible topics for this month’s message.  Recently I experienced nature at its best; then nature at its worse.  And, last week I experienced the excitement of an old organization rising out of the murk, having again found its footing, and stepping up as a leader and problem solver.  Here is my take-away from the 2017 CSI National Conference in Providence RI.

At last year’s national CSI conference in Austin a major topic of discussion and several educational sessions was how to integrate specifications into Building Information Modeling (BIM).  The answer turned out to be: there is no good way to integrate specifications into BIM.

As with so many AEC industry acronyms, I first heard about BIM at a CSI chapter meeting a dozen years ago.  The next day I called my favorite manufacturers saying, “You had better find out about BIM and how to get specified.  The first ones to do so will have a big advantage.”  But no one had any idea how to make that happen.  Revit® files were developed and offered to architects as a first step.  The experts were still saying in 2016 that no viable system existed for incorporating specification sections into the models.

I know that some of our CCS members have been thinking that they would become expendable in the brave new world of BIM.  How scary is that?  Think, no Construction Specifications Institute and no clarity on what to bid and build.

Last Thursday at the 2017 CSI conference in Providence, our CEO, Mark Dorsey CAE FASAE, took the microphone and told us that for the past couple of years the Institute had been playing not to lose; and now we had turned the corner and are playing to win!  He emphasized that our industry’s technological sea change requires specification expertise.  And that CSI will always lead in the creation of specification tools and their implementation.

CSI has announced its renewed partnership with a leading specifications and software company, Building Systems Design (BSD).  This relationship will give CSI members access to a unique combination of building technology and know-how targeted to make specifiers more productive, efficient and collaborative.

“We are proud to support BSD in developing cutting-edge technology that will enable us to develop a comprehensive view of the current specification writer,” said Mark Dorsey, CEO of CSI.  “This is the first time an association and a technology company have come together to offer this type of information to industry professionals.”

BSD’s press release reads, “Going forward, members of the Constructions Specifications Institute (CSI) will remain integral to the strategy and success of BSD.  CSI and BSD are committed to continued strategic collaboration and will engage in a high profile and long-term marketing relationship.”

“CSI is at the forefront of construction technology and has built this association around making the construction industry and its professionals more collaborative, cohesive, and efficient,” said Ron Geren, CSI Board Chair.  “I am excited for what the future holds and believe this partnership with BSD will not only enable us to develop better, customized content for our members, but also reignite the demand for our members’ expertise.”

At last we have an answer.  CSI and construction specifying has entered the 21st century.  I expect to hear plenty of discussion on the pros and cons of the new partnership.  I know however, that the CCS spec writers in our chapter have the skills and capability to integrate this new technology into their projects and finally bring modeling into the plan rooms and jobsites.

You product representatives, please relax; this will be good.  Computer requirements and skills for the versions of BIM that we will use are not excessive and you can totally figure this out.  CSI product reps will also remain on the cutting-edge of the industry’s transformation.  We are building knowledge and improving product delivery for everyone in this industry.  As they say in New England, it is “so good” to be with the Houston Chapter of the Construction Specifications Institute.

Bill Fairbanks, CSI, CDT
President, CSI Houston Chapter