CSI Report Card - Part 4

by Sheldon Wolfe, CSI, CCS

This is the last in the series of columns that evaluate CSI's success in meeting its original goals. Without further ado:

Goal No. 4 - Standardization of building codes

Everyone involved in construction would benefit from a more uniform set of building codes, and a new universal code is scheduled for release in 2000. Although individual members may have been involved in its development, the organization has not made a significant contribution.

Grade for Goal No. 4 - No credit

Goal No.5 - Greater efficiency and cost effectiveness throughout the industry

This has been one of CSI's great successes, due in part to its Format series of documents, and in part to aggressive expansion throughout the country. Although there has been little success in bringing uniformity or simplicity to public sector documents, the rest of the industry has expressed tremendous support of CSI standards. All major master guide specifications are based on MasterFormat and SectionFormat. Design professionals use MasterFormat not only for specifications but for filing product information, as well. Manufacturers produce literature with MasterFormat numbers prominently displayed on brochures, binders, and technical information.

It is hard to imagine doing business without the pervasive effect of CSI. Without its unifying influence, there might be several standards for writing specifications and many filing methods. One office might file product literature by manufacturer's name, another by product name, and yet another by type of product. Some specifiers would begin their sections with a schedule, some with a list of products, and others with code information.

It is virtually impossible to estimate the effects on efficiency and cost that result from industry-wide acceptance of the Format series and the Manual of Practice. As stated in earlier columns in this series, we do not follow these documents as well as we should. Imagine - what would be the result if we did?

Grade for Goal No. 5 - A

If we average the grades for the four goals that received grades, we get a C. I am tempted to weight the goals, but all remain viable objectives. Rather than skew the results, we should make a concerted effort to bring up our GPA. Get your MOP out and review the basics of specifying. Go through your specification masters and delete all of those "contractor shalls" and meaningless statements. Use short, simple sentences! Eliminate redundancy and repetition, and don't say the same thing twice!

In the end, it is not CSI that is responsible for meeting its goals - it is you, me, and every CSI member.

Report Card, Part 1    Report Card, Part 2    Report Card, Part 3   

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