CoatingsPro Magazine

JUL 2013

CoatingsPro offers an in-depth look at coatings based on case studies, successful business operation, new products, industry news, and the safe and profitable use of coatings and equipment.

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Specifying SucceSS Back to Basics By Stephanie Marie Chizik with Martin M. Bloomenthal, FAIA, CCS, CSI F rom the earliest days, when contemplating the construction of a new building project, drawings were used as pictographic representations of what a building needed to be. By necessity, too, a certain amount of text was also incorporated into the drawings to add clarification, such as dimensions, shapes, and interfaces between components. With drawings, then, came explanations. And so began the story of specifications. A Spec Is Born Anecdotally, one of the explanations of how specifications came into existence traces back to the Great Depression. Because there were not a lot of construction projects going on, there was less and less work for contractors to do. What projects were going on brought intense competition. Some contractors adopted a strategy of submitting competitive bids that also gave them options to find more work to do on the project in the future. This meant that the construction companies put in a low bid for projects so that they would get the initial contract. And while the period of review for the quotes was underway, the same contractor would start to scrutinize the drawings, intent upon finding elements on the drawing that were somewhere deficient. After they won the contract, the contractor would submit a change order to the owner to fill in the work that needed to be done to complete the overall job. Anything that was missing from the initial drawings became an opportunity for the contractor to get more work without the burden of having to price the additional work competitively. It didn't take long for architects and engineers — who, along with the owners, 20 CoatingsPro g July 2013 Information that is better depicted in a picture should be communicated in a drawing to show how things relate to one another within the structure, such as how big or small or what shape or size something is. were the victims of that strategy — to begin to add more and more annotations to ensure that everything was, in fact, depicted on the drawings. A century ago, this solution posed two problems: 1. The mechanical means to add the text to drawings (i.e., the ink on the velum) was extremely time-consuming and labor intensive. 2. As more and more words were added to the drawings, eventually the text began to obscure the visual information. As the story goes, some creative player in the whole process had an "aha" moment and realized that there was a far more efficient way of producing words for clarification. It was called the typewriter. And there wasn't a particular reason that a new document — a book of information

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