CoatingsPro Magazine

NOV 2017

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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20 NOVEMBER 2017 COATINGSPROMAG.COM Specifying Success B ack in the '80s, I worked for an engineering firm in San Francisco. e employees were primarily structural engineers, but, because of the type of projects they did, the company had professionals on board from many disciplines, including a handful of architects. At one point, just when the team of a very large project was ready to start construction documents, our specifier moved, and I was suddenly thrown in the world of specifications writing, of which I was totally ignorant, but hey! I could type. e second day in my new position, while still lost in the fog, I was taken out to lunch by a coatings rep. During that lunch and the following years, he explained to me everything I needed to know to survive in the world of coatings selection, including the differences between paints and coatings, the impor- tance of surface preparation, and other valuable things that I still carry with me. It was during that lunch that I realized that the only way that I could work with coatings — whether for fireproofing, cementitious surfaces, steel, special floors or walls, or any other type — was with the help and the guidance of the technical rep. Since then, coating representatives have become part of the group I refer to as the " four-star generals" — those who guide me in the " battle of the specs." As the years went by, that coating rep and I went through many projects together, exchanged stories of our personal lives, and became good friends. We traveled together through substitu- tion requests, a primer error, visits to jobsites, and all kinds of emergencies. rough the years, I have added other reps with whom I have the same kind of professional (and sometimes personal) relationship. A ll the members of my four-star general group have the following: • They have demonstrated extraor- dinary knowledge of the product they represent coupled with genuine concern for the design team and for our clients, so I have complete trust in their guidance. This is especially important since, as architects, not only are we choosing how our clients will spend their money, but most importantly, we are responsible for the safety and well-being of the occupants of the buildings we design (think fireproofing intumescent coatings). • They patiently cope with all kinds of requests, such as transparent coatings on raw steel. They under- stand the design intent and will work very hard to make it happen. • They answer my questions as soon as they can. Because designing a build- ing is a very complicated enterprise, you need information when you need it, so sometimes the emergency call for help happens during weekends, late in the day, or in an email sent at two in the morning, and the response is expected as fast as it is possible. Many times, their response comes in before expected, and that always is a lovely surprise. • There is flexibility in their response, explaining, for example, the advan- tages of one system over another or the differences in cost, etc. • They listen to my request, which many times includes very convo- luted explanations, and they do their best to understand the circum- stances surrounding it (e.g., project characteristics, cost, and availability). • They know the changes in the indus- try, codes, and prices, for example, and they will explain those along with their recommendations. • They care for me as a professional who has to manage risk. • They will visit the project when asked. • They are always courteous. • They educate me. I know well that there are many manufacturers out there with products that are comparable to the ones we specify as " basis of design" products. As designers, we do not have the time to investigate every option in the market for every item in the building, so we work with products that we know and feel comfortable selecting in terms of their performance, cost benefit to the client, durability, response in case of problems, etc., and most importantly, that we trust based on our professional experience. But, a critical (if not the critical) component in the selection of basis of design products, is our relationship with the technical repre- sentative. It takes a team to do what's best for the design and the client, and having four-star generals on your team makes a huge difference for all. CP Gloria Rasmussen, A I A , CSI, CCS, has deg rees in architect ure and desig n, and f rom 1991 to 2016, she was t he specif ier and par t of t he desig n teams for R M W architect ure & inter iors in Sacramento, San Francisco, and San Jose, Ca l ifor nia. Since 2016, she has been t he d irector of Qua l it y Management for t he f ir m. She has more t han 35 years of profes- siona l e x per ience as an architect in Me x ico and Ca l ifor nia. For more infor mat ion, contact: Glor ia R asmussen, A I A , CSI, (916) 4 49-1400 x415 By Gloria Rasmussen, AIA, CSI, Director of Quality Management for RMW Architecture & Interiors "Four-Star" Generals for the Specifier

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