Ryan Davis, Assoc. DBIA
The other day I found myself in Target to pick up a couple of things. As I stood and stared blankly at a wall of toilet paper nearly the size of the climbing wall at my local gym, I could not help but feel a bit overwhelmed. Do we really need 25 different kinds of toilet paper, in 15 different package sizes in order to complete what might be the most basic of human tasks? Because of my profession this got me thinking about just how many building products there on the market in this day and age, if they are all really needed, and just how to absorb all the information. It is daunting enough for a full time professional, so what about owners and facility managers who wish to make informed decision for their projects? Luckily there are some good ways to keep up with the ever growing market.
20 year ago there were not as many options in building materials, let alone methods and techniques for using them. Today many large firms employ full time people, known as ‘Materials and Resources Managers,’ just to oversee this effort. However, for smaller firms (yes like ADMG) it can become overwhelming and honestly too expensive. Still, it is our goal to always offer our clients the best possible solutions for each project. We of course like to use new materials and methods technologies where appropriate and cost effective, and have found several good ways to stay on top of this information and make it a manageable task. The following ideas help us, and can also help our clients, keep up with trends in the design and construction industry:
BPM Select, http://www.bpmselect.com/
They claim to be the premier building products search engine and they just might be. Just type in a word, anything really, and like Google it will pull you up products that match what you are looking for. It is like a big online Sweets Catalog only better.
Hanley Wood University, www.hanleywooduniversity.com
Want to know more in depth information on building products, best practices for use and installation, and life-cycle information? Look no further. Hanley Wood University offers courses on all the above. You can also earn continuing education credits. Now, the spec book doesn’t become so daunting and you might even give your GC a tip or two. Best of all it’s free.
Conspectus, Inc., www.conspectusinc.com
These guys are great and one of my personal favorites. This Company writes specifications and puts out a greatly monthly Tech Tips and News Bulletin that you can subscribe to. It covers all kinds of things from new methods, proper installation techniques, new products, and even contracts and administration information. They tell you what works, what doesn’t, and what to avoid.
Finally, publications such as Architect Magazine, JLC (Journal of Light Construction), Construction Superintendent, various trade magazines, and of course, last but not least, this Newsletter you are currently reading also have great information that can help keep you current with all that is going on in the industry. These methods for staying ahead of the game are not only good for smaller offices, tradespersons, but especially for the owner who doesn’t do it every day. Nothing better than a savvy informed owner to compliment his design and construction team in completing a successful project! Now the tools are just a click away.