"WHAT, you may ask, does this have to do with CSI??"?
Many major commercial entities ‘consolidate’ through acquisition of competitors or enter new markets, both domestically and globally, using similar methods. Major design and construction firms follow suit and grow through acquisition. In pursuit of, and responsibility for, profitability, there is little tolerance within these entities for variance or accommodation of alternatives. As I noted above, products and materials have been developed to accommodate installation in a broad range of climatic environments. So, faux stone is equally ‘at home’ in northern Minnesota as it is in southwestern Arizona! Which begs the question, “ Just because we can, Should we?”
WHAT you may ask, does this have to do with CSI?
First, having worked on projects across the country and internationally, I have been faced with a wide variety, and quality, of construction documents (plans and specifications). So, I have some basis from which to discuss this. Nevertheless, I found some documents that were ‘overkill’ and their construction would have withstood both the winter in Minnesota and the summer in Yuma!! Others would have failed in both. Of course, there were many that were appropriate. Now, back to CSI.
How many times have you found yourself trying to make something work, often at a Client’s request, when you knew it was not an appropriate solution? Or worse, trying to fix something, after the fact, that you knew was questionable to begin with?
‘Education of Project Teams to improve facility performance,” is one of the main tenets of CSI. Keep in mind, that ‘education’ does not always have to be formal in the sense of setting i.e. classroom , webinar, lecture, etc. It can be equally productive, in the form of a simple conversation with a Facility Manager, Architect or Contractor, subtly challenging preconceptions through allegory or anecdote. Even in those instances where you are not a ‘cog in the wheel,’ your input may induce a small concession, leading to change. This, in turn, could stimulate wider considerations impacting attitudes, implementation or even company culture. With a bit of luck, these will be positive modifications!
When you find yourself thinking that you can’t possibly make a difference, consider the amount of expertise that is available, to you, through CSI. I am constantly telling people about the value I have found within CSI, and the value it brings to my architectural practice.
That value can grow exponentially with your involvement in CSI, at the Chapter Level, at the Region Level, and at the Institute Level. The level of involvement is up to you, as is the return on your initial investment (the decision to join CSI).
Oh yeah, please tell Architects, that you know, to design the entrance doors to public restrooms to swing outward. It doesn’t take up any more space than swinging inward…plus it saves on paper towels!
Happy Valentine’s Day!
Ed Galindo, AIA, CSI, CDT, LEED AP BD+C
President, Phoenix Chapter CSI
President, Southwest Region CSI