What Does CSI Do For You?
Ive been hearing it for some time now_companies are cutting back due to the downturn in construction. In turn, the cutbacks frequently include company-funded memberships in professional organizations such as the Construction Specifications Institute. If youre like me, you probably belong to several professional organizations; and, without financial support from your company, you probably couldnt continue your membership in most if not all of them.
So, if youve found yourself in that unfortunate position, you should keep a few things in mind when determining which memberships you will continue, and which ones you wont:
- Is the organization relevant to your specific line of business? In times of fiscal belt-tightening, it doesnt make sense to continue paying for membership in an organization that has no or marginal importance to your business or job.
- Does the organization provide you with the contacts you need to do your job better? Whether its for career opportunities, or seeking clients and customers within your current position, a professional organization is a means of getting yourself known among your peers and those in your related business or industry.
- Does the organization provide you with educational opportunities that help improve your knowledge about your business or industry? Whether youre new to your industry or youre a veteran, staying on top of the changes in your industry is vital. Professional organizations should provide the education through programs, seminars, conferences, etc. that ensures its members are aware of whats happening in the industry/profession they represent.
If you can answer Ïyes to all three questions above when applied to an organization you belong to, then its worth staying with that organization.
Now, before you apply those questions to CSI, let me provide some evidence to consider during your deliberation:
- If youre currently a member of CSI, then there is high probability that youre in some way associated with the constructions industry, either as an architect, contractor, owner, contract administrator, product representative, or engineer, just to name a few. But CSI is more that just an organization related to the construction industry, its about communication within the construction industry: written communication, drawing communication, and spoken communication. How we relate requirements/information from one part of the project team to another is critical to project success. And CSI is right in the middle, developing standards that organize construction data for communicating clearly, concisely, completely, and correctly.
- CSI, whether youre attending a chapter meeting, participating on a committee, or sitting in on one of the many educational sessions at the CSI Convention, youre constantly meeting people from all aspects of the construction industry. The contacts you make have many advantages:
- Lead to new clients or customers
- Identify potential subject matter experts for future projects or problems
- Learn about upcoming projects
- Learn from other peoples experiences
- One of the most respected benefits of CSI is the available educational opportunities focused specifically on the construction industry. Chapter meetings provide many topics that touch on all aspects of our business. Chapters also provide special seminars focused on a particular area such as construction documents, specifications, or other technical topics. The Institute provides webinars and other internet-based educational opportunities. At regional and national conferences, CSI provides several educational topics in a variety of tracks; even entire academies are established to focus on specific construction professions. And last, but definitely not least, CSI has established a certification program that has benefits for all those in the construction industry.
As you can see, CSI has a lot to offer for its members. However, these benefits wont help you if you dont take advantage of them.
And now, if you must, make that dreaded decision. But I bet CSI is now near the top of the list, isnt it?
Ronald L. Geren, CSI, CCS, CCCA, AIA, SCIP
Phoenix Chapter President