Preparing class materials for my spring 2012 semester portion of “Codes, Contracts, and Specifications” this weekend, I found myself comparing the old CSI Project Resource Manual to the new Project Delivery Practice Guide.
In the Project Resource Manual, the product selection process, and by implication the spec writing process, is portrayed in a very neat, orderly, structured, idealized, one-step-follows-the-next, flow-chart-y way.
It would be nice, but a little boring, if the process actually unfolded this way much of the time for me.
Instead, construction document production is usually on such a tight schedule that drawings and specs have to proceed simultaneously, so the spec writing process is anything but a straight line affair.
In order to edit even some of the simpler spec sections, it’s often necessary to look multiple times at constantly evolving in-progress drawings on the server, ask various members of the project design team lots of detailed questions, wait for answers, and draw inferences when drawings aren’t explicit or when product or design decisions don’t seem to be imminent. Often it's necessary to go back and delete or add sections when the design takes an unforeseen direction.
If anything, the trajectory of the process I’ve become accustomed to is less like a flow chart and more like the way a restless canine explores his territory.
Like my Sheltie, Ollie, in the snow in my back yard this morning.