Sunday, July 29, 2012


If you really want to build good buildings, you owe it to yourself to get involved with both Construction Specifications Institute (CSI) and United States Green Building Council (USGBC).  (Full disclosure:  I belong to both Northern Illinois CSI and the Rockford/Northern Illinois Branch of USGBC-Illinois.)

Why both organizations?  Because there are at least two critical aspects of conceiving good buildings:

  • Knowing what a good building is - the case for USGBC membership.  Good building goes way beyond the minimum requirements of building codes and regulations.  A really good building is a high performance building.  USGBC with its LEED Green Building Rating System is the most important player in the constantly evolving ideal of high performance buildings.  
  • Creating good, biddable, buildable, change order-resistant construction documents for that building - the case for CSI membership. CSI’s four C’s (clear, concise, correct, and complete) aren’t just a cliche.  The four C’s pervade every aspect of CSI’s educational and certification efforts. As a CSI member, you’ll benefit enormously from CSI’s educational  programs about construction documentation, their professional certification programs, and the camaraderie of contract-document geeks.  If you’re in the AEC business,and you’re an i-dotting and t-crossing kind of person, CSI is the place for you.

What you’ll find at CSI and USGBC:  Committed, opinionated, talented, AEC participants who live and breathe the building design and construction business.  They’re generous with their time and advice.  They’re compulsive communicators, especially the CSI blogging and tweeting community.  Want to be plugged in to what’s happening in this business?  Get involved with CSI and USGBC. Then start blogging and tweeting about your particular part of the AEC industry and you’ll get all the communication and involvement you can handle.

What you won’t find at CSI and USGBC:  Easy answers.  Nothing’s ever simple in building design and construction, and if you ask a question of a CSI member and/or a USGBC member, you’re likely to get a complicated, nuanced answer that requires you to think pretty hard about how to apply the advice.  But that’s why you got involved in this business after all, isn’t it? You want to use your head.

Here’s an upcoming opportunity to see both organizations at work, and meet practitioners from both organizations. Put GREENER BY DESIGN Conference and EXPO on your calendar:
  • Who:  Sponsored by CSI Chicago and USGBC-Illinois.
  • What: Continuing education seminars, product show, all the networking and benchmarking you can handle, and a happy hour.
    • If you’re a construction product rep, you can exhibit your products.
    • If you’re a designer or builder of the built environment, you can learn about the latest products, and get continuing education credits.
  • When:   October 4, 2012, 7:30 AM to 6:30 PM.
  • Where:   Northwest suburbs of Chicago, at the Carpenter Training Center in Elk Grove Village, IL.
  • Why:  Because you will benefit from the education and networking.  And because the other attendees will benefit from your participation at the event.
  • Registration:

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