Review - January 2004
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CtrlSpecBuilder™ provides tool for preparing 
quicker, easier specifications


A quick review by Ken Sinclair

One of our last month's new products CtrlSpecBuilder™ is a tool for creating quicker and easier control specification and it is free. You cannot beat that.

I decided to do a quick review of this product as it reminded me of my roots of some 30 years of writing control specifications. I believe that our consulting firm Sinclair Energy Services Ltd working with the forward thinking folks at the British Columbia Buildings Corporation BCBC was the first on the web with a generic specification for DDC controls. This document grew out of the Corporation's desire to purchase leading edge Direct Digital Control equipment in the early days of the DDC revolution. Although the design manual team started many years before the manual content is Copyrighted September 1994. That is 10 real years ago or over 40 net years, and we still have it linked to our web site. Wow!

BCBC Client Comfort System Design Manual  is primarily intended to instruct and assist designers who are specifying computerized building controls for BC Buildings Corporation.  It starts with an introduction which describes how to use the manual for the procurement process. An evolutionary document can be downloaded in Word and Excel format, a great resource and training tool for DDC.

So, have the folk at Automated Logic Corporation improved on our old spec?

 Yes, Yes, Yes, and Yes

 Let me explain.

Yes The CtrlSpecBuilder™ brings all consultants and users in line with the specification format based on ASHRAE Guideline 13-2000, Specifying Direct Digital Control Systems.

Yes The CtrlSpecBuilder™ provides an easy interactive interface that allows you to build a points list and detailed specification customized for your project quickly and for free.

Yes The CtrlSpecBuilder™allows you to make your designs web wise and browser based with easy interactive questions and by the way ALC is a good model to follow for the latest in web ways. 

Yes The CtrlSpecBuilder™ allows feedback so it can grow and change with the rapid evolution.

What's the best part?  You can learn as you build your specification and when it is all done if it is not quite you, you can modify the output word file. Good job ACL.

Take a look at the FAQ for rapid insight to this product.

1. What is CtrlSpecBuilder?
CtrlSpecBuilder is a free online productivity tool for preparing bid specifications for HVAC Control Systems. The specification format is based on ASHRAE Guideline 13-2000, Specifying Direct Digital Control Systems. CtrlSpecBuilder can prepare BACnet specifications or specs that allow other protocols. You can view the spec online and download it as a Microsoft Word® file.

2. Are the specifications it prepares proprietary?
No. In their most generic form, the specifications should allow all major Direct Digital Control (DDC) manufacturers to bid a job. The specifying engineer can select some options, such as requiring BACnet communications, which will narrow the list of potential bidders, but there are no hidden sole source provisions in the specification.

3. If it's not proprietary, what’s in it for Automated Logic Corporation?
We think that by making it easier for engineers to prepare tight, enforceable HVAC control specifications, we will get more business. We pride ourselves on providing complete, high-quality HVAC control systems with completely configured graphics, trends, alarms, and more. Well-written specs, such as those that follow the ASHRAE guidelines, require these details and provide a level playing field for all bidders.

Special thanks to DVL Automation, Inc. of Bristol, Pennsylvania for their ideas and proof of concept.

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