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Article - May 99
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JUST A SPEC ON THE NET

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Prepared by Ken Sinclair, Sinclair Energy Services Ltd

"The Net" was chosen as the lowest cost, environmentally friendly method of disseminating the constantly changing information for their design consultants

Sinclair Energy Services Ltd

The main function of the company has been one of providing energy conservation expertise to all levels of government, universities and hospitals.


Sinclair Energy Services Ltd had the opportunity to be part of the Technical Value Department team of BC Buildings Corporation who developed their Design Manual for direct digital controlled Client Comfort Systems for the Internet.   Web address of the manual is http://www.bcbc.bc.ca/Doing_Business_With_Us/Technical_Manuals/files/ccs/rights.htm. "The Net" was chosen as the lowest cost, environmentally friendly method of disseminating the constantly changing information for their design consultants and BCBC staff.  The purpose of the Design Manual is to assist Mechanical Consultants with the difficult task of specifying the Corporation’s high performance energy management and client comfort systems.  The on-line manual includes several design selectable templates that allow the designer to transfer the actual graphics and point sheets for preferred standard systems to the consultant’s PC.  Transfer of the latest copy of the complete performance specification and other related text is also available directly to the consultant’s word processing program.

BC Buildings Corporation has chosen to make this resource available to the world by the Internet and encourages its use on non BCBC projects.  Wide usage of this format, with continuous feedback will greatly strengthen the approach.

Is it just at spec on the net?  Or is it a harbinger of the transition to electronic media?  If BCBC's complex high performance control requirements can be simplified and put into templates, this approach should work for all specifications.  Manufacturers of all types of equipment could provide their specifications electronically attached to their home pages in a common format. This would allow consultants to browse and transfer the necessary files to assemble a custom specification with very real up todate information.  In specifying equipment requiring specialized expertise, sub-consultants could assemble project specific sections electronically that could then be transferred to the prime consultant’s main specification.

Once the specification is electronically assembled the natural way to disseminate it is electronically.  The advantages of electronic distribution over the Net are significant, as it allows almost simultaneous access to the complete specification by many contractors and suppliers.  Powerful browser search commands simplify finding detailed information quickly.

Reliable ControlsEach major project would likely warrant a home page where electronic media could be assembled by several consultants.   Each could read the others input to coordinate difficult issues.  The use of electronic searches would greatly reduce the time required to find details needing coordination.

Estimating by contractors could be automated.   Electronic transfer would significantly reduce “take off” time through the transfer of material lists to spreadsheet programs or databases that would be able to automate much of the estimating procedure.

We have had feedback from automation contractors who are using the electronic files to automate their estimating procedure, plus even build the actual database if they are the successful contractor.

Project prices could be generated quickly by the automated estimation program used by contractors and suppliers, allowing close cost control. Virtual design options could be explored and accurately priced.

For now it is just a spec on the Net - a revolutionary, evolutionary spec.

Ken Sinclair, ESI Enviromation Services Inc/Sinclair Energy Services Ltd Tel: (250) 656-5378 Fax: 656-2394 E-Mail: sinclair@enviromation.bc.ca 


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