LinkLine: Fall 2015

LinkLine:  Winter 2015-16

BSD Customer Case Study:  SpecLink-E Gives ArchitectsSouth Flexibility and Accuracy

ArchitectsSouth is a Brandon, Mississippi-based architecture and planning firm providing professional services in education, entertainment, medical, office, religious, retail, and residential multi-family building types.


wint15success1Architect Brent Holmes established ArchitectsSouth, P.A. in May of 1996. Their firm stresses the importance of schedules and the delivery of quality, professional services. With more than twenty five years of experience practicing architecture in Texas and Mississippi, they strive to deliver a consistent, on time and in budget performance, being responsive to the specific project and client needs.

Providing architectural services is more than “just another job.” It evolves into the building of relationships with their clients over the period of all design phases. The relationships become stronger as the time progresses and the client sees all the work and strategies taken to safeguard the client and the project. The approach at ArchitectsSouth is proactive rather than reactive. They believe any potential issues can be eliminated if you look ahead, solving them before they become problems.

When they undertake a new project, their goal is to identify the client’s specific need and respond appropriately with design solutions that address those issues in a creative and fresh approach, while maintaining controls on construction costs, budgets and time schedules.


wint15success2The Need
The world of architectural design is constantly moving forward, and design firms need to be able to keep up with these changes. Because it is a small firm, time is an especially precious commodity at ArchitectsSouth. Whether checking product codes, model numbers or other manufacturer specifications, Brent Holmes and his staff required a lot of time to stay up to date with all the changes that occur.

Looking ahead and being proactive are just two ways ArchitectsSouth works to provide its clients with outstanding service, and the company expected no less from its specification writing software. In 1998 Holmes was very impressed by a software demo he saw. He decided that SpecLink was the tool that would save his firm time, while ensuring that the specs he wrote contained the most recent, up-to-date information.


wint15success3The Solution
“Using SpecLink is almost like having an in-house research staff running quality control checks on our data,” says Holmes. “I feel very confident that when we write specifications, we have the most current information available to us. Before SpecLink, we were always checking to ensure that a particular manufacturer was still in business and that model numbers hadn’t changed. If we write specs that have an incorrect manufacturer or model number, the general contractor or the subs may substitute something else for it. That can make for an uncomfortable situation with our clients.” ArchitectsSouth has created its own masters for two main customer types: educational and medical. Using these masters has saved them a lot of editing time. Although the system they used prior to SpecLink did provide updates, Holmes says he likes the fact that “SpecLink never overwrites or deletes my custom edits or changes, including any personalization to our masters.”


The Outcome
Holmes estimates that switching to SpecLink has generated at least a 50% time-savings over his previous system. He says, “I’m not really a computer person, so I’m glad that SpecLink was very easy to learn and is extremely user friendly. I can write new sections and make modifications quickly. As a designer, it is simple for me to put all the pieces together to complete a specification.” He continues, ”SpecLink’s structure and updates give us confidence that the specifications we are writing are good and accurate, yet it is flexible enough to meet our specific needs. I believe SpecLink is excellent software for designers.”

LinkLine: Fall 2015

Recent UL Changes and Applied Fireproofing

Recent changes in Underwriters Laboratories Online Fire Resistance Certifications Directory have the potential to impact the list of UL Designs that can be used on a project.  In April 2015, Underwriters Laboratories updated the guide information (BXUV) in the UL Online Fire Resistance Certifications Directory for the purpose of clarifying the load restriction warnings that appear on many of UL’s Fire Resistance listings. Though load restrictions have existed on many UL, CUL and ULC listings since 2007, users of these directories may not have realized that UL has applied these restrictions to all structures designed using Limit States Design methods (such as Load and Resistance Factor Design (LRFD) Method or Allowable Stress Design (ASD) Method) regardless of where the structure is constructed.  A letter from UL dated August 10, 2015 with the subject line “Restricted Loading Conditions” states the following:

“For projects designed with the Working Stress Design method published 2005 or later or the Limit States Design method, UL designs shall be considered load restricted unless the design specifically indicates that the Limit States Design method has been utilized.”

There are no geographical limitations to the UL’s load restrictions, which means these load restrictions apply to structures designed for the United States.  As a result of these changes, a high percentage of the UL Designs being submitted on projects today may not be acceptable for use in meeting the required fire resistance protection specified by the building code.  For example, choosing load restricted UL Designs on projects that do not meet UL’s current criteria will result in the potential for the fireproofing thicknesses to be insufficient to provide the required hourly rating.  

In response to this situation, BSD Speclink has added the following language as an option in section 07 8100 Applied Fireproofing Section 2.02 Fireproofing Assemblies

“The UL listing for each fire rated assembly must state that the superimposed load used in the test was determined by Allowable Stress Design Method or Load and Resistance Factor Design Method. UL listings with a Load Restriction are not allowed.”

By adding this wording to your specification, you are avoiding the potential issue of having load restricted UL designs on projects where they don’t meet the UL requirements.

For more information on the recent UL changes, you can go to an article published on the Construction Specifiers website entitled “Choosing appropriate UL designs” at

LinkLine: Fall 2015

BSD Customer Case Study:  Arris Architects Reduces Spec Writing Time 30% by Using SpecLink-E

Arris Architects + Planners, P.C. of Plainfield, Illinois, is a full-service, computer-based, architectural firm..

Since it was founded in 1991, Arris has developed a reputation for clear, concise and accurate construction documents. Attention to detail has become an office trademark. Building on a tradition of innovative and affordable design, Arris is respected for its commercial, residential, religious, and historic preservation work. The Arris staff believes that successful projects result when good clients, good contractors, and good architects form strong relationships with each other — relationships founded on a mutual understanding of expectations and clear communication in the creation of a project. Arris has continually upgraded and expanded its services and client base due to a commitment to personal service and quality work. Maintaining a small professional staff   assures that its team members deliver personal attention to each client in order to provide accessibility, continuity, quality control and responsiveness throughout the duration of each project.

Fall15success1The Arris project is a “Shared Facility for Plainfield Township and the Forest Preserve District of Will County.” The entire site is planned for a total of three buildings, a bike trail, and public garden plots. Building 1 is a 17,000 SF shared Administration and Maintenance Building. The second building (shown on back) is a 3,600 SF Salt Shed constructed of cast-in-place concrete foundation, and wood trusses with metal roof and wall panels. A third building (maintenance sub-station) is not yet under construction.

The Need
When writing a spec, Thomas Flynn, Project Architect, practically used to start from scratch. If he had an older project that was similar to the one he was working on, he would reference it, arduously check current needs against the previous ones, and then modify the specification. Once this part of the project was done, his next concern would be whether the information he was referencing contained the most up-to-date standards.

Once he had the information he needed and was satisfied that it was current, he would spend additional time formatting the document. If changes were made, the “word processing”-like features of his old spec writing program could cause difficulty with headers, footers and section breaks. He was spending way too much time researching, reviewing and reformatting specifications. He wanted to find a better way. In 2003, Flynn took a look at SpecLink.

The Solution
Fall15success2Arris Architects takes pride in the individual attention its staff members are able to give clients. Since Arris is a small firm, every minute counts. Once Flynn realized the time savings Arris Architects could achieve with SpecLink, he knew it was essential to make the move.

Flynn estimates that Arris has reduced its total specification writing time by approximately 30%. “We now spend less time formatting, researching references and updating standards,” notes Flynn. “This means we are now able to devote more time to the actual process of writing project specific specifications.” This enables Arris to spend more time with each client, not only in this initial phase of specification writing, but throughout each phase of a project.

The Outcome
In reflecting on how SpecLink has improved Arris's specification writing process, Flynn stated, “The instant formatting – the way it is done automatically – has really saved us time! And using SpecLink’s pre-written specifications as a starting guide has been great. SpecLink makes it easy to add or delete as needed for a specific project. The starting specifications make it easy to review and modify specs.”

Flynn and the staff at Arris taught themselves how to use SpecLink in less than a week. They use the network version at their office. When asked what he liked best about SpecLink-E, his resounding answer was clear:  “[R]eliability. Time savings, ease-of-formatting, and reliability." SpecLink-E turned out to be a great move for Arris Architects.

LinkLine: Fall 2015

Product Q & A


Q. How often does my SpecLink-E receive master updates from BSD?

A. All installations of SpecLink-E have a default master update of once every month. You can change the frequency of these updates so you receive them more or less frequently than that. Simply open the SLE Support Utilities (where the server portion of SpecLink-E is installed), and click the Update BSD Master tab. Here you can set the time and frequency of master updates from BSD.

Q. How can I make use of my user-added Global Terms in headers and footers?

A. In previous versions of SpecLink-E, you could not use user-added global terms in headers and footers. Beginning in version, you can. While editing a header or footer, take note of the new Insert a Global Term button that is located next to the Keyword button.  Just click the button to see the list of terms you can now insert into headers and footers.



Q. Is LinkMan-E available in the cloud?

A. The latest release of LinkMan-E (version is also available in the cloud. Users now have three setup options:  standalone, server, and cloud. Keep in mind that the location of LinkMan-E must match the location of SpecLink-E; in order to use LinkMan-E in the cloud, you will need to use SpecLink-E Cloud as well. For more information, click here to read our feature story about this update.

Q. When will LinkMan-E be ready for use with Revit 2016?

A. The current version of LinkMan-E can be used with Revit 2016. Also, it is still compatible with Revit versions 2009 through 2015.



Q. How can I e-mail my CostLink/AE reports to someone who does not have CostLink?

A. Export the report(s) to a PDF, Excel, Word, or Rich Text Format file. To export your reports, Print Preview a report you would like to e-mail. In the Print Preview window, click the export report button on the toolbar. Choose PDF, Excel, Word, or Rich Text Format. Follow the onscreen directions, including entering a file name and location. Once the export is complete, you can e mail the exported file as an attachment. A few things to keep in mind:

  • PDF files can be opened on any computer using Acrobat Reader and cannot be edited easily.
  • Excel files can be edited in Excel, but keep in mind that the formulas are not exported; just the final report text and numbers will be in the Excel file.
  • Word files can be edited in Word, and Rich Text Format files can be opened and edited in any word processor.


Software Support

Q. Where can I find a fee schedule for technical support for using SpecLink-E, LinkMan-E, and CostLink/AE?

A. Technical Support for SpecLink-E, LinkMan-E, and CostLink/AE is provided free to our customers. The business hours for Tech Support are Monday through Friday, 8:30 a.m. to 5:30 p.m. Eastern Time. You can contact Tech Support by telephone (800-266-7732) or via the e-mail link on our Contact Us web page (

Nystrom MarkTaylor RoofHatch plainLinkLine: Fall 2015

New In SpecLink-E:  Nystrom's Full Line of Access Doors, Smoke Vents, Expansion Joint Systems, Entrance Front Mats and Grilles.

Nystrom, where Access is everything, can now be specified through Building Systems Design's SpecLink-E. Our full line of access doors, smoke vents, expansion joint systems, entrance floor mats and grilles are built to the highest commercial standards while making the construction process more efficient. Update your specification to include Nystrom’s FM approved Acoustical Smoke Vent with either an STC 48 or STC50 rating and take a look at our expanded entrance floor mats and grilles product line.

For over 50 years Nystrom has been the go to manufacturer for specialty access related products. Today we provide a wide range of roof, floor and safety related access product that help create safer, more accessible buildings. We understand that every construction project has a different level of complexity and challenge. That is why Nystrom offers direct access to our people, products and process to ensure your specific needs are addressed. No matter how complex or custom the product requirements, our team will provide the right to site service and support to ensure a seamless project. Access is everything!

Nystrom 1 0

LinkLine: Fall 2015

Building Systems Design, Inc. Releases Cloud Version of BIM Linking Product

The latest version of BSD LinkMan-E has been configured to permit cloud access. BSD LinkMan-E, or LME, is a software tool that connects any architectural model developed in Autodesk’s Revit to specifications for the same project in BSD SpecLink-E. LME is a coordination tool with dashboards that permit a project manager to compare the modeled information in Revit to the specifications data in SpecLink. Conflicting information is highlighted, allowing the manager to make necessary corrections in the model or the specifications. It is also possible to take the Revit data and automatically generate matching specifications in SpecLink by using a synchronizing function in BSD LinkMan-E.

The new release of the LME software operates much faster than previous versions, greatly increasing the speed of data transfer between applications. The cloud version of the software requires a subscription to the cloud version of BSD SpecLink-E, which was released earlier this year. In the cloud configuration, the Revit software is installed on the user’s server, and a small software client and Revit plugin are installed on the user’s local machine. All other software is installed remotely, on servers maintained by BSD. Cloud users can access their project information from any location by using any device with Internet access, including iPads and iPhones.

There are no known firewall issues with the new LME Cloud release. An annual subscription to LME Cloud includes the cost of all server and software maintenance and updating, plus unlimited telephone support and unlimited data storage. In addition to the LME software, BSD provides a library of over 1,700 building materials that allow Revit users to quickly link to SpecLink any objects they have already created. There is also a catalog of over 600 BSD “intelligent” objects, such as walls, windows, doors, and plumbing fixtures, which have already been linked to SpecLink and require no further operations to achieve interoperability. Any of these objects used in a Revit project will be automatically connected to the appropriate specifications in SpecLink through the BSD LinkMan-E connection.

According to BSD’s president, Robert Paul Dean, FAIA, FCSI, “We believe very strongly that the future of architectural practice will be aligned with building information modeling, or BIM. BSD’s products are already configured to benefit design professionals who have adopted the BIM movement, and our future product development will move us ever more firmly into that brave new world.”

LinkLine: Fall 2015

About Your SpecLink-E Updates


Sections in Each Catalog

  • Design Criteria Catalog -- 137
  • A = Architectural -- 473
  • S = Structural -- 183
  • C = Civil -- 216
  • L = Landscape -- 184
  • M = Mechanical / Electrical -- 390
  • Comprehensive -- 731

Design Criteria Statistics

  • 32 sections total 
  • 32 updated DC sections
  • 13,894 paragraphs
  • 9,951 internal links (targets and consequences)
  • 2,449 notes to specifier
  • 700 notes with live hyperlinks
  • 430 external documents referenced
  • 52 ASTMs referenced
  • 273 standards organizations referenced

Construction Specification Statistics

  • 699 total sections
  • 662 non-proprietary sections
  • 37 proprietary sections
  • 639 non-proprietary sections updated in the last quarter
  • 35 proprietary sections updated in the last quarter
  • 96% of total sections updated in the last quarter
  • 97% of all non-proprietary sections updated in the last quarter
  • 95% of all proprietary sections updated in the last quarter
  • 195,041 paragraphs
  • 221,054 links
  • 57,141 notes to specifier
  • 57,363 notes with live hyperlinks
  • 2,414 external documents referenced
  • 1,101 ASTM documents referenced
  • 1,313 other documents and standards referenced
  • 392 newly-referenced standards
  • 249 standards organizations referenced
  • 595 sections with manufacturers listed
  • 1,274 unique manufacturers listed

LinkLine: Fall 2015

SpecLink-E's Latest Update Addresses Choices and Fill-ins

The Issue: 

If the text of a master paragraph has not been modified by a user, any choice or user-inserted fill-in text contained within that paragraph has the potential to be lost when the user accepts BSD updates in that project.

The Solution

As of the latest version of SpecLink-E (version — click here if you have not yet installed this version), a change to any choice in a master paragraph now constitutes a user modification [indicated by a turquoise highlight in the Sequence Number (#) column and a turquoise icon in the Origin (O) column, as shown below]. This means that any choice or fill-in text that has been selected or inserted by a user since the installation of SLE has not been and will not be affected by the updating process. Users concerned about choices and fill-ins selected or inserted in earlier versions of SLE can protect that data by modifying the text of the paragraphs in which they are contained. (The most practical way to do this is to place the cursor at the end of the paragraph, type a space, and then delete it.) Note that this is necessary only for master paragraphs. Choices and fill-ins in user-created paragraphs have never been affected by updates.


LinkLine: Fall 2015

Our Featured Manufacturers:

BSD gives building product manufacturers the opportunity to explain to SpecLink users the advantages of their products. The fall 2015 update adds or expands the listings of eight featured manufacturers.

The following is a complete list of new and featured manufacturers in the fall 2015 update:

Custom® Building Products is North America’s largest supplier of tile and flooring installation systems for residential and commercial projects. Founded in 1964, the company’s primary products fall into four categories:  surface preparation products, tile setting mortars, grouts, and maintenance products. CUSTOM products are distributed nationally through leading tile distributors. For more detailed information on CUSTOM products, look for their new placements in Sections 09 0561 – Common Work Results for Flooring Preparation  and 09 3000 – Tiling.

J.R. Hoe and Sons produce construction site products, structural steel and miscellaneous metal fabrications and industrial casting and machined products. To introduce their product lines to SpecLink-E users, they have chosen to place multiple styles of Cast Downspout Boots into Sections 05 5000 – Metal Fabrications, 07 7123 – Manufactured Gutters and Downspouts, and 33 4111 – Site Storm Utility Drainage Piping.

Lutron Electronics Company, Inc, the inventor of the dimmer, is a leading manufacturer of lighting and shade controls ranging from individual dimmers to total light management systems that control entire building complexes. Lutron is headquartered in Coopersburg, PA with sales and service offices located worldwide. Lutron’s Sivoia QS motorized shades can now be specified in Section 12 2400:LUT – Window Shades – Lutron Sivoia QS/Sivoia QS Wireless, Lutron Caseta Wireless lighting, temperature, and shade controls can now be specified in Section 26 0924:LUT2 – Lighting Controls – Lutron Caseta Wireless.

Rodda Paint Company is the largest paint manufacturer in the Pacific Northwest with offices and manufacturing facilities located in Portland, Oregon. Rodda is also part of the Cloverdale Paint Group, based in Surrey, British Columbia, Canada. Rodda makes or distributes high quality paints, high-performance industrial protective coatings, and professional supplies demanded by many professional segments of the industry through 53 full-service company locations covering the five state region of AK, ID, MT, OR, and WA. Products by this manufacturer can be found in Section 09 9113 – Exterior Painting and 09 9123 – Interior Painting.

The world leader in electrochromic glass for the building industry, SAGE Electrochromics Inc. is a wholly-owned subsidiary of Saint-Gobain, and is the producer of SageGlass® dynamic glass. This electronically tintable glass controls sunlight without shades or blinds, and is designed for windows, skylights and curtain walls. SageGlass has the potential to reduce energy usage through reduced cooling loads and lighting use, as well as initial costs associated with fewer lighting fixtures and down-sized HVAC systems. SAGE products and related control systems can now be specified in BSD Sections 08 8836.21- Electrochromic Tintable Glass, and these two new proprietary Section 08 8836.21-SAGE - Electrochromic Tintable Glass – SageGlass and 26 0905-SAGE - Electrochromic Tintable Glass Controls – Sage.

Trim-Tex Inc. manufactures top-of-the-line rigid vinyl drywall corner beads and accessories. With over 45 years of experience, Trim-Tex offers one of the most complete lines of commercial and residential products, including Corner Beads, J Beads, L Beads, Reveals and Expansion products, as well as Corner Guards for post-drywall-installation protection. Look for products by this manufacturer in Sections 09 2116 - Gypsum Board Assemblies and 10 2601 - Wall and Corner Guards.

For over 200 years Valspar has been helping people connect to the power of color. The Valspar Corporation is a global leader in the paint and coatings industry. They are dedicated to bringing customers the latest innovations, the finest quality and the best customer service in the coatings industry. Valspar paint and coatings are now included in Sections 09 9113 – Exterior Painting and 09 9123 – Interior Painting.

UFLOOR Systems Inc. is the North American subsidiary of Uzin-Utz AG, Ulm, Germany. Founded in 1911, UFLOOR Systems is a vertically integrated manufacturer of product systems designed for the preparation, installation, finishing and care of all types of floorcoverings. UFLOOR Systems offers its products under the Uzin (moisture mitigation, primers, leveling compounds and adhesives), Pallmann (Hardwood Complete™: subfloor preparation, adhesives, sanding, surface treatment and floor care), and Wolff (floor strippers, grinders and installation tools) brand names. For their initial product placement in SLE, UFloor has chosen to add Uzin underlayments and moisture mitigation products to Sections 03 5400 – Cast Underlayments and 09 0561 - Common Work Results for Flooring Preparation.