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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.