LinkLine: Winter 2014-15

BSD Customer Case Study: Miller Sellers Heroux Architects Saves Significant Time Using SpecLink-E

Miller Sellers Heroux Architects is a 13 person architectural firm located in Sioux Falls, South Dakota. Their three architects have over 98 years of experience among them.

casestudy msha biggerThis gives their firm a broad base of experience and expertise with many different types of projects.

Clients work directly with the owners of the firm. They are the clients’ personal design advocates from concept to completion. They believe their primary role is to listen to their clients – and they advocate an open, interactive design process. Every client and every project is unique! Their goal is to bring fresh thoughts to each project, giving them their own distinct look and personality.

And the entire staff at Miller Sellers Heroux strives to exceed client expectations at every point of contact, from the first time they sit down to discuss the project to the day the client moves into their new building.

The team at Miller Sellers Heroux guides clients through all stages of the design and build process. This includes planning and evaluation, providing schematic design and construction documents, bidding process and contract administration, and training in facility system operations and maintenance. Cost estimates are provided early and at each step of design to help clients make informed ‘best value’ decisions each step of the way.

The Need

Over the years Miller Sellers Heroux Architects has used several methods for specification writing. At one time, they were outsourcing this part of their business. Then they decided to bring the spec writing back in-house and acquired a word processing-based software program. While this was preferable to outsourcing, they were still not completely satisfied.  

According to Dave Sellers, vice president, “Our previous program would ask a lot of questions, then delete paragraphs based on your answers to the questions. We still had to do a lot of ‘cutting and pasting’ and deleting.  This minimized the effectiveness of answering the questions.”  

On their website, Miller Sellers Heroux has a list of standards that they recommend clients use in selecting an architectural firm. The criteria they list includes experience, philosophy, references and level of service. They used many of the same criteria when selecting specification-writing software for their firm.

In 2002 they took a look at SpecLink. Sellers says, “SpecLink had the features we were looking for.”

The Solution

SpecLink’s editing process was one of the features Sellers liked best. “SpecLink does automatic selections – which saves us a tremendous amount of time over our previous method,” he notes. “Even better, is the SpecLink intelligent linking function that automatically turns off potentially conflicting paragraphs – based on other choices I have made earlier. These same intelligent links alert me to relevant options that I should consider selecting, based on previous choices. Edit by selection is MUCH easier than edit by deleting.”

Sellers estimates that since they began using SpecLink their time savings have been around 40%. And while the editing features have played a large part in those time savings – they have also saved time by using the model projects. Sellers says, “What I like best about SpecLink are the model projects that BSD supplies for free – right out of the box. We have saved SIGNIFICANT time using these model projects to jump start our own internal office master. Model Projects are ‘pre-edited’ projects that are based on different building types. They are great for more rapidly developing office masters.”

The Outcome

Miller Sellers Heroux Architects works on a wide variety of projects, including commercial, industrial, institutional, educational and governmental. Some of their favorite projects where they used SpecLink were for schools. They used an Office Master they had created for school specifications. Sellers says, “It worked wonderfully!”

Sellers also liked the fact that they were able to be up and running quickly with SpecLink. He says, “SpecLink is extremely easy to learn! The updated, Word-compatible version makes it even better.” And if Sellers ever has questions? “Tech support has been great – it is second to none!"