Enhancements for Expandable Specifications

August 20, 2012

Atlanta, GA – Building Systems Design, Inc. (BSD) today announced major enhancements of its award-winning construction specifications software product. The fall release of BSD SpecLink-E® includes many new features, but one of the most unusual is an enhancement to its innovative expandable database function.

The guide specifications included in SpecLink-E cover over 600 sections, or product categories, from earthwork to roofing specialties. Comprising many thousands of text pages, the database is used by architects and engineers in all 50 states to produce construction specifications for over 30,000 commercial, industrial, and institutional projects annually. SpecLink-E’s huge database of guide text is also unique in its ability to be collapsed or expanded to produce specifications with the appropriate level of detail, as required for a particular phase of development.

Traditionally, design professionals produce outline specifications for the earliest schematic design phase of a project. As the design work progresses, they produce “short form” specifications that include more detail. During the final construction documents phase, designers produce highly detailed specifications that accompany the drawings the contractor will employ to actually construct the facility. Using traditional word processing, architects and engineers typically have to start over at each phase, producing documents that are tailored to include only the detail needed at any point in time. With SpecLink-E, however, the database can be collapsed to hide data that isn’t needed or expanded to include all requirements, so users can build up the text as design decisions are made, without beginning anew at each phase.

The master guide text provided with the software is “tagged” to indicate at which of three levels each paragraph is visible. OL, or outline text, is always visible. SF, or short form text, becomes visible when more detail is required for the design development phase. The most detailed text needed for construction appears only in the final project phases and can be easily added to the OL and SF text already selected. In the latest release of SpecLink-E, users now have the ability to add their own OL and SF tags to master paragraphs in addition to paragraphs they have added. This allows them to further refine the outline and short form modes to determine which text will be included or hidden at any particular phase of project development.

Another enhancement added since the summer release of SpecLink-E is a new printing option that automatically converts the output into an earlier version of MasterFormat, the master list of specification numbers and titles promulgated by the Construction Specifications Institute. This new option was added to accommodate some clients who insist on using the older 16-division format in preference to the current 50-division organization.

About BSD:  Building Systems Design has offered innovative software tools for the architecture, architectural engineering, and construction markets since 1983. The company creates and supports advanced cost estimating, specification writing, and interoperability products that are used for over thirty thousand commercial, institutional, and industrial projects annually.