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LinkLine: Summer 2004

BSD SpecLink First with MasterFormat 2004

Building Systems Design, Inc. is hard at work revamping its flagship product BSD SpecLink+ to incorporate the new MasterFormat 20041 before the end of the year. The remodeled product, unlike any other specifications tool, will allow SpecLink users to choose between MasterFormat 1995 (MF95) and MasterFormat 2004 (MF04) and to switch back and forth between the two taxonomies on the same project. The 2004 release date means that BSD will be the first information provider in the country to implement MF04 in any commercial product. To our knowledge, no other software product will allow its users to switch so freely—and automatically—between the two data structures.

For readers who are unfamiliar with the new MasterFormat 2004, it may be worthwhile to take a look at CSI's website, www.csinet.org/masterformat, where information about the new data formatting system can be found. To summarize, CSI has expanded the familiar 16 divisions into 50 divisions - actually 49 divisions plus a new Division 0. Among other changes, mechanical and electrical systems have been moved from Divisions 15 and 16 and have been greatly expanded. In addition, the familiar 5-digit numbering scheme has been replaced by paired digits in a 6- or 8-digit format. Finally, many section titles have also been changed. In short, under MasterFormat 2004 every single section will have a new number, and many sections will also have a new title.

Because BSD SpecLink is based on a relational database structure, individual sections will be assigned new fields for section number and title under both MF95 and MF04. These new fields permit the creation of a global switch, similar to the one currently used for units of measure, which will display the same project data using either selected format. When the user changes the global switch from MF95 to MF04, the appropriate tree will be displayed in the tree panel (see figure above). When the user selects a section to edit from the tree, cross references within the selected section will also be displayed in the corresponding format. This approach will allow the user to work in one format and switch to the other format for final printing, or to maintain an office master project in one format and edit it for a particular client in the other format. Users will even be able to print a table of contents that includes the alternate section numbers in parentheses, for cross-reference purposes. Section 05810, for example, could appear in the table of contents as any of the following :

  • 05810 - Expansion Joint Cover Assemblies
  • 07 95 13 - Expansion Joint Cover Assemblies
  • 05810 (07 95 13) - Expansion Joint Cover Assemblies
  • 07 95 13 (05810) - Expansion Joint Cover Assemblies

User created sections, whether copied from another section, imported from an RTF (Word) file, imported from another project, or simply started as a new section from the template, will be inserted in the current hierarchy at the user's selected location. The user will be able to specify a location for the new section in the alternative hierarchy or may simply let the section default to an "unassigned" folder in the second hierarchy. The latter course will allow a later reassignment, at the user's convenience.

When this new switchable MasterFormat feature is combined with the merging of the PerSpective and SpecLink databases (see related article "BSD SpecLink to Incorporate PerSpective" in this LinkLine edition), the new BSD SpecLink+ will be a comprehensive specification production and management system that will be unsurpassed by anything else on the market. It will afford our users a system with unmatched flexibility and will allow creation and maintenance of single-source specifications through all project phases and for all types of clients.

1MasterFormat is a joint publication between the Construction Specifications Institute (CSI), (www.csinet.org), and the Construction Specifications Canada (CSC), (www.csc-dcc.ca), and is used with permission by the publisher CSI. For more information on MasterFormat visit www.csinet.org/masterformat.