Message from the Chair
The Importance of Specifications
Tim Simpson

I am not writing this with a view of being an expert, (sometimes defined as: “ex” meaning has been, and “spurt” a drip under pressure!”) but as someone who daily reads and submits proposals based on specifications. Recently, I had the assistance of someone I view as very well-versed on reviewing and restructuring or creating from scratch a professional specification. It’s their business and they know it very well. Working with them helped me understand afresh the importance of this all over again.
So here are some things, that to me, are critical parts of a good specification, and why it matters in my job. This is just my opinion, and not that of an expert. In no particular order, and definitely in no order of significance or priority, here is are some points that especially matter to me:
  • Non–proprietary: Here’s the thing, there is a very good likelihood you are not the only one who does what you do or sells what you sell. However, you may have the best of the best and be the best of the best. It is a disservice to you and your company however if you become extremely protectionist and write a proprietary specification that seeks to exclude others. Often these meet with great resistance and don’t get well received in the market in general. Also, you want your prospective clients to compare apples-to-apples, not apples-to-oranges… Why not make it easier instead of harder, and help them in the long run help you! If you are as good as you think you are, you will get the jobs in the long run.
  • Clear: Some tend to try and baffle with bullshit. Resist the temptation, don’t do it. Be clear, otherwise it will just end up making you look silly if you try and snow someone and one of your competitors comes in and sheds light where you tried to cover something up. Clearly state the benefits and features, no smoke and mirrors and no games.
  • Concise: Strongly related to the foregoing, the longer and more complicated a specification, the easier it is to lose your reader and open the door for someone who is quick and to the point. Call a spade a spade, and be clear and to the point. It does no favour when you add things without considering their relevance or need. If it’s not needed or relevant, take it out. Short and sweet and to the point is loved by everyone.
  • Cross reference the drawings: Don’t make the reader guess, clearly denote on the specification and the drawings where the specified items are contained on the project. It helps in so many ways. Clearly denoted and dimensioned drawings mean accurate pricing. Accurate pricing means accurate budgets and a successful project start to finish.
I have attached this picture for your amusement. Have a great month everyone and thanks for the opportunity to state my thoughts.

I am
Ignite Student Design Competition
Awards Night

Rather than having a technical meeting in February, CSC Calgary is holding an awards night on Friday, February 9th, from 5:30 to 8:30 p.m., to wrap-up the Ignite student design competition.  Please come for a chance to learn about the competition and its highlights, meet the students and see their designs, hear client feedback, and congratulate winning teams as they are awarded their prizes.  Mix and mingle with the students and faculty advisors from SAIT and Mount Royal, competition mentors and judges, and the client group from Cochrane SPCA  and Strathmore Veterinary Clinic.
Ticket price includes one drink ticket and hors d’oeuvres.  Location: Contemporary Office Interiors, 2206 Portland Street SE Calgary, AB T2G 4M6.  To register click IGNITE

It's not too late to sponsor the awards gala!  Contact Tim Simpson or Peter Hiebert
Connections Café will be Wednesday, March 7.  This year’s event, similar format to Edmonton’s InfoNet, will include a tabletop tradeshow, dinner and guest speaker Andrew Brash.   

In May 2006, Andrew took the final step towards his life-long goal of climbing Mount Everest. Just two hundred metres from the Everest summit, Andrew’s dream was cut short for a noble cause. Andrew and his team called off their final ascent to assist an Australian climber, Lincoln Hall. After reaching the summit of Everest, Lincoln began to suffer from altitude sickness, and began a desperate struggle down the mountain. He was eventually declared dead, and his teammates were forced to leave his body to the mountain. Lincoln spent the night alone above 8,600 m, 600 m into the Death Zone, and only 200 m below the summit. His wife and teenage sons were informed of his death by satellite phone that same evening. However, Lincoln was still clinging to life when Andrew and his team discovered him some twelve hours later. They spent many hours helping Lincoln to recover and organizing his rescue. With a dwindling oxygen supply and due to the late hour, Andrew and his team were forced to end their expedition.

For more information, please contact Trevor Devnich or Jonathon Greenland.  To register click CONNECTIONS CAFE
Looking to Hire? 
Looking for Work?


Send your posting to Corinne Golding, at, and I’ll be sure to include it in the next Specifier.

Education Update
Adam Develter

The Construction Contract Administrator (CCA) course started Thursday, January 18th.  The course will run for 9 weeks, and be held at S2 Architecture, 110-12 Ave SW, Suite 900, Calgary.

At the February dinner meeting, Adam Develter presented certificates of completion to Jonathon Greenland (Alumicor) for the Principles of Construction Documentation (PCD); and to Gabriel Cortes, Daniel Byrne, and Peter Verwer for the Construction Contract Administration course.  All three work at Group 2 Architecture. Congratulations!

Member News and New Members
Corinne Golding, FCSC RSW

Alp Enginsal is now with Morrison Hershfield, and can be reached at or 403-246-4500   Ext: 1032231
Debbie Lucas, chapter marketing chair, is now the “architect and design manager” with Cosentino Center Calgary.  You can reach Debbie at 403-471-0619, or at

If your contact information has changed, please contact the CSC Association office with your new information, or fill in the form at 
If you know of a CSC member who is not getting chapter information, please share this link with them so that we can reconnect. 
Don’t forget to renew your 2018 CSC membership!
CSC and CSI Renew Agreement to License and Support MasterFormat®

Construction Specifications Canada (CSC), committed to the improved of construction documentation, and the Construction Specifications Institute (CSI), a national association dedicated to improving the communication of construction information, announced the ten-year renewal of an agreement to license and support MasterFormat® in the United States, Canada, and worldwide.

MasterFormat is used throughout the construction industry to format specifications for construction contract documents. The purpose of this format is to assist the user to organize information into distinct groups when creating contract documents, and to assist the user searching for specific information in consistent locations. An internationally recognized standard for organizing specifications and other written information for commercial and institutional building projects, MasterFormat is a product of CSI and CSC.

“We are thrilled to renew our work with CSC to better serve the construction industry worldwide, and proud of the contributions CSI and CSC members continue to contribute to this important organizational system,” said Mark N. Dorsey, FASAE, CAE, CSI’s Chief Executive Officer. “renewing the long standing partnership with CSC for the next decade ensures maintenance and expansion of this vital resource.”

“The successful completion of projects requires effective communication among the people involved, and that in turn requires easy access to essential project information. MasterFormat, Uniformat and other CSI and CSC standards represent a key benefit for our members.” said Nick Franjic, CSC’s Executive Director. “We’re excited to renew our agreement with CSI to better serve the construction industry in today’s global business environment.”

CSC Program
Glenn Trost

Don't forget that there are two events in March.  March 7th is Connections Cafe, and March 13th is the tour of the central library currently under construction.  More information to follow on the tour including requirement for PPE.

If you have ideas for the 2018-2019 program year, please contact Glenn Trost by email at 

Sponsor a CSC Meeting
For $125 you receive:
  • Acknowledgement at the registration desk
  • Product display and table centrepiece featuring your product or service
  • Advertisement in one issue of the Specifier newsletter
  • Ongoing discussion with key industry people during the meeting
  • Opportunity to make a 5-minute presentation at the meeting
  • One complimentary dinner meeting registration
To book your sponsorship, contact Debbie Lucas at 
New Home for CSC NMS Products

After 15 years of the marketing alliance between Construction Specifications Canada (CSC) and Digicon Information Inc., the CSC Board of Directors decided to end the alliance effective December 31, 2017.  The decision was not taken lightly and CSC is ready to work with Digicon Information Inc. to ensure customers are aware of the change, know their options and are treated respectfully.

CSC is pleased to introduce the new home for CSC NMS Products and more

CSC Annual Conference

This year the annual conference will be held in Edmonton; and the conference theme is "Building on Collaboration".  The conference runs from May 23 to 27th.  To register, or for more information on sponsorship opportunities, and the technical program, go to 

CSC Edmonton Chapter

If you have plans to travel to Edmonton on February 15, consider attending the breakfast meeting on "New BIM Requirements at Alberta Infrastructure". 
For more information go to:   
Interior Designers of Alberta events
Chapter Events
September 12, 2017
TTMAC Update

September 13, 2017
3rd Annual Golf Tournament

October 10, 2017
Radon: Is your countertop really radioactive?

November 14, 2017
LEED v.4

December 12, 2017
Christmas Social - Members and guest only

January 9, 2018
Wood Construction and the ABC

CCA course - starting mid-January

February 9, 2018
IGNITE Awards Gala

March 7, 2018
Connections Café

March 13, 2018
Construction Tour - New Downtown Library

April 12, 2018
Joint meeting with ABEC and GAMA

May 8, 2018
Annual Chapter Meeting

Chapter Executive
Sylvie Dzikewich, CTR
Tim Simpson
Trevor Devnich
Officer - Spec Writer:
Corinne Golding, FCSC, RSW
Officer - Interiors:
Kirsten Janes
Officer - Manufacturer/Supplier:
Matt Girling
Officer - Trade Contractor:
Tim Simpson
Officer- Education:
Adam Develter, CTR
Calgary Construction Association Liaison:
Jonathan Greenland
Sylvie Dzikewich, CTR
Membership Officer:
Corinne Golding, FCSC, RSW
Program Chairman:
Glenn Trost
Matt Girling
Newsletter Editor:
Corinne Golding, FCSC, RSW
Debbie Lucas
Disclaimer: The opinions and comments expressed by the authors do not necessarily reflect the official views of Construction Specifications Canada. Also, appearance of advertisements and new product or service information does not constitute an endorsement of products or services featured.
Copyright © 2018 Construction Specification Canada Calgary Chapter, All rights reserved.

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