An experienced, well-rounded architect knows that good architecture goes beyond design itself. Successful buildings – those that serve their occupants well and are constructed of high-quality materials able to stand the test of time – incorporate the specialized expertise of a specifications writer. An often overlooked and increasingly outsourced position, the spec writer is an invaluable member of the in-house design team. In this post, Associate Principal Alexander Lungershausen, AIA, CSI, CCS, CCCA, LEED BD+C, explains the role of the construction specifications writer, the benefits of having in-house expertise, and yes, what all the letters after his name actually mean.
How/why did you become involved in CSI Portland?
As an architect, I’ve always had an inherent interest in the technical aspects of the profession and how they influence design. I was originally educated in Germany, where the technical side of this industry is as highly regarded and taught as the artistic side. In 2001, a colleague in the office where I was working invited everyone to attend technical presentations put on by CSI Portland. I began to attend these presentations regularly, and eventually became the specifications writer at that firm. I also became more and more involved with CSI, becoming a committee leader and then a board member. While drawings tell you where elements are in a building’s design, specifications tell you what those elements are. Specifications control the quality and the workmanship in the execution of a project. A building that is assembled well performs well, which leads to return commissions.
What led to you pursue certification as a CCS and CCCA?
Initially I became a Certified Document Technologist (CDT). That certification demonstrates an understanding of the documents and the relationships between all the parties who are involved in the construction of a project. Passing the CDT exam is a prerequisite for CSI’s advanced certifications.