Monday, July 14, 2014

A First Look at ARCOM's New Sustainable Design Tool

ARCOM will soon debut its new sustainable design resource for specifiers to use with MasterSpec. This new tool will allow specifiers to easily address sustainability requirements as they edit each MasterSpec section.
In the MasterSpec specification section, there will be green links that, when double clicked, launch the editing tool, an example of which you see below. Using this editing tool, specifiers can globally select the appropriate sustainability system for the section or by topic.
Sample screen of the editing tool for the sustainable design resource for MasterSpec.

This new sustainability tool will also allow specifiers to view the text associated with each sustainability system before it is pasted into the document, as seen in the screen capture below. This feature will provide quick and easy access to the pertinent sustainable design information specifiers need when creating specifications.

An example of the sustainability tool's text for LEED 2009. This cloud-based resource
also contains information for LEED v4, IgCC, ASHRAE, and Green Globes.

For more information on this exciting new tool, please see the previous SpecTalk blog post.

Thursday, July 10, 2014

ARCOM Unveils New Cloud-Based Sustainability Resource for MasterSpec®

Specifiers can now select and globally incorporate their sustainability preferences.

ARCOM recently released its innovative new cloud-based sustainability resource for MasterSpec at The American Institute of Architects (AIA) 2014 Convention in Chicago, Illinois.

This new software tool makes the production of accurate specifications more efficient by allowing architects and specifiers to quickly select their sustainability preferences and then globally apply them throughout each MasterSpec specification section.

To build this new sustainability feature and provide MasterSpec users with an enhanced experience, ARCOM’s staff carefully evaluated the requirements of various green building rating systems, codes, and standards. After reviewing these rating systems, ARCOM has included the following requirements in MasterSpec:
  • U.S. Green Building Council (USGBC)’s Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED) v4 – The latest version of LEED, USGBC’s pioneering green building rating system.
  • USGBC’S LEED 2009 – USGBC’s green building rating system that is the precursor to LEED v4.
  • Green Building Initiative’s Green Globes – An interactive environmental building design and management tool that includes online assessment protocol, a rating system, and guidance for designing, operating, and managing green buildings.
  • International Code Council's 2012 International Green Construction Code (IgCC) – IgCC regulates construction of new and remodeled commercial buildings and is the first model code to feature sustainability measures for the entire construction project and its site, from design through occupancy.
  • American Society of Heating, Refrigerating and Air-Conditioning Engineers (ASHRAE) Standard 189.1 – ASHRAE 189.1, Standard for the Design of High-Performance Green Buildings, provides a foundation for green buildings and is a compliance option in the IgCC.

Monday, June 9, 2014

ARCOM Expands SpecText Master Specification Libraries

Engineers can now access more specification sections for their water and wastewater projects than ever before.

Over the past year, ARCOM has developed and expanded its SpecText library of water and wastewater specification sections to a level unprecedented in the subscription specification market.

To date, the Water/Wastewater Utilities Library has 101 sections and the Water/Wastewater Equipment Library has 129 sections, which reflect a 40% increase since the beginning of 2014.

SpecText, owned and published by ARCOM, is the only commercially available master guide specification system for water/wastewater projects. "These master guide specifications address a long-standing unmet need of engineers who design water and wastewater systems, which are a critical part of our nation's infrastructure," said Christopher Bushnell, ARCOM President and CEO. "Because they are fully researched, reference the latest standards, and are professionally written by ARCOM's specification experts, these specifications provide engineers with significant time savings in producing these types of projects."

New sections continue to be added, with 27 scheduled for release in July.

"In addition to the expansion of our municipal water and wastewater specifications, we of course haven't forgotten the other divisions," said David Furry, Director of SpecText. "We continue to update those sections with respect to technical content, latest reference standards, and consistent formatting and language."

Newly issued sections include:
  • 402513 - Liquid Acids Piping
  • 402516 - Liquid Bases Piping
  • 434111 - Bolted Steel Tanks
  • 464134 - Vertical Turbine Flocculation Equipment
  • 466141 - Disc Cloth Filters
  • 4666XX - Open-Channel Ultraviolet Treatment Equipment (multiple sections)
  • 4666XX - Closed-Vessel Ultraviolet Treatment Equipment (multiple sections)
  • 467133 - Rotary Drum Thickening Equipment

Friday, May 9, 2014

Some Suggestions for Preventing Electrical Counterfeiting

Michael A. Heinsdorf, P.E., LEED AP, CDT
MasterSpec Engineering Specification Writer

Generally, consulting engineers aren't too concerned about electrical counterfeiting. Once the submittals are approved and the equipment is on site, it is assumed that the equipment is as specified and identical to the submittal. But what happens if it isn't? What if the products came from a facility that produced unauthorized copies, or they aren't built to the quality level specified?

The worldwide trade in counterfeit products is worth an estimated $600 billion, of which $300-400 million is attributed to electrical products. To date, discovered counterfeit electrical parts range from circuit breakers that don't trip to ground rods with inadequate copper plating to chips used in fighter jets. Counterfeit products look and feel authentic, and may even be manufactured in the same factories as genuine products. However, they may not meet the manufacturer's quality control requirements, be manufactured of the same grade of materials, or function identically to genuine products.

To combat this malicious trade, major electrical manufacturers and most electrical trade groups, such as the National Electrical Manufacturers Association, International Electrotechnical Commission, and Electrical Safety Foundation International, have staff who specialize in anti-counterfeiting or diversion.

Like these anti-counterfeiting professionals, good engineers will do what they can to ensure the use of genuine products and make difficult, if not make impossible, the use of counterfeit products. While this is challenging to do on drawings or in a BIM model, properly prepared specifications can include language that can make it difficult for a bidder to include counterfeit products. To this end, over the past several months, ARCOM discussed electrical counterfeiting with Tom Grace, Brand Protection Manager at Eaton. The following are some suggestions on how to incorporate language into MasterSpec that may help prevent the inclusion of counterfeit items in a project.
  1. Specify systems and assemblies from a single manufacturer. Allowing multiple manufacturers to submit products allows for competitive component costs, but mixing and matching components from different manufacturers permits easy substitution of lesser quality products. If specifying a panelboard, for instance, retain provisions in MasterSpec that require that the circuit breakers and accessories are from the same manufacturer.
  2. Retain provisions requiring a single source for all related components. If multiple suppliers are providing panelboards, the risk to the one supplier who passes a panel with counterfeit circuit breakers significantly decreases. Requiring a single supplier to provide all the related equipment means that the products are traceable from a single source. Establishing a “chain of commerce” with the original manufacturer is an effective means of ensuring that only genuine products are sourced and installed.
  3. Include requirements for traceability. MasterSpec requires, where applicable, that components have identification that states the manufacturer's name, date of production, and serial number(s). If there is a question regarding the product's authenticity, this allows the product to be traced. Most equipment manufacturers can use the original manufacturing information to verify that a product is authentic. Products with modified, tampered, or altered manufacturer labeling should be rejected.
  4. Require that a manufacturer or third party testing agency inspects, commissions, and tests products, systems, and assemblies involved in the project. They both have incentive to ensure that only authentic products are used.
  5. Include provisions for inspection and replacement of any components that fail testing or have marginal test results. This eliminates underperforming and potentially counterfeit components.
  6. Know your suppliers. If products aren't from the factory, are they from an authorized distributor? Reputable manufacturers will verify distributors either on their website or by phone. Every major manufacturer will encourage purchases from authorized resellers to minimize the risk of suspect or counterfeit products. If allowed, this should also transfer the original manufacturer's warranty.
Some of these strategies may be difficult to implement in a BIM model or on projects with minimal specifications. However, this is an opportunity for engineers to prove their worth to the client by ensuring that genuine products are furnished and installed, while also protecting themselves and the client from poorly performing products and, ultimately, litigation.