I am looking around for some people I can have a dialogue with that are already connected to accredited Universities that offer graduate degrees in Architecture.  I am not promoting CSI membership or registration for their accreditations. I am certain that it might be a byproduct of establishing a fairly standardized curriculum. The Academic Resources Committee does have some capability to assist in efforts that might be undertaken for an organized effort to promote that some classes should be offered that improve students knowledge base.  It is not a sure thing that I could access them, but I would be willing to give it a shot.  We need to talk about how to approach Deans and Department heads, and what kind of resources that CSI could offer as incentives.  I personally work with the alumni association to get into the classroom, but there must be a variety of ways to get there.

May 23, 18 1:16 pm

Methinks yet another education start-up like tophat, but with a really bad model.

May 23, 18 2:53 pm

I have no idea what either of those comments mean, but we are academics because we usually try to construct complete and meaningful sentences.  I am looking for teachers, who are connected to accredited Universities.  I want to try to enlarge the curriculum to include something besides art history, and hand drawing.  Non Sequitur obviously stakes a reputation for saying things that have no relationship to anything. 

The design professional’s standard of care is generally based on the performance of others characterized as the “reasonable”, “ordinary”, or “average” design professional, and not on internal or personal capabilities.  So the Architects in his neighborhood must really be ordinary.

May 23, 18 7:30 pm

don’t listen to these people, most of them are senile old men, who are bitter their careers never took off. 

I’ve recently been appointed to a teaching position at a major uni. I will be teaching a comprehensive course and feel this falls inline with that. 

Feel free to contact me through my website HERE

May 23, 18 7:52 pm

It sent me to your video, not your website. Email me at I hope to develop a group think, and kind of a algorithm that could be applied to approach some Department heads.


Thanks for that Rick!


no teachers.  OK, I will find them somewhere else.

Jul 11, 18 9:42 pm

Yep, you just need to be upfront an transparent. And you also need to tell me what the incentive is for me to help you without being included in your financial model.


Sure, here is the upfront.  I have been teaching Construction Contract Administration and Specifications/Contracts to graduate student for nineteen years for free as a service to the Alumni Association.  The reason I have been doing it is that most Architecture Departments faculty think that Architecture is an art form, not a form of business which is a delusion predicated by an inflated view of the sullen craft.  You can take six credit hours in hand drawing from most colleges, but you cant find a class that will give you the background that is needed to understand what a set of construction documents actually is. I do not need any idiots like non sequitur.  What I am hoping to do is to be able to provide a set of guidelines for a rational approach to the curriculum and some individuals who are qualified and motivated to teach them.  If that can be achieved, I might be able to use my (volunteer) position on the Academic Programs Committee to provide some funding for (at least) textbooks. I have been buying them and providing them to our library since 2000 at UNL.  I am not convinced that you would even be an acceptable candidate to teach these classes.  But, I do need some contacts at Universities to approach to make some proposition that they could collect tuition from students not have to pay a faculty member (none of which usually know a damn thing about it) to take the class.  I will find the folks who can do it, but the door is hard to open. Deans don't care about anything except how they deal with the regents for funding, but department heads actually know somewhere in the corners of their minds that the departments should be teaching something except esoteric crap.  I make a lot of money writing project manuals because most architects aren't even able to define the term.  I don't need to make any more off some scheme, I want to leave the profession better than I found it. you get the drift Marc?  How old are you anyway?  NS is a bonified moron based on what I can tell from his posts. 

Jul 11, 18 11:42 pm

The Alumni Association? For what school?

(Darn edit button timed out)

The Alumni Association? For what school? University of Nebraska at Lincoln?

‘the Academic Programs Committee” For what school?

And how will you generate funding? By charging me fees, or asking for in kind donations?

I am not convinced that you would even be an acceptable candidate to teach these classes. Based on what evidence?

So let me respectfully point out a few flaws in your thinking (I’ll be making my comments from the context of the US academic system)...

1- You want to skim profits from an institution without demonstrating any clear qualifications. Forget the Dean, you’ve got to get past the Provost with this proposition. I can’t imagine anyone outsourcing coursework like this with such a thin proposition. And by thin, I’m speaking about the fincancial model (you loose the school dollars), curricular accreditation is weakened (at least in the US, where institutions are accredited by exterior evaluations organizations)

2. To be honest teaching 19 years for free would likely be a red flag to many, given that you haven’t been able to gain employment through teaching. One exception would be that you’ve published extensively, or written a textbook on the subject And with very strong reception (eg. a lot of purchases and inclusion in required reading lists).

3. I honestly think this would raise a lot of red flags in accreditation reviews. To have a person not formally affiliated with the program teaching something that is regulated by NCARB would likely be met by an immediate requirement to resolve the matter- I can’t recall the technical term. In any case, that would either mean that you would need to be a formal employee of the institution, or that the relationship be terminated and a more reliable delivery of content be provided- in a year or two.

4. This is an important one- the one alternative to your proposal is that programs require that they enroll in a study guide program (that would be you) in order to complete the course. This would be double dipping. They’ve already paid for the course through tuition and fees. I can’t image anyone not questioning the need for this hidden fee, and I can’t imagine it not making it’s way back to a provost.

Finally, I think you’re taking for granted how NCARB sets requirements for curriculum, and are also making some very broad assumptions about programs and the qualification of the people teaching in them. There are plenty of 19-year veteran teachers of the subject, who have practiced, or are practicing, and some of them have even published standard text books- 2 even- despite your generalizations.

So, I would kindly suggest that you personally drill down a lot more and identify these programs for that you feel are suspect for and contact them directly instead of posting something on a website.

Jul 12, 18 12:27 am

The Academic Programs Committee is a CSI committee of volunteers.  We are discussing (for far too long in my opinion) how to distribute funds from an endowment that is available, and my hope is to influence them to fund (at a minimum) some textbooks and guides that are available to provide Architecture Departments that offer Masters Degrees with basic texts they would need.  These texts would include current versions of CSI MasterFormat, Section Format, Page Format, UniFormat,  Omniclass, and the Three Current Practices Guides.  Additionally, without current versions of the AIA  Documents the rest are less useful.  Many Universities do not have the most current versions of the Architects Handbook of Professional Practice which contains watermarked versions of the standard documents on a CD.  Unfortunately I seem to be a voice in the wilderness on the committee who is advocating for dedicating some resources to Universities, many think they should looking elsewhere.

You are making baseless and defamatory statements when you indicate that I am trying to procure funds under some sort of skimming scam. I suggest you cease that nonsense.  

The University of Nebraska Alumni Association is called the "Friends of Architecture".  I have no idea why.  It is irrelevant.  The Department depends on volunteers from the professional community to teach a number of classes.  We also do some  two credit hour classes, but that is a brutal amount of volunteer time.  24 hours of lectures, building power point presentations, grading exams and projects....but in fact the material really does need that much time to get coverage.  Both Avitru Masterspec and BSD SpecLink have donated temporary access to their specifications software for the term of the class - one month.  This is very generous of them, but they are committed to being able to turn out students into the marketplace who have had some hands on experience. 

So don't give me advice on how to set up a program, the technical stuff is pretty easy.  Finding the people who are committed enough to the profession who are willing to devote some time and make an effort to improve the quality of the education young architects are getting for the essential knowledge base of the written portion of the documents is the hard part.  I will say this: that seeing the folks who have been in my classes at AIA conventions and having them tell me that they were glad they took the classes, and how much of an advantage they had over their peers for having done that, is reward enough.  On forums I consistently hear Architects who say they wish they had been able to take a class on CA, CCA, or Forms of Agreement and General Conditions but they just weren't available. 

I am old.  I have been doing the work for a long time.  I am successful.  I am like a Salmon swimming upstream now - I want to leave something behind.  Here is a "kindly" clue for might think you know about something, but just wait until you try to teach it.  

Oh I know neither you or that guy NS who has the deity delusion aren't qualified because I have read your posts on specifications and you are clueless. 

Jul 12, 18 4:51 pm

Oh... You're trying to insert (re)CSI into the curriculum... 

Now this thread is making sense. So- if you have cash, why not just let programs apply for funding based on need and lack of finances. The committee you tire of could review the applications and pass funds on accordingly. And you could make a plug when you teach at the AIA conference.

But you'll need to make that pitch much clearer and direct than what we're seeing above. Personally, I would ignore an email as vague as your 1st pitch and continue to talk to someone in my program that is already talking about CSI.

Good luck, I'd personally love to see a library grant program appear on the ACSA competition listings. 

Oh- one problem. I don't post regarding specifications, so that's kinda an inaccurate critique..

Jul 12, 18 5:30 pm

Uh, we are talking about specifications...uniform systems of classification. Not picking out a paint color in a finish schedule. There is only CSI formats to achieve that. AIA requires it if you are providing a complete set of construction documents. From the General Conditions: "The Specifications are that portion of the Contract Documents consisting of the written requirements for materials, equipment, systems, standards and workmanship for the Work, and performance of related services."

I hate to point it out, but nowhere in your quote from the AIA General Conditions does it say that specs must be in a CSI format. It doesn't even say it needs to be in a Project Manual. Written notes on drawings are technically specifications if they contain "requirements for materials, equipment, systems, standards and workmanship for the Work, and performance of related services."


Non Sequitur: A conclusion or statement that does not logically follow from the previous argument or statement.

Well chosen handle.  I said you were delusional.  I forgot to say that you were hopelessly inarticulate. I hope to run into you some day at a convention or something so you can call me an asshole again.

Jul 12, 18 5:31 pm

a nice new addition to the dumpster fire, welcome home 

Jul 12, 18 6:41 pm

Wow, I take an unwanted break from Archinect due to being too busy and I come back to this dumpster all primed and just about ready to become a roaring inferno. Here's hoping I can dose the inevitable blaze a little bit.

jpilus, my frist piece of advice to you would be to calm down and realize that your initial post(s) wasn't(weren't) very clear. Perhaps applying the 4 C's and restating what you're looking for from forum members would be helpful. I don't feel I need to defend Non Sequitur or Marc, but they were just coming to logical conclusions given the lack of clear communication coming from you ... or trolling you to get the type of response you gave. 

I'm familiar with your contributions to the specifying community and encourage your efforts to reach out to academic institutions to impart whatever wisdom or guidance you can to a crop of future graduates who will be wholly unprepared to understand the intricacies of contract documentation and project delivery.

If you're really looking to get the most bang for the endowment funds you have available to you, spend it on lunch for the pro practice professors and pitch them the value of the practice guides in their curriculum and give them a copy to take home. Don't make the case that another course (even if it's only one credit) is required. No one will teach it. The benefit is in incorporating the material into the pro practice courses that are already required and they are already teaching. 

Alternatively, use the money to bring pizza to AIAS chapter meetings and pitch students about joining CSI and earning the CDT. Or pay for a group of students to go to Construct each year and take part in "The Kraken's" EP day program as she continues to make that a smashing success. Or pay for an annual membership for pro practice professors with the caveat that they attend something like 60-70% of the local chapter meetings or they must refund the endowment the cost of the membership.

My final advice for you and the Academic Programs Committee is to forget about providing MasterFormat, SectionFormat, Omniclass, etc. Just provide the three current practice guides. CSI's publications are helpful for the practitioner, but probably beyond the level needed to get the basic knowledge that would be helpful to students/recent graduates. The value for them is predominantly in the Project Delivery Practice Guide. There would also be enough advanced information in the Construction Specifications and Construction Contract Administration practice guides as well to round out the needs of even the most advanced students. There is no need to overload them with SectionFormat, PageFormat, UniFormat, etc.

Jul 12, 18 7:57 pm

No trolling here (on this thread at any rate) but I’m glad that it pulled out the salient points. I said my peace in my previous post.

AOL might come back someday ... you never know


I appreciate the advice. Let me explain why I am not approaching the problem of adding a caveat to my eventual proposal (when I have finally developed one) to any outreach I make to educators that includes a string attached to the offer to provide educational materials and (possible educators) to teach CCA or CS or Construction Documents as a credit hour class. It is exemplified in the response from Marc. It is natural to assume that one would take a cynical view of an outreach because most folks are "in it for some kind of financial gain". The first question any rational person would ask would be "what is in it for you?" I tire of working with professional organizations who have a goal based on their marketing goals. The advantages of adding the understanding of the Uniform Systems of Classification and how a properly prepared set of Construction Documents are apparent to students fairly quickly. Many of the hundreds of students I have taught go on to take some of the exams. Having the certifications actually will add to an NCARB profile. While the Practices Guides are great stuff, in my opinion the study guides are kind of a disaster. The Domain stuff is not set up to be able to make reading assignments sensible when you have a class full of students. The concepts need to be built up from a base, then extrapolated into more and more complex material. The committee wouldn't pay for a lunch if I slit my wrist to get the cash. I host and pay for BEC presentations for the AIA. I host and pay for presentation on sustainable design requirements Division 01 specifications for the USGBC. I teach graduate students in specs and CA as a service. I serve on committees and boards for AIA, USGBC, CSI and NIBS. I cant believe that I am the only guy in the entire country who wants to teach. What we have in the Uniform Systems of Classification is a rational way to organize a set of documents that can be applied to all phases of design. Most of my students are amazed to find out that their Revit Models objects and families of objects are set up in a data base that is dependent on UniFormat and OmniClass. So, it takes more to be a teacher than to have a book and a test. It also means that the syllabus from last year wont be worth a damn next year. The instructor gets as much out of making the class relevant as the students do. If you use an exam, you need to change it every year. If you assign a project it should be relevant to something else the student is doing in their design projects in their lab. I could care less who joins and pays dues to who. If something thinks it makes them smarter and better informed, they probably will do it. If they don't they don't. I am not a cheerleader and I don't want to "fix construction", and have a big group hug. I have no interest in being a salesman, I even have business cards I give salespeople that does not have my phone number on it. So if it matters to the nonsesquirter my domain email is My gmail is

“. It is exemplified in the response from Marc. It is natural to assume that one would take a cynical view of an outreach because most folks are "in it for some kind of financial gain". ‘

 I read your initial posts with reservation it at first because the post was not clear. However, as it became clearer what your goal are nd who you are representing (when it made more sense), I provided sincere comments about welcoming a fund of some type that you administer (with a good luck even). Think of it as a library grant, perhaps a foot in the door to those programs w/o resources.

Cyncinal? No. 


Personally I would not like to see CSI providing educational materials to architecture schools. I have three of CSI's four certifications, and found while obtaining those that there are a lot of weaknesses, gaps, direct contradictions, and even outright wrong information among CSI's practice guides, study workbooks, study courses taught by CSI members, etc. 

I know there are explanations for that:  the committee that writes the study materials doesn't know the exact nature of the test content, which is developed by a different committee, and some publications are very outdated, and some that are being taught aren't really supposed to be used anymore, but the people who develop the materials don't have any control over the regional chapters who arrange study sessions, and so forth.  I'm not faulting any of the people who work hard to develop those materials, tests, and teach - but I would not want that disjointed process to develop even more publications and courses and spread itself into architecture schools, to further muddy the waters. 

Also almost all CSI materials tend to focus on minutiae.  That's the nature of their scope, and that's great reference material for practicing professionals. Students in NAAB programs usually have very limited time and credits to devote to professional practice subjects, so I'd rather see them spend that on bigger-picture content - like basic overviews of project management, firm administration, schedules, budgets, etc. The most I'd want to see on specs in a pro-prac class would be mastery of the titles of Divisions 00 through 14, and maybe a visit from a spec writer guest speaker who could do a half hour overview of what they do and why it's important. Professional Practice faculty usually have some semester budget for honoraria for a few guest speakers. 

Jul 13, 18 1:06 pm

A man after my own heart. I welcome a rational conversation even when opinions may differ. So let me put to you my case. To begin with (and I am sure you knew this), there are 50 Divisions (some of which are reserved for later use). What most people call "specifications" are actually a "project manual" and contain a lot more than technical specifications. I am not completely familiar with the curriculum that is available at different Universities that would be available to students as an elective class. I do know that the classes I teach are electives, and only undergrads that I approve to take it get to come in. I can't handle more than fifteen students at a time. The Professional Practices class (undergraduates) have me do a guest speaker gig. I have never charged for that, and I don't think it would be sensible to ask to be paid for it. I do that lecture in the fall, my class is in the spring, and it always fills up. You might be interested to know that I always pass out a survey to the students on the first day. They do not have to sign the document, it is for my own edification. One of the questions on it is "what is the standard of care". The answers are usually quite laughable, having to do with janitorial work mostly. I ask why they are taking the class. Some say they needed the credit hour, most say they wanted to have something different and useful to the actual practice of the business. I follow the precept that "if the student is ready, the teacher will come". You are quite correct in regards to some of the material in the Practices Guides. However, it is not my goal to have everyone recite the text verbatim. That is pedantry, not pedagogy. Further, I don't pay much attention to their exams - 20% of their grade and it is open book. Their projects matter to me a lot more and making sure they understand why they need to be aware that the reason they are doing it is not to learn how to "cover their ass", but so that they can communicate to the bidders what it is that they are asking them to do. Another of the texts I use when we are talking about project conception is Pena's Problem Seeking, and from that we work on Preliminary Project Descriptions. I have asked some Project Managers that contact me what the Project Delivery system was going to be and gotten the answer: Federal Express. So, if they want to be able to know about it - we should try to offer it. What might be built into the "requirements" to fulfill their major would be a totally different discussion.


Yes, I know there are 50 divisions (or more accurately there are 51 possible divisions, but a lot of them have no content yet and are just place holders for future use). But I still would only expect students to memorize zero through 14. And maybe 21, 22, 23, and 26. 

Some schools have room in their curriculum to offer the kind of elective you're talking about, and some don't - and some schools probably wouldn't have enough interest in it (you're talking about your experiences teaching in a public university - but the average student at an architecture program in a private design college, for example, might not have as much practical interest in such a mundane real-world subject and would prefer to spend their electives on theory or design or even rending software).  If I were you I'd still just start your discussions with the professional practice professors at any architecture schools, because professional practice is an NAAB requirement, so everybody will have at least that one course (though in some cases it's called Project Management or something else).  If you can get you or your CSI brethren into those pro prac teachers' guest speaker lineups that would at least give you a foot in the door, and from there maybe work your ways into teaching electives.


Mundane: Everyday, ordinary or banal.  

I would go along with tedious, monotonous, or irksome.  I have a touch of obsessive compulsive disorder, so I don't mind research.  Now, it is probably not a suggestion that your DPI or your firms legal council would make to you to have "fewer practitioners" in the firm that are at least fundamentally acquainted with the principles involved that can expose the firm to legal liability, action by the AIA,  or conclude in some kind of confrontation with the owner or the contractor (in court or in mediation).  Project Management is much more about managing the participants expectations from the outset, so that disputes don't arise from concepts that are "tacit".  So - those expectations must be articulated in some vehicle, and that is not a graphic medium.  

The forms of agreement that are executed aren't what they used to be.  In the old days when the design bid build agreements were predominant, an approach could be assumed.  The proprietary specification (give us what we want) was adequate.  Now we are all involved with more integrated project delivery systems, and where possible the folks who are putting up the cash (the owners) are requiring more performance type specifications. Roles have changed, documentation and procurement have changed, and it is more difficult for design professionals to have something of the design left at the end of the construction contract administration process. 

So although we may disagree on the subject of how worthwhile that subject matter may be, I think we can agree that students should be able to find it if they want it.  If you have any experience with academia you would probably agree that they are fairly detached from the "real world" of the practice.  Many are even detached (by some philosophical reason) from current technologies.  

So I have no particular brethren.  I don't care if AIA, CSI (many of whom wear both hats like me), or lawyers want to volunteer.  I do know that Architecture Departments and Universities as a whole are strapped for funding.  I also have enough experience to know that inter departmental politics are absolutely insane, and do not follow the formal laws of logic. I will start with Public Universities and probably here in the Big Ten.  I appreciate your suggestion.  It makes sense to take some small steps.  

Jul 14, 18 3:37 pm

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