Our firmwide specifications team plays a crucial role in all of our projects, using their knowledge of construction products, materials, and methods to write specifications for a variety of complex building types. We spoke with two of our specification writers to learn more about their roles.
Steve Gantner – Saint Louis
What is your role? I’m the specification leader for the St. Louis office. In short, nearly all projects go through me before they are issued to the owner. I have the privilege of writing all of the technical documents and reviewing construction details for each project going out of our office and also some of our other offices.
What led you to pursue this career? I’ve always been interested in construction and how buildings are put together; it goes back to being a bricklayer’s son. When I was studying architecture at the University of Kansas, my direction was headed in more of a technical direction than design. Once I graduated and became a licensed architect, an opportunity opened up for me to work for a general contractor, which eventually led me to doing construction administration for a local architect. While doing the CA part of the job, I gradually started revising and writing specifications to improve the quality of work we were delivering. CannonDesign is the first place I have worked where writing the specifications for construction projects and doing product research is a full-time job.
Describe an average work day. One of the great things about my job is that I don’t have an average work day. I have a general plan for each day and know what needs to be done and when it is due, but at any moment, that plan can change. Flexibility is key.
Nathan Kirsch – Buffalo
What led you to pursue a career in specifications? My interest in architecture and construction, especially methods and materials, is what interested me in pursuing specifications. I was looking for a career where I could use my education and background in construction. My familiarity with CannonDesign also really motivated me to apply.
How long have you worked at CannonDesign? Approximately 2 months.
What is your role? My role is an architectural specifications writer, handling Divisions 0-14 architectural specifications. I am responsible for researching materials, defining the specific product characteristics that are to be used in the construction of a building, understanding the performance and safety standards necessary for the building, and ensuring the materials used meet these standards. In my role I have the opportunity to regularly collaborate with project architects and interior designers, which is something I really enjoy. I am newer to a role in specifications and receive a great deal of support from my mentor.
Describe an average day working in the specifications department. The software we work in is called E-Specs, so I will have the project I am working on open in the system while referring to the project documents, writing the specs during the development of the drawings, pulling information from Revit, conducting materials research, referring to CSI master specs, and collaborating with other project team members. Since joining the firm I have been involved in renovations and new builds for a high school client and the addition of a new pool for another high school client.