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Thread: Specification Integration - VisiSpec ?

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    Specification Integration - VisiSpec ?

    Anyone tried out VisiSpec or heard anything about it? We're looking into it and since it's so new, I can't find any reviews or anything. Figured I'd see if any of you all have given it a whirl.

    https://chalklineinc.com/

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    Judging by all the crickets in here, I'm going to guess that's a no.

    Has anyone found a good way of integrating / communicating between Revit and specs?
    Attached Thumbnails Attached Thumbnails Specification Integration - VisiSpec ?-cricket.png  
    Dave Jones likes this.

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    Forum Co-Founder Twiceroadsfool's Avatar
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    There are a number of products out there that "integrate specs" with Models, and ive used a few of them over the years.

    The catch is, the term "integrate" is very ambiguous, and misleads consumers about what "challenges or processes" the products automate. For instance, lets look (extremely simplisitcally) at what is involved in specifications for a project:

    1. What items are in this project? Once we know, we know we need these specifications.
    2. What items are depended on by items in this project? What items do we have to have because of the items in item 1? Once we know, we know we need these specifications.
    3. Now that we have a list of what specifications we NEED (an outline, or a TOC), we need to procure the specs themselves.
    3a. What BOD, manufacturers, product types and TERMINOLOGY do we (or dont we) use or maintain in our specifications?
    3b. Once the specs are all written, verifying we dont conflict with the specs in all of our documentation.

    Here is the thing about that process: Knowing specs inside and out, knowing what to write, what not to write, what to include, what not to include, what terms can get you in trouble, what terms are safe, and so on... Thats the difficult part about specs. Simply generating a list of what you need, and having it auto-filter a Master Specification Template, isnt the hard part. MAINTAINING a Master Specification Template per company, is the more demanding part.

    So a lot of the spec integration packages have morphed in to "oh, we write specs too," similar to manufacturers providing specs for their products (which still have to be reviewed by a real spec writer, in my humble opinion). I have LITERALLY had companies tell me they wanted to "purchase Spec integration software" so they could stop having to write their own specs." Well, who do you think is going to write the sections that get copied and pasted in, by the software? Weeeee!

    There are a few of them, that at least come to mind. There might be more that i dont recall right now. Chalkline Visispecs, Interspec E-Specs, BSD Speclink. All similar in nature. At the end of the day, i think they are AWESOME tools, IF YOU HAVE SPEC EXPERTISE. If you dont, i think its similar to giving Revit to someone who doesnt know anything about Architecture, Structure, or MEP Systems.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Twiceroadsfool View Post
    There are a number of products out there that "integrate specs" with Models, and ive used a few of them over the years.

    The catch is, the term "integrate" is very ambiguous, and misleads consumers about what "challenges or processes" the products automate. For instance, lets look (extremely simplisitcally) at what is involved in specifications for a project:

    1. What items are in this project? Once we know, we know we need these specifications.
    2. What items are depended on by items in this project? What items do we have to have because of the items in item 1? Once we know, we know we need these specifications.
    3. Now that we have a list of what specifications we NEED (an outline, or a TOC), we need to procure the specs themselves.
    3a. What BOD, manufacturers, product types and TERMINOLOGY do we (or dont we) use or maintain in our specifications?
    3b. Once the specs are all written, verifying we dont conflict with the specs in all of our documentation.

    Here is the thing about that process: Knowing specs inside and out, knowing what to write, what not to write, what to include, what not to include, what terms can get you in trouble, what terms are safe, and so on... Thats the difficult part about specs. Simply generating a list of what you need, and having it auto-filter a Master Specification Template, isnt the hard part. MAINTAINING a Master Specification Template per company, is the more demanding part.

    So a lot of the spec integration packages have morphed in to "oh, we write specs too," similar to manufacturers providing specs for their products (which still have to be reviewed by a real spec writer, in my humble opinion). I have LITERALLY had companies tell me they wanted to "purchase Spec integration software" so they could stop having to write their own specs." Well, who do you think is going to write the sections that get copied and pasted in, by the software? Weeeee!

    There are a few of them, that at least come to mind. There might be more that i dont recall right now. Chalkline Visispecs, Interspec E-Specs, BSD Speclink. All similar in nature. At the end of the day, i think they are AWESOME tools, IF YOU HAVE SPEC EXPERTISE. If you dont, i think its similar to giving Revit to someone who doesnt know anything about Architecture, Structure, or MEP Systems.

    We definitely don't expect it to replace or automate writing specifications, we just want better coordination for what our drawings / models are showing and what our specs say. We have a lead spec writer who has been doing our specs for 25+ years and isn't going anywhere. It's more that we just are trying to more fully integrate to reach the holy grail of "BIM" and get our modelers to understand better why the specs matter.

    My company as a whole highly dislikes being a "guinea pig", so they prefer to hear from others how something works before they take the plunge. But that's proven difficult regarding Specs & Revit, as not many people are doing it...

    We took the risk about a year ago with BSD's SpecLink & LinkMan and haven't seen is as entirely helpful - it's very cumbersome and a lot of work to set things up in their system, which our spec team is not too pleased with.

    VisiSpec looks like it would be more user friendly, but it's hard to know based off of introductory materials how it will change your workflow / how useful it is.

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    Senior Member sdbrownaia's Avatar
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    I too have been looking into solutions that would help us write our specs and coordinate our Keynotes and Terminology with them. Aaron made all the right points. I'm finding you have to have a champion in your firm willing to get the stuff organized and consistent. I think if you are in a small company this will be fairly easy to implement. A larger company like ours with many diff divisions and markets and regions makes it more difficult but still a worthy goal. Please report back what you find. I haven't checked into that option.

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    Forum Co-Founder Twiceroadsfool's Avatar
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    Just to be clear, because of how my other post sounds: I think its an AWESOME initiative, and i think it adds value. But- last time i did it- it was a bunch of work to set up. More than a few weeks. But, thats also true for anything ive set up in an office that was worth doing, lol.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Twiceroadsfool View Post
    Just to be clear, because of how my other post sounds: I think its an AWESOME initiative, and i think it adds value. But- last time i did it- it was a bunch of work to set up. More than a few weeks. But, thats also true for anything ive set up in an office that was worth doing, lol.
    Set up is definitely key, and I think this is where we're struggling, too. Thus far it's been an attempt to "work on it as we're doing a test project" vs. build from the ground up with our master / revit library.

    Which ones have you used personally? Have you used Espec / SpecLink?

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    Quote Originally Posted by sdbrownaia View Post
    I too have been looking into solutions that would help us write our specs and coordinate our Keynotes and Terminology with them. Aaron made all the right points. I'm finding you have to have a champion in your firm willing to get the stuff organized and consistent. I think if you are in a small company this will be fairly easy to implement. A larger company like ours with many diff divisions and markets and regions makes it more difficult but still a worthy goal. Please report back what you find. I haven't checked into that option.
    VisiSpec is very intriguing for a lot of reasons, but it's also very new which makes me hesitant to jump into it.

    Have you found any others worth considering other than Especs and SpecLink?

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    Senior Member sdbrownaia's Avatar
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    It also seems pretty expensive to me at $135/month

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    Quote Originally Posted by sdbrownaia View Post
    It also seems pretty expensive to me at $135/month
    Speclink is about thesame cost. Annual fee for 2 users is ~$4,700, and that doesn't include the LinkMan interface, at about another $2K. Haven't looked at pricing for Especs.

    We're coming up on our renewal for SpecLink, which has us revisiting the options out there....

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