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Business Advice6 min

Why It’s Important To “Respect the Spec”

While it’s perfectly alright for a jazz musician to improvise, that approach doesn’t always work as well in homebuilding. Architects, specifiers, engineers and product reps spend many hours collaboratively choosing the right materials for each job – and an abrupt substitution to save a few dollars can ironically be very costly in terms of callbacks, design underperformance and even code violations.

“Ideally, all parties involved – the architect, builder and developer – have reviewed the spec before it’s final and have agreed on all the products being used,” says Karen Alves, LP Brand Marketing Associate. “That’s because finding an ‘equivalent’ for siding or fire-rated sheathing involves not just the substrate but the codes that the product meets as well.”

Submitting a change order—or, even worse, rejecting a specified product without identifying the architect—can result in costly downtime.

“Respecting the specification is so important in the construction process,” adds Scott Lockyear, LP’s National AEC Sales Manager. “Architects, specifiers and engineers choose multiple products to protect a structure from fire, wind and other forces of nature. Substituting one product without looking at the holistic design can lead to buildings that aren’t able to protect their occupants.”

Architects and specifiers appreciate product reps who provide technical details upfront, not at the submittal stage when it’s too late to make major changes. At this year’s CONSTRUCT show in October (the premier conference for construction specifiers) there’s one session entitled “How Product Reps Can Move From Vendor to Trusted Resource.” That’s rarely been a problem for LP reps, who have led CONSTRUCT educational sessions in the past and frequently make presentations in the offices of architects and specifiers.

Most builders know that there are often financial consequences for overruling the design choices of their architects and specifiers. The desire to shave a few bucks off material costs can sometimes cause problems that are much more expensive in the long run. 

We’ve discussed value engineering in the past on the LP blog, and driving value is central to everything we do—and everything we help you do for your customers. Collaboration is key across all members of the chain, where improved processes can help smooth out speedbumps in project management, including cost, schedule, performance and risk.

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