What makes architectural specifications writing at Darden Architects unique?
“A lot of firms don’t have dedicated spec writers. In this office we actually have two people dedicated to that purpose. We want to put in the best quality materials that can also meet the budget. So we do a lot of investigations and research on all kinds of products to make sure we’re providing the right material for the client once they occupy the project.”
What do those investigations involve?
“Well sometimes a project designer or architect has something new he wants to try so we’ll investigate the probability of whether a product is going to work for that idea. For instance, we’re doing a lot more exterior sun shades because it’s a requirement for LEED and sun control. Energy is a primary focus in this industry. If you do a LEED project, regardless of what state you’re in, you’re going to be looking at those kind of design features and many more. So, we want to make sure we get some sun shades that are going to work, that are going to last and that are relatively maintenance free. We do those kinds of investigations.”
Do you have longstanding relationships with certain manufacturers whose products you will usually specify?
“We do, there are a lot of manufacturers that we continue to go “back to the barn” so to speak; when we know the quality is there, and when we know they are good service providers with ongoing support. It’s really a combination of having a historical knowledge of these manufacturers, and being aware of new products and their manufacturers as they are developed. We work diligently to keep our libraries up to date.”
Can you tell me why having a dedicated specifications writer on staff is a differentiator among other architectural firms?
“The design drawings, they show you the “quantities”: how much, how high, how wide; whereas the specifications we write are trying to gear up towards the “quality” of the building the client ultimately is going to get. So, we’re always trying to maintain the quality of the specs. We do product evaluations and comparisons to make sure we’re confident about the product the client is getting. The specifications writer is an advocate for the owner, everyone here at Darden Architects is an advocate for the owner. We’re trying to get them the best possible project for their money.”
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We are looking forward to attending the Coalition For Adequate School Housing 42nd Annual Conference on School Facilities at the Palm Springs Convention Center.