In conjunction with the annual convention of the American Institute of Architects being held this week in Philadelphia, Building Systems Design, Inc. (BSD) announced a new version of BSD SpecLink-E, its construction specifications software that now automates the global management and updating of thousands of reference standards, including those that have been added by its users.
Because SpecLink is based on a relational database rather than word processing files, all construction standards referenced in the over 10,000 pages of master guide specifications are now included only once in a single table that is centrally managed. When a citation for a specific standard is needed in the text to help specify a particular type of product or installation requirement, a unique marker causes the citation to be displayed from the global table. This process allows the same standard to be employed in many locations within the database without actually repeating the text and possibly introducing errors. The central location of the standard citations also simplifies the updating process and assures that all mentions of a particular standard will be consistent within a project.
In addition to globally managing the reference standards included in the master database, this new feature allows users of the software to add BSD reference standards to their user sections, as well as to add their own reference standards and insert their own markers in the text, including sections and other content they have created or imported. This means that for the first time, BSD's automated updating process can now be used to help keep user-added content up to date, while simultaneously managing changes to BSD's master guide text.
The new software release also allows users to modify the title or section number of any BSD section without losing data or compromising the ability of the software to manage data updates. Changing the number or title of a section in the global selection tree now automatically changes all references to the section number or title throughout a given project, including any mentions in embedded choices.
Two new reports have also been added to the dozens of standard reports that can be automatically generated for any SpecLink project. Using project information entered by users, such as project type, project square footage, and estimated project cost, a Current Project Summary report provides a convenient, one-page outline description of the project. In addition, the same information can be compiled for multiple projects into a Historical Project Summary report that is exported to Microsoft Excel. By sorting on specific columns in this report, users can compare projects in various ways, such as by cost per square foot, overall cost, or total area.
In announcing this new release, Robert Paul Dean, FAIA, FCSI, president of BSD, said "We want to help our customers do more than just write the best specifications possible. BSD SpecLink-E now provides many productivity tools that help architects and engineers manage and use their project data more efficiently and effectively than ever before."