Can you believe we are in the month of March? I find myself looking to Spring and its promise of new life and hope as vaccines are rolling out throughout our area. So much change has changed in the past year, from remote working to shift the way we specify projects. The reality that some have lost loved ones and friends to this awful virus is heart-wrenching but know you’re in our thoughts and prayers. It’s far from over, but I feel that our experiences as individuals and as a society will grow from this experience.
Besides the virus, we are continuing to deal with racism in our community. We should look inward to face these issues and become better as a society. I would encourage you to participate and support the South Florida NOMA (National Organization Minority Architects) CLICK HERE TO VISIT WEBSITE, which is an excellent way to begin our industry conversation. We will share their events along with co-sponsoring events shortly.
The Miami CSI Chapter has regularly provided some great virtual meetings, including in January the Polyguard – Interactive Building Envelope System and in February the Lemartec – PortMiami Cruise Terminal F2.0 Roundtable. Make sure to visit our website and register for the upcoming MAPEI CEU Movement Joints in Tile & Stone this March 16th. In April, our Roundtable Discussion with Vercetti Enterprises, Amal Mediterranean Restaurant in Coconut Groove. Check our website, www.miamicsi.org, to register!
You will soon receive a notice about our upcoming Virtual Annual Meeting & Awards Tuesday, May 25th. We would like to see all of our members participating and attending as we continue to grow this Chapter. The elections are coming up soon, so if you interested in a Board Position or Chair of a committee, please reach out to us as we can use all the support. More news to follow about the Miami CSI Chapter!
Please continue to be safe for yourself, your family, and society.
CSI Miami Chapter
By Glenn Remler, President CSI Miami Chapter
I had the opportunity to interview Steven Olitsky, Architect/ Principal at Steven Olitsky, AIA, CCS, CSI Architectural Specification Consultant. We discussed his inspirations for becoming an Architect, transitioning to specification writer, the construction industry's state, why CSI, along with the member benefits, and the value for young professionals to participate. Here are the takeaways from my conversation with Steven.
How did you get started?
Steven has been a specification writer for more than 30 years, working at multiple Architectural offices, including his own in the present. Steven started in Philadelphia and went to Temple University. He went into the Airforce, and when Steven got out-earned his degree in Architecture and Building Technology. In the first three weeks, Steven knew that designing wasn't his talent. If he wanted to be successful, he knew that Specification Writer would be his niche. Steven took some night classes while working at an Architect firm and learned from AIA that most Architects fail because of poor business practices. Steven got a degree in Business Management and helped managed Architect Firms. Steven got involved with selecting Architects and also was the decision-maker for using CAD systems in their office. In the early nineties, Steven moved to La Jolla, California, to enjoy the sun and the beach. Brief retirement from Architecture lead Steven to selling Concrete Block for three years, but an Architect firm pulled him back into Architecture. With all of Steven's experience working in Architecture and working for WR Grace & Sika, Steven decided in 2005 to start his firm.
How did you hear about CSI and your involvement?
Philadelphia Chapter had this program that they offered that his employer would pay the fee, but they wouldn't pay him. Every two weeks, an Architect Firm would host an event and classes, so Steven has kept his membership since then. Steven earned his CCS (Certified Construction Specifier) the second year it was offered. It gave him credibility and worth-wild, especially if this is your profession. He was passionate and wanted to let his clients know by having this certification; they're hiring a professional proficient and technical in Specification Writing.
What can a graduating student or industry professional get from joining CSI?
The value Steven found as a Specification Writer in the early years as a draftsman gave him a leg-up and got opportunities because of his experience in designing, specification writing, and networking. There is plenty of opportunity and money to be made as a Specification Writer than ever before. Nobody goes to College and says they want to become a specification writer, instead going to Architect School to become the next Frank Lloyd Wright. This industry is a business, and think of Frank Llyod Wright as the Quarterback and the Specification Writer as the offensive lineman. Steven's job is to protect the Quarterback from getting sacked or sued in this analogy, from the front-end and the technical specification sections that Steven helps save the Architect from Liability. Several instances where an Architect calls Steven and thanked him for protecting their firm because the Contractor wanted to do work that wasn't in the field's specifications. As the Specification Writer, Steven had to defend the content in the spec to the Contractor and turns the liability towards them. That is the value, or Steven says, the insurance to protect the Architect firm.
As an Industry Professional, what is the value or importance of having certification from the CSI Program?
It gives you credibility. Many Architects never got registered and have been doing for 10, 20,30, 40 years. It doesn't mean they're not qualified, but when your AIA, CSI, CDT, or CCS shows, you raised yourself to a certain level of competency that others can expect from you.
For young professionals coming into the industry, what advice would you give them?
Become a specification writer. Frank Lloyd Wright is one in ten-million and knows plenty of Architects who are struggling. Many architects couldn't make it on their own and now at larger firms. As a spec writer, the world is open to you because there's less of us, and it's essential in the industry. While there are programs out there, you need the Specification Writer to help provide the technical support for specific projects that need experience you can't receive from a master specification only.
Looking at Architecture today, what are the styles that interest you the most?
I like the modern look; less is more. What I find challenging is that Architects will use the wrong applications with inappropriate materials. They pick something such as in high-traffic areas selecting the wrong type of coating or stain on concrete that eventually fades away where you could have placed color into the concrete. By working with a specification writer, they are more in-tuned with Product Manufacturer Reps to recommend their products and share new technologies.
10 Ways You, Your Company, and Your Customers Benefit From CSI Certification
- Recognition throughout the industry of your education, knowledge and experience with construction documents
- Career advancement potential
- Contribute to the development of more effective documentation processes and practices (that will keep you out of court or will stand up in court)
- Greater confidence in your authority and responsibility as part of a project delivery team
- Increased staff loyalty and productivity
- Set benchmarks for hiring and promotion
- Cost-effective professional development for your team that trains them to work from one body of knowledge
You, Your Company AND Your Customers
- Fewer change orders
- Increased likelihood of projects delivered on time and on budget
- Collaboration with a knowledgeable, trusted resource
James Smith 01/05/2021
Andrea Taylor Jones 01/19/2021
Joe Petrosky 01/20/2021
Carmelo Giglio 02/05/2021
James Whitfield 02/12/2021
Ron Leiseca 02/21/2021
Felix Pardo 02/23/2021
John Bayer 02/23/2021
Paul De Vecchio 03/04/2021
- March 16th: MAPEI - Continuing Education: Movement Joints in Tile & Stone Installation Systems.
- April 20th: Vercetti Enterprises: Roundtable discussion about Amal Mediterranean Restaurant in Coconut Groove. The challenges of working with International Firms and converting to the US:
- Revision during construction
- Toronto based Designer working with Miami based Architect firm.
- Challenges with the MEP meeting building code and considering longevity.
- May 18th: UGL - United Gilsonite Laboratories, Inc. Continuing Education: The Sealed Cladding System: Making Portland Cement-Based Exterior Plaster (Stucco) Work in Warm/Humid Climates.
- June 3rd: MarinoWARE CEUs relating to Cold-Formed Metal Framing products and accessories.
- Understand various sound isolation assemblies and their components.
- Describe various steel framing products and components of sound isolation
- Understand the importance of proper installation in order to achieve desired STC rating.
- Explain the building code requirements for sound.
- June 15th: Tremco - Continuing Education Course: Waterproofing Connectivity: Overview of waterproofing technologies, the connections between the different waterproofing systems, and what key specifics to consider when developing a waterproofing specification.
REGISTER NOW FOR THESE CEU's (All CEU are AIA/HSW one credit)
The Specification Writers focus will be on writing and editing architectural and design specifications for your company projects. Specification Writers will collaborate with other team members to ensure that specifications, details, scopes of work and plans meet the company's expectations and quality assurance of the project. Please contact one of our CSI Miami Member Specification Writers for your next project.
Architect/ Principal at Steven Olitsky, AIA, CCS, CSI Architectural Specification Consultant
Company Name: D.L. Fields Consultants, LLC (d/b/a -- DLFC Architects)
Contact: Debora L. Fields
Address: 1125 NE 125th Street, Suite 210| North Miami, Fl 33161
Email: [email protected]
Brief Description of services and Industries proving your work: We write architectural specifications for public and private projects. Our clients are Private Developers and other Architects and Engineers. The majority are educational projects and large scale mixed use projects. We have experience working with Disney, FDOT , Airport, Hotels and restaurants and other specialized clients. We write custom specifications from project specific sole sourced designs, to “basis of design” or approved equal type used for public projects. We can assist other disciplines by preparing a master specification for their firm or specific to projects. We have 4 full time staff and 3 part time staff at this time.
Joe Petrosky, CSI
Architect/ Specification Writer
An updated list of area Specification Writers will be posted on our website at: Specification Writers for Hire
Our Chapter will continue to grow because of volunteers – but new volunteers and new ideas will make us a better chapter. Please consider participating in one of our committees and help shape the offerings and direction of our chapter. Some areas to get involved:
(Future Golf Tournament, Awards/Membership Appreciation Event)
Thank you to all the Miami CSI Sponsors who have partnered with our organization for 2020-2021.
Immediate Past President