Now officially posted on the CONSTRUCT Show website here, I am tremendously honored to be blogging on behalf of #CONSTRUCT. Along with Marvin Kemp (@BaltoCSI) and Lori Greene (@LoriGreeneAHC), this blog is designed to provide you with industry information, challenge your thoughts and facilitate a sense of community with CONSTRUCT participants.
As a CONSTRUCT attendee in 2010 in Philadelphia, 2011 in Chicago and 2012 in Phoenix, from experience I can easily say that the exhibit hall is top notch, the education sessions are second to none and it is all tied together as part of the CSI Annual Convention. Bringing together CSI members from across the United States, the camaraderie of the CSI brother and sisterhood (#CSIsters) can immediately be felt when you enter a room. Hugs and handshakes are abound from friends both new and old, all with the true belief of the mission of CSI – to advance building information management and education of project teams to improve facility performance.
Please stay tuned to my blog here and also to the CONSTRUCT-Per-Specs page and I look forward to seeing you in Nashville in September. If you are interested in exhibiting or attending the industry’s only national trade show and educational conference for the commercial building teams that spec and source building products, register here.
Consultation in this day and age goes far beyond the traditional in-person meeting or an over the phone discussion. Without having to confront a soul, one only has to remove a device barely larger than your palm from your pocket or purse and type (or speak!) away to find the information one seeks. Our smartphone, and technology as a whole, has completely transformed our day to day life. The way we contact and interact with people, research facts, retrieve data, shop and more has been completely revolutionized by devices that admittedly we can no longer live without (myself included)
Is all of this technology and convenience for the better? I guess it depends on what you use it for and probably more, what you are accustomed to. Entire generations of people will not know what it is like to live without having constant connectivity and answers at the end of a few keystrokes. What once required a browse of an encyclopedia (remember those?) or a trip to the library now requires but a few moments of your time and a small piece of plastic and microchips. And for those that insist on speaking to someone, Siri is there to help. However, for as powerful as our devices are, there will never be replacement for actual human interaction.
Technology is breeding a generation of people that are spending increasingly more time in front of a screen. At one time, it was only a TV. Add to that now the usage of desktop computers, laptops, smartphones and tablets and our screen time has increased exponentially as our human relation skills have regressed. A child may ask “Why do I have to go out and play to see Johnny?” when all they have to do now is log onto their video game system and enter an online chat room to talk to them. Seemingly lost is the time when our parents would say “Go out and play!” and boot us out of the house to play ball in the field or hide and seek with the neighbors.
Our dependency on technology is addictive (speaking from experience) and contagious and will most likely only worsen as our children who are growing up amongst these devices will enter the workforce down the road. Having everything at the end of some typing may breed increasingly more introverts that see no need to get out of the house or actually interact with people.
In no way can our reliance on technology bring answers to all of our Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs). I’ve spent too much time delving into the search results of Google or a website user forum only to find that the answer was at the other end of a telephone and 5 minutes of my time. Sometimes the search term is impossible to strip down to give you the results you need. Other times, inflection in one’s voice offers just the right spin on a question to give the proper answer.
Most of us already spend our days in front of our screens for our jobs. Emails, internet research, word processing, spreadsheets, social media. It all ties us down and gives us a false sense of security that we may not need to rely on an outside living and breathing source to give us the answers that we so seek. Many of us in our day-to-day jobs spend time actually dodging human interaction – that pushy salesman, the untimely phone call, prodding co-workers, chatty deliverymen – so why would one go out of the way to put themselves in front of other people? Sometimes, it’s the only way to get information that you seek.
In the building product industry that I have immersed myself in over the last 7+ years, reliance on word of mouth marketing and in-person salesmanship still stands strong, true and even (gasp!) desired. While technology, apps and websites are designed to help architects, interior designers and specifiers on finding and selecting building products, there is a tremendous reliance on relationships and trust in the proper selection of materials and equipment for the built environment.
Trade shows are still a major part of the construction industry, as they are in many business fields. While the internet and technology has done wonders for price shopping and delivery of generic information, no website, application or time spent in front of a screen will be able to take the place of a candid back and forth conversation between one educated person and one person seeking information. In the construction industry, few trade shows consistently stay at the forefront for those seeking prized information and education than CONSTRUCT. CONSTRUCT, the Construction Specifications Institute’s National meeting & trade show continues to lead the way, delivering consistent and in demand information from year to year. CSI’s CONSTRUCT is the only national trade show and educational conference for the commercial building teams that specify and source building products. Whether an owner, general contractor, construction manager, engineer, interior designer, architect, construction specifier, manufacturer or a building product representative, CONSTRUCT has an opportunity for those not only looking to deliver, but also those seeking, information. Year in and year out, those familiar with CSI and CONSTRUCT continue to travel to CONSTRUCT due to the quality of the information and education that it offers, as well as to meet up with friends, associates and trusted advisors from across the Nation. Dozens of educational seminars are coupled with informational tours and an unrivaled trade show hall filled with exhibitors who put their reputation on the line with every building project that their material is used in and with every question answered.
So you may ask why should I visit a trade show, isn’t it all available online? The simple answer is no. Relationships and trust cannot be maintained entirely behind a screen. Social media and technology has certainly moved relationship building into the fast lane, but it cannot be sustained entirely behind closed doors on a device.
If you are interested in attending, exhibiting or getting more information on CONSTRUCT, which is being held in Nashville from September 24 – 27, 2013, please visit www.constructshow.com
I’ve only briefly had the chance to return to the local playground so far this year. As much as I would like to say it was for myself, it wasn’t. Reid (seen above), who just turned 2 in March, is the ultimate joy to be with and it is amazing to watch him grow right before my eyes. It seems like just a few weeks ago we brought him home from the hospital. Now he is almost completely self sufficient and I expect him any day to ask me for the car keys. Thankfully we’re not at this point yet and every once in a while we are reminded that he is only 2 and needs us close by. He likes to slide and climb and isn’t quite big enough to get fully into it, but he also likes to swing. I’m very much looking forward to him being big enough to hold on for himself and ask me to push him. Once in a while, we all need that push.
Whether it’s on a figurative swing or literal swing, sometimes we just need that person behind us encouraging us to go higher. Perhaps it’s your boss, your sales manager, your wife, your girlfriend, your mother or even your son, but we all need that push – that encouragement – to go further, higher, harder or more. As a fairly independent person, I’ve never been one to reach out for help or a push. More often than not, I’ve needed that push but have been to strong willed (which sounds so much better than stubborn) to ask.
There are numerous things I could use a push about. I’ve been meaning to push myself to write more and had actually wrote in my 2013 goals to do so. It doesn’t take much poking around my blog to realize I didn’t do to well at that. Well, perhaps I finally got the push I needed today. For now the details will remain nameless, but let’s just say that you should be seeing a fairly regular blog post from me. We’ll say monthly and go from there.
Time to get on the grown up swing. Can you give me a push?
Is society to blame for the “I want it and I want it NOW’ entitlement that some people possess? Technology is speeding out of control and has put us in the fast lane for everything. The answer you seek once took extensive research and perhaps a visit to a library – whether the architectural library or the community library – and that answer is now at the tip of your fingers.
Google has completely changed the way we live, whether you are a user or not. As I tweeted this morning “Google is the modern day Big Brother. They are EVERYWHERE. Matter of are you trying to hide or be found?” Even if you live completely off the grid, I’m not even sure you can hide from Google. How easy is it to be found nowadays? While addressing Christmas cards last night, I was missing a few addresses. Within 3 minutes, I had the 3 addresses I need. So, if you can’t hide, you might as well try to be found.
Being in construction sales and marketing, it is my job to be found. Whether a specifier needs an architectural specification or an interior designer needs samples for their charette, I need to be Googleable, as do my keywords. When one of these parties reach out, what is the proper expectation for my response time? With smart phones, tablets and constant internet connectivity, my job is no longer 8 to 5, Monday through Friday. Even though that is what I am paid for, my job is 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, every day of the year. And if I don’t make myself available 24/7/365? My competitor most likely will. Even though the specifier or interior designer gives a window of opportunity for me to respond, I know the early bird still gets the worm. It goes along with search engine results when you are looking for something. How often do you click through to page 2? Chances are, you are clicking on page 1 and you are finding what you are looking for within seconds.
This all ties back to our instant gratification society that we now live in. The internet and social media are entirely to blame for the “I want it and I want it NOW’ entitlement that we live in. You can embrace it wholeheartedly or you can continue to live in denial. Our constant connectivity is not going anywhere and if anything, is getting worse. Our car dashboards are no longer just speedometers and odometers. Google Glass is on the horizon. You can choose to accept it all or get left behind. I choose to live and accept the former and am excited at the continued possibilities.
I’m quickly approaching seven years working in and around indoor sports flooring with Advantage Sport USA. Seven years of projects of all shapes and sizes ranging from 250 square foot residential basements to 30,000 square foot college field houses. Seven years of existing conditions, renovations, rehabilitations and new construction and the one constant that rears its ugly head on almost each job are the environmental conditions,including concrete moisture vapor emissions.
There are more than a few instances that can lead to high moisture in a concrete slab. Whether it is lack of a quality vapor barrier (or lack of one entirely), a fast track installation with insufficient time for the concrete to dry, an inoperable HVAC system (or again the lack of one altogether) or a plethora of other events. No matter the occurrence, it all equates to the same headaches after the fact. Normally fingers are pointed, voices are raised, materials are ripped out and unnecessary time and money is spent to potentially replace flooring that perhaps should have never been installed to begin with. Industry-speak may call it “flooring failure” but most of the time the flooring is performing exactly as it is supposed to. The adhesive on the other hand, may be completely failing.
As the built environment strives to become “greener”, VOCs have been lowered in flooring adhesives in order to make them compatible with indoor regulations. As the adhesive industry has moved towards water based and acrylic based solutions, they have become much more susceptible to concrete moisture vapor emissions. Even though the norm in the industry has raised from 3 lbs of moisture to 5 lbs, as per ASTM F1869-11 (Standard Test Method for Measuring Moisture Vapor Emission Rate of Concrete Subfloor Using Anhydrous Calcium Chloride), that limit can take substantial time to achieve.
Speaking of norms in the industry, growing acceptance has moved away from calcium chloride testing (a snapshot of what is happening on the slab) to relative humidity (RH) testing (what is going on inside the slab). Testing as per ASTM F2170-11 Standard Test Method for Determining Relative Humidity in Concrete Floor Slabs Using in situ Probes has become easier and easier with recently developed equipment, including testing probes that can be left in the slab. Even the Maple Flooring Manufacturers Association (MFMA) has gone from not accepting RH testing to ONLY accepting RH testing previous to the installation of wood gym floor. Visit the MFMA website for more information.
There are multiple solutions on the market. The cheapest is normally waiting for the concrete to dry. Abrading the top layer of the slab can help speed us this process, however most floor coverings require a smooth, steel trowel finish for installation, so the abrading would have to be covered with a Portland-based cement. Costlier solutions can include topical moisture mitigation systems and depending on the city you are working out of can be extremely pricey. Some flooring manufacturers offer solutions such as on slab moisture barriers or are moving to adhesive free installations or adhesives that allow a very high rate of MVER.
The one true method to ensure a proper floor installation is information. You need to know your flooring, know your adhesive, know your thresholds of moisture vapor emissions, know your moisture testing, testing companies and protocols, know your installer, know your time constraints, know your materials. There is no tried and true answer or solution when it comes to concrete moisture. Moisture is always present in concrete slabs and by accepting it is there and how you can live with it could be your best bet.
Take an hour of your time and join the CSI Specifying Practice Group Meeting this Thursday (December 6) from 3-4pm ET as David Stutzman, CSI, CCS, AIA, SCIP, LEED AP and Louis Medcalf, FCSI, CCS lead a CSI discussion on “Slab Floor Moisture.”
Should you not be able to attend the webinar, you can join in on a tweetchat by using the hashtag #CSISPG, which is where you’ll find me @EricDLussier
If CONSTRUCT 2010 in Philadelphia was getting my feet wet (with an exhibit hall pass only) and 2011 in Chicago was jumping in head first (with a full education package) then I would view CONSTRUCT 2012, held in Phoenix from September 11th – 14th as a leisurely paddle down a stream, even if it did host my first Gala.
The week approached incredibly fast and passed just as quickly. Looking back now, 2 weeks after returning to PHL from PHX, I can summarize the week with one word: comfortable. This would certainly not be the case without the people that make up the Construction Specifications Institute – CSI. Without these people the conference could be clunky, lonely, perhaps even boring. However, it is none of the above because of what the members bring to the Institute and to the Conference.
From the greeters at the Phoenix Convention Center, to the team members of Hanley Wood, to the presenters and exhibitors at CONSTRUCT and most importantly to the attendees of the Conference, my week in Phoenix was like slipping into your favorite sweatshirt during the first chill of fall – comfortable. From seeing old friends (those that I know from way back in the day in Philly 2010) to meeting new friends that were just an avatar in my Twitter-based world until recently, CONSTRUCT has become the CSI water cooler for me – the place that I go to connect with everyone IRL – in real life.Social Media, while seemingly having “taken off” in the last year, has been an important part of my life for the past 3+ years. However over the last year the relationships have certainly “taken off’ with roots being firmly planted on a laptop screen, or on my smartphone or tablet. PHX CONSTRUCT was all about meeting some of these people IRL. From Kaitlin Solomon (@KaitlinSolomon3), Paul Gerber (@PaulDGerber), J. Peter Jordan (@JPeterJordan), Paul Treanor (@CONSTRUCTshow) and Liz “Don’t Call me Sullivan” O’Sullivan (@LizOSullivanAIA) to new Fellow John Guill (@SpecMonkeyNorth), Carol Hagen (@CarolHagen), Brok Howard (@BrokHoward) and Cherise Schacter (@CheriseSchacter) and more, it was like an instant reunion, despite having never met any of these people before. Social Media may be the new cold call, but it’s also the new water cooler, bar stool, message board, and “blind date” all mixed into one. As a relative introvert, I have found it becoming increasingly more difficult to meet people as the years progress. Having been a lone employee who works from a home office over the last four years in Pennsylvania, CSI has become my neighborhood bar, coffee shop, library and grocery store. It doesn’t seem to matter the persons occupation, economic status or firm seniority, by just being a CSI member, you have something immediate and important in common. So I could continue and talk about the wonderful city that Phoenix was – how the food was great, the people were terrific and the amenities were fantastic or about how great the CONSTRUCT presentations and exhibit hall was and it would all be true. But to me, PHX was about the people. The incredible crew from CSI Allentown that were there with me – now Fellow Mitch Miller, our current President Tina Montone, Lee Ann Slattery, Rob Sarnowski, Tim Sisock, Sal Verrastro, Dave Fenstermacher to fellow PA CSI folk John Groff, Bill Brightbill, Jan Meyers, Charlie Beauduy and Mike Lechleitner there were plenty of now local friends that I got to see over 2000 miles from home. Factor these folk in with the previously mentioned Twitter folk that I got to meet for the very first time and top them off with being able to spend some time with Joy Davis (THE woman behind the CSI Social Media community) and I deem CONSTRUCT PHX 2012 an absolute success. Nashville 2013 is on my calender (as it should be with yours – September 24th – 27th) and I’d hate to make time go by any faster then it already is, but I can’t wait for it to get here! Between now and then, I hope to see you at a meeting.