'Division 17' concept closer to reality

According to the Construction Specifications Institute (CSI-www.csinet.org), the concept that has become known as "Division 17"-one that many in the cabling industry have lobbied for-is a step closer to becoming a reality.

Jan 1st, 2002

According to the Construction Specifications Institute (CSI-www.csinet.org), the concept that has become known as "Division 17"-one that many in the cabling industry have lobbied for-is a step closer to becoming a reality.

In November, the task team revising CSI's 16-division MasterFormat document recommended that the organization add several new divisions, including specifications for communications infrastructure and civil-construction projects. CSI says that if the executive committee of its board of directors accepts the task team's recommendations, "the new MasterFormat would have more than 40 division numbers, but only about 20 would be in use."

The executive committee is scheduled to decide on the task team's recommendations on January 31.

With the possibility that the Master Format may include as many as 40 divisions, one cannot assume that if CSI's executive committee agrees to set apart specifications for communications infrastructure, that those specifications necessarily will reside in the 17th division. So, while Division 17 evangelist Tom Rauscher and other supporters from the cabling industry have branded the term into the industry's collective mindset, it may be a division of some other number that carries paramount importance for cabling contractors.

Dennis Hall, chairman of CSI's expansion team, commented, "It's news to no one that technology has advanced at breakneck speed. Also, there is room for better specification formats for civil engineering projects. These are the two big reasons MasterFormat must evolve. ellipse We've concluded that adding divisions is better than trying to fit it all into the existing 16 divisions." He said details of how many divisions would be added and their exact content are not yet worked out.

Hall further said that he realizes "these proposed changes are significant, but they're evolution, not revolution. The task team's plan is to leave Divisions 3 through 14 pretty much alone."

Rauscher represented BICSI (www.bicsi.org) at the task team's November meeting, proposing that CSI adopt a separate division addressing technology infrastructure. Thomas Glavinich, head of the Civil and Architectural Engineering Department at the University of Kansas, represented the National Electrical Contractors Association (NECA-www.necanet.org). He proposed an integrated systems specification, which would incorporate communications, control, and power wiring.

According to CSI, both Glavinich and Rauscher agreed that power, communications, and control systems should be installed as part of the base building, as opposed to some aspects being incorporated during the design phase, and other aspects during the construction phase.

-Patrick McLaughlin

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