Ode to those who have been through the trailer

You may very well have to change the way you do business day-to-day

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You may very well have to change the way you do business day-to-day.

Among the articles in this month's issue is one by Al Feaster, on page xx. The article takes a look at the topic of Division 17 from a perspective that differs from those you might be used to seeing in cabling-industry magazines.

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Chances are, most of what you have read so far on the subject has concerned the efforts being made by some individuals and organizations to convince the Construction Specifications Institute (CSI) to incorporate communications cabling as the 17th division in its MasterFormat-the document used to plan new-construction projects throughout North America. Frequently, the individuals who contribute such information either support or oppose the establishment of a Division 17, and may subtly or blatantly attempt to convince you, the reader, of the effort's merits or shortcomings.

So, up until now, you probably have read some actual reporting on the efforts being made and associated timetables, and you probably also have read some arguments that amount to "It's a good idea," or "It's a bad idea." Al Feaster takes a different approach. He assumes that a communications-cabling Division 17 is going to be a part of our lives in the relatively near future. Then he takes the next step by telling you what it is going to mean to you. The article does not contend that Division 17 will put professionals in our industry on easy street, nor does it say that you will face impossible tasks if the proposal becomes a reality. In short, it says that you may very well have to change the way you do business day-to-day.

The article makes two significant assumptions, which the author acknowledges and I want to emphasize. First, as I mentioned earlier, it assumes that Division 17 as we know it will come to fruition. And second, the article assumes that the cabling-industry professionals reading it have not been integrated members of new-construction teams. Based on that second assumption, the article explains how the working environment will change once these individuals do become integrated construction-team members.

The phrase "through the trailer" embodies the concept for many. On construction projects, the trailer is the office, which serves as a meeting place and overall information outlet for the trades on the job. As has been well-documented throughout the Division 17 effort, cabling professionals rarely see the inside of the trailer. But assuming again that our profession does get integrated into the process, cabling folks will get their marching orders "through the trailer."

Of course, there is no guarantee that the first assumption will come to pass. Division 17 may be rejected, tabled, or otherwise not a reality in the near term. And the second assumption is made so that the author can speak to the many to whom it does apply. But it does not apply to everyone. I am sure that in some instances, the communications-cabling contractor has in fact made it "through the trailer" on construction projects. Perhaps in some of these cases, the electrical contractor-who is very much a member of the trailer team-has also installed the communications-cabling system.

So, how about sharing your trailer experiences? Maybe you are strictly a communications-cabling contractor who has been an integral part of some construction projects. Or, maybe you are an electrical and communications contractor who has brought both trades into the trailer. We would like to know what you think it will take for your peers to succeed in environments to which they may never have been exposed. Drop me a line. I am interested to hear your perspective.

Patrick McLaughlin
Chief Editor
patrick@pennwell.com

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