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Cincinnati Construction News

2017 CSI Honors & Award Winners

Young Professionals Day at CONSTRUCT 2017 & the CSI Annual Convention

The CSI Practice Guides

Yocum's Law

Specific Thoughts

Constructive Thoughts

MasterFormat: The Lighter Side

News and Views

Views expressed in these News and Views articles do not necessarily reflect the views of the CSI Cincinnati Chapter or the Construction Specifications Institute.


Cincinnnati Construction News

Downtown Kroger's design gets city approval

July 25, 2017 - Cincinnati Business Courier

The design for a mixed-use project that includes a downtown Kroger, plus two needed zoning variances, was unanimously approved by Cincinnati’s Historic Conservation Board on Monday, whose staff emphatically praised the project. The mixed-use projects includes eight stories of 139 apartments and a 550-space parking garage in addition to a two-level, 45,000-square-foot Kroger store...Read More>>

OTR office project tops off, secures needed city property

July 21, 2017 - Cincinnati Business Courier

Construction crews with TriVersity Construction topped off the 15th and Vine mixed-use project designed by City Studios Architecture on Friday, while the Cincinnati Planning Commission approved the two needed easements for the project on Friday...Read More>>

Commissioner: The Banks needs a ‘fresh set of eyes’

July 20, 2017 - Cincinnati Business Courier
With news that the Banks master developer Carter will end its development agreement with the city of Cincinnati and Hamilton County, Todd Portune praised the Atlanta-based company’s work, but said a change was needed...Read More>>

NIOSH Chooses Uptown Innovation Corridor

July 14, 2017 - Uptown Consortium, Inc.

Hundreds of scientists – including chemists, biologists, engineers and toxicologists –will join the region's largest contingent of advanced researchers who call Uptown their professional home, as yesterday the National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH) announced it has chosen 14 acres at Martin Luther King Drive and Reading Road for its new site...Read More>>

Union Terminal, other Cincinnati projects land $10 million in historic tax credits
June 28, 2017 - Cincinnati Enquirer
Several Cincinnati landmarks and a cluster of vacant buildings in and around Over-the-Rhine have been approved for more than $10 million in historic preservation tax credits to help finance renovations and new construction, the Ohio Development Services Agency (ODSA) announced Wednesday...Read More>>

Young Professionals Day at CONSTRUCT 2017 & the CSI Annual Convention

July 25, 2017

Cherise Lakeside, CSI, CDT, is a passionate advocate for young professionals in the construction industry. Her thoughts and contributions to the Young Professionals Day at CONSTRUCT are highlighted in the article, "The Future is Now," in the September 2017 issue of The Construction Specifier magazine. Cherise writes: "Millennials currently represent 25 percent of the entire U.S. population. Born between 1977 and 2000, they also represent 21 percent of the discretionary purchasing power in the country. They are the largest generation to enter the workplace. Even more notable, millennials will represent 75 percent of our workforce by 2025—only 7.5 years from now.

This is important because our industry has never experienced a generational imbalance of this magnitude. It is also important because this group of professionals will be asked to step into advanced roles and responsibilities far earlier than ever before in the history of architecture, engineering, and construction (AEC). Are we helping them prepare?

Three years ago, I saw a need and an opportunity at CONSTRUCT. Why not set up a day at the show especially designed for young professionals? This day would be specifically created to help equip them with the tools to find the training, mentorship, and education they need for the accelerated advancement many of them will experience in the coming years.

The overarching goal of Young Professionals Day is to set attendees up for professional success. Not only will they learn how to maximize their time and return on investment (ROI) at CONSTRUCT, but they will also learn how to set themselves apart from their competition. They will make valuable connections with experienced professionals that will carry far beyond the event."

If you are a young professional or know someone who is—Young Professionals Day at CONSTRUCT 2017 and The CSI Annual Convention is September 13 at the Rhode Island Convention Center—plan now to attend!  
Click here for more information or to register.

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2017 CSI Honors and Award Winners

July 1, 2017

The Constructions Specifications Institute (CSI) is thrilled to announce that 17 individuals and 10 chapters will be honored at CONSTRUCT 2017 & The CSI Annual Convention in Providence, RI. The CSI Honors & Awards Ceremony will take place Thursday, September 14 at 6 PM. Preregister for this free event at

Distinguished Membership:
Distinguished Membership:Distinguished Membership is the most prestigious honor of the Institute. It is conferred on individuals who have performed distinguished services to the construction industry in fields of activity related to the purposes of the Institute. 

Fellows of the Institute are chosen by their peers. Nominees must maintain membership for not less than five years and have notably contributed to the advancement of construction technology, the improvement of construction specifications, education, or by service to the Institute.

Robert P. Brosseau Award for the Advancement of CSI: 
This award recognizes CSI members who have been recognized by peers as leaders focused on education and the training and mentoring of students and emerging professionals.

Outstanding Contribution Award: 
This award recognizes  a CSI member, chapter, region or group that has made commendable contributions to the goals of the Institute.  It recognizes contributions above and beyond those normally performed as part of a chapter, region, or Institute officer, committee or member .

Technical Document Award: 
This award recognizes an individual, chapter, region or group for a single outstanding accomplishment in technical writing other than project specifications.

Communication Award:
This award recognizes a CSI member, chapter, region or group for outstanding effort in the communication of CSI related topics and activities. 

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The CSI Practice Guides

04 March 2017

Practice Guides serve as a major part of the curated knowledge CSI has to offer professionals. Currently developed as a series of larger publications/text books, the Practice Guides also serve as the core knowledge for the certification program. The CSI Practice Guides are a library of comprehensive references specifically and carefully designed for the construction professional. Each book examines important concepts and best practices integral to a particular aspect of the construction process.  


Project Delivery Practice Guide

Laying the foundation for this series, The CSI Project Delivery Practice Guide provides fundamental knowledge for the documentation, administration, and successful delivery of construction projects. It also serves as the pivotal starting point for understanding CSI's core values, as well as a useful study aid for those wishing to obtain the CDT certificate.

Member Price: $75. Non-Member Price: $85. Learn more, or order.  


Construction Specifications Practice Guide

The CSI Construction Specifications Practice Guide is focused on the roles and responsibilities of the specifications professional in meeting the challenges of the changing world of construction. The Guide also presents construction professions and product researchers studying for the CCS Exam with a solid foundation for identifying cost-effective solutions and communicating those solutions through specifications

Member Price: $72.00 Non-Member Price: $85. Learn more, or order.   


Construction Contract Administration Practice Guide

The CSI Construction Contract Administration Practice Guide presents a thorough overview of standard contract documents and their use in successfully administering construction projects. The Guide also presents construction professionals and students studying for the CCCA Exam with a solid foundation for improving their methods of developing, administering, and enforcing construction documentation.

Member Price: $72. Non-Member Price: $85. Learn more, or order.



The CSI Sustainable Design and Construction Practice Guide compiles information and best practices for those who participate in some aspect of the design and construction of sustainable facilities. The Guide provides best practices for project delivery methods as related to current-day sustainable design. Member Price: $72.00 Non-Member Price: $90.00 Learn more, or order.



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Thomas R. Yocum, Esq., CSI

Managing Member

Benjamin, Yocum & Heather, LLC

Attorneys at Law

Insurance and Waiver of Subrogation

21 JUL 2017

Subrogation is the right of one who has paid for a loss sustained by another to recover reimbursement from a third party who is legally responsible for damages.  Subrogation typically arises where an insurance company has paid a “first party loss”, i.e. payments to its own insured; then, the insurance company seeks reimbursement from a third party who is legally liable for the damages, typically, based upon a negligence cause of action.

For example, a right of subrogation arises on the part of an automobile insurance carrier when it pays for damage to a motor vehicle pursuant to collision coverage of its insured, when the damage to the vehicle was caused by the negligence of another.  The insured receives the benefit of first party insurance coverage by receiving prompt payment for its loss from the insurer.  The insured assigns its rights of recovery against the responsible party to the insurer.  The insurer then steps into the shoes of its insured for purposes of pursuing subrogation against the responsible party which often results in disputes, contested liability, litigation and expense.

The same subrogation rights arise in connection with builders risk and other property insurance on construction projects.  In furtherance of the goals of reducing disputes, and avoiding the time and expense of litigation, the AIA Document A201, Standard General Conditions, contains provisions requiring that certain insurance be maintained, and that there be a mutual waiver of subrogation by all parties, and their insurance carriers, to the extent that a loss is covered by insurance.  This provision has long been in the AIA Documents and was continued in the 2017 edition.

According to the AIA provisions, the owner is required to maintain builder’s risk insurance covering the project for all improvements being constructed by contractors and subcontractors.  In the event of fire, or other casualty resulting in damage to the project work, the builder’s risk insurance is intended to pay for those damages and to cover the value of improvements performed by all contractors and subcontractors. 

Even if one of the contractors or subcontractors was negligent in causing the fire or other loss, litigation should not ensue from such accident.  Rather, pursuant to the builders risk coverage, the insurer should pay for the loss, and should not seek reimbursement from any contractors or subcontractors, since subrogation has been waived.


The waiver of subrogation provision is a reasonable risk management technique which is also found in other commercial contracts, such as lease agreements.  Such provisions reduce risk and better enable parties to plan project costs.  All parties can reasonably factor into their budget the costs of insurance while avoiding the time and expense of protracted litigation that may be involved in subrogation proceedings.


Thomas R. Yocum, Esq., CSI

Benjamin, Yocum & Heather, LLC

300 Pike Street, Suite 500

Cincinnati, OH 45202-4222

(513) 721-5672

Web site:



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By Sheldon Wolfe, RA, FCSI, CCS, CCCA

Minneapolis-St. Paul Chapter

BWBR Architects

St. Paul, Minnesota


Just another day - senseless submittals

21 July 2017


A couple of days ago, I received four emails from the same manufacturer's rep, containing a total of twenty-two images of new finish colors. Combined file size: Twenty-two meg.

This isn’t unusual. Almost daily, reps send us emails with huge attachments. I understand the desire to make the email attract attention, but only a little effort will accomplish that goal. A few carefully selected images should do the trick.

As for catalogues and other large documents, there is no reason to send them. A link to the file will suffice, assuming the files are online - and if they're not, why not?

Worse than large emails are USB drives. These follow the tradition established many years ago, when manufacturers apparently believed that giving architects everything was a great idea. When the only available medium was hardcopy, this made sense; there was no other way to get information.

Unfortunately, this tradition was continued even after the Internet was in common use. Manufacturers had a hard time grasping the idea that if they put their information online, it would be accessible to everyone, everywhere, anytime (assuming the user had Internet access!). They continued to send floppies and, eventually, USB drives. I'm not sure what the intent was; surely, no one has the space or will take the time to save all that information on their computers. The only upside to USB drives is that they're easy to recycle, but eventually, a bowl full of them becomes more trouble than it's worth. "Hmm... which one was it? I wonder what's on this one..."

Beyond that, in this time of weekly stories about computer attacks, you have to ask yourself if you really want to plug that USB drive into your computer. The company I work for has forbidden the use of USB drives other than those we purchase directly.

So what does make sense?

A well-written email will suffice for nearly any communication. It should include a subject line that briefly describes the intent, a summary of the information being sent, small (both visually and in file size) images that help explain the message, links to the specific online information that is related to the message (not to everything on the website), and contact information for the sender.

Two things corporate people love to include in contact information are lots of images and a disclaimer. Both waste space and are universally ignored by email recipients. We don't need to read about your mission statement, the location of all your offices, or your many awards; we don't need links so we can comment directly to LinkedIn, Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, YouTube, or Google+; and we don't care who the company officers are. I know this will hurt your marketing people, but we see no value in the large corporate images that do nothing but take up space.

Disclaimers would be tolerable if they made sense, but when they are attached to every email they mean nothing. Unless it's true that you don't want me to share the information you sent with the rest of the team. Did you intend to send it to each of them individually? It seems to me that you would want us to forward information about your products to everyone we know! Disclaimers are especially entertaining at the end of a joke or a casual lunch invitation.

That brings up another problem: Blind copies. I like to help reps; they're my go-to guys and I can't do my job without them. So when I get an email addressed to me, with no indication of it being sent to others, I often forward it to others who might be interested. Too often, I get the same email forwarded to me from others who received the same message. If a message goes to more than one person in a firm, use copy, not blind copy.

Memory is cheap, but it isn't infinite. Many offices limit email storage for employees, and some automatically disable email accounts that exceed the limit. There are times when a large file is necessary, but again, if it's online there is no reason to send it. Don't just assume that it's o.k. to send multiple megabytes.

When using images in email, everyone should know that, in a sense, all pictures are created equal. Due to the quirks of displaying images, the same picture with a file size of 100 kb can be indistinguishable from one of several megabytes. The larger file will fill inboxes and slow things down with no benefit.

The same applies to in-house email and files, as well. It's so easy to just send files to other people in the office, but it takes just seconds to send a link to a file on a shared server.


© 2017, Sheldon Wolfe, RA, FCSI, CCS, CCCA, CSC

Agree? Disagree? Leave your comments at


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By Sheldon Wolfe, RA, FCSI, CCS, CCCA

Minneapolis-St. Paul Chapter

BWBR Architects

St. Paul, Minnesota


Small Brush with Fame

01 May 2017


One of the most treasured awards I received from CSI is the Ben John Small Memorial Award. First presented in 1996, and limited to one per year, only eleven people have received this award.

The award, originally intended "to honor those who have achieved outstanding stature and proficiency as specifiers," is named after Ben John Small, charter member and president of the Metropolitan New York Chapter. Ben was well known as an educator; he was a frequent lecturer at Columbia University, Princeton University, the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, and the Virginia Polytechnic Institute. He wrote columns for Pencil Points Magazine, which later became Progressive Architecture. He also wrote a number of books, including Architectural Practice, Building check list, and Streamlined specifications standards. (I have two of these books in my library.)

A couple of years after receiving the award, I was at the CSI office in Alexandria for an Institute board meeting. I recalled seeing an article about Ben John Small in the Construction Specifier, but all I could remember was that his son worked at the Smithsonian. I had a little extra time before my flight, so I went to the Smithsonian in hopes of meeting him.

I started my search at the information desk. "I'm looking for someone named Small. Do you know where I could find him?"

With a somewhat stern look, the receptionist replied, "Mr. Small is on the hill today. What did you want to see him about?"

I told her the Small I was looking for might be the son of Ben John Small. She asked for my phone number and said she would pass it on. And that, I thought, was that.

Later that day, as I was leaving for the airport, my cell phone rang.

"Is this Sheldon Wolfe?"

"Yes. What can I do for you?"

"This is Lawrence Small, Secretary of the Smithsonian. I heard you stopped in to see me." You can imagine my surprise as I realized that this wasn't just some guy who worked at the Smithsonian, but the boss!

Mr. Small invited me to come back, but I didn't have time. He then told me to call him in advance the next time I was in Washington. I took him up on his offer and called before the next board meeting. After greeting me on the first floor, he gave me a behind-the-scenes tour of the Castle (the administrative home of the Smithsonian). His office was a museum in itself, with a space suit, the Lone Ranger's mask, a watch that was worn by an astronaut, and several other unique items on display. How much fun would it be to decorate your office with the entire Smithsonian to draw from?!

After talking about a controversial exhibit that included the nose of the Enola Gay, the B-19 used to drop an atomic bomb on Hiroshima, Lawrence told me an interesting story about the end of World War II. The story involved a pink cap that is part of the "Price of Freedom" exhibit in the Smithsonian. The cap belonged to Sandra Roche, who was born in 1945 in a Japanese internment camp in Weihsien, China (now Weifang). Food in the camp was inadequate, and Sandra developed rickets. The camp was liberated by seven American paratroopers 17 August 1945, just three days after Japan surrendered. Sandra's mother asked the paratroopers to sign the pink cap; she then used blue thread to embroider their signatures onto the cap.

And now, as Paul Harvey would say, "the rest of the story." About twenty years later, Lawrence met Sandra, and they were married in 1967.

Awards often mean little to people who don't belong to the organization that presents them. While the awards may be appreciated by members of the organization, and may contribute to obtaining other awards or honors, they typically don't have much impact on the recipient's job or career. The reason, of course, is that people outside of the organization don't know about the awards. Most people don't blow their own horns, so unless someone else does something to publicize awards, they remain secret.

CSI has a great history of preaching to the choir. It's fine to tell each other about what we're doing or what we've done, but shouldn't we also tell the rest of the world? If you're bringing in an expert, a top-notch speaker, or a celebrity to address a chapter meeting, spread the word! The construction community is the obvious target, but there are times when the general public should be invited. Many chapters have had a Frank Lloyd Wright impersonator speak, but how many realized that people who aren't involved in construction are FLW fans and invited them?

Promoting outside the chapter or region also applies to awards and honors. Awards committees at all levels should make notification part of their process. In most cases, it could be as simple as telling the recipient's boss about the award. My preference would be to use a card or a letter, but even an email would work. For more important awards, a press release could be sent to local newspapers.

Awards acknowledge the contributions of members within the organization, but they also can be a positive influence on members' careers.

© 2017, Sheldon Wolfe, RA, FCSI, CCS, CCCA, CSC

Agree? Disagree? Leave your comments at 

For more information…

Historians Protest New Enola Gay Exhibit

Pink cap exhibit

History of the Weihsien camp


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MasterFormat:  The Lighter Side


Gary Beimers, FCSI, CDT

Grand Rapids Chapter

A humorous look at MasterFormat


Spec That!    

Say What 101400 Signage Passing Place


Say What 101400 Signage Turn Left

10 14 00– Signage


10 14 00– Signage

Remember When 116813 Playground Equipment   Spec That 087100 Door Hardware
11 68 13 - Playgrgound Equipment
08 71 00 - Door Hardware
Remember When    


Remember When 332000 Wells

11 11 00 – Vehicle Service Equipment
33 20 00 - Wells

Gary Beimers, FCSI, CDT is president of GLB Consultants of Grand Rapids, Michigan, and an "at large" member of CSC. He has been part of the MasterFormat expansion and implementation team.

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