In construction projects, codes, standards, and engineering specifications are some of the most important information involved in the entire process.
But the documents that contain this information often don’t receive the scrutiny they deserve, usually being relegated to email attachments as PDF or Word documents. With each new project, designers either have to create these files from scratch or edit these largely text-based documents, leaving room for errors.
But, Leon Gorbaty, director of product management with Bentley Systems, has invented software that puts engineering specifications front and center and allows the rest of the work to flow from these governing rules.
That software is SpecWave Composer, which Gorbaty describes as being essentially an object-oriented word processing software. But, rather than being completely text based, the software is compartmentalized in such a way that it can be connected to building information models and can be connected to other workflows like procurement and construction.
“We’ve essentially created a system to take engineering specs and make them interactive and modelled right up front so the written word can now be used on a project the same way the geometrical shapes and other design elements can be,” Gorbaty said in a recent interview.
SpecWave Composer works by importing specification documents (or creating new ones) and “modeling” them according to a strict set of rules defined by formal “SpecWave Templates”. Content can be “Multi-Purposed”, tagged, and/or linked to other content and workflows as required by the user. From a usability point of view, SpecWave Composer works much like other office/desktop applications, meaning most users will likely become familiar with it quickly.
Gorbaty, a firm believer in interoperability between tools, also gave SpecWave Composer the ability to integrate with Bentley's project collaboration and AECO information management software ProjectWise. Plus, SpecWave has its own file format, SPECX, which was developed as an open and non-proprietary file format, making integration with other tools relatively easy.
SpecWave Composer is garnering a lot of attention throughout the construction industry, having been recognized by Constructech Magazine with their "Top Product" Award in the "New Product" category.
The software has also won a Construction Computing Award in the category of “One to Watch Product,” which is a product that is predicted to become a hit within a year.
Gorbaty, who joined Bentley when it acquired his former company The Engineering Essentials Company (TEEC) in 2012, says he feels the awards have given validation to the young technology. Perhaps even more validating, though, has been its rapid adoption by companies and organizations in the construction industry. For example, Fiatech, a global organization dedicated to developing the best technology for the construction industry, has adopted the SPECX file format for creating automated project specifications.
But, Gorbaty admits, there is still a lot of work to do for SpecWave Composer to be adopted industry-wide.
With a background in mechanical engineering and software development, Gorbaty has been involved in the engineering and engineering IT industry for about 25 years and he’s been intimately involved with codes, standards and specifications management for about 10 years now.
The biggest change he’s seen in that time is the concept of building information modelling (BIM), which started out in architecture but is expanding into all types of construction and other areas of engineering.
SpecWave, with its ability to not just author documents, but model them, is a perfect companion to BIM.
“SpecWave fits well with all the changes that we’ve seen with building information modelling,” Gorbaty said. “It fits right in.”
As for the future, Gorbaty predicts that companies will begin making their software tools more compatible with each other, particularly in the area of BIM.
“I guess the way that I really believe that the industry is going to go is there is going to be more emphasis on building information modelling and general information modelling, but also on the harmonization in the way in which these models are created,” he said.
For more information on SpecWave Composer, click here.