The following is a summary and example of the specification process in the construction industry. eLumit aims to fulfill the needs of specifiers (architects, lighting designers etc) in their search for architectural lighting products. eLumit's search and specification tools are typically used in the Design Development stage of the construction process.
Request for Proposal (RFP)
A client (an owner, possibly an individual or corporation) decides to develop a project. This project can be as small as a single residence or store or as large as a shopping center, museum, hotel or office building, or beyond). The client is likely to choose an architect to head up the project. The architect can then handle the lighting design portion of the job or hire a specialist like a lighting designer. Here, the client (owner or architect) sends out a request for proposal. A specifier like Horton Lees Brogden Lighting Design sends a proposal back to the client.
Design Development (DD)
Design development meetings proceed with the architect and lighting designer. The lighting designers show sample fixture images, application shots to pitch the fixtures that they would like to use in the project, as part of the design process. During this process eLumit can be one of many sources of information to help facilitate the fixture selection process. eLumit also helps to organize the spec sheets of the selected fixtures into Spec Sheet packages that help document the selected fixtures for these phases all the way through to construction. Preliminary layouts and calculations on AGI (3D work) is performed. The set is issued from the architect.
Budgets are created and maintained in a number of ways, from Excel to proprietary software or eLumit. Since prices vary from Manufacturers to end users (Manufacturer>Distributor>Sales Reps>Contractors>End Users) and between regions, there is no single effective and streamlined way to record pricing on eLumit. Prices can be manually entered.
Construction Documents (CD)
The process continues with the production of construction documents. The documents, or CDs (spec sheet packages included), can be comprised of spec sheets for almost anything that goes into producing the final product. These spec sheet packages serve as part of the contract/agreement and ensure that the appropriate products are used.
In this stage fixtures are locked down. Drawings are revised, details are selected. Everything is finalized. Construction Documents are issued.
Out for Bid
The package of construction documents are sent out for bids. Distributors put in prices for the products and General Contractors calculate the cost of implementing the project and make their bids.
The project now proceeds to the actual construction phase. Shop drawings are produced. Distributor(s) get or download shop drawings from manufacturers and give them to architect and designers to confirm before they buy. This stage often includes more finalizing of details through a lot of back and forth communication. The documents (spec sheets) are revised and resubmitted. Contractors usually have existing relationships with favored distributors. Since the favored distributors may only carry a portion of the specified products, they will recommend substitutions in order to be able to supply the fixtures for the entire job (or larger portion of it). Depending on the project and the specifiers requirements, like budget constraints and aesthetics etc., the specifier will approve some substitutions and reject others. If rejected, this process is repeated until all products are approved. Compromise is often vital in this stage.
Once approved, the contractor proceeds with construction. The specifier's job is complete.