Crosswalk: Upgrading access to construction standards

By Hugh Seaton

Across the building life cycle, industry standards support the work of architects, engineers, contractors, and facility managers. Standards are the backbone of an organized and safe building project, setting baseline performance and safety levels or providing classifications to structure and communicate project data.

Essential to any building project is the use of MasterFormat, UniFormat, and OmniClass. But communicating data between classification standards or updating from older versions can be a challenge. While building projects have grown in complexity and technology has evolved to support new construction needs, access to standards has remained static—until now.

Creating the Crosswalk solution

A Rosetta Stone for construction standards, Crosswalk is a digital tool for process optimization. Project teams can instantly trans-classify data across standards with best-in-class “crosswalks” between essential standards such as MasterFormat, UniFormat, OmniClass, and ASTM E1557 or “UniFormat II.”

What is a “crosswalk”?

The term “crosswalk” has been used in the construction industry for years to describe the translation of a specification from one standard to another, or the connection between a classification in one standard (e.g. MasterFormat) to an equivalent classification in another standard (e.g. UniFormat). When developing the Crosswalk tool, CSI created an expert-defined set of crosswalks between the standards the organization has maintained for decades, including MasterFormat, UniFormat, and OmniClass, as well as previous versions such as MasterFormat 1995. Now, teams can rely on Crosswalk for translations between standards as well as other digital tool capabilities, such as enhanced search options and the most up-to-date versions of each standard. Delivered as an application programming interface (API), Crosswalk is a flexible, adaptable tool designed to integrate seamlessly into the software and project systems you already use.

What is an API—and how does it help me?

An API operates behind-the-scenes of your software and project workflows. The Crosswalk API connects to each of the CSI industry standards and crosswalks them, so you can easily pull in standards to search, organize, classify, or trans-classify project data. Instead of learning to navigate a whole new project platform, an API is a layer of information connected to your current technology. An IT team or developer will onboard the API into your software or IT system, and you will use your software or system the way you normally do and access the API when you need it.

The flexibility of an API makes it the ideal solution for a wide range of applications in the architecture, engineering, construction, and owner (AECO) community, and adaptable to the vast array of construction technology solutions on the market. Crosswalk is designed to scale to any team size and was built with interoperability in mind.

What problems does Crosswalk solve?

A growing number of software solutions are integrating Crosswalk to incorporate industry standards in end user products. For general contractors, Crosswalk is a helpful tool for updating past project data and implementing industry standards within internal systems to ensure consistent deliverables across national networks. Teams from every part of the construction process use classification systems built on MasterFormat, UniFormat, and OmniClass, proving Crosswalk is a vital tool for structuring, updating, or re-classifying cost codes, specifications, quantities, building products, and operational data. Crosswalk replaces PDFs, spreadsheets, and paper with a digital solution for implementing standards, replacing time-consuming manual entry, and reducing risk of costly errors.

How do I learn more?

To learn more about CSI standards, visit www.csiresources.org/standards/overview.

To learn more about Crosswalk, visit www.crosswalk.biz/home or contact crosswalk@csinet.org.

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