Construction Specifications Institute (CSI) member Ken Lambert stated in a recent blog at CSIResources.org, “There is a longstanding and difficult question at most CSI regional and chapter meetings, which was mirrored at the national conference: How do we get more members into CSI? It’s tough to answer, and I don’t plan on doing so in this one article. However, I want to offer at least one partial solution. It’s clear we, as an AECO (architecture, engineering, construction, and owner) professional association, need to bring more contractors into the fold.”
Lambert suggests one way to do this is by attracting contractors from the AECO community to join the association at the local, chapter, and national level.
He says CSI would benefit from their membership and industry knowledge, and the contractors would gain professional relationships with designers, architects, product reps, and vendors.
CSI members agree. In a real-time conversation on the CSI Community page, participants produced the following four suggestions on how we can all help welcome contractors to the association and increase the value of this professional network for everyone.
1. Leverage the CDT and the Available Networking Opportunities
“It would be great to have more contractors involved with CSI. The CDT certification can be a great introduction to CSI (although you don’t need to be a member to earn the certification). As well, educational programs and networking opportunities with other members of the design and construction team, including the product reps, is valuable. Perhaps if each one of us were to reach out to a contractor (general contractor or subcontractor) and personally invite them to a meeting (even as our guest), it would be a good start.”
Lee Ann Slattery FCSI, CDT, CCPR, LEED AP
2. Engage Contractors at the Chapter Level and Partner with Industry Groups
“CSI needs more contractor involvement and membership. In our Detroit Chapter, we’ve reached out and engaged contractors in chapter meetings based on owner, architect, contractor forums, and these have gone over well. Although, I have to say, I don’t think we have membership on the contractor side yet, or it is minimal. I think a drive should start with the large professional organizations like MIM, ACI, and AISC, and getting some of those organization members joining CSI.”
William Jensen BA, CSI, CDT, CCCA, USGBC
3. Make One-on-One Connections
“The number one-way CSI has always gained new members is through members inviting and encouraging their colleagues, friends, and project partners to join. As with any type of member you would like to add, think of the contractors you know. Think about the local construction firms. Look at their websites and personnel and pick some you think would be interested in CSI. Invite them to meetings. Be sure to welcome and introduce them to others. Contractors are a natural fit in CSI. They bring a lot of experience and knowledge to the mix.
Bryan Varner FCSI, CDT, CCCA, LEED AP
4. Reach Out to Women in Construction
“I’m surprised no one has mentioned PWC (Professional Women in Construction) and NAWIC (National Association of Women in Construction). These organizations are worthy candidates for growing our membership. All the women to whom I’ve spoken have expressed interest in collaborating in this endeavor, and they have chapters across the country. This coming October, there’ll be a national conference for women in construction that our leadership might benefit from attending.”
Clifford Marvin, Professional Content Designer
Author’s note: Replies were edited for length. You can join this conversation—and other real-time conversations with AECO industry professionals, on the CSI Connect Community page at CSIResources.org.
Peter Kray is a content strategist with CSI. He can be reached at email@example.com.