National Master Specification competitive landscape shifts with new CSC strategic alliance

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digicon announcement
Digicon's message announcing it has arranged a direct license with the National Research Council for the National Master Specification. Digicon is continuing to use the spex.ca site, formerly part of the strategic alliance with Construction Specifications Canada.

The competitive landscape for distribution of the Canadian National Master Construction Specification (NMS) has shifted with the decision by Construction Specifications Canada (CSC) to end a 15-year marketing alliance with Digicon Information Inc. and enter into a new agreement with Building Systems Design (BSD).

Digicon responded by setting up its own master licensing agreement with the federal government’s National Research Council (NRC) Canada, which oversees the NMS.
A third business, Innovative Technology Inc., based in Ottawa, also has a license to distribute the NMS, along with a marketing alliance with the Royal Architectural Institute of Canada (RAIC).

NMS provides a standardized foundation for Canadian construction contract documentation and components from it are embedded in virtually every significant construction project in the country.

CSC executive director Nick Franjic declined to explain the reason for the change in the strategic alliance, saying he wishes to focus on the future and BSD’s new service offerings.

A CSC news release says the association and BSD have joined forces to “expand access to premier software, educational resources, and master specification content, including the NMS, the most comprehensive master guide for Canadian projects.”

CSC says it will continue to offer CSC NMS products and service not only to its spex.ca clients but all NMS users at www.SpecMarket.com.

The new alliance, which started on Jan. 1, replaces the alliance with Digicon, which had been delivering the NMS through the SPEX.ca website. However, SPEX.ca continues under Digicon’s control, and Digicon president David Watson says the NMS will continue to be available through that site.

CSC says BSD “is a leading provider of specification content, software and advanced specification and interoperability solutions to architects, engineers, specifiers and building owners in the construction industry. With BSD being focused on bringing technology to market that drives collaboration, simplifies design and increases efficiency for all stakeholders in the design and construction process, CSC sees this North American alliance with BSD as a perfect fit with CSC’s mission.”

CSC says it has been a provider of the NMS for more 40 years and will continue to deliver it to the North American construction industry.

spec-market com site
The new CSC/BSD specmarket.com site

“WWW.SpecMarket.com broadens access to high-quality content for firms working in the United States or Canada,” CSC says. “With BSD’s SpecLink Cloud platform, customers will have access to the right content for the job, whether public or private, and SpecLink Cloud will become the first database solution to enable access to robust Canadian and U.S. content within the same platform.”

“CSC and BSD share a vision for delivering innovation and advancements that not only enhance the quality of design and construction, but also drive efficiency throughout the process,” CSC says in its announcement.

Digicon’s Watson said in an email: “I’m not in a position to comment on it (the end of the strategic alliance) except to say that I’m quite disappointed.” A few days later, Digicon issued a news release confirming it has entered into a direct license with the NRC to deliver the NMS.

Until the split, anyone wishing to purchase a license for the NMS could choose between the CSC/Digicon or RAIC/Innovative Technology offerings.

innovative raic
Ottawa-based Innovative Technology, Inc. also has a license to distribute the National Master Specification. It has an alliance with the Royal Architectural Institute of Canada (RAIC)

“Innovative Technology (www.SPECedit.com) and the RAIC (www.raic.org) remain the only Canadian distributors of the NMS in English and French for Word and the popular BIM-connected SPECedit specification editing software,” said Innovative Technology president Michael Thornber. “We continue to be strong players in the NMS market as we expand our technology to include new features in the NMS as they become available.”

In a note to members, CSC’s Nick Franjic wrote that the decision to end the alliance with Digicon “was not taken lightly and CSC is ready to work with Digicon Information Inc. to ensure Spex.ca customers are aware of the change, know their options and are treated respectfully.”

The NMS is the most comprehensive . . . master specification in Canada and is designed to assist firms with a robust specification-writing guide. BSD also owns and maintains a master specification guide for private construction projects, available within SpecLink, which the company says is “the industry’s most comprehensive, database driven specification software for efficient and accurate specification writing and production.”

“CSC has shown a clear commitment to industry advancement and professional education, and has been an NMS provider for over 40 years,” BSD chair Chris Anderson said in a news release. “We’re thrilled to collaborate with CSC to broaden access to high-quality content for firms working in the United States and Canada. With BSD’s SpecLink Cloud platform, customers will have access to the right content for the job, whether public or private, and SpecLink Cloud will become the first database solution to enable access to robust Canadian and U.S. content within the same platform.”

“BSD’s vision for advancing construction specifications aligns nicely with our mission to provide progressive education and opportunities for the design and construction community,” said Franjic. “We are excited to work together in bringing CSC members and the Canadian construction industry a trusted source for comprehensive content and innovative software to make their day-to-day jobs easier and more efficient.”

In a statement, Digicon says, “With this direct relationship with NRC, owners of the NMS, Digicon is now able to accelerate its innovation plans and will continue to lead in providing quality NMS support services.”

“We have an exciting future ahead here at Digicon and will be sharing news on coming developments very soon,” Digicon’s Watson said. “We would like to take this opportunity to thank all of our loyal customers for their continued support.”

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