Be careful what you say

I don't know who created this. But is is too good to pass up. 

Article on Lightning Protection Published

Jennifer Morgan and I have co-authored "Lightning Protection and the Building Envelope" in the August 2015 issue of Construction Specifier. The article provides architects with authoritative guidance to integrating lightning protection into their designs, a topic not discussed in the existing literature on lightning protection. The article can be read at

Consultant to East Coast Lightning Protection

Morgan is Secretary/Treasure of East Coast Lightning Protection, Inc. (, the leading manufacturer of lightning protection products in the U.S. Her firm has retained me as its architectural and marketing consultant. In a recent press release,  Morgan, explains, “Chusid is helping us educate architects and builders about the importance of lightning protection. He is widely recognized as an authority in building materials and for his effectiveness in explaining technical issues to the design and construction communities.”

Since most lightning protection installers are small businesses, Morgan believes, “Chusid's effort to educate designers will be good for the entire lightning protection industry and will provide our customers with promotional resources to use in their own regions.”

I am pleased to be working with ECLE. The risks of damage due to lightning have increased as a result of climate change and the widespread use of digital electronics in buildings. It is important for architects to realize that lightning protection should be an intrinsic part of designing a high performance building envelope. ECLE is taking leadership to collaborate with designers and develop lightning protection schemes that are compatible with contemporary architectural styles.

Cultivating Experts

According to a recent editorial by David Barista, editorial director of Building Design + Construction,
The explosion of social media and the “publish everything” culture has turned everyone into brand-builders. In the AEC market, it’s hard to find a firm that isn’t taking steps to promote their knowledge leaders, whether through authoring blogs and books, speaking engagements, webinars, social media, or video.
They’re all chasing the Holy Grail of professional services: to become known as the expert and go-to resource for clients and prospects in a given market or niche. The prize, of course, is more work and a chance at higher profit margins, as market leaders are more likely to command higher fees.
While David is discussing professional services, the principle extends to building product manufacturers. Building product companies that are perceived to have expertise are perceived as having better quality products. The expertise can rest in the company as a whole, but that is often generated by the perceived expertise of a key staff member.
One of the services I provide my clients is to make them look like experts.

Most of my clients are already experts in their field. But without being visible to potential buyers, architects, and purchasing influencers, few would notice.

I turn the spotlight on clients by using the tools of marketing communication and promotion. This includes writing articles with their byline, getting them invited to speak at industry conferences and helping them shape their presentation, and generating content for their online presence. Using my own expertise in building materials, I know how to craft stories that let my clients' expertise shine on the leading edge of design and construction.

A case in point was my work promoting Engelhard's Metamax brand of High Reactivity Metakaolin. The Fortune 500 company, now part of BASF, was, without a doubt, the expert on the performance of the concrete additive. They did not, however, look like the expert in solving concrete construction problems. I significantly raised their visibility among architects, engineers and contractors through strategically placed articles, involvement with industry technical committees, building an online presence, and getting them quoted as an expert and invited to speak at industry conferences.

The result was not only good for the company, it enhanced the reputation and perceived expertise of the individual managing the business unit, as these press clippings suggest.

One of my current clients put it this way, "Michael, you are an expert at creating expertise."

The explosion of social media and the “publish everything” culture has turned everyone into brand-builders. In the AEC market, it’s hard to find a firm that isn’t taking steps to promote their knowledge leaders, whether through authoring blogs and books, speaking engagements, webinars, social media, or video.
They’re all chasing the Holy Grail of professional services: to become known as the expert and go-to resource for clients and prospects in a given market or niche. The prize, of course, is more work and a chance at higher profit margins, as market leaders are more likely to command higher fees.
- See more at:
The explosion of social media and the “publish everything” culture has turned everyone into brand-builders. In the AEC market, it’s hard to find a firm that isn’t taking steps to promote their knowledge leaders, whether through authoring blogs and books, speaking engagements, webinars, social media, or video.
They’re all chasing the Holy Grail of professional services: to become known as the expert and go-to resource for clients and prospects in a given market or niche. The prize, of course, is more work and a chance at higher profit margins, as market leaders are more likely to command higher fees.
- See more at:
The explosion of social media and the “publish everything” culture has turned everyone into brand-builders. In the AEC market, it’s hard to find a firm that isn’t taking steps to promote their knowledge leaders, whether through authoring blogs and books, speaking engagements, webinars, social media, or video.
They’re all chasing the Holy Grail of professional services: to become known as the expert and go-to resource for clients and prospects in a given market or niche. The prize, of course, is more work and a chance at higher profit margins, as market leaders are more likely to command higher fees.
- See more at:

Put Dates on Product Literature

Please put a date or version number on your sales literature, especially technical information. It will make it easier for your customers to use the most current literature, simplify communication between us, and help avoid conflicts due to reliance on out-of-date information.

Case-in-point: Two months ago, I carefully reviewed the data sheet from which this image was taken and made engineering decisions based upon it. Today, I received another copy of the data sheet. Even though it looks the same, has the data changed?

Neither the first or second data sheets are dated, so I can't tell if the manufacturer has published revised information unless I do a line-by-line comparison. And if I am going to do that, I might as well look at the competitor's information.

Getting the most from LinkedIn

Posts on LinkedIn have generated more inquires than I got during years of blogging.

Article of the Year Award goes to Chusid

An article co-authored by Michael Chusid, RA FCSI CCS has been selected to receive The Construction Specifier Magazine's Article of the Year Award for “Cold-formed Steel Framing Gets Complicated,” the cover story of the magazine's February 2015 issue.

The award is judged on its relevance to the construction industry as a whole, readability, impact, and alignment with the Construction Specifications Institute's (CSI) mission and technical standards and formats. The judges are members of The Construction Specifier Editorial Advisory Board. The articles for consideration are selected from more than a hundred published from July 2014 through June 2015.

Also receiving the award are co-authors Chuck Mears, Ryan Rademacher, and Sheri Carter; they work at Radius Track and Chusid is a consultant to the firm. Radius Track is the leading designer and fabricated of curved and complex cold-formed steel framing and the article is based, in large part, on recent projects by the company.

The award was presented on Friday, October 2 during CONSTRUCT 2015 and the CSI Annual Convention in St. Louis, MO. The following day, Chusid and several co-authors discussed one the projects showcased in the article at a panel discussion titled, "Coordination, Collaboration, and Complexity: Cladding the Port Canaveral Exploration Tower."

Chusid is an innovation and marketing consultant to building product manufacturers and the author of numerous articles on architecture, building products, and construction science. Information on his services is available at,, and LinkedIn.
L to R, Erik Missio - editor of Construction Specifier, Chuck Mears, Michael Chusid, Ryan Rademacher, Eric Tolles - sales director of Construction Specifier.

Really Short-Form Guide Specification.

A building product manufacturer wanted me to write a guide spec that said, "No substitutions allowed."

I replied that, if they REALLY think the architect will reject substitutions, their guide specification needs only three lines:

Part 1 - General: Submit manufacturer's product data and installation instructions.

Part 2 - Products: Provide: Model XYZ with options ABC and LMN as manufactured by YourNameHere, Inc.

Part 3 - Installation: Comply with manufacturer's instructions.



Drawing Layout

If you use plan, elevation, and section drawings to illustrate your products, I recommend you organize them using "third angle projection".
Each surface on the shaded 3D object is projected onto the surface of an imaginary box.
Visualize the box unfolding to display each of the 2D projections.
Each of the projections is laid out on a sheet of drawings in a particular arrangement.

The top shows a a plan.

The central image is the front or main elevation.

Immediately to the side of the front elevation are the left and right elevations.

The far right shows the rear elevation and the bottom is a view of the object from below.

Sectional views are laid out in the same relative positions as elevations.

I recently worked with a manufacturer which has product literature with inconsistent drawing layouts. This added confusion to an already complex product presentation. A previous client had difficulty because its inconsistent detailing practices caused costly screw-ups on the production floor. My friend, Vladimir Paperny, has told me about a highrise project in Russia where the structural steel was fabricated backwards because the engineer and architect used different projection systems.

Most architects are not familiar with the term "third angle projection". But most have internalized the method (at least those who began their careers drafting with T-square and triangle).

This advice is particularly important to manufacturers based outside of the US since "first angle projection" prevails some parts of the world. As you make plans to enter the US, revising your drawings is an appropriate part of your technology transfer.

Drawing: CC BY-SA 3.0

Meet me in St. Louie, Meet me at the CSI Fair

I will moderate a panel discussion on Saturday Morning, October 03. 
If you will be at the show, let's get together to talk about how I can help your business.

Complexity of Contemporary Buildings offers a course on achieving enduring value through better use of building science. From their announcement:

"Whether newly built or retrofitted, high-performance buildings begin with envelopes that involve increased thermal demands, greater assembly complexity, and wider material choices.
To meet these challenges, architects and builders must get the building enclosure details right the first time, starting with the earliest stages of schematic design and continuing during construction and during occupancy."

He has it almost correct. The folks that lived in the 100 year old house didn't expect to be able to walk around barefoot in the middle of winter, or to stay cool and refreshed in the summer's heat. 

Still, I am overwhelmed by the amount of information in the syllabus:


Unit 1: The Science of High-Performance Assemblies

Hygrothermal Performance: The Key Driver
How water moves through buildings
Continuous water barriers
Capillary breaks
Drained and rainscreen systems: Managing bulk water, capillary water, and drying
Continuous air barriers
How Blower-Door Tests Measure Airtightness
Continuous thermal barriers
Understanding thermal bridging
Reducing Heat Flow Through Windows
Vapor profiles vs vapor retarders
How "smart" vapor retarders work
Combining control layers
Using WUFI to prevent moisture problems
Vented and ventilated wall assemblies
"Vented" crawl space foundations
Vented and unvented attics and roofs

Unit 2: Getting Details Right

Residential and Commercial High Performance Assembly Examples
The Special Challenges of Curtainwall
"Perfect" Assemblies
Alternative Assemblies
Joints: Sealants, Tapes and Gaskets
Putties and caulks
Agreeing on terms, and applications
Avoiding failed seals with bond breaks
How to choose a sealant that works
"Hybrids"–MS Polymers
Making tapes stay put
Rubberized asphalt
Butyl rubber
Tape performance: Other considerations
Assessing service life
Compression and memory
Wet versus dry glazing
Service life of gaskets
Assessing product safety
Liquid Sealants and Chemical Safety
Flashing Tapes and Chemical Safety
Gaskets and Chemical Safety
Case Study: Cape Cod Passive House

Unit 3: High-Performance Design and Construction Process

How high performance Scopes Of Work differ from standard SOW
Verifying Performance with Building Envelope Commissioning
Cx vs. BECx
Pre-design phase
Design phase
Achieving continuity
Construction Phase
During construction
What gets tested
Occupancy and operations
Guidelines and standards
HOBO data loggers
Integrated High Performance HVAC
Case Study: Wisconsin Institutes for Discovery

Unit 4: High-Performance Retrofits

Getting to know the building
Case Study: Renovation of 46 Blackstone
Historic masonry in cold climates
Reduce airflow, encourage vapor flow
Ongoing monitoring
Case Study: Edminster-Bohner Home Retrofit
The damp crawl space
Ongoing monitoring
Design Review: Existing and Planned Elements
Design Review Drawings: Edminster-Bohner Home Retrofit
Comprehensive Home Assessment Checklist

Specifications Consultant in Independent Practice

Specifications Consultants in Independent Practice ( is an international technical resource organization which assists design firms, owners, and manufacturers in acquiring professionally written construction specifications from qualified independent and employed specifiers, who:
  • advance excellence in preparing construction specifications. 
  • promote their special services and expertise to potential clients. 
  • share their knowledge, experience, and resources through discussions, conferences, and educational programs. 
  • network for mutual benefit.
Building product manufacturers will find this a good group with which to connect. The organization has opportunities for event sponsorship that can serve this purpose.

Many SCIP members are sole practitioners or have small firms, but they should not be overlooked by manufacturers or rep organizations. Make sure your folks in the field know of the SCIP members in their territories.

Most SCIP members, however, work as consultants to architectural firms;  their clients are the ones that make most of the major product decisions. This means that SCIP members want access to technically knowledgeable members of your team instead of "sales" calls.

I am a SCIP member, and personally endorse the organization.

Trade Show Follow-Up: Use booth photo

Inline image 1
After a trade show, I usually get a flurry of emails from exhibitors. In many cases, I don't remember the name of the company or what triggered my interest.

David Condello, Commercial Accounts Representative, Ceilume Ceiling Tiles has a technique to trigger the memory of visitors to his booth; he puts a photo of the booth at the top of his email. For visual thinkers, like many designers and builders, this communicates more than the proverbial thousand words.

He also writes a great letter and sprinkles it with other photos. And most amazingly, he sends the emails just two days after the show.

A robot in your tool belt?

New tools often lead to new building materials that can optimize the benefits of the new technology. How will you be able to benefit from the emerging tool technology of hand held robots?  Here is a report on recent research:
Researchers develop intelligent handheld robots
What if handheld tools know what needs to be done and were even able to guide and help inexperienced users to complete jobs that require skill? Researchers at the Univ. of Bristol have developed and started studying a novel concept in robotics—intelligent handheld robots.
Historically, handheld tools have been blunt, unintelligent instruments that are unaware of the context they operate in, are fully directed by the user, and critically, lack any understanding about the task they are performing.

Dr. Walterio Mayol-Cuevas and PhD student, Austin Gregg-Smith, from the Dept. of Computer Science, have been working in the design of robot prototypes as well as in understanding how best to interact with a tool that “knows and acts”. In particular, they have been involved with comparing tools with increasing levels of autonomy.

Compared to other tools such as power tools that have a motor and perhaps some basic sensors, the handheld robots developed at Bristol are designed to have more degrees of motion to allow greater independence from the motions of the user, and importantly, are aware of the steps being carried out. This allows for a new level of co-operation between user and tool, such as the user providing tactical motions or directions and the tool performing the detailed task.

Handheld robots, aim to share physical proximity with users but are neither fully independent as is a humanoid robot nor are part of the user’s body, as are exoskeletons. The aim with handheld robots is to capitalize on exploiting the intuitiveness of using traditional handheld tools while adding embedded intelligence and action to allow for new capabilities.

Dr. Mayol-Cuevas, Reader in Robotics Computer Vision and Mobile Systems, said: “There are three basic levels of autonomy we are considering: no autonomy, semi-autonomous when the robot advises the user but does not act, and fully autonomous when the robot advises and acts even by correcting or refusing to perform incorrect user actions.”

The Bristol team has been studying user’s task performance and user preferences on two generic tasks: pick and drop of different objects to form tile patterns, and aiming in 3-D for simulated painting.

Austin Gregg-Smith, a PhD student who is sponsored by the James Dyson Foundation, added: “Our results indicate that users tend to prefer a tool that is fully autonomous and there is evidence of a significant impact on completion time and reduced perceived workload for autonomous handheld.  However, users sometimes also expressed how different it is to work with this type of novel robot.”
The plans for constructing the robot on a 3D printer can be downloaded.

I am quite sure, however, that there will also be a need for manual hammer, screw driver, knife, shovel, trowel, and pliers, and also the trained mechanics that know how to use them. At least, I hope there will be; otherwise we can all pack up and collect unemployment.

Source: Univ. of Bristol via, 05/27/2015

More info:

Eco-Labels improve performance?

As marketeers, we assume that a "green" label will be good for sales, especially if it is issued by a reputable credentialing agency. But is it possible that the label actually changes the way people behave?  Here is what a recent academic report found:
People tend to idealize eco-labeled products, but can eco-labeling have consequences for performance? To address this question, 48 university students were asked to undertake a color discrimination task adjacent to a desktop lamp that was either labeled environmentally friendlyor conventional(although they were identical). The light of the lamp labeled environmentally friendlywas rated as more comfortable. Notably, task performance was also better when the lamp was labeled environmentally friendly. Individual differences in environmental concern, but not pro-environmental consumer behavior and social desirability indexes, were related to the magnitude of the eco-label effect on performance. Whilst some previous studies have shown similar placebo-like effects of eco-labels on subjective ratings, this is the first study to show an eco-label effect for artifacts in the built environment on performance, and the first study to relate this effect to environmental concern. Psychological mechanisms that may underpin the eco-label effects are discussed.  (Emphasis added.)
 An interesting finding. We must be cautious about generalizing about the conclusions of one small experiment.

Journal of Environmental Psychology 42 (2015) 123-127 
"An eco-label effect in the built environment: Performance and comfort effects of labeling a light source environmentally friendly"
Authors: Patrik Sorqvist, Andreas Haga, Mattias Holmgren, Andre Hansla

Parachute Warranty

Scott Tyson, an architectural/technical sales specialist at Sika Corporation, shared this story with me:
I had a prospect that didn't want to use my product because "the warranty isn't good enough". After much discussion, I explained:
"Its like this. You can buy a parachute with a great warranty. If you jump out of the airplane and it fails to open, the manufacturer will gladly refund the purchase price. Of course, you would have to be able to make the warranty claim yourself because the warranty is not transferable, and the fine print disclaims responsibility for burial expenses.
"Now, do you want to discuss the warranty or would you like my help figuring out the best solution for your building?"

Photo: USMC, in public domain.

Cross-Cultural Marketing

Taking a product from one market into another with a different culture can be fraught with challenges. Consider the following story:

A disappointed salesman of Coca-Cola returned from his assignment to Israel.

A friend asked, "Why weren't you successful with the Israelis?"

The salesman explained, "When I got posted, I was very confident that I would make a good sales pitch. But I had a problem. I didn't know how to speak Hebrew. So I planned to convey the message through three posters.

First poster : A man lying in the hot desert sand totally exhausted and fainting
Second poster : The man is drinking Coca-Cola
Third poster : Our man is now totally refreshed
"And then these posters were pasted all over the place."

"Terrific! That should have worked!" said the friend.

"The hell it should have!" said the salesman. "No one told me the Israelis read from right to left!"

Thanks to Alan Glassman for sharing this with me. Do you know original creator?

Learning New Tricks

It's not easy to change a business or market, either.

Left of Cover

Remember when the back cover of a magazine was valuable real estate? It still is if the magazine is read in hard copy, but is seldom seen if viewed online.  Online, the place to be is "Left of Cover". Here is a graphic showing where LOC is seen when someone goes to an online magazine.

Worker's Memorial Day

 "Workers' Memorial Day is observed every year on April 28. It is a day to honor those workers who have died on the job, to acknowledge the grievous suffering experienced by families and communities, and to recommit ourselves to the fight for safe and healthful workplaces for all workers." OSHA

I urge you to use Worker's Memorial Day, an annual international event, as an opportunity to improve:

1. Safety in Your Operations:
  • Review your business operations and safety procedures.
  • Provide training to your employees and co-workers.
  • Recommit to total safety in your business.
2. Safety of Your Products:
  • What can you do to make it safer for builders to handle, install, and use your products? 
  • Redesign it to be safer.
  • Improve installation instructions. 
  • Provide more effective warnings on labels? 
  • Provide better training to installers?
3. Safety Awareness Throughout Industry:
  • Incorporate safety messages into your advertising. 
  • Dedicate part of your website to safety awareness. 
  • Provide superintendents with resources for job site training programs. 
  • Send your crews out into the field as ambassadors for training.
  • Submit safety-related stories to the media.
  • Organize safety-training programs at your distributor's warehouses.
  • Create safety posters for job trailers or site signage.
2014 Construction Industry Fatalities
Using Worker's Memorial Day as a stimulus for doing good can also improve your business's success. Safer operations reduce liability. Safer products improve customer satisfaction. And being a Safety Champion helps create a positive image for your customer.