What follows was first written and published in the Paramater which is the newsletter of the Central Virginia Chapter of the Construction Specifications Institute in October of 2004. While the relationship between the local chapters of both organizations has improved in the last six years, my views on what the relationship should be remain the same.
CSI AND AIA SHOULD BE ON THE SAME PAGE
I am saddened to disclose that it has come to my attention more than once recently that certain members of the state and local AIA chapters view CSI as competing with the American Institute of Architects. Nothing can be further from the truth, as evidenced by the areas of common interest to both organizations. In the interest of dispelling this misconception I will discuss a few of these, but limit myself to five due to the finite space of this column.
- Both organizations exist, at least partially, to increase the level of professionalism of their members.
- CSI is a major provider of AIA Learning Units (LU’s). Most CSI chapters are registered providers, as are the various regions and the Institute as a whole. Attendance at chapter meetings as well as the region conference provide nearly enough Learning Units to satisfy the AIA’s continuing education requirements. The same can be said of The CSI Show.
- CSI and AIA share a significant number of members, including a number of double fellows; that is, members who are fellows of both organizations.
- Many local CSI and AIA chapters jointly sponsor trade shows, seminars, and similar professional events.
- CSI was started by a Fellow of the AIA.
While the American Institute of Architects exists to further the interests of the architectural profession, The Construction Specifications Institute furthers the interests of all professionals within the construction industry. The local chapter meetings, as a result of the professional diversity of our membership provide an interdisciplinary forum that simply doesn’t exist elsewhere. The other professional organizations within the industry can’t provide this to the same degree due to the narrower scope of their membership.
Because of these things, CSI and AIA exist today as complementary, not competing organizations. As such, we should participate in one another’s professional development activities, and maintain an ongoing dialogue on subjects of mutual interest. We can certainly learn a lot from one another.