When LaForce leaders see an opportunity in the construction industry, they go after it. Fourteen years ago, when a need was identified in the market for independent hardware consultants, LaForce decided to start offering specification services to architectural clients. Bill Nusbaum was one of the first employees chosen to write door and hardware specifications for the occasional client who required the resource. Soon after, he was tapped to fulfill this need full-time, and is now the manager of eight technicians and consultants across the country. In addition to doors and architectural hardware, his team also writes specifications for security integration.
The specification team consists of two different roles. A Specification Technician is a detail-oriented professional, likely with previous engineering and/or hardware estimating experience, who creates the specification. He or she is also skilled in customer service, since they will discuss their work with the project’s owner or architect, and need to be able to react quickly to project changes. A Specification Consultant has some of the same technical knowledge and courtesy, but focuses more on face-to-face meetings with current and potential clientele. Together, the technicians and consultants create a seamless experience for customers.
LaForce is one of a select few distributors that employs a dedicated architectural services division. Bill said that this group exists as a service to LaForce’s customers, and often creates a smooth transition into other products and services. Specification professionals at LaForce are knowledgeable in building codes and standards including International Building Code, ANSI A117.1, NFPA 80 and 101, and municipality-specific requirements.
Performa, Inc., an architectural firm in De Pere WI, has worked with the LaForce Specification Team on a number of projects. Doug Page, co-founder and President/COO of Performa, said that they “enjoy a good working relationship with LaForce and it really helps their business to rely on the expertise of the specification writers and technicians.” Performa has utilized LaForce on approximately 250 projects over 14 years.
Including Performa’s projects, LaForce’s specification experts have worked with many types and sizes of construction designs, including healthcare, K-12 education, higher education, luxury residential, corporate, and industrial.
Another service of the Architectural Services Division is hosting personalized lunchtime learning sessions for architectural firms. These American Institute of Architects (AIA training)-approved continuing education presentations are essential for industry compliance, and are offered at no charge. This helps Bills’s team build relationships with current and potential customers, and spreads awareness of its expertise. Classes offered include: AIA/CEC4010, Fundamentals of Architectural Hardware; AIA/CEC4011, Fundamentals of Hollow Metal Frames, Hollow Metal Doors, Wood Doors; and AIA-CEC4012, Basic Fundamentals of Access Control Hardware.
And on a personal note, Bill said he and his team feel really good about helping out architects with knowledge and support. They enjoy being part of a building’s design and feel a sense of community and pride when they see their technical writing come to life.
“Getting to see a completed project that we were involved with since it was just lines on paper – it is pretty cool,” said Bill.