To enable and
promote the CLA industrys participation in the design and
construction of buildings.
- By working to create
awareness within the design, construction and building owner
communities of the CLA industry resources, associations and
- Through articles,
seminars, presentations and simple marketing (i.e. one ad that
features an aspect of the CLA industry while simultaneously
identifying the individual organizations that make up the industry.)
- By brokering relationships
within and across industry boundaries
- By developing and
distributing design tools
and forums for use by CLA
- Establishment of
a broad based CLA industry design certification that is recognized
as being inclusive of all current and future design certifications.
(BICSIs - RCDD, ICIAs CTS-D, ASISs - CPP and
From Division 17 to CLA
BICSI, a not for profit international
telecommunications association proposed the Division 17 initiative
in 1999. Division 17 was an initiative to establish a formal position
for telecommunications and technology infrastructures in the process
of the design, construction, and management of commercial buildings
by adding a 17th Division for telecommunications to the MasterFormatTM,
which at the time contained 16 Divisions.
The MasterFormat is
the construction industry's most widely used organizational model.
Published jointly by Construction Specifications Institute (CSI)
and Construction Specifications Canada (CSC), the MasterFormat
is a master list of numbers and titles for organizing information
about construction requirements, products, and activities into
a standard sequence. First introduced in 1963, the MasterFormat
is updated every five to seven years. At the time Division 17
was organized, the 1995 edition was the latest MasterFormat and
a new edition was scheduled for 2002.
The absence of telecommunications
in the MasterFormat could be traced to the monopoly of the Bell
System during which time telephone company BICs provided architects
with the necessary requirements for telecommunications installations.
A section in the MasterFormat was unnecessary when the telephone
companies handled all the design and installation details.
Two events changed
this scenario. After the 1984 break-up of the Bell System, the
responsibility of adding telecommunications systems and infrastructure
was transferred to the building owner. Also, the low-voltage world
became much more complex. With the rapid advances in voice, data,
and video technology, installations became increasingly more complicated.
These installations were managed by the information technology
departments of building owners or tenants and formal communication
with the architecture/engineering/construction industries was
typically very limited.
Without a formal place
in the building process, telecommunications systems were not generally
integrated during the planning and design phase of a building
project. Instead they were frequently retrofitted during the construction
phase or in some cases even after construction, which many times
resulted in less efficient and more expensive systems.
The Division 17 initiative
drafted a document that provided details on telecommunications
requirements utilizing the same look and structure as the other
16 divisions in the MasterFormat. Division 17 also contained T-Series
Technology Drawings and CSI Specification Formats.
In keeping with its
leadership position in the telecommunications industry, BICSI
took a leadership role in the Division 17 initiative. In October
1999, BICSI submitted a proposal to the CSI Institute Technical
Committee concerning Division 17 implementation in the next MasterFormat
edition. BICSI's proposal was accompanied by letters of support
from a number of associations including Building Owners Management
Association International (BOMA), Association of College and University
Telecommunications Administrators (ACUTA), National Systems Contractors
Association (NSCA), and the Telecommunications Industry Association
CSI established the
Expansion Task Team (MFETT) under the leadership of Chair
Dennis Hall, FCSI, AIA, CCS, CCA. Tom Rauscher represented BICSI
on the Task Team.
The document underwent
four drafts with major revisions and additions, numerous stakeholder
symposiums with participation from every affected section of the
industry, many trade magazine articles, and countless e-mail comments
from industry professionals.
"The Task Team
looked at the needs of the entire construction industry,"
says Hall. "We wanted the document to be logical, have built-in
flexibility for future expansion, and affect the entire life cycle
of the facility, not just construction."
In January 2004, CSI
announced the content of the next edition of the MasterFormat.
To view an outline of MasterFormat04, visit www.csinet.org/masterformat.
Hall continues, "This
particular MasterFormat revision is the most revolutionary in
its 40-year history, more than tripling the number of divisions,"
Telecommunications systems are included in MasterFormat 04, grouped
in three new areas: Division 25-Integrated Automation, Division
27-Communications and Division 28-Electronic Safety and Security.
"This is everything
we'd hoped for from the Division 17 initiative. The goal was to
include a new and independent division for telecommunications
in MasterFormat 04. The actual division number was never an important
issue," says Rauscher.
The systems and infrastructure
covered in these three divisions include: communications cable
plant, data systems (both wired and wireless), voice systems,
communications services, integrated audio video systems, distributed
communications systems, intercom systems, dictation equipment,
paging systems, public address, sound masking, electronic/digital
signage systems, tracking systems, video systems, MATV, CATV,
CCTV, internal cellular, internal paging, healthcare systems,
nurse call, hospitality and entertainment systems, clock systems,
access control, electronic surveillance systems, intrusion detection
systems detection and alarm, personal protection systems, integrated
automation instrumentation and control.
"That's a lot
to say when someone asks what's included in the new divisions,"
says Rauscher. "At one point during the MasterFormat 04 development,
the division titles were Communications, Life Safety, and Automation,
so the term CLA was coined and it stuck, even though the division
titles have changed."
CLA is gaining national
prominence in the building, construction, and telecommunications
industries as a term referring to the group of systems and infrastructures
that transport information in a building, similar to the commonly
used MEP (for mechanical, electrical, and plumbing), which refers
to systems and infrastructures that transport energy in a commercial
The BICSI News has printed several articles on the Division 17
process. To view these articles, visit www.bicsi.org. Click on
BICSI News, scroll to BICSI
News archives, and click on the desired issue.
Division 17 to CLA," Mar/Apr 2004 BICSI News
Draft Four," July/Aug 2003 BICSI News
in a Number?", Nov/Dec 2002 BICSI News
17 Update," Nov/Dec 2001 BICSI News
BICSI Building Features Division 17 and 'T' Drawings, Nov 2000
17-Telecommunications," April 2000 BICSI News
BICSI published a brochure
17-It Adds Up for Everyone" in July 2001.