Architecture, Engineering, Construction, and Owner professionals who earn their Certified Construction Specifier (CCSTM) certification are skilled product researchers who know how to investigate and identify cost-effective, efficient solutions, then communicate those solutions through the specifications. Achieving your CCS means:
- Developing an in-depth understanding of agreements, conditions of the contract, Division 01, and their relationships to specifications
- Having advanced skills in specification development, enabling you to use spec-writing software more effectively
- Understanding how to research and source products
Here, recently successful CCS candidate Amy Fauria discusses her career in construction and shares her perspective on what it took to reach this goal.
Can you provide an overview of your career, and why you chose to work in this industry?
I have a B.S. in electrical engineering and started my career in the semiconductor industry. After eight years in that industry, I got my Masters in Urban Planning. I now work for an engineering/construction management consulting firm that is focused on the transportation industry. I have been in this industry for 12 years. Engineering and CM in the transportation industry brought together a good mix of my education, work history and personal interests. I also had a few college friends already in this industry, so I got an opportunity to work with them again.
What prompted you to earn your CCS?
I have found that I am a relatively strong writer of technical material. My management suggested that I get the CCS to express my understanding of developing technical specifications.
How did you study/prepare for the exam?
I bought a copy of the CSI Construction Specifications Practice Guide and just started reading. Most of my work is for government agencies and I also work on electrical/electronic systems, so I encountered a lot of foreign discussions on my first pass through the Practice Guide. I took the CCS exam and didn’t pass. I then registered again and started to re-read the Practice Guide. While reading the Guide the second time, I tried to translate my experiences to the discussions in the Guide (and vice versa) so that I could better understand the bigger picture of specifications across industries. I took the CCS exam again and passed.
What in particular about the exam process stands out for you?
It’s very difficult to sit down and take exams after you’ve been out of school—and test-taking mode—for years!
How did your professional and personal community support you?
My husband was very understanding that I had to make time to read a bit after work each day and on the weekends leading up to the test date. It was a brief imposition on normal life, but he was very happy for me when I passed.
How do you feel this will impact your future in the industry and inform the work you do?
Reading through the Practice Guide was actually really helpful in making me think about why specifications are structured the way they are and how a good specification should be written. This process of internalizing the “why” has really helped me when I review/revise existing specs, but is especially helpful in writing new specification sections.
Favorite recent book or binge show?
I recently read Trevor Noah’s memoir, “Born A Crime.”
Find out more about how you can earn your CCS and broaden your career opportunities.