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How I Earned My CDT

By Pete Salmon, CSI, CCS, CDT, AIA, LEED AP posted 01-10-2022 01:55 PM


The Construction Documents Technology (CDT®) certification provides a comprehensive program of study for anyone seeking to enhance and demonstrate knowledge of writing, interpreting, enforcingand managing construction documents. It is a valuable resource for project architects, contractors, contract administrators, material suppliers, and manufacturers’ representatives, all of whom are realizing the advantages of being Construction Documents Technologists. 

Here, Pete Salmon discusses his career in construction and shares his perspective on what it took to earn this elite certification.

Can you provide an overview of your career, and why you chose to work in this industry?
I originally wanted to become a carpenter but decided to attend college and use my creativity and desire to participate in the creation of the built environment by becoming an architect.

I am a project architect and technical director of an architecture firm. I began my career in a small firm where I was exposed to all aspects of architectural design, documentation and construction administration. I enjoy taking good design and making it buildable – thus I’ve gravitated to the technical area of architectural delivery.

What prompted you to earn your CDT?
Colleagues (senior colleagues) at my firm introduced me to the CDT program and showed me a path to making it happen.  The firm also paid for my exam fee – which helps young architects.

How did you study/prepare for the exam?
Our local Minneapolis-St. Paul chapter had a great program where we’d meet regularly at a vendor’s facility. The local CSI members provided training for different areas of the CDT scope, including (cheesy) role playing to help emphasize the points.

What in particular about the exam process stands out for you?
The enthusiasm the CSI members had who volunteered their time to train us was really cool. It made the study process so much more enjoyable than merely reading books and manuals.

Were there any surprising, or unexpected methods or preparation that helped you achieve success?
Absolutely – the role playing by CSI members was unexpected, but effective.

How did your professional and personal community support you?
My employer, LHB, supported me by initially introducing me to CDT, then providing financial assistance to go through the exam process.

How do you feel this will impact your future in the industry and inform the work you do?
CDT gave me a better understanding of my role in the design and construction process as well as the roles of contractors and owners.

Is there anything else?
My only other thought as someone who has been in this industry for many years is to be aware of the challenges faced by young members of this profession and show empathy and help them move forward.  Also, it’s important to respect the contractors who are out there actually creating everything.  There are many skilled participants who make this all happen!

Begin your CDT journey right here.