Collaboration leads to fast, visual door hardware specifications

Spencer Sear, AIA, director of technology and senior project architect with OTJ Architects

There’s no question that accurate and complete door hardware specifications are essential to any project. To get there, a considerable amount of information must be shared, resulting in what is often a long process with multiple files passed back and forth between the architect and specification writer. On top of that, important project details—floorplans, hardware sets, notes from a client meeting—are frequently accessible in different places. Spencer Sear, AIA, director of technology and senior project architect with OTJ Architects in Washington D.C., is familiar with these challenges, and acknowledges the need for a faster, more collaborative process—one that streamlines communication and makes information easily attainable. He says that the traditional way of doing things wasn’t cutting it.

Using a cloud-based platform has proven much more efficient. Sear is now able to review designs online with his specification writer and other collaborators. Information is captured in a single location, including notes and revision changes throughout the project.

"The best thing for me is the fast, visual design review," says Sear. "Once I input the plans and the spec writer puts all the hardware types in, I can go on a plan graphically and select each opening to see what’s on each door, comment and provide feedback for revisions that need to be made. Traditionally it’s been paper or charts and looking at numbers. It’s not nearly as effective."

Sear uses Allegion’s Overtur™, cloud-based suite of tools where architects and door hardware consultants can come together to collaborate on specifications and the security design of doors and openings. These tools provide a centralized place to capture and maintain door hardware requirements and decisions, with easy options to push that information back to the design tools (e.g. Revit).

Overtur organizes and coordinates data for improved collaboration. Users can see designs in a live environment and easily capture decisions about their projects’ hardware. It also allows for revisions to be tracked, maintaining a complete, easy-to-review record of all changes throughout the life of a project.

"The graphical interface is key," Sear says. "It’s simple to use. It’s easy to translate all the material. Other resources I’ve used with other companies have been much more data driven and not nearly as collaborative and as simple to process."

"That process would normally take me half a day to a day. With Overtur, we were able to review the project in less than an hour."

Sear has found that the plan review within the platform has improved collaboration with his clients, internal team and specification writer, while streamlining the entire process.

"I find it’s been beneficial with a client or design member as we can go through things visually," he says. We can see each opening individually, see what’s on it, understand what hardware is there and get a cut sheet for whatever piece that is."

The same is true with his clients. He uses Overtur to review locking functions, electrified hardware and other specifics.

With his internal team, he’s found being able to go into Overtur, click on a plan and select each opening to see exactly what hardware has been specified allows them to go through a project quickly. "I was able to use Overtur to bring a project in, develop a base set of hardware for the project, work with the designer to go through every single door to make sure all of the functions were accurate, and then translate that back to the spec writer to make revisions. That process would normally take me half a day to a day. With Overtur, we were able to review the project in less than an hour."

Sear adds that it’s simpler and more collaborative working with the specification writer because Overtur gives them everything they need—plans, doors, types—in one place. Before architects would have had to send all of those separately.

"For me, the overall value is the collaboration and speed of being able to assemble the specification for door hardware. It accelerates the whole process."

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