Print this page Print this page

An Introduction to Building Design Specifications and Tools

J. Paul Guyer, P.E., R.A., Fellow ASCE, Fellow AEI

Course Outline

I.  Background and history

II.  Design guidance
          A.  Building types
          B.  Space types
          C.  Design disciplines
          D.  Design objectives
          E.  Products and systems

III.  Project management
          A.  Delivery teams
          B.  Planning and development
          C.  Building commissioning
          D.  Delivery and controls

IV.  Operations and maintenance

V.  Mandates and references
          A.  Government mandates
          B.  Publications
          C.  Case studies
          D.  Participating agencies
          E.  Industry organizations
          F.  Related links

VI.  Tools
          A.  Code compliance
          B.  Cost estimating
          C.  Design and analysis
          D.  Energy analysis
          E.  Life-cycle costing and assessment
          F.  Professional and construction services
          G.  Program and project management
          H.  Specification aids
          I.  Specifications
J.  Regulations
          K.  Standards
          L.  Design criteria
          M.  CADD library
          N.  Energy library
          O.  Environmental library
          P.  Sustainability library

VIII.  Assessment of components

IX.  Strategies for implementation

This course includes a multiple-choice quiz at the end, which is designed to enhance the understanding of the course materials.

Learning Objective

At the conclusion of this course, the student will:

Intended Audience

Civil engineers, structural engineers, mechanical engineers, electrical engineers and architects engaged in the design and management of construction of buildings and related infrastructure for private enterprises and public agencies will find this to be a very useful and valuable course that will introduce them to tools they can immediately put to use on day-to-day design projects.

Benefit for Attendee

To learn about the most comprehensive, hands-on, knowledge base and collection of tools available anywhere for engineers and architects who design buildings and related infrastructure.  Learn how to use these tools in your personal day-to-day design work, or implement it as your company’s or agency’s standard of practice.

Course Introduction

The most experienced building design and construction enterprise in history is the federal government of the United States.  It has successfully designed and constructed many trillions of dollars of buildings and related infrastructure over many decades.  In the process its engineers and architects have developed and organized a body of experiential knowledge that is unprecedented.  This is a professional resource that is extraordinary in its breadth and detail and is immediately useful in design and construction of private facilities as well as facilities for public agencies at the local and state, as well as federal, levels.  Advances in information technology have now made this resource available to all professionals in the industry….at no cost.  This course will introduce you to this resource and will guide you quickly to its most valuable components, so that you can begin to benefit from them on your next project.

About Course Author

Paul Guyer is a registered mechanical engineer, civil engineer, fire protection engineer and architect with over 35 years experience in the design of buildings and related infrastructure.  For an additional 9 years he was a senior-level advisor to the California Legislature on infrastructure and capital outlay issues.  He has designed and supervised the design of hundreds of construction projects requiring the preparation of detailed working drawings and specifications for federal, state and local public agencies and private companies.  He is a graduate of Stanford University and has held numerous national, state and local positions with the American Society of Civil Engineers and National Society of Professional Engineers.

Course Content

The course content is contained in the following PDF file:

An Introduction to Building Design Specifications and Tools

Please click on the above underlined hypertext to view, download or print the document for your study. Because of the large file size, we recommend that you first save the file to your computer by right clicking the mouse and choosing "Save Target As ...", and then open the file in Adobe Acrobat Reader. If you still experience any difficulty in downloading or opening this file, you may need to close some applications or reboot your computer to free up some memory.

Course Summary

This course will introduce you to a knowledge base consisting of design guidance, specifications and tools that is unprecedented in its integrity, breadth and detail.  The resources you will learn about can be immediately put to use on your next building or infrastructure design project.


Once you finish studying the above course content, you need to take a quiz to obtain the PDH credits.

Take a Quiz

DISCLAIMER: The materials contained in the online course are not intended as a representation or warranty on the part of PDH Center or any other person/organization named herein. The materials are for general information only. They are not a substitute for competent professional advice. Application of this information to a specific project should be reviewed by a registered architect and/or professional engineer/surveyor. Anyone making use of the information set forth herein does so at their own risk and assumes any and all resulting liability arising therefrom.