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Division 17

Division 17 advocate Tom Rauscher once wrote that a building without a telecommunications infrastructure will not be able to compete in the marketplace."Building owners know this and are now investing...


August 1, 2003  


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Division 17 advocate Tom Rauscher once wrote that a building without a telecommunications infrastructure will not be able to compete in the marketplace.

“Building owners know this and are now investing time, energy and money to learn how to make their buildings competitive. The more they learn, the more they will require design professionals to include telecommunications in the scope of the building’s construction or renovation activities.”

In an article in the September/October 2000 issue of Cabling Systems, he concluded that everyone involved in the industry must take the time to become familiar with Division 17 because it will continue to “change” the way we design, bid and build in the years to come.

“Division 17 is a comprehensive model that enables telecommunications systems to be effectively and efficiently designed into a building from the demarcation to the desktop,” he wrote. “It has become a necessity, because the communication distribution systems in today’s buildings no longer consist of just the wires in the tenant spaces.”

Fortunately, Rauscher and other Division 17 proponents are a patient bunch and as this issue’s cover story points out, also resilient.

After much argument and debate, victory is near. Next year (hopefully), a new and expanded CSI MasterFormat is scheduled for publication that will include a separate Communications Division.

Its appearance is well overdue. Rauscher calls it a milestone for the entire telecommunications sector including the cabling, data, voice, audio-visual, security and automation industries.

It will, he says, have the same “revolutionary effect” across the construction industry as the introduction of mechanical, electrical and plumbing systems into buildings in the late 1800s.

The current CSI MasterFormat was last revised in 1995, which in this industry is an eternity ago.

“Today it isn’t just a matter of providing analog phone hookups,” says Julie Roy, manager of systems and standards at Nordx/CDT in Pointe-Claire, Que. “We’re implementing digital technologies such as high-speed Internet, IP telephony, videoconferencing and local area networks with data rates up to 10 gigabits per second.”

As with anything politics will play a role. There is still resentment from the construction industry, which is one reason why it’s taken so long to include a separate division in the books.

That will fade over time because Rauscher and others have no intention of backing down. That’s a good thing because it’s time the CSI MasterFormat was brought into the 21st century.

Speaking of differences, Tony Crimi’s commentary (see p. 6) examines the passive versus active fire sprinkler debate.

Given the fact that civilian fire death rates per million population have long been higher in the U.S. and Canada than in almost any other industrialized country, there is need to have both. As Crimi points out, the combination of the two provides a better fire safety environment than either one alone.