Discussion: View Thread

Topic: Product Binders -- still hanging on? an informal survey

1.  Product Binders -- still hanging on? an informal survey

Posted 11 days ago
I'm tasked with purging our firm's paper binders of product data.  Probably like most, we have many linear feet of shelving with product binders, but they are rarely updated anymore by reps, and hardly used by staff.  If you would--

  • Have you gotten rid of your paper product binders altogether?
  • If so, what do you use as an alternative?  Specifics if you can (ex: ARCAT, Sweets, Google...)
  • If not, what are some good reasons to keep them around?
Thanks!

------------------------------
Andrew Craven AIA
Norfolk VA
------------------------------


2.  RE: Product Binders -- still hanging on? an informal survey

Posted 10 days ago
We got rid of most of ours several years ago and just go straight to a manufacturer's website for details.  We kept a few for specialized products.  And we kept a few for some things - like door hardware - that are just easier to look at on paper!  Haven't miss them at all...

------------------------------
Karen Campbell
Assistant Director & Architect
LSU Agricultural Center Facilities Planning
Baton Rouge LA
------------------------------



3.  RE: Product Binders -- still hanging on? an informal survey

Posted 9 days ago
I've gotten rid of most of them, but keep a few molding and plumbing ones around. Much easier to flip through photos to make selections than search online.

Robert Ross, AIA
Ross Design, Inc.

 

Website Email





4.  RE: Product Binders -- still hanging on? an informal survey

Posted 10 days ago
We moved our office last summer.  I mandated "no more binders".  It almost worked - we went from approx. 5,000 to approx. 300.  We now use Google almost exclusively.  Occasionally we use links in Masterspec.
Getting rid of them was a real chore because we didn't want to contribute to landfill.  We stripped all of them of their innards and sent that paper to the recycler.  We then found a couple of sources for the binders - some went to a group  that recycles them; some went to an artist who used the covers for collage material in school art projects and a bunch (the blank ones) went to the public school system for distribution to kids. All in all, I was proud that we got rid of them somewhat responsibly.
As for why we kept what we did; mostly nostalgia! We still hardly use them!

------------------------------
Steven Weiss FAIA
Weiss Architects, LLC
Chicago IL
------------------------------



5.  RE: Product Binders -- still hanging on? an informal survey

Posted 9 days ago
Last year we sent almost all of our product binders to the recycling bin and just kept some recent samples. A lot of the old samples found homes with art teachers and artists who could use the materials (wallpaper, tiles, etc.) in their personal and/or class projects.

------------------------------
Charissa W. Durst, AIA
Hardlines Design Company
Columbus, Ohio
------------------------------



6.  RE: Product Binders -- still hanging on? an informal survey

Posted 10 days ago

Our office made the decision several years ago to forgo all hard copy product binders and rely only on electronic found information.  As QA Director, I was charged with leading the endeavor.  So many of the binders had not be updated in many years so there was an assumption that more up-to-date information was available on-line.  I first went through and retained 5 – 10 binders that I chose to keep in my office for my personal use.  Then, we opened the library up to all staff and said that on a first-come first-served basis they could take anything they wanted.  After that, we disposed of the remaining binders.  If I recall, I think we found a local charity that wanted binders so we had a student open and recycle paper and box the binders for donation.  I don't recall, but in this process, I may have sent an e-mail to those sales reps I knew had recently updated their binders, called on us frequently, or I knew personally to let them know what we were doing with them so they could retrieve their binders if they wanted. 

 

For research after that, I have relied primarily on www.4specs.com which I have always found as very useful.  It is organized by CSI Masterformat numbers, has little to no advertising, and provides direct links to manufacturer's web sites.

 

Craig Hess, AIA, CSI, LEED AP, Vice President & Quality Assurance Director

p 612.373.4655 | c 320.260.1016 | www.esgarch.com

 

ESG_Logo_Signature_Orange_2

 






7.  RE: Product Binders -- still hanging on? an informal survey

Posted 4 days ago
I had never heard of 4specs.com, thanks for the suggestion!

------------------------------
Andrew Craven AIA
Architect
Hanbury
Norfolk VA
------------------------------



8.  RE: Product Binders -- still hanging on? an informal survey

Posted 10 days ago
1. No, but I am thinning them down

2. Generally I look to see what the manufacture has online. If the information is better, more complete than what I have in a binder, then the binder can go by-by.

3. If I can't bet better, more complete or updated information online, then I hold on to the binder.

For example, I have a binder from Kirchner, an old CMU manufacturer in my area. The binder is so old it has the first 2 digits of the phone number listed as letters. However, it has very detailed dimensioned drawings of the various shapes they offered. I hang on to this because getting such detailed information these days is quite difficult.


Thanks,
Rudy Beuc


------------------------------
Rudolph Beuc AIA, NCARB, CBO
Architect
R. Beuc Architects
Saint Louis MO
------------------------------



9.  RE: Product Binders -- still hanging on? an informal survey

Posted 9 days ago
I got rid of paper binders 15 yrs ago.  Everything is on the internet.
I now have only 6 LF of shelving for code books and binders.

------------------------------
Michael Clark AIA
Director Of Design
H&H Design-Build
New Albany IN
------------------------------



10.  RE: Product Binders -- still hanging on? an informal survey

Posted 9 days ago
Although I've greatly reduced my paper information, I still have a substantial shelf of binders. Some information is just better in paper form. Although digital information makes it easy to search for something specific, it can actually be more difficult to search for related items depending on how the information is presented.

For example, searching Simpson Strong-Ties' website I can quickly get to standard joist hangers and all of their specifications. But with their catalog I can page back to heavy duty joist hangers and forward to double shear joist hangers, face mount hangers, and rafter hangers to make comparisons. This can be especially true if I know sort of what I want - paging back and forth I can zero in on something easier than searching for multiple single items until I find what I want. I'll note that Simpson actually offers PDFs of their full catalog, which is good. There I can combine searching along with paging.

Similarly, having several similar catalogs allows me to open them all up to product offerings for each. Then I can compare a window from Pella, Marvin, Andersen, and others side by side. This is particularly helpful when working together with others. Sure, I can bring up multiple websites or PDFs on a display but it is harder for multiple people to control - either trying to give one person commands to get information or passing a tablet back and forth.

------------------------------
Thomas Bank AIA
Principal Architect
Simply Stated Architecture, P.C.
Lemoyne PA
------------------------------



11.  RE: Product Binders -- still hanging on? an informal survey

Posted 4 days ago
Thank you, good explanation of why paper seems to be easier than website sometimes.

------------------------------
Andrew Craven AIA
Architect
Hanbury
Norfolk VA
------------------------------



12.  RE: Product Binders -- still hanging on? an informal survey

Posted 9 days ago

Product binders (except for physical product samples) have gone the way of the flip phone. All of that information is available on line, and is therefore always up to date. When we moved two years ago we threw out all of the binders, except for those containing physical samples. Out library now consists of material samples and materials regarding actual color samples, information that is not easily gleaned from the web. Makes for a much smaller library area!

 

http://jkrparchitects.com/signature/logo.gif

Jerry K. Roller, aia, Leed AP
Managing Principal
w 215.928.9331 · c 215.285.3800 · e Jroller@jkrparchitects.com http://jkrparchitects.com/signature/bar.gif
100 East Penn Square Suite 1080 Philadelphia, PA 19107
jkrparchitects.com

 

 






13.  RE: Product Binders -- still hanging on? an informal survey

Posted 9 days ago

Purged all several years ago.

However, we maintain and regularly update interior finish product catalogs, color charts/books and samples.

In addition, we have set up reference library with hard copies of building codes, ASTM, ASHRE, SMACNA, ADA and many other association standards.  We include books on planning, urban design, historic standards, detailing, etc.

Source for product information is sought online directly from manufacturers' websites and as necessary from their technical representatives who willingly come to our offices.

Masterspec also provides information on many products throughout their specs.

Make sure you recycle the tons of paper and you can donate the binders to a local school or children's center.

 

Ronald J. Battaglia, FAIA
Principal

 

<a href=image001.jpg@01CD9658.805E3B00">

 

617 Main Street, Suite S-401

Buffalo, NY  14203-1400






14.  RE: Product Binders -- still hanging on? an informal survey

Posted 9 days ago

Firms that do forensic work might be interested in your old product information binders, particularly any binders for waterproofing, roofing, windows, sealants, etc. products.

 

                               Thank you,

 

http://www.mkainc.ca/Public/EmailSignature/logo-mka-boxonly.png

Construction 
Consultants
 
& Engineers
 

www.mkainc.com

http://www.mkainc.ca/Public/EmailSignature/logo-squaresonly2.png

 

Kristina L. W. Raupach, AIA, NCARB

Madsen, Kneppers & Associates, Inc. 
100 Pringle Avenue, Suite 340
Walnut Creek, CA 94596

O  925.934.3235   |  C  206.504.0975   |  F  925.934.3894   |  kraupach@mkainc.com

California Contractor License: 1002821 

 

 


MADSEN, KNEPPERS & ASSOCIATES USA, MKA Canada Inc. WARNING/CONFIDENTIALITY NOTICE: This message may be confidential and/or privileged. If you are not the intended recipient, please notify the sender immediately then delete it - you should not copy or use it for any purpose or disclose its content to any other person. Internet communications are not secure. You should scan this message and any attachments for viruses. Any unauthorized use or interception of this e-mail is illegal.





15.  RE: Product Binders -- still hanging on? an informal survey

Posted 9 days ago

We try to eliminate all paper binders.  We tell reps to spend the money on keeping their websites up to date.  There are exceptions.  Most notable are catalogs with colors samples in the catalog and samples themselves.  We have not had ARCAT, Sweets, or anything like them for 10 years and have not missed either one. 

 

Dave Martin

AIA, President

MartinGardnerArch.com

Capture

Facebook    youtube

 






16.  RE: Product Binders -- still hanging on? an informal survey

Posted 9 days ago
The only binders we have are for finishes, or for things we just have not thrown away yet.  I don't know of anyone who looks through product binders for information anymore.  We get our information online or from vendors.  It is nice because we generally get it in a format that allows us to copy and paste text for specs.
Brad A McKenzie, AIA
Project Architect
SAPP DESIGN ASSOCIATES ARCHITECTS
3750 S. Fremont Springfield, MO 65804
P417-877-9600 (ext. 228)  F417-877-9696  E: mckenzie@sdaarchitects.com
www.sdaarchitects.com | Facebook Twitter | CONFIDENTIALITY NOTICE





17.  RE: Product Binders -- still hanging on? an informal survey

Posted 9 days ago
While I purge most binders, as noted above, I do keep some hardcopy that contains good reference material.  And of course, samples are still kept as a tactile reference.

Also, I download PDF's or PDF-save web pages of products I specify. The "always the latest on the web" mantra is a double-edged sword.  Material properties, installation instructions, use recommendations and warranty information changes.  I want to be able to show the judge the data I based my decisions on and if I don't keep a copy "local" with the project file, the information I relied upon may be gone when I need it.

------------------------------
Jim Spinola AIA

------------------------------



18.  RE: Product Binders -- still hanging on? an informal survey

Posted 8 days ago
We got rid of them al,last threee years ago when we moved offices.  We purposefully did not design a space to store them.  Each architect has one or two "favorites" they keep at their desks, but usually they are,ore reference books than product binders (I.e. Graphic standards, AWI, or at most a product binder that has awesome details). The products change to fast so using online catalogs keeps us current.  The reps have also caught on and they don't bring them to us anymore.

------------------------------
Alejandro Medina AIA
Virginia Beach VA
------------------------------



19.  RE: Product Binders -- still hanging on? an informal survey

Posted 5 days ago
My argument for  keeping them and  it's definitely an old school argument  is serendipity.  Inevitably, in a  search for  some piece  of  information, I'd come  across something  I wasn't looking  for  and maybe  didn't know  I should be  looking for, and  it  turned  out to be a  very  valuable  piece  of  the  puzzle  of putting my  building together.   
Perhaps the  digital solution to this  is to start your  google  searches with as  wide a  net as  possible?






20.  RE: Product Binders -- still hanging on? an informal survey

Posted 4 days ago

We still hang on to some of them.  So many websites have marketing information only.  Finding detailed information is next to impossible.  You cannot rely on them for current information on some aspects but at least it is a starting point.

What is worse is detailed information is becoming harder to find.  They want you to call and talk to them so they can control what you see.

Yesterday a supplier explained to me that the new version of a steel stiffened fiberglass filled HM door drains water out of the top of the door though the core and out the bottom.  Nothing on the website hints of this but they do not have any details for that door showing a cap.  I spend two hours looking this afternoon and they are not putting technical information up on the new products.  I hoped that they at least switched the fiberglass to mineral wool.  It clearly states fiberglass for this model and another model says mineral wool.






21.  RE: Product Binders -- still hanging on? an informal survey

Posted 4 days ago
I have heard of several architects here keeping personal libraries.  I was actually surprised that staff still do use binders sometimes.  If we do a complete transition at all, it will have to be in phases.

------------------------------
Andrew Craven AIA
Architect
Hanbury
Norfolk VA
------------------------------



22.  RE: Product Binders -- still hanging on? an informal survey

Posted 4 days ago
This and previous comment on firms that specialize in forensics is an interesting angle to consider.  Thanks.

------------------------------
Andrew Craven AIA
Architect
Hanbury
Norfolk VA
------------------------------



23.  RE: Product Binders -- still hanging on? an informal survey

Posted 4 days ago
Thanks all for your comments so far!
I did a web-based survey of our 20+ design staff as well, and was a little surprised.  When asked if they had used a paper product binder in the last year, 50% said yes.  The most used divisions were Thermal/Moisture, Openings, and Finishes.  And of those, popular sections were roofing, doors, windows, door hardware, and acoustic panel ceilings.  I think that echos some of the comments I've read here.
Another comment I've heard both here and in person is that the opportunity, or maybe just the ease, for new discovery of different products is greater with the paper binders.  Not sure why that is, but its interesting to hear and I can believe it.
Of the alternative methods to do product research, Google won hands down, as the first place to turn.  I only allowed one answer here, so I'm sure folks still used other methods such as Sweets or ARCAT.

------------------------------
Andrew Craven AIA
Architect
Hanbury
Norfolk VA
------------------------------