For the better part of a year, in between assessment projects for clients, I’ve been spending time updating a book I wrote back in the early 1990s called the Building Systems Evaluation Handbook. Initially, it seemed like and simple task to put out a 20th anniversary edition. A few new pictures, some new information – that sounds easy, doesn’t it? As I began to delve into the project, I realized that it wouldn’t be enough to just update it here and there – 20 years was a lot of new information and industry advancement to cover. I ended up rewriting quite a bit of the text, updating what was still accurate and writing new sections entirely until eventually a whole new book, complete with a new title: the Property Condition Assessment Handbook , was born.
The visuals required updating as well. The original book was written and illustrated on a Macintosh SE with 256KB of ROM and 1MB of RAM for the entire system! The new book needed new graphics, charts, and numerous pictures. It was enjoyable revisiting my years of evaluations to select images for each section.
All of the forms and appendices have been updated, including new sources for additional information. My staff and I performed hours of research to find the best exhibits to include with the new text.
What was supposed to be a very easy project quickly became very complicated, although it was nostalgic to go back in time two decades and remember how we used to perform the work – before cell phones, ASTM standards, digital cameras and email…