The BICSI 2004 Winter Conference, held at the Gaylord Palms Resort and Convention Center in Orlando, Fla., January 12-15, drew more than 3,000 telecommunications professionals who gathered to learn and help celebrate the organization’s 30th anniversary.

This landmark meeting served as a springboard for announcing a number of new initiatives. In his inaugural speech at the annual business meeting, the newly installed president, Russell Oliver, VP of operations, CTC Communications, Waltham, Mass., explained to the audience that the traditional telecommunications base is expanding to become a communications, life safety, and automation (CLA) industry that includes wireless, security, cabling, voice, data, audio/visual, and automation disciplines. “An evolution is underway in our field,“ he said.

Thus, one of BICSI’s goals for the coming year is to serve this evolving CLA industry by establishing the Communications, Life Safety, and Automation Design Institute (CLADI). This institute will help create an awareness of CLA industry expertise and resources within the design, construction, and building owner communities. Additionally, BICSI will partner with other associations and develop a Web site, tools, research library, and registration equivalencies, as well as other innovations.

The relationship development will focus on creating useful ties with associations and organizations both inside and outside the CLA industry. The initial target associations are CSI, CABA, ICIA, NSCA, ASIS, and SIA. The institute plans to create a CLA industry design certification that will recognize all current and future design certifications, including BICSI’s RCDD, ICIA’s CTS-D, ASIS’s CPP, and CSI’s CDT.

Other organizational relationships will include the top two or three distributors in each of the communications, audio/visual, life safety, and automation industries. Leading industry publications in these industries will also be contacted.

Additionally, the institute will help create spreadsheet-based estimating utilities and calculators. All of the estimating models will be developed on the new MasterFormat organizational model for CLA systems. CAD utilities will include drawing templates, generic block library, and plotting configuration files that are useful to a CLA consultant.

One of the five Monday morning, members-only educational sessions covered the new CSI MasterFormat 2004, where Thomas Rauscher, Archi-Technology, Rochester, N.Y., explained the changes coming in the next edition, due in 2004. The existing MasterFormat 1995 edition puts telecommunications and other low-voltage services in Division 16: Electrical. In the new edition, with its expanded number of divisions, low-voltage services will be separated into Division 25: Integrated Automation and Control (A), Division 27: Communications (C), and Division 28: Electronic Safety and Security (L). Thus, the telecom industry will be recognized and included in the formal process of designing and constructing future buildings.