Since 1987 ARCOM has been a key player in the growth and automation of specifications for the construction industry.
ARCOM was established in the early 1970’s as a division of an architecture firm located in Salt Lake City, Utah. Its first services involved preparing MasterSpec® master guide specifications, developed by the American Institute of Architects (AIA), for mainframe computer use in architecture and engineering firms.
Throughout the 1970’s and 1980’s, AIA relied on ARCOM for increasing the automation available to design professionals using mini-computers, and subsequently, personal computers for specification production.
ARCOM also worked with the Construction Sciences Research Foundation (CSRF) in the 1980s to review SpecText® documents and prepare them for use with multiple word processing formats. At this same time, ARCOM began developing the first generation of MasterWorks for use with MasterSpec and Editspec (microComSpec) for use with SpecText
ARCOM became an independent corporation in 1987. Soon after, AIA assigned ARCOM to become the exclusive distributor of MasterSpec.
In 1995, AIA selected ARCOM to operate all aspects of MasterSpec, including the maintenance and expansion of the master guide specifications, marketing and sales, production, fulfillment, software development, and client support to licensed users. ARCOM has continued to operate and expand MasterSpec for the AIA since then.
In the 1990s, ARCOM transformed it automation expertise into the SpecWare® suite of industry-leading specification productivity software, including MasterWorks for WordPerfect and Microsoft® Word and Linx, its patented structured text technology which is the precursor to Altarix and SpecBuilder Desktop. The 1990s also saw distribution shift from floppy diskettes to CD-ROM the new storage medium at the time.
In the early 2000s, ARCOM implemented the new 50 division MasterFormat 2004, breaking 16 divisions into more specialized sections. Paper, then CD-ROM versions of MasterSpec were discontinued, distribution eventually available via web download.
In 2006 ARCOM integrated MasterSpec with e-SPECS for AutoCAD and Revit. This integration makes it easier to match drawings with the specifications needed to complete projects.
ARCOM continued to move the specification process forward with advances in technology and the expansion of sections offered. In 2010, ARCOM introduced SpecAgent®, an innovative online resource that helps specifiers and design professionals select and identify manufacturers within specification sections. ARCOM acquired SpecText in 2011 and released the SpecText Water/Wastewater specifications library in 2013. In 2012, ARCOM also released the MasterSpec Historic Preservation library.
ARCOM continues to develop time-saving tools to aid the specifier. 2013 brought SpecBuilder Desktop (formerly named Altarix), featuring an intuitive Q&A tool that allows users to answer questions within the specification, removing irrelevant portions based on the answers provided. A paragraph builder tool within MasterWorks allows specifiers to select and edit manufacturer or product information throughout the entire specification section. A sustainability tool within MasterWorks, introduced in 2014, allows MasterSpec users to select their sustainability preference and apply their preference throughout the specification section.
From MasterSpec to SpecText and beyond, ARCOM has always proven itself to be the leader in master guide specifications for architects, engineers, product manufacturers, and construction professionals. In 2016, Alpine Investors recognized ARCOM as a prominent force in the AEC industry and acquired ARCOM. To further ARCOM's goal of continuing to provide products that help produce the most accurate building, infrastructure, and construction specifications in the industry, in 2017, ARCOM acquired InterSpec. InterSpec developed e-SPECS software, a suite of products that includes e-SPECS for Revit, a BIM-to-specs tool. With this acquisition, ARCOM has positioned itself to develop and provide the most advanced productivity software and user-friendly tools to specifiers everywhere.