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Astragal met up with Davis Langdon specification guru Nick Schumann last week.

Schumann and his 50-strong team have worked with just about every architectural practice worth their salt.

Schumann's job, he says, 'is to deal with the spec so that architects can get on with drawing pretty pictures'. To do this, he has to be right up to date with materials and innovations - which is more than can be said of one very large, but unidentified, American firm of architects.

'A very big US practice called us in and when we examined their spec we discovered it hadn't changed since 1966, ' said Schumann. Shame on you Americans. Whatever next?

'Architect advises QS on costbreakdown horror'?

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