Over the years, CSIs have had very little in the way of oversight. In many states, and depending on the portion of the project they handle, they don't even have to have licenses as either engineers or as contractors. CSIA has tried for years to remedy that, by producing first its Best Practices and Benchmarks (now available on CD as a PDF) and then by turning those very same best practices and benchmarks into a vigorous third party audit. At the CSIA meeting last week, Don Roberts, president of Exotek, the CSIA's third party auditor, provided some serious clarification about the audit, what it consists of, and how to prepare for it. The audit is apparently so rigorous that CSIA and Exotek have started offering audit preparation courses in Chicago, Atlanta, and two possible other locations in California and in the Northeast. The rules are clear. Three years after joining CSIA, an integrator must have PASSED the audit. Otherwise, the integrator gets the boot. The integrator must have passed all four parts of the test...Overall score, Project Management, Financial Management, and Technical Management. Every office in a multiple office integrator firm must be registered, and therefore audited. "Let's look at something relatively simple, like configuration management," Roberts began. The procedure should identify: process definition roles and responsibilities item identification configuration control status tracking auditing/authentication "So, let's look at CAD drawings, for an example," Roberts said. Where are they stored at various stages of development? Who is responsible for making sure they are stored there? Are separate copies of the "approved for construction" drawings made and who approves them? How are drawings identified or numbered, on the drawing and in the filename? How do you make sure that approved drawings are not changed? "Training," he said, "includes hard skills, soft skills and safety. A training plan needs to include what skills are necessary, how they are to be obtained, and how they are to be demonstrated. A training budget is not a plan." he concluded.