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Sect. XV.
2280. The importance of an accurate specification or description of the materials and
work to be used and performed in the execution ot a building, is almost as great as the
preparation of the des'gns for it. The frequent cost of -works above the estimated sum,
and its freedom from extra charges on winding up the accounts, will mainly depend on the
clearness, fulness, and accuracy of the specifications
though it is but justice to the archi-
tect to state that extras arise almost as often from the caprice or change of mind of his
employer during the progress of the work, as from the neglect of the architect in makirg
the specification. A specification should be made in all cases of new designs, additions.
or alterations in reference to designs, which, the more they are given in working drawings
by the architect, the better will it be for his employer, no less than for the artificer.
2280a. When the drawings have been brought to suit the client's tastes and require-
ments, the architect commences to prepire the working plans and details. Before there
are completed, he should take up the specification. The primary and main object of a
specification, is to give, fully and clearly, all necessary and useful written explanations an 1
instructions for the execution of the work, and for making due preparations for the
eflfecting of a definite and clear bargain between the person or company accepting an ofl!er
and the contractor offering to execute the work.
2280ft. To write out a document fulfilling all these requirements, going into every
particular, and describing fully and accurately each diflferent part of the work, nni^-t
naturally cause a lengthened document. But a line must be drawn between running to
a'n almost absurd length and being too brief. The former may occasionally cause the
specification to be neglected, as the builder or his foreman has seldom the time to refer
Olten to it. The rotation of the various paragraphs is a verj^ important matter. It was
formerly, and is now, much the custom to ilivide the specification into trades, which system
arose when separate contracts were taken for different branches of the work
; but at the
present day, when it is so general to have one cnntractor to carry out the entire work, it
has occasionally been attempted to wriue a specification in a form more quickly and easily
consulted than by referring to paragraphs in several trades respecting some one single
portion of the work.
2280c. Some architects have written the main portion of the details on the drawings
themselves, detaching them from the general and sptcific work, particulars, and conditions
but the drawings are not always at hand to refer to, it there be no "office "on the
2280(Z. In many large towns it has become the custom to relegate this important part
of an architect's business, especially of a young one, to a
qumtity stirveyor." By doing
this, he loses that grasp of construction and of details which the preparation of a speci-
fication, as of quantities, so greatly helps. The man who originally draws the working
plans can with much greater facility write out the specification for the execution of the
t-ame than the man who, so to say, has first to learn his lesson. It should bear the im-
press of the artistic feelings of the designer, which the quantity surveyor can never give it.
Each item is usually tnken separately, and should be clearly described; simple lar.guage
should be used, without abbreviations; all such words as proper, properly, sufficient,
with others, should be avoided
involved sentences, bad punctuation, and faulty grammar
should rot appear, and each sentence should bear but one meaning; but, regai'ding the
haste with which specifications have to be drawn up, these are sometimes unavoidab'e.
Sketches made in the margin, of difficult bits of construction, as well as of ornamental
details, may be copiously used, especially if the detail drawings are not fully prepared.
2280e. Specifications are now usually lithographed, which saves much trotible and ri-k
in examining each copy that may be required.
228(1/'. It is advisable that the agreement with the artificer or contractor should be
drawn up by the client's solicitor, who, no doubt, will seek the assistance of the architect.
2280//. It is impossible to frame a set of directions which shall be applicable in all
cases of buildings. Something like a list or skeleton of the component parts of buildinss
are given in the following page*, from which the architect may select such as are suitable
to the particular case whereon he may he .ngaged. This i-s not carried into the repairs
and alterations of houses, because, wiih diflTerence of application, the same system can be
carried forward in such cases without difficulty. Chapter III., Use of Materials, or
Practical Buildino, may be consulted f< r many other details.
2280/i. The following pages have been rewritten, condensed, and added to as necessary.
A large amount of information as to the manner in which materials are used and piit
together is contained therein. There are several books on the subject, one of which,
Specifiir, 8vo. 1S70, should be on the student's shelf.