You are on page 1of 8

ARC441:Specifications

DepartmentofArchitecture,BRACUniversity

Spring2016

Preparedby_AmirEbnSharifIamir@bracu.ac.bdIPart01

Definition

Constructionspecificationsarewritteninstructionsdistinguishingorlimitinganddescribingindetailconstruction
worktobeundertaken.Itsadesignationorstatementofparticulars.

Specificationsdescribethematerialsandworkmanshiprequiredforadevelopment.Theydonotincludecost,
quantityordrawninformation,andsoneedtobereadalongsideotherinformationsuchasquantities,schedules
anddrawings.

Specificationsvaryconsiderablydependingonthestagetowhichthedesignhasbeendeveloped,ranging
fromperformancespecifications(openspecifications)thatrequirefurtherdesignworktobecarriedout,to
prescriptivespecifications(closedspecifications)wherethedesignisalreadycomplete.

Webstersdictionarygivesthefollowingdefinitionofthetermspecifications:

SpecificationsAwrittenorprinteddescriptionofworktobedone,formingpartofthecontractanddescribing
qualitiesofmaterialandmodeofconstruction,andalsogivingdimensionsandotherinformationnotshowninthe
drawings.

Butthisdescriptiondoesnotsuffice.Thefollowinglistillustratesthefunctionsofthespecifications:

1. legalconsiderations

generalconditions,whethertheyconsistofStandardpreprintedforms,federal,state,ormunicipalforms,
orindividuallypreparedgeneralconditions,makeapartofthespecifications.Theyestablishthelegal
rights,responsibilities,andrelationshipsofthepartiestothecontract.

Thecourtshavegenerallyheldthatintheeventofconflictbetweendrawingsandspecifications,the
specifications,asawrittendocument,govern.

2. BiddingrequirementsitincludestheInvitationtobid,theinstructionstobidder,andthebidform.these
biddingrequirementsaredevelopedbythearchitectsolelyfortheuseofthebidderandareintendedto
providethebidderwiththeinformationrequiredtosubmitaproposal.
3. Subcontractorslimitdrawingsgenerallyshowalloftheworktobedoneandtheinterrelationshipof
thevariousparts.Thespecificationssegregatetheworkshownonthedrawingsintomanysections,or
unitsofworktoaidthegeneralcontractorinsublettingtheworktovarioussubcontractors.
4. ContractorlimitsWhenseveralprimecontractsaredesired,asmandatedbyeitherstate,oranowners
requirements,thespecificationswillestablishthelimitsofeachprimecontract.
5. QualityControlThespecificationsestablishinspectionandtestingprocedurestobefollowedduringthe
constructionoperations.Standardsforofficeandfieldinspectionaredescribedfornumerousmaterials

ARC441:SPECIFICATION_ReadingMaterial_Part01Spring16 ASHIamir@bracu.ac.bd
andbuildingsystems.Testproceduresaregiventoevaluatetheperformanceofcompletedmechanical
installations.
6. DesignCriteriaInsomeinstancesthedrawingscannotbeusedtoshowordelineatedesigndecision.For
example,thearchitectsselectionoffinishhardwarefordoorscanbedescribedonlyinthespecifications.
Specificationsforpaintmaterials,thenumberofcoatsofpaint,andthedegreeoflusterorsheenare
similarlygivenonlyinthespecifications.

Forwhomwritten:

Estimators,Buyers,Superintendents,Siteengineersofcontractors,Subcontractors,Vendors(materialsalesmen),
Architectsjobinspectors

Bywhomwritten:

Forsmallprojects:sameindividualsmakingtheworkingdrawingswhowilllatersupervisethework

Forlargeprojects:dedicatedgroupofprofessionalslikeengineers,architects,specialistsetc

PurposeofSpecifications:

Specificationsaregenerallywrittentosupplementinformationshownonthearchitecturalworkingdrawingsand
theycoverthatportionoftheworkwhichismoreeasilyexpressedinwordsthanbydrawings.Thepurposeof
projectspecificationsistoserveas:

1. GuidetoBidders:enablingtheirestimatorstoarriveatafairpricefortheworkinvolved

Invitationtobid

Instructionstobidders

Bidform

Bidbond

Alternatesandoptions

Subcontractorslimit

Contractorlimits

2. ContractDocument:betweenownerandcontractor,limitinganddescribingtheirresponsibilities
Legalconsiderations
Insuranceconsiderations
3. FabricationandInstallationGuide:
Regardingmaterialsandequipments
Inspectionandtestingprocedures(qualitycontrol)
Designcriteria

Specificationsareusedbyadiversegroupofparticipants:

ARC441:SPECIFICATION_ReadingMaterial_Part01Spring16 ASHIamir@bracu.ac.bd
a) forcontractortotellhowtoconstruct,manage,anddirecttheconstruction.

b) forestimatorinthecontractorsofficewhopreparestheestimatebasedonthespecifications.

c) forthepurchasingagentinthecontractorsoffice,whoprocuresthematerialsandequipmentdescribed
inthespecifications.

d) fortheinspector,whomustbegivenadocumentthatcanaidthispersonininspectingandcontrollingthe
work.

e) fortheowner,whowouldliketoknowwhatheorsheisbuyingandisentitledtoreceive.

f) forthesubcontractorssothateachcanreadilydiscernthescopeofhissubcontract.

g) forthemanufacturersofbuildingmaterialsandequipmentssothatthegradeandtypeareclearlydefined
withrespecttothemanyvariationstheymaymanufacture.

Typesofspecifications

Therearefourbasictypesofspecificationsdescriptive,proprietary,performance,andreferencestandard.

Thefirstthreecanbeusedtospecifytheessentialqualitiesofmaterialsforaproject.

Referencestandardspecificationsarepublishedbystandardsorganizationsororganizationsthatrepresent
manufacturersofspecificbuildingelementsandaretypicallyreferencedwithoutcustomization.

Descriptivespecificationsrequirewrittendescriptionsforeachmaterialorproducttobeusedinaproject.These
descriptions should include the attributes that are essential in order for a material or product to meet project
requirements.Caremustbetakenwhendraftingadescription.Ifaspecificationisbasedoninformationprovided
by the manufacturer, include only those attributes required for your project. For example, literature from a
manufacturerofcladwindowsmayincludethethicknessofthecladdingasawaytodifferentiateitsproductfrom
thatofothermanufacturers.Ifthelevelofperformancerequiredforaprojectdoesnotdependonthethicknessof
the cladding, the thickness should not be included in the description. If the thickness is included and the
specificationstrictlyenforced,onlyproductswiththespecifiedskinthicknesswouldqualify,limitingtheoptionsto
the one manufacturer or forcing other manufacturers to customize their window to meet the specified
requirements.

Proprietaryspecificationslistonlytheproductsandmanufacturersthatareacceptableforuseonaproject.They
arethemostconciseformofspecification.Ifaproductmodelnumberisidentifiedandincludesanyoptionsthat
may beapplicableto the product, nolengthy description ofthe productisrequired.However,itisimportantto
leavenosalientoptionunidentified.Ifaspecificationdoesnotmentionanoptionthatisessentialtoanacceptable
product,aclaimcouldresultforadditionalcostifthedesiredoptionisnotstandard,oracontractorcouldselectan
alternativeproductwithoutconsultingthearchitect.

A proprietary specification may include only one manufacturer or as many as meet the project requirements.
Including model numbers for all manufacturers selected is the best way to ensure a contractor will select an
appropriateproduct.Anotherpopularmethod,basisofdesign,istolistthedesiredproductandmanufacturerbut

ARC441:SPECIFICATION_ReadingMaterial_Part01Spring16 ASHIamir@bracu.ac.bd
allowforcomparableproductsfromotherspecifiedorapprovedmanufacturers.Note,though,thatthisdegreeof
latitude can require additional time when reviewing a submittal to determine whether the submitted product
meets the requirements and is truly comparable to the specified product. It is often tempting to combine
proprietaryspecificationsanddescriptivespecifications.Constructionadministratorscomplainthattheyneedthe
descriptiontoensurethattheproductsubmittedactuallymeetstherequirementsofthespecification.However,if
there is a slight discrepancy between the description of a generic product and an actual product identified by
modelnumber,thiscanbeaproblem.Aswell,thegreaterthenumberofmanufacturersandproductsidentified,
the greater the risk of creating a conflict. Careful coordination is required when proprietary and descriptive
methodsarecombined.

Performance specifications identify the performance characteristics that a product, assembly, or system must
satisfy. Creating a true performance specification is difficult. A performance specification has two important
componentstheintendedperformancecharacteristicsandameansbywhichthatperformancecanbeverified.
Theperformancespecificationmustincludeeveryaspectofdesiredperformance.Missingperformancecriteriaor
anassumptionthatsuchcriteriaareunderstoodcancauseacontractortoproposeasolutionthatmeetsallthe
statedcriteriaandyetcompletelymissestheintent.

Itisalsoimportantforperformancecriteriatoberealisticandachievable.Insomecircumstancestheremaynotbe
a product that can provide the required performance. Writing a performance specification that stipulates a
particularperformancewontmakeaproductthatcanofferthatperformanceavailable.However,ifafirmbegins
workingwithmanufacturersofsimilarproductsassoonasaneedisidentified,thismaybeenoughincentivefora
manufacturertodotheresearch,development,andtestingrequiredtobringaproductwiththedesiredlevelof
performance to market. Few projects are able to bear the cost of newproduct development. Getting a
manufacturer involved early may also result in an alternative design for which a product with the desired
performancealreadyexists.

Reference standard specifications are published standard specifications that are incorporated into project
specifications by reference. According to CSIs Manual of Practice, reference standards are requirements set by
authority,custom,orgeneralconsensusandareestablishedasacceptedcriteria.

Alternativelywecancategorizespecificationsinfour(04)types

1. ProjectSpecificationsarethosedevelopedforaparticularconstructionprojecttoaccompanytheworking
drawings.Afterthecontractfortheconstructionworkissigned,thesemaybereferredtoastheContract
SpecificationsandtheContractDrawings.

2. GuideSpecifications(orMasterSpecifications)areexamplespecificationspreparedtobeusedasaguide
inthepreparationofProjectSpecifications.Example:SpecificationsandCosts,adatabookforcivil
engineers.

Moreindescriptiveformwithdescriptionofmaterials,workmanship,installationanderectionprocedures
tobeemployedbythecontractors.Example:brickmasonry.

Createanopportunityforallconcernedtocheckeachoftheitemsspecified.

3. StandardSpecifications(orStandard)arepreparedtocoveraspecificmaterialoragroupofmaterials
usedbyaspecifictrade,orasegmentoftheconstructionindustry.Standardssometimesincludemethods
ofinstallationorapplication.

ARC441:SPECIFICATION_ReadingMaterial_Part01Spring16 ASHIamir@bracu.ac.bd
Usuallymadeaspartofprojectspecificationsbyreference.

Maybedevelopedbycommitteesrepresentingmaterialmanufacturers,governmentauthorities,testing
agencies,consumersandthosehavingageneralinterestintheparticularstandard.

4. ManufacturersSpecificationsarethosepublishedbymanufacturersofbuildingproductsormaterials.

Someofthemareintheformofguidespecifications,someintheformofstandardspecifications
appearinginthecatalogues,andsomeintheformofInstallationInstructionsshippedwiththeproducts
tothejobsite

5. OutlineSpecificationsarepreparedusuallytoaccompanypreliminarydrawingspresentingonlythemost
basicinformationaboutmaterialsandmethodstobeusedandemployedonaspecificjob.

TheRoleoftheSpecifications

Wheneveranarchitectoranengineeriscommissionedbyanownertodesignabuildingorastructure,heorshe
mustdevelopthreebasicdocuments,whichathirdparty,thecontractor,mustuseinundertakingtobuildthe
structure.Thesethreebasicdocumentsarethedrawings,theconditionsofthecontract,andthespecifications.
Togetherwithcertainadditionaldocuments,theyconstitutethecontractdocuments.

Thecontractdocumentsconsistofthefollowinginstruments:

Agreement:Awrittenagreementbetweentheownerandcontractorsettingforththeworktobeperformed,the
timeforcompletion,andthecontractsum.

ConditionsoftheContract:Theseconsistofthegeneralconditions,supplementaryconditionsandother
conditions.

Drawings:Thegraphicpresentationofworktobedone.

Specifications:Written,verbaldescriptionofworktobeperformed.

Addenda:Changesmadebeforecontractexecution.

Modifications:instructions,changeorders,directives,andsoon,writtenafterexecutionofthecontract.

Thetermconstructiondocumentsisoftenusedasasynonymforcontractdocuments

Asoneofthemajorcontractdocuments,itisimperativethatpracticingarchitectandengineershaveaverygood
workingknowledgeoftherolethatspecificationsplay.

RelationshipbetweenDrawingsandSpecifications

Theinformationthatisnecessaryfortheconstructionofanystructureisusuallydevelopedbythe
architectbymeansoftwobasicdocuments:thedrawingsandthespecifications.

Thedocumentsshouldcomplementoneanotherandneithershouldoverlaporduplicatetheother.

ARC441:SPECIFICATION_ReadingMaterial_Part01Spring16 ASHIamir@bracu.ac.bd
Thedrawingsshowtheinterrelationshipofallthepartsthatgotogethertomakethegranddesign.

Specificationisadevicefororganizingtheinformationdepictedonthedrawings.

Allthegeneralconstructiondetailsareshownondrawingsastheyrelatetooneanother,withnoattempt
toseparatediversematerials.

Itisthespecificationsthatbreakdowntheinterrelatedinformationshownondrawingsintoseparate,
organized,andorderlyunitsofwork,whichwerefertoastechnicalsectionsofthespecifications.

Tomaintaintheseparateyetcomplementarycharacterofthesetwodocumentsrequiresthe
developmentofdefinitesystemsforeach

Drawings:

Drawingspresentapicture,oraseriesofpictures,ofthestructureorpartsofastructuretobeerected.

Theygivethesize,form,location,andarrangementofthevariouselements.

Thisinformationcannotbedescribedinthespecificationssinceitisgraphicallyshown.

Drawingsshouldgenerallyshowthefollowinginformation:

Extent,size,shape,andlocationofcomponentparts

Locationofmaterials,equipment,andfixtures

Detailandoveralldimensions

Interrelationofmaterials,equipment,andspace

Schedulesoffinishes,windows,anddoors

Sizesofequipment

Thespecificationscomplementthedrawingsbydescribingqualitiesofmaterials,systems,andequipment.

Specificationsshouldgenerallydescribethefollowingitems:

1. Typeandqualityofmaterials,equipment,andfixtures

2. Qualityofworkmanship

3. Methodsoffabrication,installation,anderections

4. Testrequirements(material,finishproducts,qualitycontrol)

5. Listofmanufacturersequipment

6. Alternatesandoptions

ARC441:SPECIFICATION_ReadingMaterial_Part01Spring16 ASHIamir@bracu.ac.bd
Organizationofspecifications

Separationofthespecificationsintoaseriesorascheduleofseparateunitsofworktermedtechnicalsections.
Specificationsinthe18thand19thcenturiesconsistedofasingledocumentcontainingadescriptionofallthework
andmaterialstobeincludedinabuilding.Thiswasespeciallytrueofsmall,simplestructuresthatwereonstructed
byageneralcontractorwhoengagedallthecraftsanddidnotsubletorsubcontractanypartsofthework.

Asbuildingsgrewmorecomplexandmaterialsandconstructiontechniquesbecamemoreinvolved,itbecame
necessarytoincreasethenumberoftechnicalsectionsasmoreportionsoftheworkcameundersubcontract.
Today,thespecificsectionsaredesignedessentiallytopermitgeneralcontractors,subcontractors,manufacturers,
andmaterialsdealerstotakeofftheitemsoftheirworkforestimateduringbiddingperiod.

Accuracyinestimatingisinthebestinterestsofbuildingownersandarchitectsalike.Toensureaccuracy,the
specificationsshouldbedividedintosectionstopermitthecontractorsestimatorandthesubcontractorsto
prepareestimatequicklyandprecisely.Thepreparationofdrawingsandspecificationstakesconsiderabletime,
whereasbiddingperiodsaregenerallyofshortduration.

Itisthereforequiteevidentthattheestimatormusthaveaspecificationseparatedbysectionsorunitsofworkso
thatheorshecanlistthematerialsandquantities,notethemethodsoftheiruseandinstallation,separatethose
partsonwhichhewilltakesubestimates,securepricesandtabulateresults,allwithina3or4weekbidding
period,andoftenwithinonly2weeks.Suchasystemalsopermitsthespecificationwritertoorganizehisorher
ownmaterial.

Forconvenienceinwriting,speedinestimating,andeaseinreference,ithasbeenfoundthatthemostsuitable
organizationofthespecificationsisaseriesofsectionsdealingsuccessivelywiththedifferentsubcontractors,and
ineachsectiongroupingalloftheworkoftheparticulartradetowhichthesectionisdevoted.

RelationshipbetweenDrawingsandSpecifications

Theinformationthatisnecessaryfortheconstructionofanystructureisusuallydevelopedbythe
architectbymeansoftwobasicdocuments:thedrawingsandthespecifications.

Thedocumentsshouldcomplementoneanotherandneithershouldoverlaporduplicatetheother.

Thedrawingsshowtheinterrelationshipofallthepartsthatgotogethertomakethegranddesign.

Specificationisadevicefororganizingtheinformationdepictedonthedrawings.

Allthegeneralconstructiondetailsareshownondrawingsastheyrelatetooneanother,withnoattempt
toseparatediversematerials.

Itisthespecificationsthatbreakdowntheinterrelatedinformationshownondrawingsintoseparate,
organized,andorderlyunitsofwork,whichwerefertoastechnicalsectionsofthespecifications.

Tomaintaintheseparateyetcomplementarycharacterofthesetwodocumentsrequiresthe
developmentofdefinitesystemsforeach.

Drawings:

ARC441:SPECIFICATION_ReadingMaterial_Part01Spring16 ASHIamir@bracu.ac.bd
Drawingspresentapicture,oraseriesofpictures,ofthestructureorpartsofastructuretobeerected.

Theygivethesize,form,location,andarrangementofthevariouselements.

Thisinformationcannotbedescribedinthespecificationssinceitisgraphicallyshown.

Drawingsshouldgenerallyshowthefollowinginformation:

Extent,size,shape,andlocationofcomponentparts

Locationofmaterials,equipment,andfixtures

Detailandoveralldimensions

Interrelationofmaterials,equipment,andspace

Schedulesoffinishes,windows,anddoors

Sizesofequipment

Thespecificationscomplementthedrawingsbydescribingqualitiesofmaterials,systems,andequipment.

Specificationsshouldgenerallydescribethefollowingitems:

1. Typeandqualityofmaterials,equipment,andfixtures

2. Qualityofworkmanship

3. Methodsoffabrication,installation,anderections

4. Testrequirements

5. Gaugesofmanufacturersequipment

6. Alternatesandoptions

ARC441:SPECIFICATION_ReadingMaterial_Part01Spring16 ASHIamir@bracu.ac.bd