Many construction jobs are being done with minimal or close to none written specifications. If there are no written specifications, the customer would not know what will be done and in some cases, get disappointed when the results are not up to their expectations. For times when customers would like to know how many tile floors or coats of paint are needed, identifying the kind of products to use, and so on, a basic written specification is required. How detailed the specification would be is widely dependent on the complexity and requirements required for the job. To prevent any disputes or disagreements over the quality of work and to ensure the standards have been met, there has to be written specifications for painting, concrete work, roofing, materials being used for buildings, and so on.
What Should Be Specified
Some of the basic specifications would be to have a complete list of products and materials being used on the job organized by brand and model. As for coatings and paints, the preparations involved along with how many coats are to be applied should be written down as well. There are some systems and products that require a much more detailed specification, such as:
- Concrete slabs
- Windows and doors
- Wood Flooring
When it comes to construction work, you will not know if the job meets your expectations until it has been completed. It is almost never okay to make your assumptions based on the scope of work if it is not in writing. During some instances, you may decide on a specific product, but if the owner or the person in charge does not like it, then it would be troublesome to replace them all after the project has been completed. Hence, it is advisable to include even the smallest things like nails. It may seem like a small issue, but when it comes to building materials, having the right nail with proper size and type is critical.
The Types of Specifications
The specifications covered are usually the installation of products and materials, properties, and systems involved. This information could be written in the form of product specifications, performance specifications, or installation specifications as written below:
When it comes to product specs, the specific brand-name product will be written. For example: “The wood flooring will be sanded using a BOSCH ROS20VSC Palm Sander or equivalent.” Mentioning the particular brand name and model is very important. In some cases, even though this model has very good reviews, it might be replaced with another model due to last-minute changes which happen quite often when it comes to constructing jobs. However, for products such as doors and windows, it will be harder to replace them as equivalency is much more difficult to determine compared to power tool products.
The majority of tradesperson and contractors will have their method and way of doing things. Having this kind of mindset will cause several problems since the way a constructor has always done things might be different than the manufacturer’s specs. Installation specifications are needed to solve these kinds of situations by having a detailed description explaining how a specific product should be applied or installed.
The performance specifications are needed to describe the necessary standards required to be met. For instance, when a contractor proposes a particular system or product, it must be approved by the owner, which could be the construction manager or architect. Information that should be included in the performance specs are details about air conditioning, heating, and mechanical systems.
Examples of Specifications
Here is an example of how a good specification should be written with a poor example included to differentiate between the two.
Poor Example: All the exterior trims will be painted and primed with latex paint from Benjamin Moore, or equivalent.
Good Example: Prior to painting, the exterior trim will be sealed with exposed knots using shellac or any similar sealer. Any corners that are exposed will be sanded lightly. The trims on all sides will be primed using Benjamin Moore Latex Primer 169 with additional topcoats of Benjamin Moore Exterior Acrylic Latex Semi-Gloss K588.
How To Write Construction Specs
There are several ways to write the written specifications. Most architects will use a system called MasterSpec, a software that uses the CSI format for residential projects. There are also several other software including eSpecs and UDA Residential Specifications.