Architects and Specification Writers: Part 3

June 22, 2017

The final article in our three-part series examines specifiers, construction documentation, and the relationship with the rest of the project team and work to be done.
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Specification divisions

By Cyrus Kabeer, CSP, NCARB, AIA, LEED AP

As is the case for Part 1[2] and Part 2[3], this concluding article in a series on architects, specifiers, and construction documentation does not seek to offer an all-encompassing view of spec writing. (Readers should check out the resources offered by Construction Specifications Canada [CSC][4] for a more in-depth look.) This final piece looks at specification divisions.

Division 00
Division 00−Procurement and Contracting Requirements is included in the project manual. It follows the MasterFormat[5] numbering system, but is not considered specifications. Division 00 is divided into three categories:

This division has many legal implications and should be prepared in co-ordination with the owner’s legal counsel, insurance consultants, and surety advisors. Most government agencies provide their own Division 00.

Division 01
Division 01−General Requirements is broadly divided into nine categories:

01 10 00−Summary
Section 01 11 00−Summary of Work describes the work, design, and future considerations. It also describes the pre-purchased products, materials supplied by the owner, owner-installed material, salvaged material, required phasing of work, etc.

Some projects require multiple prime contractors, so Section 01 12 00−Summary of Works (Multiple Contracts) describes their responsibilities.

Section 01 14 00–Work Restrictions describes the requirements of partial occupancy, continuous operations other occupants, limit of hours of operation, and access restrictions.

01 20 00−Price and Payment Procedures
Section 01 21 00–Allowances refers to cost, quality, or time adjustments the contractor must include in the bid price. Allowances must be co-ordinated between the several sections in which they are included. Bid forms in Division 00 supplementary conditions should be included in the technical section, calling attention to the allowance, along with the cost, quality, and time adjustments. The most common type of allowance is the cost (e.g. ‘cash’) allowance.

Section 01 22 00–Unit Prices is more popular in some other regions (e.g. India or the Middle East), and is often used for the whole project. It can be employed for a complete project or just part of one. The bid forms indicate quantity; they are estimates used for comparing bids. The payments are based on the quantity take-off for the final quality of the product. (Unit prices are more commonly used in construction where actual quantities may be unknown and usually vary from designed quantity.)

Section 01 23 00–Alternates is a separately priced portion of work in the bid form providing an option for the owner in determining the final scope of project. It differs from project to project. Just like allowances, alternates should also be co-ordinated between this section, Invitation to Bid, and Bid Forms in Division 00, and should be included in corresponding technical sections. The agreement should clearly indicate the alternate selected, which becomes part of the contract.

Section 01 25 00–Substitution Procedures indicates the procedures for the contractor’s submissions and the architect’s consideration of substitutions during bidding, negotiation, and construction. If substitutions are allowed, it describes the documents required for the architect to consider the substitution.

Section 01 26 00–Contract Modifications Procedures sets out the procedure for the contractor to submit RFIs or clarifications of items not adequately detailed or specified in the contract documents. It may also include the procedures for supplemental instructions, field orders, change notice, and change orders.

Section 01 29 00−Payment Procedures indicates the requirements for submittal of schedule of values, procedures for application and review of progress payments, progressive release of holdbacks, substantial performance, payment procedures for testing laboratories, and final payment.

01 30 00−Administrative Requirements
Section 01 31 00–Project Management and Co-ordination specifies the administrative requirement for management of construction, along with co-ordination with subcontractors (or other installers in a multiple contract) and the owner. This is also the location for progress records, including Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED) documents (with a reference to Section 01 81 00−Facility Performance Requirements).

Section 01 31 19−Project Meetings describes administrative requirements of preconstruction, pre-installation, and project meetings. This includes frequency, as well as who arranges the meetings and takes and distributes the minutes.

Section 01 32 00−Construction Progress Documentation requires the contractor to submit (within a fixed period after signing the agreement) schedules for construction progress, shop drawings and product data, samples, LEED submittals, progress photographs, and schedules for owner-supplied products.

Section 01 33 00−Submittal Procedures specifies the administration and procedural requirement for submission of electronic or paper copies for shop drawings, product data, samples, and other documents required.

Section 01 35 00–Special Procedures may be used based on the type of project—for example, if it is an alteration to an existing building, a healthcare or military facility, airport, shopping centre, or correctional facility with special health, security, access and egress, or other needs, this section may apply.

01 40 00−Quality Requirements
For an average project, this category has only one section. It includes administrative and procedural requirements for quality assurance (QA), quality control (QC), inspection and test procedures, mockups, mill tests, adjustment of equipment, paper or electronic reports, and reviews.

01 50 00−Temporary Facilities and Control
Depending on the size and type of project, this section/category can be further divided in multiple sections. For the ‘average’ project, it is preferably specified in one section. It describes the erection and subsequent removal of temporary facilities including factors like heating, electricity, water, fire protection, site office, sanitary facilities, vehicular access, barriers, erosion and sediment control, and temporary signage.

01 60 00−Product Requirements
This section specifies the contractor’s options for selecting a product (co-ordinated with 01 25 00), along with delivery and storage and handling. Section 01 64 00–Owner-furnished Products describes the procedures and requirements for co-ordinating, receiving, handling, storing, and installing products ordered or supplied by the owner.

01 70 00−Execution and Closeout Requirements
Section 01 71 00–Examination and Preparation describes the preparation for construction, along with the initial survey requirements.

Section 01 73 00–Execution specifies the installation of owner-furnished material (co-ordinated with 01 64 00), as well as requirements associated with connecting an existing building with a new one and removal, repair, storage, or reuse of salvaged material.

Section 01 74 00−Cleaning and Waste Disposal specifies the progressive and final cleaning of the construction site.

Section 01 74 20−Waste Management and Disposal and Section 01 74 21–Demolition Waste Management and Disposal are based on the 3 Rs—reduce, reuse, and recycle. It is also a detailed specification of, and should be co-ordinated with LEED Requirements and Procedures for the rating program.

Section 01 75 00–Start-up and Adjustments describes procedures for startup and adjusting of equipment. It also describes third-party testing of all materials and equipment.

Section 01 77 00–Closeout Procedures and Submittals includes inspections, final cleaning, maintenance requirements, operation and maintenance (O&M) manuals, record drawings, final survey, extra material, warranties, commissioning, final review, and takeover.

Section 01 79 00–Demonstrating and Training specifies the demonstration of startup, operations, troubleshooting, servicing, and maintenance of equipment. It also includes instruction of owner’s maintenance staff on maintaining and servicing, and reviewing it with the O&M manual.

01 90 00−Life Cycle Activities
Section 01 91 00−Commissioning specifies the general requirements for commissioning of the facility and its systems (including testing, adjusting, and balancing). This section must be co-ordinated with 01 75 00.

Section 01 94 00–Facilities Decommissioning specifies the process of deactivating an existing system.

 Conditions of Contract and Agreements
The conditions of the contract are broad contractual conditions describing the responsibilities of, and relationship between, the owner and the contractor. They also describe the responsibilities of the architect and subcontractor. The general conditions of the contract are documents usually published by the Canadian Contract Documents Committee (CCDC). Different conditions exist for different delivery systems (e.g. CCDC-2 [Stipulated Sum Delivery System], CCDC-3 [Cost Plus Delivery System], and CCDC-4 [Unit Price Delivery System]).Some organizations (e.g. banks, large corporations, airport authorities, national defense, and other public sectors) may have their own terms of contract. Some owners may have their legal counsel prepare their conditions of contract, which should be bound to the project manual.

Supplementary conditions, on the other hand, modify the standard conditions of contract based on the project needs. The agreement is the signed contract between the owner and the contractor. It legally binds them and can be modified only by change orders.

Conditions of contract, supplementary conditions, and agreements are legal documents—they, along with the complete Division 00, should be prepared and reviewed in co-ordination with the owner’s legal counsellor or attorney, insurance, and surety advisors.

Technical specifications
Divisions 02 through 49 are the technical specifications. The four basic methods of writing them are descriptive, performance, proprietary, and reference specifications. These may be used as different method in the same project manual or may be combined in the same section. The specification writer should be careful in combining different methods because it may create conflicts.

Descriptive specifications
In this method, a detailed description of product characteristics is supplied, including its physical properties and workmanship, without using proprietary names.

Performance specifications
Performance specifications are when the end result is specified along with the required tests and assurances to verify performance. This method does not limit the contractor’s ability to select an innovative system. Many building codes are moving toward performance specifications.

Proprietary specifications
The predominant method used in specification writing involves calling out a product by indicating the manufacturer’s name, brand, and/or model number as the case may be. The major disadvantage is there is no competition and the manufacturer or supplier of the specified product may take advantage of the single-source specification. This drawback can be lessened by allowing equal and preapproved substitutions during the bid period. Closed proprietary specifications do not allow any substitutions, while open proprietary specifications permit substitutions.

Reference specifications
Reference standards are material standards as published by government organizations, professional institutions, standards-writing organizations, and trade associations. This can save time by avoiding lengthy text.

Specialized sections
Some technical sections may be written by consultants specializing in certain fields of architecture like sustainability, vegetated roofs, waterproofing, acoustics, or door hardware. It is very important the architect proofread and co-ordinate these sections with the project manual.

Non-restrictive specifications
Federal government projects normally require non-restrictive specifications that outline a level of quality, do not limit competition, and give the contractor the option of getting cheaper material. Manufacturer names and other proprietary requirements are excluded from most federal government project specifications; instead, at least three products are listed, with a note others meeting the requirement are also acceptable.

Most federal, and some provincial, agencies in Canada provide their own Division 00–Procurement documents. Almost all use the post-2004, six-digit MasterFormat 2004 versions. In most cases, the representative of the agency is responsible for the procurement documents (Division 00). The agency in a government project is both the owner and the regulatory authority—the local authorities do not have jurisdiction on federal property. (On the other hand, local authorities do have jurisdiction over private property leased by federal agencies.)

Warranties and guaranties
Construction warranties and guarantees are required to protect the owner against defects and failures that may come up in spite of the contractor’s best efforts. Both words are generally interpreted differently. The former is an assurance made by the manufacturer it would assume the responsibility for its product, while the latter is a third party assuming responsibility for the product and installation of others.

There is also another primary difference in interpretation between warranties and guaranties. Guaranties are typically underwritten by a surety and have a cash value for completion of the any remedial work required as a result of product failure. Warranties can have a cash value or be simply – ‘my word’ – with no intrinsic value.

The roofing industry can provide a helpful example. If a roofing product manufacturer assumes responsibility for its product, it provides extended warranty for that material. In British Columbia and Alberta, the Roofing Contractors Association (RCABC or ARCA) supervises roof construction; if it complies with the group’s written instructions, a five-year extended guaranty is issued.

Extended warranties are not included in general conditions. Therefore, they should be mentioned in Part 1–General of the technical sections. It gives the owner recourse to seek remedy against subcontractors and manufacturers with whom it has no direct contract.

In its general documents, Canadian Contract Documents Committee (CCDC) includes a one-year “Warranty Period” (i.e. correction period) where a contractor is obliged to make corrections to defective work for one year following substantial completion.

Bonds and sureties
A bond is a written document issued by a surety company to guarantee a specified duty of contractor or the subcontractor. Even though the architect or the specification writer may have enough knowledge of bonds and sureties, the owner should seek the advice of its legal counsel or surety advisor. In addition to advantages explored in the paragraphs that follow, bonds provide some assurance of contractor’s financial stability. It is important to verify the surety company issuing the bonds is licensed and is financially stable.

Bid bonds
The contractors are required to submit bid bonds at the time of submission of bids. They protect the owner against unjustifiable withdrawal of an accepted bid. This ensures the bidder will enter into contract with the owner based on the submitted bid and provide performance and payment bonds. The contractor is not liable if the bid is not accepted within a stated time or if it can demonstrate an honest error in the preparation of the bid.

Performance bonds
Performance bonds provide owner protection; they guarantee if the contractor cannot complete the project for some reason and the owner has not breached the contract, the surety will investigate the owner’s claim and complete the project by hiring another contractor, providing funds for completing the project limited to the penal amount specified. However, if the surety disagrees with the claim, the owner may complete the project and take legal action against both the contractor and the surety company.

Payment bonds
Also commonly known as labour and material payment bonds, these bonds guarantee the contractor will pay all labour, subcontractors, and material suppliers. It is intended to protect the owner against lien by labour, suppliers, and subcontractors.

Co-ordination between drawings and specifications
Drawings, schedules, and specifications go hand in hand—the construction documents are incomplete if any are missing. For smaller projects, specifications are not a separate project manual, but are included on the drawings. Drawings are graphic representations and show shapes, locations, sizes, quantity, the generic material, and juxtaposition, while specifications describe the administrative procedures, product quality, codes, standards, material, and workmanship.

It is very important a designated professional from the architect’s office co-ordinate the drawings and specifications (at the 60 and 90 per cent completion stages and before final submission). He or she should also proofread the specification and co-ordinate with the architectural drawing, as well as with the specifications and drawings of other disciplines, to avoid any discrepancies. Drawings and specifications must be checked for consistency, omissions, conflicts, discrepancies, terminology, extent of allowances and alternates, phasing of work, schedules, owner-supplied materials, and contract limitations.

The final check should be made to see if all the items noted in the check done during the previous phases have been incorporated in the final construction documents.

[6]Cyrus Kabeer, CSP, NCARB, AIA, LEED AP, is an independent specification writer with an undergraduate degree in architecture and a master’s in urban planning with over 35 years of experience. Now based in Vancouver, he has worked as an architect in the United States, Canada, the Middle East, and India, providing design, working drawings, specifications, and contract administration for institutional, transportation, industrial, military installations, commercial, and residential projects. Kabeer has been doing specifications since 2006, finding his passion for spec writing. He can be reached at[7].

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  4. Construction Specifications Canada [CSC]:
  5. MasterFormat:
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