Tag Archives: specifications

Architects and Specification Writers: Part two

A basic tenet of a good set of construction documents is “Mention it once and in the right place.” The contract is between the owner and the contractor, and the specifications communicate to the latter what is required (without telling the contractor how to construct). This second article in a three-part series on architects, specifiers, and construction documentation focuses on language and specification format.

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Architects and Specification Writers: Part 1

In more than one instance, this author has heard an architect tell a specifier something along the lines of “You want 250 hours for specifications? I have only budgeted 70 hours.” A project manager once told me, “We provide specifications only because the client requires us to do it—the contractor does not look at the specifications until there is a legal issue.” This is a dangerous line of thinking because it eventually has negative impact on the architectural firm and its reputation.

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Are your specs as up to date as you are?

You may have ‘typical’ specs to use as the basis of your next project specifications, but how helpful are they if not continuously renewed and updated? It is easy to keep older construction documents, using them over and over again for projects of the same nature. However, this is exactly what I strongly advise against, even if for a consecutive phase for the same building. Things change, and what seemed right for yesterday’s project may not be suitable for today’s one.

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Spec Matters: What does THAT mean?

English is complicated, and misinterpretation of written communication is pervasive. Without the added layer of subtleties of speech tone, body language, and context, many written sentences can be easily misinterpreted. This is especially true when it comes to specifications.

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