The inside scoop on MasterFormat 2016

April 18, 2016

Essential to anyone part of the design/construction process, MasterFormat has just been updated with revisions that reflect the evolution of building technology and project delivery. Photo Ⓒ Bigstock
Essential to anyone part of the design/construction process, MasterFormat has just been updated with revisions that reflect the evolution of building technology and project delivery.
Photo Ⓒ Bigstock

By Kevin O’Beirne, PE, CSI, CCS, CCCA, and Mark Kalin, FAIA, FCSI, CCS
MasterFormat is the industry’s leading resource for organizing project manuals and specifications, construction project filing systems, construction product information (e.g. manufacturers’ catalogs), and construction cost estimates. The new, updated, improved edition is coming later this spring, and this article offers a sneak peak on what has changed from the previous edition.

Construction Specifications Canada (CSC) and CSI, through a joint MasterFormat Maintenance Task Team, continuously evaluate suggestions for revisions, and update the resource every two years. The newest edition has been improved to be even more useful, but the vast majority of the resource remains unchanged. The most important changes are summarized below.

Division 00−Procurement and Contracting Requirements
A new listing was added for “Project Directory” to indicate the names and contact information for project participants.

Division 01−General Requirements
Delegated design procedures were added.

Division 02−Existing Conditions
Mould remediation was deleted, and various listings were added for removal of animal excrement—a topic that may be unappetizing, but a bona-fide work result for existing buildings.

Division 03−Concrete
Additions include termite barriers, topical treatment for concrete finishing, and heavy-duty concrete floor finishing.

Division 06−Wood, Plastics, and Composites
Composite stairs were added.

Division 07−Thermal and Moisture Protection
Additions included ceramic tile wall panels, cementitious wall panels, zinc siding, penetrating polyester water repellents, operable roof vents, various types of expansion-joint assemblies, wood shingle and shake siding, and vegetated roof systems. New numbers and titles include 07 05 43−Cladding Support Systems, 07 42 29–Terra Cotta Wall Panels, and 07 54 16–Ketone Ethylene Ester Roofing.

Division 08−Openings
Additions include plastic-faced wood doors, point-supported all-glass storefronts, point-supported all-glass curtain walls (with separate listings for glass-framed, metal-framed, and cable-framed), various types of sound-control door assemblies, hot- and cold-rolled steel windows, hinged wood-framed glass doors, architectural terrace doors, and aluminum-framed entrances. New numbers and titles include 08 46 00–Window Wall Assemblies, 08 65 00–Glazed Canopies, 08 65 13–Suspended Glazed Canopies, 08 81 23–Exterior Glass Glazing, and 08 81 26–Interior Glass Glazing.

Division 09−Finishes
Additions include suspended plastic ceilings, simulated stone wall facing, stone base, stone window stools, gilding, folding glass-panel partitions, and coin-operated lockers. New numbers and titles include 09 78 19–Cementitious Interior Wall Paneling and 09 78 23–Phenolic Interior Wall Paneling.

Division 10−Specialties
Various types of awnings, canopies, and walkway coverings were added, along with flagpoles. Also added were listings for stainless steel and phenolic-core toilet compartments, along with shower and dressing compartments. New numbers and titles include 10 28 26–Hygiene and Custodial Accessories (for hand sanitizers and other non-toilet accessories).

Division 11−Equipment
Additions included pedestrian control devices. New numbers and titles include 11 14 19–Portable Posts and Railings.

Division 12−Furnishings
Solid surface casework has been incorporated.

Division 13−Special Construction
Permanent tier forming has been added. New numbers and titles include 13 19 19–Animal Washing Tubs.

Division 14−Conveying Equipment
Material lifts, vehicle lifts, and chair lifts have been added.

Division 21−Fire Suppression
Additions included various new listings for common work results, carbon dioxide fire-extinguishing systems, and fire pump accessories.

Division 22−Plumbing
Various new listings for common work results were added, together with greywater piping, various types of domestic water pumps, stormwater retention tanks, and medical gas alarms.

Division 23−HVAC
Numerous items were added, including various common work results, direct-digital controls (15 listings, and sequence of operation for HVAC DDC), various additional listings for pumps and tanks for storage of liquefied petroleum gas and other fuels, makeup water filtration equipment, listed kitchen ventilation system exhaust ducts, draft control fans, and packaged variable refrigerant-flow air-conditioning systems. Other additions include listings for various types of additional water chillers, cooling towers, packaged outdoor HVAC equipment, terminal through-wall air-conditioning equipment, computer-room air-conditioning equipment, air coils; and ground-source unitary heat pumps.

Division 26−Electrical
Various types of electrical studies were added. Also added were new listings for common work results, various types of lighting controls, power factor correction equipment, various items for secondary unit substations, electrically powered circuit-breaker panelboards, electric vehicle recharging stations, wind turbines for a single facility, central battery equipment, and various changes in work results for lighting. Various new titles were also added for low- and medium-voltage busways, bus assemblies, and cablebuses, along with operation and maintenance of lightning protection systems.

Division 27−Communications
Numerous changes were made in this division, including modifications of existing listings and additions of many new numbers and titles.

Division 28−Electronic Safety and Security
Division 28 encompasses work results for the electronic and ‘intelligent’ elements related to facility security, fire detection and alarms, and other life safety systems. From its introduction in 2004 until 2014, Division 28 experienced very few changes, while the security industry evolved extensively due to both technological innovations and the realities of the post-9/11 world.

An in-depth feature on the various changes—from access control and video surveillance to life safety and security detection—will appear in the May 2016 issue of CSI’s The Construction Specifier. The article is by Ray Coulombe of SecuritySpecifiers—the group that spearheaded the process of updating Division 28.

Division 32−Exterior Improvements
Additions included manufactured fire pits, plastic paving, permeable paving, exterior planting support structures, and equestrian surfacing.

Division 33−Utilities
This division underwent a comprehensive, top-to-bottom revision, which addresses all types of ‘outside-the-fence’ utilities, including water, wastewater, stormwater, hydrocarbons (e.g. petroleum and natural gas), hydronic and steam energy, high- and extra-high voltage electrical, and communications. These revisions (as well as those to Divisions 35 and 41 mentioned later in this article) are the culmination of a nine-year process undertaken by an ad-hoc working group, the Environmental Engineers Coalition. (It comprises representatives of 10 major firms with significant practice in the fields of environmental, process, utilities, and waster/wastewater construction.) For more on the changes, read the online feature on The Construction Specifier website[1].

Division 35−Waterway and Marine Construction
Significant revisions under 35 20 00−Waterway and Marine Construction and Equipment were made, covering general fabrications such as bulkheads, penstocks, and debris cages, along with large hydraulic gates (e.g. tainter, miter, and spillway crest) and various types of dredging.

Division 41−Materials Processing and Handling Equipment
Revisions under 41 01 00 and 41 20 00 expanded and enhanced the work results listings for silos, hoppers, and storage bins used for granular bulk materials such as fly ash, dry chemicals, agricultural products, and other materials.

Division 45− Industry-specific Manufacturing Equipment
A new Level 2 for biopharmaceutical manufacturing equipment was added.

Division 46−Water and Wastewater Equipment
Vapour compression distillation units were added.

Division 48−Electrical Power Generation
Maintenance of substation equipment and various listings for combined heat-and-power systems were added to this division.

Don’t live in the past
MasterFormat’s 2016 edition is the latest, greatest resource for organizing project manuals, specifications, and other construction-related data.

Holdouts still using the grossly outdated 16-division MasterFormat must now switch to the 50-division version. It has become increasingly difficult to find industry resources organized in the old format, which has been out of date for a dozen years. The 50-division format is considerably better than its 20th century predecessors and, as this article demonstrates, continues to further improve every two years.

The new resource is expected to be available shortly from CSC and CSIlook for announcements soon.

O'Beirne - 2013-07Kevin O’Beirne, PE, CSI, CCS, CCCA, is a manager of standard construction documents in the Buffalo, New York, office of Arcadis—a global engineering firm. A professional engineer licensed in New York and Pennsylvania, he is an active member and past-chair of the Engineers Joint Contract Documents Committee, and a member of CSI’s MasterFormat Maintenance Task Team. He can be reached at[2].


mark kalinMark Kalin, FAIA, FCSI, CCS, is president of specifications writing and consulting firm Kalin Associates in Newton, Massachusetts, and the chair of CSI’s MasterFormat Maintenance Task Team. A past-chair of CSI’s Technical Committee and American Institute of Architects’ (AIA’s) MasterSpec Review Committee, he has previously served as president of both CSI’s Boston Chapter, and the Specifications Consultants in Independent Practice (SCIP). Kalin can be reached at[3].

  1. The Construction Specifier website:

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