Why are specifications important?

Specifications are intended to provide the qualitative requirements for materials, components, timeline, and systems selected for the project. They must be complimentary to the drawings, and complete enough to allow the contractor to understand the desired standards and complete project scope. 

What are common problems with specifications?

This can mean many things. Drawings that do not reflect specified products. Specified material/systems that cannot be engineered according to industry standards. Inclusion of features that simply are not necessary for the feasibility of the desired outcome. Ambiguity of language that could lead to different interpretations.

Lack of review is likely the major cause of specification inaccuracies. Crossed wires in terms of mixed materials or systems, specs that were copied from previous projects and not completely updated. Occasional use of an item or material that is simply not going to work for the intended application. 

Staying up to date is key for all the steps of the construction process from planning to final completion. Inclusion of systems or materials that are no longer available will cause a full stop of the project. Many times, having to revisit from square one. A simple phone call can often avoid the error.

Most of these errors are due to using outdated specs or copying specs from previous projects. Sometimes it is due to wanting to use 3 manufacturers to help keep the price down, and the manufacturers listed are actually renditions of the same company. On the contractor/sub-contractor side, manufacturers that are consistently able to deliver quality in the time constraints of the project are preferred by all. That type of collaboration on the back end of projects should get recognition in the Specification process as well.

Codes are a moving target. Period. The manufacturer’s representatives should be able to help point you in the right direction for clarification. In many cases new codes will supersede old requirements and leaving in an old code reference leads to ambiguity and other issues. 

How Combs & Assoc. can be the solution for you:

Your time and billable hours are needlessly wasted by having to repeatedly clarify what is and what is not allowed in your spec. Have peace of mind when it comes to your project. Please review any of the specifications offered here, and feel free to alter the format to your needs. If you have any questions, we are only a phone call away.

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