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3/4/2015

Debre Markos University


College Of Technology
Department Of Construction Technology
And Management
Chapter I: Specification
 Introduction
 Purpose of giving Specifications
 Types of Specifications
 Principles of Good Specification Writing
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Introduction
 Specifications are written instructions which supplement the drawing
to describe the complete technical requirements of the work.
 Specifications are the written requirements for a material, product for
a proposed project.
 They define the quality of materials and workmanship by the
contractor/client.
 In general the drawings show what is to be done whereas the
specifications state how it is to be accomplished and the results to be
obtained.
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3/4/2015

 According to the American Institute of Architects (AIA) Document


A201-2007, the Contract Documents for a construction project consist
of the

Agreement,
Agreement

Specifications,
Specifications

Conditions of

Addenda,
Addenda

as

well

the
as

Contract
Contract, Drawing
Drawing,
other

miscellaneous

documents associated with the contract between the project Owner and
the Contractor hired to complete the work.
 Construction specifications,
specifications is a part of the legal documents of the
agreement and form a cornerstone of the project design.
 In fact, in most cases, the construction specifications override the
project drawings in the event of conflicting information.

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Purpose of Specifications
 To describe the quality and quantity of different materials required
for a construction work.
 To determine cost of a unit quantity.
 This also specifies the workmanship and the method of doing the
work.
 So, serves as a guide to the staff of a contractor as well as to the owner
to execute the work to their satisfaction.
 For payment:payment A work is carried out according to its specification and
the contractor is paid for the same. Any change in specification
changes the tendered rate.
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Types of Specifications
 There are four methods of specifying.
o Descriptive
o Performance
o Reference Standard
o Proprietary

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Descriptive Specifications
 Descriptive Specifications specify the exact properties of
the materials that the contractor must use. And, methods
of installation are described in detail without using
proprietary or manufacturer's names.
names.
 In this situations the Architect/Engineer want to exercise
tight control over the specified work
work..

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3/4/2015

Advantages to using descriptive specifications:


 Descriptive specifications specify exactly what the
design intends.
 They are applicable to all conditions, methods or
situations of a project.
 They are applicable to all sizes and types of projects.
 They permit free competition because they do not
restrict the use of specific products or manufacturers.

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Disadvantages of descriptive specifications:


 It shift more of the project design control onto the shoulders of the
architect or engineer and away from the contractor by establishing a
set of rules that is to be followed for each project component.
 They require the specifier to take special care in describing the design
intent in order to achieve the desired results.
 It tend to take up more space because they require more verbiage than
other methods.
 They may be more time consuming than other methods to create and
write.
write

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3/4/2015

Performance Specifications
 Performance based specifications focus on outcomes or
results rather than process,
process and the required goods and
services rather than how the goods and services are
produced..
produced
 A performance specification tells the contractor what the
final installed product must be capable of doing
doing.
 The contractor is not instructed as to how to accomplish
the task of meeting the performance specification
requirements - only as to how the component must
function after installation.
installation.
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Performance Specifications Cond


 performance specification is for the architect or engineer to
describe what they need
need, and the contractor to determine
the best way to get there
there..
 The performance specification focuses on the outcome and
shifts the selection of materials and methods, as well as a
portion of the design work, onto the shoulders of the
contractor..
contractor
 They are generally used to encourage the use of new and
innovative techniques that may lead to more economical
construction.
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3/4/2015

Advantages to using performance specifications:


 Only the end result or design intent/goal is specified, this
gives the Contractor flexibility in selecting and applying
products.
 They permit free competition.
 They can be applicable in all types and sizes of projects.
 The Architecture/Engineering firm is a little bit free than
the contractor for the results.

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Disadvantages to using performance specifications:


 They can be time consuming to produce and may result in
long, detailed specifications.
 They are more difficult to enforce than other methods of
specifying.
 In

this

case

the

Contractor

instead

of

the

Architecture/Engineering firm is responsible for the


results.

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3/4/2015

Reference Standard Specifications


 Under this method reference is made to an established standard or
codes defined by associations very knowledgeable about a certain part
or phase of construction.
 Reference standard specifications are used for "commodity" products
in the marketplace,
marketplace where brand names are not important.
 Reference specifying is best used for defining associated requirements
(tests, qualifications, etc) and for describing specific material or
product selections
selections, rather than for describing the actual construction
or installation process

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Advantages to using reference standard


specifications:
The standard is usually widely known and accepted by
the industry.
They do not limit competition.
They dramatically shorten the length of specifications.

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3/4/2015

Disadvantages to using reference standard


specifications:
 There may be no appropriate standard to reference, because standards
are written for the most commonly used and generally available
products.
 Standards generally refer to the minimum requirements.
 The standard may become obsolete or out-of-date, because of
advances and changes in technology and the creation of new products.
 They require a lot of research and care in use.
 They must be incorporated properly, including all supplementary
information.
 They may also ignore any special aesthetic requirements or specific
climatic conditions.
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Proprietary Specifications
 Under this method the actual brand names
names, model numbers and other
proprietary information is specified.
 They are primarily used for private commercial projects where the
Owner knows what products they want.
 There are two types of proprietary specifications, closed and open.
 Closed
Closed: Closed specifications generally prohibit substitutions
substitutions. One or
more products are specified, and no substitutions will be considered.
considered
 Open
Open: Open specifications permit substitutions
substitutions. One or more products
are specified, but other manufacturers will be considered.

It is

necessary to specify the process and criteria the alternate manufacturers


will be judged by.
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3/4/2015

Advantages to using proprietary


specifications:
 They allow for close control of product selection.
 The specification can be shorter and most precise.
 They simplify the bidding by narrowing competition and
eliminating product pricing as a major variable.
 Manufacturers warranties are another potential advantage
with brand specifying.

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Disadvantages to using proprietary specifications:


 They reduce the competition:competition While specifying by brand
name is the most precise, it can also be restrictive and
removes the opportunity for competitive purchasing
 They may specify products the Contractor is not familiar
with or has had little experience with.
 Care should be taken to assure no error is made when
specifying model numbers or product designations.

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Principles of Good Specification Writing


Good Grounding In Specification Writing
 Writing style:
style: - Specifications should be written in short concise
sentences in the simplest style possible and correct punctuation.
 Clarity
Clarity:: - means using plain English, avoiding legalese and jargon and
restricting vocabulary to words in unfamiliar words, having more than
one meaning.
 Accuracy
Accuracy::- Ensure consistency and accuracy by using the same simple
terms throughout and avoid acronyms and abbreviations, unless very
well known accuracy also means avoid redundant and misleading
paragraphs; in particular poorly or loosely worded

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Thank you
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