What Are Specifications in Construction?

February 24, 2024

Construction specifications are detailed descriptions of materials, equipment, and workmanship required in a project. They are typically created during the design phase and serve as a guide for contractors to follow throughout construction. They cover a wide range of items, from the type of concrete to be used to the size of screws for attaching fixtures. Specs are important because they establish consistent expectations across all parties and help to ensure that the work performed is of high quality. Specs also help reduce cost and risk by clearly outlining requirements and ensuring that all stakeholders have a shared understanding of what needs to be done.

Typically, specifications are prepared by architects and designers. However, on larger projects, professional specification writers are often brought in to ensure that all details are covered. They are also normally prepared in conjunction with the project drawings. This allows them to be coordinated and helps to avoid discrepancies which may lead to costly change orders.

There are three types of construction specifications: performance, prescriptive and proprietary. A performance specification outlines what is needed for a given project such as acoustic, thermal or structural requirements. Prescriptive specifications outline the exact products to be used and include standards, grades and materials. Proprietary specifications require the use of only one specific product brand.

Regardless of the type of construction specifications, it is essential that they be written in clear language with minimal technical jargon and that they comply with industry standards. They should also be regularly reviewed by a variety of people to identify any errors or omissions. They should also be structured to reflect packages of work for bidding purposes, which makes them more accurate and easier to price for suppliers.

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