What Does Spec Mean in Construction?

March 4, 2024

A good construction project is built on a foundation of solid and well-written specifications. Having clear and accurate construction specifications reduces risk, resulting in a higher quality end product. In fact, some businesses will not even offer to bid on a construction project without well-defined specs. In this article, we’ll cover what does specs mean in construction and how they are created to ensure a successful project.

Construction Specifications are written by the design team and go hand-in-hand with the design drawings. They are a detailed description of the materials, products, and installation procedures to be used on the construction site. Typically, construction specifications are prepared by architects and designers, but they can also be delegated to engineering teams. On large-scale projects, specialized and professional construction specification writers are sometimes required to make sure all the details are covered.

Depending on the project requirements, construction specifications can be “performance-based,” which only describes what the final installed product must achieve, “prescriptive,” which gives the contractor information on how to accomplish the work scope and “proprietary”, which is reserved for items that are restricted to a single manufacturer. Most of the time, construction specifications are a combination of performance-based and prescriptive specifications.

It’s important to have clear and well-written construction specifications because they describe in words things that cannot be visualized or explained in the design drawings and model, such as the contract information, client requests, performance criteria to be achieved, references to applicable standards and design criteria, the work scopes, materials and products needed, installation procedures, and project quality requirements. Properly completed construction specifications also help to streamline the bidding and procurement process by providing a solid basis for pricing. In addition, having accurate construction specifications helps to avoid costly change orders and cost overruns during the construction phase of the project.

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