The vital importance of specifying

Mounir Kronful, BBA, CSI, Assoc. AIA
Often, during the execution of a project, problems arise because architects and engineers disregard specifications or do not give them enough importance during the design stage. It is essential the importance of construction documents be stressed to successfully execute the project.

A specification is a tailor-made document that assists the project team to effectively complete the project, by describing material properties and their installation for the project. Specifications identify the materials’ technical properties, fabrication, and installation requirements in its description.

Specification sections are customized in order to accurately describe the intended materials, and then these sections are used by the team to identify the type of products that should be used onsite. The clearer and more complete the document is, the easier it will be for the team to understand the requirements and work toward a successful execution.

Having been working as a specification writer in different countries throughout the Middle East, I have faced various instances where specifications are not being properly regarded in a project development. Yet, on the other hand, we can see some professionals believe in the importance of the specification document. (This is one of the reasons I feel it is important groups such as CSI are present in the Middle East region to help in spreading the awareness to architects, engineers, and all other construction professionals.)

Preparation of specification documents
Specifiers often face situations where architects request project specifications at the last minute and expect them to be prepared immediately. There is a habitually incorrect assumption that specifications are easy; there is an erroneous belief they only require ‘copy and pasting’ from another project.

This is unrealistic and incorrect as each project has its own style and design. Additionally, when materials change, so too do their properties and specifications. The project specifications should be a description of the materials intended by the designer in his or her final approved model. This requires each project to have its own customized specification document that cannot be copied from another project.

Specification writers should work hand-in-hand with architects, designers, and engineers to accurately reflect materials and their specifications, and they should also be involved early in the project during design development to help simplify the specification process.

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