Page T1.1 . 20 February 2002                     
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    Better Faster Specifications

    by Evan H. Shu, FAIA

    When it comes to developing project specifications in this new technology world of ours, you will find a mixed bag of choices. The choices mirror the myriad ways architects have traditionally approached writing project specifications.

    While some practitioners carefully craft their specifications from the beginning of the architectural design process, many more of us see them as a last minute requirement that must be thrown together during the final stages of bidding or contract documents. We want our specifications fast and yet, knowing their critical importance, we want them accurate and comprehensive.

    The Office Master

    "The specification route for most of the profession is the 'office master,'" says Mark Kalin, FAIA, FCSI, a well-known specifications guru. By "office master," he means that master specification "bible" that has made it through countless project iterations in the office history red-marked with revisions for each new project.

    Unfortunately, such a process often leads to what might be called "fake specs" that perpetuate errors and lack currency. A recent Engineering News-Record survey found that 84 percent of contractors believed project specifications to be deficient. ENR also found that six out of seven product failures were due to improper selection of materials.   >>>

     

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    ArchWeek Image

    The E-Specs software scans existing CAD drawings to create a linked "call-offs" dictionary that ties to guide specs.
    Image: E-Specs

    ArchWeek Image

    E-Specs has a Spec-liner utility allowing architect to red-line or notate specs.
    Image: E-Specs

     

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