Brain Food: But That's Not What I Meant! Specifying the Architect's Intent
Once a designer hands their drawings off to the author of the specifications, what is the confidence level that their intent will be correctly captured? It has nothing to do with the competency of the specifier. The difficulty is the structure of specifications sections, which typically begin with a Summary article and a "Section Includes" statement. Section Includes has been relegated to a simple list of materials, products, and assemblies that are contained within each section. These lists offer no insight as to intent. There is a solution: CSI's MasterFormat® states the specifications master list of numbers and titles is classified by work results, not by-products. So replace those Section Includes product lists with Work Results statements to describe the Architect's Intent. Specifiers are likely the best ones suited to the task. The specifier infers and confirms the intent through the specifications writing process. Specifiers review drawings, interview the architect, take notes, and collect data. And then specifiers restate the intent as contract requirements. Stating intent with short explicit descriptions will paint a mental picture drawn from the reader's experience. The association with previous experience will allow instant understanding and will promote better retention.
- Construct Statement of the Architect's intent by Stating what product will be installed. Stating how the product will be installed. Stating where the product will be installed.
- Understand how to positively specify as opposed to specifying by exception
- Identify techniques to specify both unusual and common conditions without missing any scope
- Describe what system the contractor must build with a list of the products required to complete that system
Approved for 1 AIA LU
David Stutzman, AIA, FCSI, CCS, SCIP, LEEP, AP
David Stutzman is an independent construction specifier and architect. He founded and leads Conspectus, Inc. the largest, expert independent specifications consulting firm in the United States, Based in Southern New Jersey and with multiple regional offices. David has extensive experience in producing architectural and engineering specifications for federal government masters, commercial masters, office masters, and construction projects. Additionally, through the specification process, David becomes a quality assurance partner by identifying areas of concern to be addressed by the construction documents. He is leading the initiative in delivering integrated Uniformat and MasterFormat specifications that align owner project requirements, design intent, and estimates for critical decision-making required to balance performance, quality, and costs during the design process. David has created and developed an 'industry-first tool to produce written construction documentation that benefits all members of the project team, in particular the owner, estimator, and architect/engineer.