Brain Food: But That's Not what I Meant! Specifying the Architect's Intent

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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.

Learning Objectives

  1. 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.
  2. Understand how to positively specify as opposed to specifying by exception
  3. Identify techniques to specify both unusual and common conditions without missing any scope
  4. Describe what system the contractor must build with a list of the products required to complete that system