Structural Specification Preparation

We do specification preparation & Engineering and architectural drawings are the lifeblood of any construction project. They consist of architectural (elevations), site, structural (columns, beams, footings and reinforcement details), plumbing and electrical plans. Prior to the 1980s, 2D engineering and architectural drawings were sketched by hand on paper or mylar. Although precise and well-detailed, drawings were typically large-format, hard to store, and vulnerable to aging and damage.

Today, engineers and architects use computer-aided design (CAD) software such as AutoCAD or Revit to create 2D and3D drawings. Both are cloud-based systems that allow users to manage mountains of interrelated data such as dimensions, utilities, and finishes. CAD files are invaluable assets—data repositories that carefully guide construction at every stage of the process.

Specification Preparation for Structural Projects

  • Construction specifications, or specs, detail the work and workmanship required for each construction project.
  • A specs definition is “written documentation describing the scope of work, any materials that are to be used, the methods of installation, and the quality of workmanship under contract.”
  • Architects and designers typically define construction specs before a project, but project engineers or professional specification writers may as well.
  • Architectural specifications help encourage the correct execution of the design plan and reduce risk.
  • Three types of construction specifications (prescriptive, performance, and proprietary) may be used during a project.
  • Failing to communicate construction building specs could result in massive change orders and increased risk.

What Are Construction Specifications?

Construction specifications, also known, as specs, detail the work and workmanship needed to complete a construction project. And there’s no way to get around them. As required documents during the design phase, they’re part of a formal process. According to the Dictionary of Architecture & Construction a specification is, “a written document describing in detail the scope of work, materials to be used, methods of installation, and quality of workmanship for a parcel of work to be placed under contract; usually utilized in conjunction with working (contract) drawings in building construction.”

Furthermore, according to The Construction Specifier, “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.”

As mentioned, construction specifications are prepared before construction begins, in the design phase as part of the contract documents. Although their structure varies project-by-project, typically they reflect packages to be given to subcontractors from contractors. Specifically, this is extremely helpful in the tender process.

Who Handles Construction Specifications?

Typically, specs are prepared by the architect or designers. Generally, architects will delegate them but oftentimes project engineers will be involved due to their breadth of technical knowledge. Sometimes, on large-scale projects, companies will even call for specialized and professional construction specification writers to ensure all details are covered.

Although they are separate from design drawings themselves, specs should be complementary to these documents and prepared in tandem. So, if the design advances, so should the specifications, with more and more details being added as plans get more complex.

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