Construction Document Templates

How do I Write a Construction Building Specification?

This information applies to any Australian architectural, building, interiors, landscape project, no matter the project size or type, be it housing, multi-residential, industrial, or commercial.

You don’t need to write your specifications! Designers usually edit them from a master specification (sometimes referred to as a master construction template).

When People say “I’m going to write the spec now” that means they are going to edit it from the master.

The actual writing of a master specification can only be done by an experienced professional or team dedicated to that goal.

Some design practices do create their own master specification but they rarely do a good job. Every master the writer has seen was at best very average.

It is not just the excessive time and effort required to create and maintain a master, but various staff overtime adds different language and content which corrupts the masters logic.

So how do you write (edit) your specifications?

Well, first you have to purchase a master specification and then edit it.

You have three main choices (ArchiAssist, Natspec, Specpack). There are others on the market, so tread carefully. Your choice of a master is critical. Quality, user-friendliness, and cost are all important to think about.

Cost not only involves purchase price, but the cost of the time to edit the spec and any time spent dealing with its shortcomings during construction.

Writing time does vary considerably between the three primary choices, but it is the shortcomings which can be very costly. Talk to people who have used these masters, you can gain some valuable insight.

Along with the masters quality, consider how easy it is to edit. A good master will have you adding very little to the spec. One way to tell if it is easy to edit is how many instructions it has for users.

Master specification content should just cover typical good quality, often mundane construction detail that repeats every day on building sites, much of which you shouldn’t have to think too much about.

So, a good master will have you deleting content not applicable to your project, with very minimal writing. Also, the master should be made for easy deleting and your spec should take no longer than a day.

Your drawings and schedules is where project-specific project detail goes (basically the general structure and fabric components, and the materials that you have selected), not in the specification.

It is a myth, maybe nurtured by the master spec producers that don’t have it right, that specifications are hard to produce. This is simply untrue if you use the right master specification.

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