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The Common Detail Parts of a Construction Building Specification.

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

Specifications contain a lot of detail.

A good rule to follow about what goes in a Spec (as opposed to what goes on the drawings and in the schedules) is that the Spec has all that common, universal type construction detail that repeats on projects every day, across Australia, the sort of detail we don’t really want to think twice about.

What goes best on the drawings and in the schedules is the project Specific detail, being the arrangements, individual details, dimensions and levels, product selections and their options (like colour and finish), and more.

When people adhere to the discipline of this information delineation, both documentation and construction are easier. Everyone, including the builder, is comfortable using the drawings and schedules which are quick reference tools. The Spec acts as a back-up-detail document.

There is also an information delineation within the Specification itself. It can be divided into, again, the specific detail and the common, universal detail.

The specific Spec detail describes actual individual building items or components. The common detail gives detail that a range of (sometimes all) building items or components have.

For example, specific masonry detail will present individual clauses on such things as, brick type, mortar quality, coping treatment, reinforcing, flashings and more.

Common Spec detail supports the specific item or component detail. With the masonry example, there will be common detail in the Masonry Section (Chapter) which talks about the common detail that all masonry items have. Then there is common detail in the Preliminaries Section which is applicable to all items and components in the project.

The Specification common detail should not be repeated but should be well cross-referenced within the Specification multiple times so that readers know without doubt that this common detail exists. Readers can’t just take an individual item or component clause and use just that, because they also need the common detail.

The common detail is put in one place and cross-referenced because it is very impractical to put all common detail at each individual item or component clause. That would result in enormous information double up producing an impractically huge Specification.

Whenever you are editing or reading a Specification, you must be aware of the common Spec detail which accompanies the specific Spec detail.

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