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.
Principal designers have three fundamental choices when it comes to specifications. These are; 1) use a specification outsource writer, 2) create one from scratch, 3) purchase an industry master specification.
In this article, we won’t look at specifications used by secondary consultants (structural, civil, hydraulic, electrical engineers, etc). Let’s look at the three choices for the principal designer.
Outsourcing to a writer to produce your specification is a valid way to go. There are many competent writers in Australia.
This choice will free up some of your time, but the fee and the writers responsibilities need consideration.
You will need to spend some time administering the process and checking the specification once it is done, which has a time cost.
Finally, what master specification will the writer use? You want it to be a quality, user-friendly document.
2_Create your own
This is not recommended. It requires a vast amount of work.
The original draft of the ArchiAssist master took Greg Blain three months with no days off. After that, to improve and keep it updated, at least the same amount of time spread over many years had been spent.
Greg Blain has seen many self-created master specifications. While those who created them loved their master, in reality, every master seen was very far from being a high-quality document.
And it is not just the excessive time needed to create and maintain the master which is a problem. Different staff overtime add different writing styles and ideas for the content, which can make the master very messy.
3_Purchase a master specification
If you have the time or inclination to write your own specification, this is a good way to go.
You have three main purchase choices (ArchiAssist, Natspec, Specpack). There are a few other masters and you have to make your own decision.
Selecting a master is a very important thing. Quality, ease of use, and cost are primary considerations.
Cost not only involves purchase price, but the cost of the time to write the spec and any time spent dealing with spec shortcomings during construction.
Writing time does vary considerably between the three primary choices, but it is the shortcomings which can be very costly.
Specifications are a very important document (lawyers say the most important in a construction contract). Take your time to research, you need to be sure. Feel free to call ArchiAssist for assistance.