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.
There are 3 main document types drafted by the designer, all to be used for building construction. These are; the drawings, the schedules (lists of materials and products), and the specification (or technical template).
Another document, the general conditions of contract, outlines the legal responsibilities of the owner and builder and is usually a purchased industry document not drafted by the designer.
The specification has the building and construction micro and macro detail that ties the drawings and schedules together, and altogether they give the builder the detail required to build the project theoretically without question.
The reality though, is that the construction and building documents, including the specification, are imperfect and it is likely some things will need clarification during construction. The general wording and content of the specification can help turn these imperfections into reasonable outcomes.
The specification is a written A4 size booklet, best between 50-90 pages long. Longer specifications are less likely to be read. Also, during pricing, builders can tend to add a higher price to allow for anything they may have missed or decided not to read in a longer specification.
Specification content is technical, nominating specific often minute detail of what is to be built, but should not contain detail of how to build as that is the builder’s responsibility.
Specification content normally covers typical good quality but usually mundane construction detail that repeats every day on building sites, much of which designers shouldn’t have to think too much about.
Specifications are vital to the construction or building contract, not only for the quantity of important detail they provide but also because of their ability to resolve random construction problems. A specification is like an insurance policy.
The specification gives peace of mind, even for the builder when it is in their subcontract agreements. Specifications also provide a sense of certainty when it known that things are accounted for in writing.
No matter the project size or type, a specification is an absolute necessity and should always be used.