How Can Construction Specifications Be Improved—

Serial Information: Civil Engineering—ASCE, 1978, Vol. 48, Issue 2, Pg. 56-59

Document Type: Feature article


Construction costs could be cut perhaps 5% to 10% if specifications were improved, as the ASCE survey of contractors discloses. Spec writers must have had responsible field experience. For heavy construction jobs, the spec writer should be an engineer. He should be a specialist in the spec writing field. If you cut and paste the spec, based on an earlier job—be very careful. Sometimes contractors can help in writing the spec—particularly, where you are dealing with a type of job, or type of material or equipment, that is new to you; but be careful—or you may write the spec so as to favor the contractor with whom you consult. Contractors strongly encourage performance language in specs, both for telling the manner of doing the work, and the materials to be used. Value engineering is, like performance specs, a way of encouraging cost reductions. Statistical quality control is to be encouraged in the case of aggregate sizes, for example. Ways ASCE can help are suggested.

Subject Headings: Contractors and subcontractors | Construction management | Writing skills | Value engineering | Construction costs | Surveys (non-geomatic) | Consulting services | Statistics

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