Guidelines for Producing Better Specifications

by Eli T. Abdallah, (M.ASCE), Manager; Specifications Dept., Parsons, Brinckerhoff, Quade & Douglas, Inc., One Penn Plaza, New York, N.Y. 10119,

Serial Information: Journal of the Construction Division, 1982, Vol. 108, Issue 3, Pg. 438-444

Document Type: Journal Paper


Careful preparation, procedures, and methods to produce better specifications will minimize errors and reduce costs of delays and claims for extras. Specifications should be reviewed at preliminary, intermediate, and prefinal submittal stages by all disciplines of the design team. Specifications should be coordinated with the drawings to delete conflicts. The specifications should be checked for constructibility by reviewing existing conditions, restrictions as to access, utility availability, work areas, disposal areas, sequencing of work, time of completion, availability of materials, submittal requirements, quality assurance, and quality control. Many clauses should be discussed with the owner such as changed conditions, escalation, liquidated damages, retained percentages, mobilization, and insurance requirements. An important aspect is to have feedback from the field on how the specifications held up under actual conditions. Owners give an implied warranty to the contractor that the specifications are constructible, otherwise the contractor deserves additional compensation with time extensions to make them constructible.

Subject Headings: Quality control | Owners | Contractors and subcontractors | Traffic delay | Claims | Insurance | Project delay

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