Improving Specifications

by Joseph Goldbloom, (F.ASCE), Manager (retired); Specifications Dept., Parsons Brinkerhoff, New York, NY,

Serial Information: Civil Engineering—ASCE, 1992, Vol. 62, Issue 9, Pg. 68-70

Document Type: Feature article


Ambiguous and unclear specifications cause confusion, disagreements, and, often, lawsuits. All too frequently the writer is at fault for not making clear exactly what he or she means. And if the case progresses to court, what is written on the contract always takes precedence over what was meant, making it incumbent on the specification writer to work carefully. But, by being consistent, and following some simple rules regarding word choice and grammar, engineers can produce clear, well written specifications. The result is a smoother job, carried out in the proper manner.

Subject Headings: Litigation | Geological faults | Contracts | Personnel management

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