Writing Effective Specifications

by Madan L. Arora, Vice President; Montgomery Watson, Pasadena, Calif.,

Serial Information: Civil Engineering—ASCE, 1994, Vol. 64, Issue 3, Pg. 69-71

Document Type: Feature article


Specification writing is typically looked on as a minor detail, to be handed off to some junior staffer at the end of the design, but is it? Specification often take precedence over the drawings and poorly written ones can lead to lost time, change orders and, ultimately, lost money. However, the problems that specification writers run into can be broken down into several categories. Some of the areas where writers get into trouble are: duplicate wordings, unit responsibility, spare parts, consistency, startup and testing procedures, equipment model numbers, extra work, substitutions, exculpatory clauses, manufacturers experience and related sections. Care and diligence can help a writer avoid these traps and make it more likely that they get their message across.

Subject Headings: Writing skills | Change orders | Equipment and machinery | Structural models

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