As a contractor, you and your clients should use several measures to ensure accurate and safe completion of the project. Specifications are often used to outline detailed aspects of your project and align your objectives and specifications with your clients. A better understanding of the important components of your construction specifications may help you correctly implement them into your service contract.
In this blog, we will define specifications in construction and cite their different types and benefits, and, most importantly, provide some tips on how you can best manage them.
What are Specifications in Construction?
These specifications in construction refer to details within the service contract that outline all the critical aspects necessary for project fulfillment. Throughout the course of project completion, you and your crew members may use specifications as a reliable reference for any questions that will soon arise. This is also very helpful in guaranteeing the correct fulfillment of the project requirement.
Specifications often include the following information:
- The scope of work
- The timeline and important project milestones
- The materials to be utilized in the project
- Methods of installation
- Quality of workmanship
- National and state safety standards
- Testing requirements
Who Uses Construction Specs?
You and your clients use specifications to create mutual objectives and build consistent expectations for the project. Oftentimes, your architects and designers create specifications to be reviewed by either your crew or your client even before finalization. For complex and large-scale projects, you may need to use cutting-edge tools like a construction scheduling system to streamline the overall process and complete the task immediately.
Here are some common types of projects that will require specifications include:
- Residential projects like single-family homes, condos, dormitories, and townhomes.
- · Industrial projects like oil refineries, production buildings, and manufacturing plants
- Civil infrastructure projects like railways, dams, and underground tunnels.
- Institutional projects like hospitals, stadiums, and schools.
The Many Benefits of Specifications
Specifications are an essential aspect of your project completion. It has many benefits, including:
1. Clarifying project details
The more details included in your contract, the more precisely you and your team can complete the project. Including some thorough specifications in the contract will ensure that your member has access to all details and data necessary to complete the tasks correctly. Integrate this process with construction management software to make everything more streamlined. Deploying a sophisticated software tool contributes to your projects’ overall success and organization.
2. Setting expectations
Specifications are an excellent way to set clear expectations between your company and your existing customers. Ensuring both parties have a mutual and better understanding of the project details will guarantee an alignment of objectives. It will also prevent any delays due to a lot of misinterpretations. Specifications might also provide many details that can help your clients more accurately understand the project results.
3. Determining to price
The specifications outline the labor and materials needed to complete the project. These details will help you more precisely and fairly price your construction projects. This also guarantees you to receive the proper compensation of your efforts.
Let’s explore more reasons why these specs are truly important. Here are more reasons why they are beneficial and need to prioritize:
- The construction spec can give you more precise instructions on the project’s performance, intent, and planning.
- The specs reference the standards and quality to be applied.
- Materials and products can be clearly defined.
- It permits the identification of installation, testing, and handover requirements.
- Determining information becomes easier since it will eliminate the need for overload on the drawing or models.
- A spec can support project cost estimation by determining materials, workmanship, and products.
- The spec and the drawings are part of the contract documents, which reduce project risks and can support if any legal issues arise.
- It is critical for the construction phase and a significant part of the follow-up process.
- A detailed specification provides answers to on-site construction questions.
- The specs can be developed over time and adapted to every project.
- The specifications are a living document and must be used throughout the construction phase.
- A construction spec becomes part of the project’s audit trail. This can form the basis for your future policies and management.
- It assures your client that they are getting what they are expecting.
Types of Construction Specifications
There are five common types of construction specs – prescriptive, proprietary, and performance specifications, general, and detailed.
1. Prescriptive Spec
Prescriptive specs refer to the required materials for installation methods and activities to complete many aspects of the construction project. The idea here is that all specified products within prescriptive spec should be used for your project to meet its performance requirements. The main advantage of this spec is that it allows you to use your products to comply with all the design objectives for the project.
Nearly all specifications usually are considered prescriptive since they are meant to tell you what products you should be used to construct a building.
2. Performance Specs
Performance specs will be going to provide you with all of the operation requirements to complete your project. Instead of giving some detailed instructions on how to achieve the final product fully, the performance specs will define the anticipated results. This leaves a broader discretion to decide how to perform for as long as the desired outcome is going to be achieved.
And accordingly, performance specs will include extensive testing provisions to ensure that your project meets all of the operational requirements.
3. Propriety specs
The third types of specs are the rarest of the breed. These specs are used when a particular material or product is required for installations. In a few cases, propriety specs are used when alterations to an existing structure, and your client needs to match the improvement to the completed portion.
While this spec is considered rare, it is pretty similar to the prescriptive documents, except that they are written down with one particular product in mind. So, this only means you can use these specific materials when constructing a project.
4. General specifications
This is commonly used in residential or commercial work; this type of construction spec refers to general spec. It comprises product information but does not precisely specify which manufacturer should be used. In some instances, this serves as a middle ground between prescriptive spec and performance-based documents. However, note that this spec may not be totally right for your complex, large-scale projects requiring unique features.
5. Detailed specifications
A detailed spec is slightly different from a general one since it covers virtually every aspect of the construction in inaccurate terms. This construction spec is generally used when your clients have little to no experience working on large-scale, complex projects and need more guidance. Detailed specifications can either be special or standard.
How Can You Improve Your Construction Specs?
To help you successfully improve your construction specifications, here are some additional tips you may follow:
Start early: It is crucial to start writing your specifications early during the project life cycle. By writing early, you might have extra time to review all the details of your contracts with your construction crew and clients. Use a construction scheduler to ensure all parties agree to the content and will feel prepared to start work on the projects.
Defining your specifications as early as possible will also provide you more time to many any unnecessary revisions. Overall, it improves your construction specs.
- Be specific: When writing down the specifications, you need to do your best to pay more attention to detail. You must include every aspect of your construction project thoroughly and clearly to ensure successful project fulfillment. While specifications take time and detailed work, the final results of your successful project and the satisfaction of your clients might be well worth the effort.
- Check your language and punctuation: To prevent any misinterpretation or ambiguity, you must carefully review and revise the punctuation and language of your specifications. This will help you ensure that all of your parties clearly understand the content’s intention.
- Use construction management software: A construction software tool enables you to update all of your construction specs and documents in one place. You can also link specification details to either your drawings or documents. You can also store old specs from your previous contract revisions for more clarifications, especially when changes are not clear.
- Avoid repetition of the requirements: You must cite all specification requirements clearly and only once within the contract. Repeating requirements in different wording might cause issues of confusion or ambiguity. If you happen to repeat a requirement to clarify any tasks necessary for your project completion, it is crucial to make sure you use the exact wording as in the first instance.
Streamline Your Construction Specs with Pro Crew Schedule
With potentially thousands of specification pages, managing revisions, sorting, and delivering spec sections is daunting. Pro Crew Schedule is the only construction scheduling system designed for contractors to spend less time managing their construction specifications and more time getting work done.
In addition, with Pro Crew Schedule, you and your team can foster improved collaboration. You can also assign tasks to your subs and develop comprehensive project specs that can be easily shared with all of the stakeholders involved.