Discussion: View Thread

  • 1.  How You Use the Construction Specifications, Share Your Best Practice

    Posted 10-21-2019 12:27 PM
    Edited by Tirza Austin 10-21-2019 12:36 PM
    Are your project specifications a SuperSpec?

    ASCE's Construction Institute Specifications Committee would like to hear from YOU.  The committee is collecting feedback on best practices (and pitfalls) covering 6 Key Issues in managing specifications from project creation to completion:


    1. The Standard Template
    2. Change Management
    3. Document Management Systems
    4. The Spec Deliverable
    5. Contract Document Integration
    6. Construction Management Systems
    In your opinion, what are the industry's best practices? 

    Complete the survey today and share it with colleagues - 


    Katerina Lachinova Aff.M.ASCE
    CI Director
    Reston VA

  • 2.  RE: How You Use the Construction Specifications, Share Your Best Practice

    Posted 10-22-2019 10:07 AM
    Edited by Tirza Austin 10-22-2019 10:07 AM
    It appears that I cannot participate in the survey unless  I enroll my computer.  What does this enrollment process mean and will you be making any changes to my computer.

    I have been involved with construction specifications for buildings for over 40 years and I have no idea where you are coming from.

    I believe that your committee needs to clarify where they are coming from and  what they hope to achieve.  Different types of civil engineers deal with different specification systems.  Civil engineers who work on buildings use specifications in the context of a system promoted by the Construction Specification Institute while those involved with highway project often use a different system.  

    Please expand on your 6 Key issues.  For example what do you mean by change management?  Are you talking about the discipline of change management  or are you talking about how changes are made during the project?.

    I would suggest that any engineer who is interested in construction specifications should start by familiarizing him or her self with the publications of the Construction Specifications Institute.  Even if you believe that what they do on highways is the only way to go I believe that you will benefit from these publications.

    Mark Gilligan
    Berkeley CA

  • 3.  RE: How You Use the Construction Specifications, Share Your Best Practice

    Posted 10-22-2019 12:08 PM
    Thank you, Mark! I'll be sharing your comments with the committee. I'm sure they'd like to discuss and get in touch with you.
    Answering your questions about the change management - the committee's thought was about the project changes.

    Please try this link for the survey - https://asceforms.wufoo.com/forms/construction-institute-specifications-committee/ 
    The enrollment might be a safety feature on your side, but I'll check with our IT too. Few members already took the survey and were able to use the survey link without any issues. 

    We truly appreciate your feedback!

    Katerina Lachinova Aff.M.ASCE
    Manager/CI Director
    Reston VA

  • 4.  RE: How You Use the Construction Specifications, Share Your Best Practice

    Posted 10-25-2019 10:26 AM

    Dear Mark,
    Please find committee's response below.  Did they answer your questions? 

    The Specifications Committee presented a session at the 2016 CI Summit titled Specification Makeover: From Mess to Success which looked at how the delivery of specifications has changed offer the last 40 years and identified elements that had not changed.  The committee potential issues into six areas or key issues and looked at lessons learned for each of these areas.  The key issues were defined as

    Key Issue 1 – The Standard Template: 

    A proper Standard Template file, whether provided by the Owner, EJCDC, AIA, or used from a past contract is essential to a properly-executed project.

    Key Issue 2 – Change Management:

    Establishing lines of communication among stakeholders and within organizations, ensuring the proper review and incorporation of solicited and unsolicited revisions.

    Key Issue 3 – Document Management Systems:

    Centralized document management systems are essential in promoting filing and archiving best practices, and in promoting teamwork and collaboration among stakeholders and within firms.

    Key Issue 4 – The Spec Deliverable:

    Properly defining the format of the specification deliverable during the design, bid, and construction periods assists all stakeholders in identifying the contract and working versions of the Specifications.

    Key Issue 5 – Contract Document Integration:

    Ensuring proper integration between the Specifications and other Contract documents mitigates confusion and conflict among stakeholders.

    Key Issue 6 – Construction Management Systems:

    Centralized and robust Construction Management Systems assist Contractors, Construction Managers, and other stakeholders in ensuring compliance with the various requirements of the Specifications.

    The ASCE Specifications Committee is continuing this initiative to document and communicate the best practices in Specification delivery with a goal of improving the way the AEC industry works with and thinks about Specifications.  In this effort the Committee is collecting feedback on best practices (and pitfalls) covering the above 6 Key Issues in managing specifications from project creation to completion.  The plan is to share this input at future CI Summit Specification Committee sessions.


    Key Issue 1 was the subject of the 2019 CI Summit Specifications Committee session.

    Below are other prior Specification Committee CI Summit sessions

    2018       Writing Enforceable Specifications

    2017       Role of Specifications in Disputes

    Katerina Lachinova Aff.M.ASCE
    Manager/CI Director
    Reston VA

  • 5.  RE: How You Use the Construction Specifications, Share Your Best Practice

    Posted 10-26-2019 09:19 AM
    The subject of specifications is an important one. @Katerina Lachinova, can you help us understand if the committee is coming at this from the contractor's side, the specifier's side, or both? 

    And, what kind of projects the specs are intended to cover (roads, bridges, buildings, etc.)? Most government agencies like DOT's have their own specs, and the building industry seems fairly dominated by CSI specification formats.

    Why do I ask? Having written and edited many specifications in the building structures world, one of the biggest challenges I've seen is getting everyone on the team to actually read the specs (and that includes everyone from the new grad E.I.T to the contractor installing in the field). 

    I've also attended a couple of sessions at ASCE's Structures Institute (SEI) on specifications, and specifically discussing about using performance specifications as a best practice, which often don't fall into a "standard template". Curious as to that is outside of the scope of the current project.

    Stephanie Slocum P.E., M.ASCE
    Engineers Rising LLC

  • 6.  RE: How You Use the Construction Specifications, Share Your Best Practice

    Posted 10-28-2019 02:13 PM
    Edited by Tirza Austin 10-28-2019 02:12 PM
    This response is only marginally more informative.  Reference is made to CI Summit sessions but no link to content.  What other information has the committee produced that can  be accessed.

    It appears that the Committee is not familiar with the specification practices followed when buildings are designed and are  thus condemned to  trying to reinvent the wheel.  The first step is to review the literature.  This as a minimum means becoming familiar with CSI publications.

    Construction Specifications Institute has adopted s standard format for specification sections and a system that addresses the integration of specifications with the drawings and the owner contractor agreement.

    It would be informative to understand what segments of the industry the committee members come from and what roles they play.  It would not surprise me to find that we are dealing with a narrow type of projects.

    Mark Gilligan  SE
    Berkeley CA

    Mark Gilligan
    Berkeley CA