Specifications compliment a set of construction drawings as the written description of work to be performed on a project. Without detailed specifications, there's no way to verify that your builder has included everything you want in your new home.
The commercial construction industry has a standardized format for their specifications, but residential market does not. As a result, every residential project has unique written requirements if they exist at all. Good specs should provide all the information required by the builder, the trade contractors and suppliers working on the project. Concise information supports accurate bidding, enhances communication, improves quality, expedites the time schedule and prevents mistakes.
Specifications ResourcesConstruction Specifications Institute
Dynamic Project Information
Information on a construction project is constantly changing. The processes for keeping everyone informed can enhance performance, or not. Information requirements range from summary to intricate details. An efficient information system through use of the Work Breakdown Schedule can provide information relevant to the needs of the responsible parties.
- Specifications should not ever change. These are the original requirements agreed upon between the Builder and Owner, and included in the contract price of the home depending on the type of agreement.
- Addendum are changes to the scope of the project during the bidding phase. Upon award of the contract to the Builder or subcontracts to the respective trade contractors, the preferred method would be to incorporate all the changes into the specifications.
- Green certification requirements can result in necessary changes to the specifications and the trade contractors' scopes of work. Likewise, the most effective method would be to incorporate all of the proposed green elements into the specifications.
- Changes will likely occur after the contract has been awarded to the Builder and they can be one of the most difficult aspects of a project to manage. Information processes need to ensure that changes are incorporated into the project scope as efficiently as possible to avoid omissions or mistakes.
- Notes are added to each category as reminders or additional bits of information. During the project it seems like something always comes up that we don't want to forget or overlook.
- Scopes of Work are the specific requirements of each of the trade contractors. These may be your own company standards included in the trade contractor agreement. While specifications may be unique to every project, the scope of work should remain constant.
- Selections are the information received from the Owner. Selections like roofing or garage doors could be kept here, although it may not make sense to list all the appliances or tile selections. The status of the selection and where to find the information would be entered here.
In 2009 Groninger Custom Homes received national recognition with a Business Excellence Award from Residential Design & Build Magazine for the JobNotes system we developed. The techniques described above and additionally below were used long before smart phones and the cloud to manage the information and processes of a successful custom home building company.(more...)