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Colin Gilboy
Senior Member
Username: colin

Post Number: 130
Registered: 05-2000
Posted on Saturday, June 19, 2004 - 07:13 pm:   Edit PostDelete PostPrint Post

After mapping out 4specs to MF2004, I am concerned that some of the flexibility has not been implemented.

The original reason to go to 6 digits was to provide lots of space for new topics, yet while the implementation uses 6 digits, the numbering is effectively only 5 digits, forcing the use of a period and 2 additional digits to define additional hierarchy.

The numbering avoids the use of the 10's. For example:

08-3400 - Special Function Doors
_ 08-3411 - Ballistic-Resistant Doors
_ 08-3413 - Cold Storage Doors
_ 08-3414 - Air Curtain Doors
_ 08-3416 - Hangar Doors
_ 08-3449 - Radiation Protection Doors
_ 08-3463 - Detention Doors and Frames
_ 08-3473 - Sound Control Doors

(The underscores are to get around the difficulty of using a leading space)

To add the sub categories under 08-3463, the user and the committee went to xx xx xx.xx, while if they had simply numbered the Detention Doors as 08 34 60, this could have been avoided by permitting the use of 08-3461, 08-3462, etc..

Also note that I am playing with how to best list the numbers. I dislike spaces or underscores as they cannot be read as part of a URL. Since Dennis suggested that the actual format was option, I will try several different ones, such as now in Division 8 to see which I prefer and which the 4specs' users prefer.
Ronald J. Ray, RA, CCS, CCCA
Senior Member
Username: rjray

Post Number: 12
Registered: 04-2004
Posted on Monday, June 21, 2004 - 08:51 am:   Edit PostDelete PostPrint Post

I do not believe the rationale behind the 6 digits had anything to do with providing “lots of space for new topics.” After all, with 5 digits, 2 of which define the division, there are 999 possible specification section numbers. It is very unlikely that there will ever be 999 specification sections within a division.

I believe the original reason to go to 6 digits was because the committee could not figure out a way to organize the 999 available specification section numbers within a few divisions that would group products of similar applications within a given numeric area. Divisions 8 and 9 may be the only divisions that were a problem.
David Stutzman
Senior Member
Username: david_stutzman

Post Number: 23
Registered: 07-2002
Posted on Tuesday, June 22, 2004 - 07:56 am:   Edit PostDelete PostPrint Post

I found another example of the numbering limiting flexibility and essentially requiring 8 digits for a specific section. We write specifications for project using AIA, EJCDC, and Owner’s standard agreements and conditions of contract. To accommodate these we have three separate Instructions to Bidders because they need to be arranged differently to work with each set of documents. In our filing system these are numbered 00201, 00202, 00203. Under MF04, the following sequence is used:

00 21 00 Instructions
00 21 13 Instructions to Bidders
00 21 16 Instructions to Proposers

Following the organizational logic, my sections for EJCDC and AIA should fall under 02 21 13 because they are specialized instructions to bidders. There are no other numbers assigned between 00 21 00 and 00 22 00. It seems the committee adopted the x3, x6, x9 numbering sequence without thought of the limitations it created. This sequence could have been the following without interfering with any subsequent assigned numbers.

00 21 00 Instructions
00 21 10 Instructions to Bidders
00 21 20 Instructions to Proposers

This sequence would allow expansion under each title without the use of additional digits to maintain the proper hierarchical sequence.
Dennis Hall (Unregistered Guest)
Unregistered guest
Posted on Sunday, July 04, 2004 - 10:26 am:   Edit PostDelete PostPrint Post

In the current 5 digit strutrure, Level 1 take 2 digits and Level 4 is alsways "0", effectivly reducing it to a 3 digit structure. If either Level 2 or 3 requires more than 9 digits, then you are really in trouble. The task team is looking at the spaces vs. other delimiters and will have a resolution soon.

The prolem has far less to do with the number of digits as heiarchary. The six digit, paired number structure was chosen because of this isssue. Many options were considered and this one provided the most flexibility and expandability.

You are correct, however the MFETT felt that specifiers would use the Level 5, user defined option for this purpose. In this case, all your specification sections for "Instruction for Bidders" would have the same base number 00 21 13 and only the suffix number would change for the various versions. Then, all AIA versions of all documents could be assigned the same suffix number. An example of this concept:

00 21 13.01 Instructions to Bidders (AIA)
00 21 16.01 Instructions to Proposers (AIA)
00 71 00.01 General Conditions (AIA)

00 21 13.02 Instructions to Bidders (EJCDC)
00 21 16.02 Instructions to Proposers (EJCDC)
00 71 00.02 General Conditions (EJCDC)


The suffix number is never printed in the project manual and only used for internal office purposes. I wanted a different delimiter to seperate the Level 4 from Level 5 so the Level 4 number would not have to be shown but lost out in the voting. I still think it is a good idea since it is only for internal purposes. In this example the level 4 numbers are assumed as .00 but may be used if needed.

Michael J. King, FCSI, CCS
Advanced Member
Username: mking

Post Number: 5
Registered: 08-2004
Posted on Wednesday, July 06, 2005 - 10:50 am:   Edit PostDelete PostPrint Post


Your suggestion was discussed in the Task Team one numerous occassions and the idea viewed from many angles. The problem with your suggestion of setting tens for the third set of numbers is that it limits the level three numbers. It creates a hierarchy within level three that says, first, that these are categories of subjects; second, there can only be nine categories of subjects at level three; and third, there can only be nine subjects in that category. By assigning a subject title at level three with the expectation of further subdividing that subject by specialization (within that same level), one creates a sublevel within level three. That gets confusing as well as limiting the possibilities for more than nine subjects at level three. Levels two and three are where there needs to be the maximum room possible.


As Dennis pointed out, it is the hierarchy and not the numbers that lead us to the results of the expansion. There were not 999 numbers available in the five-digit scheme as it appears. This is because there is an need to arrange the subjects within the divisions under major subdivision, and then to arrange subjects within each subdivision by classes of subjects. That is the nature of a classification or any type of filing system designed to make retrieval of information easy (or at least manageable). Otherwise, we could view each division like a file drawer in a file cabinet, in which we create folders with section numbers and titles however they come to mind without regard to grouping subjects by specialization or similarity. In that scheme we could start with 15001 and continue until we arrived at 15999.

I believe as the original drafters and updaters of MF found, it became handy to try to group information into like subjects and to set some hierarchy by subdividing subjects within each division and then continue that process until the "known universe" was assigned numbers and titles. What makes older editions obsolete is the "ever-expanding universe."

Posted on Sunday, July 10, 2005 - 06:57 pm:   Edit PostDelete PostPrint Post

I just got my MasterSpec MF04 sections on CD. I have been waiting for these before making any changes to my office masters. Looks like they pretty much just went down the list and added a zero... All scrunched together, no spaces, no underscores, no periods....

I will be following their lead, since my specs are based on MasterSpec, the way the sections are formatted, and because I use all the nifty macros that come with the package (TOC generation, various reports generation, etc.).

Anne Whitacre, CCS CSI
Senior Member
Username: awhitacre

Post Number: 218
Registered: 07-2002
Posted on Monday, July 11, 2005 - 05:27 pm:   Edit PostDelete PostPrint Post

Masterspec (Arcom) is limited in the number of digits they can use for file titles, dating back to the old Dos-based system. If you look at Masterworks, there is a utility to format the number the way you want it to be. And no, they didn't "just add zeroes" to the numbers. there was a process, they worked with the MF04 committee and paid some attention to it.
Dennis Hall (Unregistered Guest)
Unregistered guest
Posted on Friday, July 15, 2005 - 06:09 pm:   Edit PostDelete PostPrint Post

ARCOM shows six digits as their default but gives you the choice either the paired numbers (xx xx xx) or the 2/4 (xx xxxx) optional graphic display formats. For most of the numbers in Divisions 3-14 (about 80%) all you need to do is add a zero. We did that because we wanted to make the transition as easy as possible and we knew that most of you had memorized all the MF95 numbers.
Kim A. Bowman, CSI, AAIA, LEED AP
Senior Member
Username: archspecmaster

Post Number: 23
Registered: 02-2005
Posted on Wednesday, December 07, 2005 - 04:00 pm:   Edit PostDelete PostPrint Post

The suffic extension on the spec section numbers are irrelevant, and make it more confusing than it needs to be. We are not using the suffix's on any of our 750 corporate spec sections and we will not allow our consultants to use them either. One problem the MFETT overlooked was the software requirements for the Construction Administration Departments to be able to handle all the numbers, let alone the suffex extensions. We re-wrote all of our CA Database software that we use to track shop drawings, submittals, produce RFI's, ASI's etc. to accommodate the new numbers.
Phil Kabza
Senior Member
Username: phil_kabza

Post Number: 148
Registered: 12-2002
Posted on Wednesday, December 07, 2005 - 10:09 pm:   Edit PostDelete PostPrint Post

With a very few exceptions, MASTERSPEC file names are 6 digit numbers. The MASTERWORKS software allows these numbers to be displayed within section text, titles, footers, etc. as paired digits in the three MF04 official configurations.

In our offices, we are using 6 digit (no space) for file names and 6 digit (3 pairs) section numbers for display within construction documents. We make use of the additional 2-digit suffixes in file names internally, in order to identify multiple versions of similar files, such as client-specific or state-specific documents.

As for the displayed numbers in published documents, they'll all be 6 digits, and we'll scrunch any 8-digit stuff when necessary to make those work. 8 digits is just plain specifier anal retentive and I don't want the construction people laughing at us any more than they already do.

We're working on our consultants to get them to send their materials in the same format. It's a slow effort. The interim is a little chaotic, but we're making some progress.

I verbalize the 6 digit numbers as 2 + 4 digits, as in "oh four two thousand." Anything else seems awkward and fussy.
Sheldon Wolfe
Senior Member
Username: sheldon_wolfe

Post Number: 177
Registered: 01-2003
Posted on Thursday, December 08, 2005 - 02:20 pm:   Edit PostDelete PostPrint Post

In our office, we usually say just the last four digits, unless the Division isn't clear from the subject. Example: 4023 for interior architectural woodwork.

Phil, since you're already expressing the last four digits as a single number, why not go the rest of the way and omit the space between the last two pairs? And then add a hyphen after the first pair - then the way the numbers appear in your filenames and the way the numbers appear in text will be the same. I can't stand blank spaces in numbers!
John Bunzick, CCS, CCCA
Senior Member
Username: bunzick

Post Number: 441
Registered: 03-2002
Posted on Thursday, December 08, 2005 - 05:29 pm:   Edit PostDelete PostPrint Post

I have used blank space in the file name as well as the document after the first two numbers. Can't see the reason not to.
Sheldon Wolfe
Senior Member
Username: sheldon_wolfe

Post Number: 178
Registered: 01-2003
Posted on Thursday, December 08, 2005 - 08:06 pm:   Edit PostDelete PostPrint Post

Sorry, but after a lifetime of seeing single numbers expressed with hyphens or other punctuation (phone numbers, social security numbers, driver's license, dates, time, multitudes of part numbers) as separators to show that the entire string is a single element, it seems odd that we switched to spaces. Yes, credit cards and license plates use spaces, but the way they are used (on a plate or card) it is obvious that they are a single number.

I believe the reason for using two formats (one for filename, one for text) is that some computers don't like spaces in filenames. They couldn't be used in CP/M or DOS, and I don't think early Windows would allow them either. If the intent was to accommodate legacy systems, the numbering system should have been selected to allow the same number to be used in filenames or text, i.e., six digits without spaces, or groups of digits with hyphens to separate the groups.

It's a dead issue, just wanted to vent. Or maybe it's not dead - since MF04 is going to be a living document, and it already has options for formatting numbers, maybe we can add another. ;-)
Ronald J. Ray, RA, CCS, CCCA
Senior Member
Username: rjray

Post Number: 49
Registered: 04-2004
Posted on Friday, December 09, 2005 - 08:23 am:   Edit PostDelete PostPrint Post

I agree with you Sheldon. If I ever use the 6 digit system, I will express it as a single number or with a hyphen between the second and third digit. Sometimes it's nice that living things eventually die.

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