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Chris Grimm, RLA, CDT, MAI, CSI
Senior Member
Username: tsugaguy

Post Number: 10
Registered: 06-2005
Posted on Wednesday, October 19, 2005 - 03:58 pm:   Edit PostDelete PostPrint Post

I am somewhat concerned about variations in the creation of new MasterFormat 2004 section numbers that conflict with those issued in the official book. While the creation of entirely new numbers is occassionally necessary, and also acceptable within certain guidelines (see page 5), it will cause serious problems for the industry if people begin re-numbering sections that already have an established number.

Two examples I just happened to notice here on the 4specs site:

(1) 04 4000 series overlaps with 04 42 00 series creating conflicts with exterior stone cladding. Suggestion: Use level 3 or 4 to define types of stone, instead of level 2.

(2) Creating new section 09 9980 Hazardous Materials violates the rule about not making new numbers for sections that have already been assigned an official number (page 5 in the MF04 book). Hazardous materials handling is already very well defined in sections
01 66 13
02 26 xx
02 6x xx
02 8x xx

If these practices continue it is sure to create confusion and we will be back where we started when there weren't enough digits to allow for consistent numbering, only worse because we also now have to go through this transition as well. If we do it together it will go smoother for everyone, and bring the greatest improvements to the design and delivery of construction projects.

PLEASE read carefully the guidelines on page 3 through 5, and the chart on pg 16. Also, check the discussion boards to see if others have already invented a perfectly good wheel, perhaps not official yet, for the same issue you are having. Congratulations to 4specs and particularly Mr. Gilboy for making this the best, most active discussion board for us to hammer out these issues.

Has anyone heard of further developments on the idea of a "live" MasterFormat people can access on the web that will include the addenda issued so far, and the newly approved numbers and titles as they are reviewed and accepted?
Chris Grimm, RLA, CDT, MAI, CSI
Senior Member
Username: tsugaguy

Post Number: 12
Registered: 06-2005
Posted on Wednesday, October 19, 2005 - 04:24 pm:   Edit PostDelete PostPrint Post

Taking my own advice, thought I'd better check and see if my issue is ground already covered. (It was not yet.)

David Combs' thread "MasterFormat '04 "Tickler" File" is probably the best place to make suggestions until the electronic edition of MF04 is available.
Colin Gilboy
Senior Member
Username: colin

Post Number: 9
Registered: 09-2005
Posted on Thursday, October 20, 2005 - 08:30 am:   Edit PostDelete PostPrint Post


Thanks for opening the door for discussion. I have been wondering when the decisions made on MF2004 numbering were going to be discussed. While you expressed concern about the use of different numbers, I have a very different perspective. I do not assume that the current MF2004 numbering is what we will be using in 2010 and that there will not be changes if the users want them.

ďThe principle [sic, should have been principal] application for MasterFormat 2004 is for titling and arranging the parts of project manuals...Ē (Page 1)

Many times it has been said that MasterFormat is not for products but for project manuals. Products are to go elsewhere in OCCS, but that is a different discussion.

4specs is about products and not project manuals. While the titles and numbers are frequently the same for both, titles and numbers can be used in a different context for products as compared to project manuals.

Other than 4specs needing to use MF2004 numbers and/or titles in different ways to better classify and group similar and competitive products, I see a serious flaw in the MF2004 8-digit scheme that needs to be addressed - wasteful use of numbers that overly complicates the use of the system.

In my opinion, MF2004 is not a finished work by any means and CSI needs to make substantial modifications to the third pair of digits and some tweeking throughout. In my opinion, CSI has issued MF2004 version 0.99 or at best 1.0. We all know not to use a Microsoft computer program before version 1.1.

As far as I know, CSI staff and the CSI Board think MF2004 is perfect and needs no further discussion or changes. To date, CSI has not opened any PUBLIC dialog regarding the final numbers issued or discussion of desired changes.

I was very surprised by the 8 digits when I first saw the MF2004 release last year, and so commented in this discussion thread I started June 19, 2004:

While the public meetings discussed a 6 digit system and the divisions and second pair of numbers were discussed, as far as I know there was no PUBLIC discussion of using 8 numbers and using 13, 16 and 19 as compared to sub-classifiable 10, 30, 50's. for the third pair of numbers. I understand the 13's, 16's and all were assigned by a CSI staff member with no PUBLIC review or comment.

The MF2004 books talked about levels and then does not follow what was said: MF2004 says the levels are 11 22 33.44. In my opinion the sections are actually 11 2344.55 and could have been 11 2345 as levels with greater simplicity in the end result.

Division - Level 1 - 03 XX XX - ok

Level 2 - XX 10 XX - WRONG - consistently MF2004 has 2 levels contained in the second pair of digits. Look at any section and see that. For example 06 4000 has subdivisions - 06 4100, 06 4200, etc. The second pair of digits should have been labeled Levels 2 and 3.

Level 3 is stated to be just one level and deliberately designed and intended not be subdivided by using 13, 16, 19, etc! While the book says using 10ís would have limited the third pair to only 10 subjects, if there were more than ten, the 5's betwwen the 10's could be used for grouping the additional ones beyond 9. I have seen few if any examples of 9 categories in the MF2004 book at this level.

If MF2004 had used 10, 30, etc. for the third digit, the entire 8 digit system could have been avoided. That is what I am doing when assigning PRODUCTS to the various sections. In my opinion this is better than forcing the use of 8 digits. I know that ARCOM and Spectext have had problems with some of their spec sections going to 8 digits, which looks strange when everything else is 6 digits in the project manual.

In addition, I have set up several 4specsís standards such as using 8's for residential products where we are splitting out residential from other products and typically use 9's as repair materials. When listing products, I propose the repair materials should be at the bottom of the product information section, not the top.

In your example of hazardous remediation, I chose to classify asbestos encapsulants as high performance coatings as they, in themselves, are not a division 2 work result - but a high performance coating product better classified in Division 9 under coatings.

In other cases such as stone, I felt that it was best to classify US/Canadian quarried stone by the type of stone and not by its application, listing the quarry in the type section - marble, granite and slate as examples. I put all the fabricators, importers and distributors in another section as most of them can provide stone in all types, and this makes the product evaluation process better.

As you probably recognize, the MF2004 numbers have a big influence on the future. These numbers are used in specs, product catalogs, key noting on drawings, estimating, etc. In my opinion the 8 digit system with a decimal is too complex. A simpler 6 digit systems need to be discussed and then adopted - in my opinion.

In my opinion (using lots of these, arenít I), most specifiers will go through their list of spec sections and assign numbers they need for their practice - probably close to the MF2004 numbers, but perhaps not exact to meet their uses. These spec sections will probably be adopted as the key noting numbers at their firm. I expect that most firms will use 6 digit numbers, even when MF2004 uses that title as an 8 digit number.

Here is my challenge - letís have an open discussion among specifiers and other MF2004 users about how the MF2004 numbers are to be used and work towards a better (in my opinion) solution and then reissue MF2004 v1.1.

I recognize that CSI rushed the MF2004 book to press to meet a deadline rather than having a discussion on the 8 digits. Letís have the discussion now that should have happened after the last MF2004 public meeting and before the issuing of the MF2004 book. Better now than in 2 years or on the next revision in 2009 creating even more chaos in the next revision adoption undoing the changes made in MF2004.
Chris Grimm, RLA, CDT, MAI, CSI
Senior Member
Username: tsugaguy

Post Number: 13
Registered: 06-2005
Posted on Thursday, October 20, 2005 - 10:56 am:   Edit PostDelete PostPrint Post

On the flip side, the .xx #'s offer a potential level for detail freaks... (meaning people like myself, and CSI has seen the need in a few places) ...to go beyond the 8 when needed, without corrupting the standard system. This is essential if there is ever to be a set of numbers we all agree on and can use for ID numbers in cost estimates, schedule of values, drawing details, and construction information. (See "...facilitate increased database use..." thread at http://discus.4specs.com/discus/messages/1097/2011.html?1129670663)

I think the idea is a cost system or other specialized database can utilize the .xx level 4 or .xx.xxxx... level 5 #'s, but for another system that requires less specific data you can drop everything level 4 or level 5 and still be left with something consistent.

This is just how it MF04 strikes me as a data person and specifier, but I was not on the team that wrote MF04.
Ralph Liebing, RA, CSI
Senior Member
Username: rliebing

Post Number: 241
Registered: 02-2003
Posted on Thursday, October 20, 2005 - 11:51 am:   Edit PostDelete PostPrint Post

Be it perceived as "right" or "wrong", per se, when we converted we did not use more than 6-digits. We did create some additional numbers for some Sections, but even those would not qualify as .xx numbered Sections.

More discussion as Mr. Gilboy suggests is needed, in my view, as is some added investigation and refinement that I read into Mr. Grimm's last post. MF2004 may be the new "800-pound canary" with a long reach, but could be made into a series of normal sized "song birds" that are designated for specific uses [as Mr. Grimm outlines]. For example, in general practice architectural work, are 6-digit Sections available in adequate nubmer to meet the coverage required in general practice projects [excluding those high-profile, high-technology projects].

The key may be a series of "advisories" to the offices on how they can best adapt the MF2004 to their specific uses and projects.

Just another thought!
David Axt, AIA, CCS, CSI
Senior Member
Username: david_axt

Post Number: 564
Registered: 03-2002
Posted on Friday, October 21, 2005 - 02:27 pm:   Edit PostDelete PostPrint Post

At my office we have slowly started converting over our specs to MF 2004. We too have found the 7th and 8th digits to be too cumbersome and have deleted them. In some cases this means that we have had to deviate from MF 2004 and had to rework the numbers.

I can see us using the .xx as a way of further dividing sections by proprietary products or by owners.

I am curious to hear other's comments on the practical real world application of MF 2004.
David R. Combs, CSI, CCS, CCCA, MAI
Senior Member
Username: davidcombs

Post Number: 85
Registered: 08-2004
Posted on Friday, October 21, 2005 - 03:51 pm:   Edit PostDelete PostPrint Post

We've made some slight deviations as well.

First, when it comes to specifications and project manuals, we have made the decision to use only six digits, and NOT to use eight (regardless of the pre-assigned ARCOM number, number of narrowscope sections, etc.). We have also made this a requirement that our consultants do the same. We DO, however, utilize eight digits for file naming purposes, to help differentiate variations between the same narrowscope sections.
Some examples:

06 41 13 Wood-Veneer-Faced Cabinets
.01 Maple
.02 Mahogany
.03 Red Oak

06 42 16 Wood-Veneer Paneling
.01 Maple (Reserved)
.02 Mahogany
.03 Red Oak
.04 Makore
.05 Bubinga

Second, we have occasion to use and specify products for which we could not find assigned numbers. So we assigned our own:

1. 00 52 76 - Sales Tax Assignment Contract
(interestingly, the words "Tax" and "sales tax" do not appear in the key word index. The '76' above is derived from 00 62 76 - Sales Tax Form, in the hope of maintaining some sort of consistency).

2. 07 26 26 - Fluid-Applied Vapor Barrier

3. 01 62 14 - Bulk Purchasing Vendor List
01 62 15 - Vendor List for Interior Finishes

4. 03 35 20 - Stained Concrete

5. 04 42 29 - Thin Stone Veneer

6. 07 22 19 - Sloped Roof Deck Insulation
(MasterSpec calls it "composite nail base insulated roof sheathing" and currently locates it 06160).

7. 08 31 23 - Floor Access Door (or hatch).

8. 28 26 14 - Infant Security System

Some other anomolies discovered / liberties taken:

00 65 14 - Lead and Asbestos Exclusion Affidavit

03 30 35 - Under-Slab Sheet Vapor Retarder

06 41 19 - Architectural Cabinet Hardware

06 82 13 - Glass-Fiber-Reinforced Plastic Paneling

06 82 56 - Ballistics-Resistant Fiberglass

08 39 16 - Smoke Containment Curtain
(such as that manufactured by Smoke Guard, automatic roll-down with magnetic seals for front of elevator entrances)

09 51 19 - Acoustical Wood Panel Ceilings

10 13 03 - Illuminated Directories

10 73 49 - Manufactured Gazebo

12 22 14 - Fabric Valences

12 24 17 - Cellular Shades

13 49 33 - Electromagnetic Shielding

And third, we feel there may be some slight idiosyncracies in the MF '04-assigned numbers that - to us - just seem a bit awkward. For example:

08 11 15 Severe Windstorm Hollow Metal
(instead of 08 11 13.XX)

08 14 23 Metal Clad Wood Doors
08 14 24 Plastic-Laminate-Faced Wood Doors
08 14 25 Hardboard-Faced Wood Doors
(instead of 08 14 23.XX)

08 35 14 Accordion Fire Doors
(instead of 08 35 13.13)

09 65 16 Sheet Vinyl Floor Coverings
09 65 17 Heat-Welded Linoleum Floor Coverings
09 65 18 Sheet Rubber Floor Coverings

But the one that seemed the least accommodating and created the most difficulty for us was the Toilet Compartment numbers. We have sections for the following:

10 21 13 - Toilet Compartments

10 21 13.13.01 - Metal Toilet Compartments w/ Baked enamel finish

10 21 13.13.02 - Stainless Steel Toilet Compartments

10 21 13.16 - Plastic Laminate Toilet Compartments

10 21 13.19.01 - Solid Phenolic Toilet Compartments

10 21 13.19.02 - Solid Plastic Toilet Compartments

10 21 13.19.03 - Solid Surfacing Material Toilet Compartments

10 21 13.40 - Stone Toilet Compartments

And in the future, we may have others.

I feel the differences in materials should have been handled at the Level 3 number instead of at the Level 4 as shown in MF '04. Then the Level 4 numbers could be used to differentiate between ceiling-hung or floor supported, finishes, manufacturers, etc. But as it stands, if I have both solid phenolic and SSM partitions on a project, I'd have to use Level 5 numbers to differentiate between the two (or combine them into one Level 4 section). And with 10 21 16 taken, there really is no room for expansion. So even though we may use the MF numbers for file naming, when it comes time to publish the Project Manual, we'll be using

10 21 13 - Toilet Compartments

10 21 13 - Metal Toilet Compartments w/ Baked enamel finish

10 21 13 - Stainless Steel Toilet Compartments

10 21 14 - Plastic Laminate Toilet Compartments

10 21 14 - Solid Phenolic Toilet Compartments

10 21 14 - Solid Plastic Toilet Compartments

10 21 14 - Solid Surfacing Material Toilet Compartments

10 21 15 - Stone Toilet Compartments

So for a project with two types of partitions, I use 10 21 13 and 10 21 14; for projects with three types, I use 10 21 13, 10 21 14, and 10 21 15. (Either scenario results in a probable re-numbering of at least one section, regardless of the assigned number.) For projects with more than three types, I go back to the interior designers and ask them to rein it it!

With the last 10 21 XX number being only 23, it seems there was an opportunity to give some more cushion between the 13 and 16, and between 16 and 23 number assignment, to provide for more types and applications.

I really wish they had taken that into account.
Leon Ruch, RA, CSI, CCS (Unregistered Guest)
Unregistered guest
Posted on Friday, October 21, 2005 - 06:12 pm:   Edit PostDelete PostPrint Post

I agree that 10 2100 seems crowded, given all the hype about having more space for expansion. At least in this case, MF95 seems to have more room; you could have 5 types of plastic laminate toilet compartments (10165-10169) without going beyond 5 digits, where MF04 starts at 8 digits.

My problem was finding a number that works to specify both toilet compartments and shower compartments of the same material in one section; I deleted Level 3 and went straight to Level 4:
10 2113 Metal Toilet Compartments (not used much for showers)
10 2116 Plastic-Laminate-Clad Compartments
10 2119 Plastic Compartments
10 2123 for particleboard would conflict with the assigned number for Cubicles, but particleboard always seems to be covered with plastic laminate anyway
10 2140 Stone Compartments is out of sequence, but I don't use it much

The one place I've found 8 digits useful is for bid forms, and I use the format 00 xxxx xx (no period after digit 6). I list only the category (00 41xx Bid Forms) in the Contents, but the actual form will have a Level 4 number that is related to the bid package, such as 00 41xx 22 for Plumbing Bid Form or 00 41xx 30 for Site Bid Form.

Everywhere else I've been able to keep my numbering to 6 digits without going too far outside the box.

One other tweak I've made is in 23 1000 Facility Fuel Systems. In my part of the world, the plumbers (not the HVAC contractors) typically install the gas piping. Rather than keep the gas piping in Div. 23 and confusing both trades, I moved 23 1xxx to 22 2xxx which was vacant. I know, location does not determine work scope, but sometimes putting things in the "wrong" place can simplify communications.
John Bunzick, CCS, CCCA
Senior Member
Username: bunzick

Post Number: 431
Registered: 03-2002
Posted on Monday, October 24, 2005 - 08:37 am:   Edit PostDelete PostPrint Post

I'd urge Mr. Ruch to put gas piping back into Division 23. Plumbers do that work here in New England, too. But this second guessing is what gives us heartburn with those engineers who think their way is always better. The fact of the matter is, after about one minute, the plumber will realize that there is no Division 15 anymore, will look through the project manual and find what he or she needs--including gas piping in its new Division. One job and they've "gotten it"--no need to thwart MF'04, in my opinion.
Don Harris CSI, CCS, CCCA, AIA
Senior Member
Username: don_harris

Post Number: 45
Registered: 03-2003
Posted on Monday, October 24, 2005 - 11:14 am:   Edit PostDelete PostPrint Post

"So for a project with two types of partitions, I use 10 21 13 and 10 21 14; for projects with three types, I use 10 21 13, 10 21 14, and 10 21 15."

Being afraid of showing my ignorance, I must ask why? Why can't one section with different articles for each type of partition be used? Why would one want to repeat the same Part 1 and Part 3 stuff in three different sections? Just asking.
Margaret G. Chewning FCSI CCS
Senior Member
Username: presbspec

Post Number: 77
Registered: 01-2003
Posted on Monday, October 24, 2005 - 11:39 am:   Edit PostDelete PostPrint Post

Don I agree with you. The use of Level 3 or 4 in specifications is often over used. The only way it would make sense to use 3 sections for different toilet partitions is if the drawings were using CONDOC or a similar keynoting system.
Ralph Liebing, RA, CSI
Senior Member
Username: rliebing

Post Number: 242
Registered: 02-2003
Posted on Monday, October 24, 2005 - 11:45 am:   Edit PostDelete PostPrint Post

Who's for a new educational program called [maybe] "Nuances, Mutations, Gyrations, Contrivances, and Manipulations of MF04"?, with accompanying due respect to the base document and the Task Force effort.

Appears we're all equal, but in different ways!!!
Chris Grimm, RLA, CDT, MAI, CSI
Senior Member
Username: tsugaguy

Post Number: 14
Registered: 06-2005
Posted on Monday, October 24, 2005 - 11:46 am:   Edit PostDelete PostPrint Post

The nth degree levels of detail are entirely optional to the specifier.

My main point is that I hope a majority of us will be careful to avoid reinventing the established numbers. Nothing wrong at all with going more "medium-scope" or "broad-scope" in how we write our manuals.
J. Peter Jordan
Senior Member
Username: jpjordan

Post Number: 145
Registered: 05-2004
Posted on Monday, October 24, 2005 - 11:58 am:   Edit PostDelete PostPrint Post

I find it interesting that many of us are still referring to medium- and broad-scope instead of referring to the more current Level 2, Level 3, and Level 4. I believe that the MFET discussed this and went with the levels. I feel that the use of "narrow," "medium," and "broad" scope nomenclature is more intuitive and a bit more accurate than the use of "levels" and would suggest that the next revision consider returning to the "old" nomenclature.
Robert E. Woodburn
Senior Member
Username: bwoodburn

Post Number: 86
Registered: 01-2005
Posted on Monday, October 24, 2005 - 12:30 pm:   Edit PostDelete PostPrint Post

Good idea, Ralph. How about a new certification -- "Certified MasterFormat Manipulator" (CMM)...?
David R. Combs, CSI, CCS, CCCA, MAI
Senior Member
Username: davidcombs

Post Number: 86
Registered: 08-2004
Posted on Wednesday, October 26, 2005 - 09:46 am:   Edit PostDelete PostPrint Post

RE: Don Harris' posting of 10/24:

"Why can't one section with different articles for each type of partition be used? Why would one want to repeat the same Part 1 and Part 3 stuff in three different sections?"


Very good question. In my experience, I have found it very beneficial to create and utilize narrow-scope sections. Yes - it means I have more sections in my library to keep track of and maintain, but in the longrun, I have found that it significantly decreases the amount of editing time.

In the toilet partition scenario above, I have 7 narrow-scope sections representing the 7 most common types of partitions we would normally expect to encounter on the majority of our projects. Most projects will only have one type; ocassionally we may have two types. Rather than working from a bloated "Master" that may contain provisions for 10 different types and weeding out 80% of the spec section (and doing that every time for every project), I just use only those narrowscope sections that are applicable. Those sections are also tailored specifically to that type of partition, and can serve as stand-alone sections. And yes - the consequence is the many provisions of Part 1 and Part 3 are duplicated. But only in the rare instance when I have two or more types of partitions on a project. As I said, in most cases we only have one.

For projects that have three or more types, yes - I can edit from the overall master. I always have that option. Or I could spend 1/4 the time and issue just those narrow-scope sections that apply.

Hope that helps.
Robert W. Johnson
Senior Member
Username: bob_johnson

Post Number: 60
Registered: 08-2004
Posted on Wednesday, October 26, 2005 - 12:12 pm:   Edit PostDelete PostPrint Post

Another way to do this is to have multiple versions with the same section number and title - in this case 10 21 13 Toilet Compartments - in David's case there would be seven different versions of it. In using this technique in the past I have added added some additional explanatory words in parenthesis (Metal) to the titles for the various versions. You could do that or not.

One of my frustrations with MasterFormat 1995 was that there was not a designated location for Toilet Compartments. It went directly from Compartments and Cubicles to the various types of toilet compartments. We had to create 10155 Toilet Compartments.

This method works well for systems using keynoting in keeping the number of keynotes to a minimum. In addition, the person doing the first drawing with the label is unlikely to know what type of partition will end up being chosen and the more generic label is better for the drawings. Level 4 numbers can be used for the filing of the different versions. This is a method that can provide for more narrowly drafted spec masters to reduce editing per David's comments, but a the same time facilitate keynoting and more generic terminology.

In MasterFormat 2004, it also is a method to remain at Level 3 with 6 digits and not use 8 digits at Level 4.

The disadvantage to the method is if you have multiple types of partitions in a single project. More editing into one section or the use of the narrower scope sections is then required.

I have used this method for a variety of subjects where it is good to have multiple versions for efficient editing and where it is unlikely that the different mulitple choices would be used in the same project. The toilet compartments is one good example for its use.
Chris Grimm, RLA, CDT, MAI, CSI
Senior Member
Username: tsugaguy

Post Number: 15
Registered: 06-2005
Posted on Wednesday, October 26, 2005 - 12:42 pm:   Edit PostDelete PostPrint Post

Great ideas David and Robert. Thanks to everyone for the feedback so far.

To elaborate a bit on Robert's comment "Another way to do this is to have multiple versions with the same section number and title - in this case 10 21 13 Toilet Compartments - in David's case there would be seven different versions of it. In using this technique in the past I have added added some additional explanatory words in parenthesis (Metal) to the titles for the various versions. You could do that or not." :

A perfect application for level 5: a user-defined, behind-the-scenes place to stick WHATEVER you want on the end of the section number, in order to distinguish different versions of the same section.

10 21 13.19.Trespa
10 21 13.19.IPSSchools
10 21 13.19.Grade A, B, C etc

Thereby you wouldn't need to tinker with the titles.

For our firm this type of extreme detail is to be used sparingly, but can be useful in some places.

You could even apply it to more broad-scope or medium-scope sections too. Just use .00 in place of the level 4 digits:

27 33 00.00.MessagingSystemA
27 30 00.00.VoiceCommunicationsSystemB
Margaret G. Chewning FCSI CCS
Senior Member
Username: presbspec

Post Number: 78
Registered: 01-2003
Posted on Friday, October 28, 2005 - 03:12 pm:   Edit PostDelete PostPrint Post

OK Guys you need to check Ralph's take on this subject on a new thread. Gift of Flexibility.
Don't always agree with him fully, but he has a point here.
John Regener, AIA, CCS, CCCA, CSI, SCIP
Senior Member
Username: john_regener

Post Number: 248
Registered: 04-2002
Posted on Monday, April 24, 2006 - 09:53 pm:   Edit PostDelete PostPrint Post

OK, I've jumped into the Masterformat 2004 pool and I'm trying to swim.

The first subject ("work result") I tried to deal with was toilet partitions, er toilet compartments. I guess privacy panels and urinal screens are in another Section. I guess they are called "compartments" so they don't conflict with the demountable partitions and operable partitions specified later in 10 20 00 Interior Specialties. Lord knows, having the contractor mistakenly install an accordion folding partition in the women's toilet room would be disasterous.

I looked at the available numbers and pondered why did the Task Team decide to jump to Level 3 numbers for toilet compartments? David Combs' description of the situation, in his posting above dated October 21, 2005, pretty well states the shortcomings. I must lead a sheltered life because I have never encountered a "Particleboard Toilet Compartment." In fact, I purge my specifications of "particleboard" and only specify medium density fiberboard (MDF) for casework and similar fabrications. And I must live in a weird world because occasionally I have specified toilet compartments fabricated from solid surfacing material, phenolic core panels and now a new product that has the tongue-twisting name, "solid color reinforced composite toilet compartments" (a homogeneous, phenolic-like product that supposedly scores well for sustainable design).

I guess I must repent and restate my undying loyalty to the CSI cause and simply use 10 21 13 for Toilet Compartments and do all the pre-editing and multiple files in the hidden cavern of my hard disk drive by using file suffixes. After all, you shouldn't use the Level 3 listing for such distinguising characteristics as material (metal, solid polymer, etc.) or installation method (overhead-braced, ceiling-hung, etc.) Or should you?

I went looking for another common Section to update to Masterformat 2004. I went to tile or rather "tiling." There I found Level 3 numbers listed right after the Level 2 bold face number and name. Let's see, under 09 30 00 there's ceramic tiling, quarry tiling, paver tiling, etc. Looks ok, although I wonder why it's ok to distinguish tile materials but not toilet compartment materials.

But wait! Then Masterformat repeats the list of tiling Sections only this time they are separated by installation method into 09 31 00 Thin-Set Tiling and 09 32 00 Mortar-Bed Tiling. I'm confused. What's the point of writing separate sections having to do only with the installation method? And where is "medium setting bed" tiling (a common installation method for larger size porcelain tile and for quarry paver tile)? And what's that Section 09 34 00 Waterproofing-Membrane Tiling? If it's necessary to distinguish with separate Sections those installations over a waterproofing membrane, where's the Level 3 section numbers and titles for anti-fracture membranes? And what the fat is 09 33 00 Conductive Tiling?

Do I need to write three "tiling" sections if there are three methods of installation? Is it necessary to use a separate Section now for each TCNA Handbook installation method or else the Masterformat police will get you? It looks like I can't use Masterformat 2004 in good conscience or rational thought for "tiling."

So, I went to roofing. Most buildings have a roof. And lots of them have built-up roofing. But some of them, at least in Southern California, use cold-applied roofing so that the fumes of a hot asphalt kettle can be avoided and the children attending classes in the adjacent building or the patients in the occupied portion of the hospital won't hurl their lunches. I found built-up bitumen roofing and modified bitumen membrane roofing under 07 50 00 Membrane Roofing. Where's the non-asphaltic bentonite emulsion built-up roofing such as the systems manufactured by The Henry Company? Their products are not "bituminous" but Masterformat 2004 has no Level 2 numbers available for non-bituminous built-up roofing. Could it be that the world east of the San Andreas Fault doesn't recognize anything but bitumen? So who cares whether the 7th largest economy in the world conforms to Masterformat 2004?

Well, I struck out three-for-three times. And I regret having said what I said. I mean, it's like the story of the emperor's new clothes. It should be enough to merely think that Masterformat is "new-and-improved" and not look too hard at what it actually is.

I guess I'll fake it and add a zero to the Masterformat 1995 numbers I presently use so there are six digits, and it looks like I'm up-to-date. Who will notice or care? After all, there are several public agency owners I have to deal with who absolutely insist that it is impossible to change from the 1987 Masterformat numbers and titles that they use for Division 1.
Chris Grimm, RLA, CDT, MAI, CSI
Senior Member
Username: tsugaguy

Post Number: 30
Registered: 06-2005
Posted on Tuesday, April 25, 2006 - 08:32 am:   Edit PostDelete PostPrint Post


No one says you have to use only "narrowscope" section titles, even if they are listed in MF04. You can still back up a level or two if you prefer, in authoring or organizing sections. For example, all the types of toilet compartments can be specified together in level 3 section 10 21 13 Toilet Compartments, instead of using separate level 4 sections 10 21 13.13 Metal, 10 21 13.16 Plastic-Laminate, etc. Or if you feel like it, you could go back even another level and specify all compartments and cubicles together as a level 2 section: 10 21 00 (though it may not make sense to do so in this case).

Some have sworn never to use level 4 numbers (i.e. xx xx xx.xx). No problem. See the table on pg 16 in the MF04 book: level 4 is an "Option for detailed titles". The MasterFormat police do not require you to use the most detailed level listed in the book.

Sounds like the MFETT could have benefited from your input on organization of some of the technical sections. Hopefully the subscription service will be available sometime soon making it possible once again for new and improved ideas to be considered and incorporated. If anyone has heard news on that, please add to the thread at http://discus.4specs.com/discus/messages/1097/1637.html?1131127819
John Regener, AIA, CCS, CCCA, CSI, SCIP
Senior Member
Username: john_regener

Post Number: 249
Registered: 04-2002
Posted on Tuesday, April 25, 2006 - 10:09 am:   Edit PostDelete PostPrint Post

No one has yet commented from the bidder's point of view. Sure, "work results" can be specified in "broadscope" sections (such as 10 21 13 Toilet Compartments) but it requires bidders who are trying to find out if their products are specified to open up and search each section rather than a quick survey of the Table of Contents. If it's important enough to give a Level 3 section number to conductive glass tiling (a non-existent product), then is it unreasonable to expect similar treatment for toilet compartmentalizing?

The inconsistencies not only make MF04 difficult to use but the credibility of the format becomes questionable. I'm supposed to convince mechanical and electrical engineers of the merits of MF04 when it doesn't solve the shortage of numbers problem (toilet compartments), doesn't accommodate all common construction (cold-applied membrane roofing) and has redundancy and needless repetition (tiling).

OK, I'll use the prescribed Level 3 number and title for all types of toilet compartments. End of discussion. But I still don't know where to specify cold-applied non-bituminous roofing and I am completely baffled by the requirement to segregate tiling by material and installation method.

I did comment during the review period about the technical inadequacies of MF04. But the roar about how many divisions was apparently too loud for the comments to be heard.

I wanted to comment in the official MF04 website that was announced at the 2006 CSI Show & Convention but I can't find it. Apparently the urgency I feel to resolve these MF04 matters is not shared. There must be more pressing issues going on at the Institute level than construction specifications.
Jo Drummond, FCSI
Username: jod

Post Number: 3
Registered: 12-2005
Posted on Friday, April 28, 2006 - 12:25 pm:   Edit PostDelete PostPrint Post

I wonder if "Tile" is now "Tiling", should "Steel" now be "Steeling"?
Ronald L. Geren, RA, CSI, CCS, CCCA, MAI
Senior Member
Username: specman

Post Number: 243
Registered: 03-2003
Posted on Friday, April 28, 2006 - 12:28 pm:   Edit PostDelete PostPrint Post

Being in the military, I'm curious about sections on "Mortaring".

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