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Karen L. Zaterman
Username: kittiz

Post Number: 3
Registered: 10-2005
Posted on Thursday, January 05, 2006 - 10:50 pm:   Edit PostDelete PostPrint Post

I am in an engineering firm and am utilizing MF 2004 for structural and civil work, predominately in the areas of ports & harbors, coastal engineering, and transportation. As such, I am working a great deal in the Site & Infrastructure Subgroup (the 30s).

For the newly developed divisions, the initial Level 3 number assignments are awkward, to say the least. More specifically, the problem lies in the designation of the series 13, 16, 19, 23 instead of something like 13, 33, 53, 73, allowing more space between the titles and room for development. In the following example it seems ridiculous to have to go to a Level 4 to differentiate between C-I-P & Precast Piles.
I dislike using a level 4 unless it is truly “to give uniform definition of the subject matter” (Page 3), which in this case it is not.

31 62 00 //Driven Piles
31 62 13.13 /Cast-in-Place Concrete Piles
31 62 13.16 /Concrete Displacement Piles
31 62 13.19 /Precast Concrete Piles
31 62 13.23 /Prestressed Concrete Piles
31 62 16.13 /Sheet Steel Piles
31 62 16.16 /Steel H Piles
31 62 16.19 /Unfilled Tubular Steel Piles
31 62 19 /Timber Piles
31 62 23 /Composite Piles
31 62 23.13 /Concrete-Filled Steel Piles

I cannot wait two or three years for CSI to address the problem with the MFETT so I want to change the Level 3 numbers, even though it goes against the rules. Yet if I do this, I want to at least do it intelligently – realizing, of course, that there is a potential for future conflict. I’d also like to do this in conjunction with others that use the same divisions (perhaps via group email or a forum).

So I need some guidance/opinions and here is some food for thought:

31 62 00 //DRIVEN PILES

Option 1 - Option 2
31 62 11 - 31 62 31 /Cast-in-Place Concrete Piles
31 62 12 - 31 62 32 /Concrete Displacement Piles
31 62 14 - 31 62 41 /Precast Concrete Piles
31 62 15 - 31 62 42 /Prestressed Concrete Piles
31 62 21 - 31 62 51 /Sheet Steel Piles
31 62 22 - 31 62 52 /Steel H Piles
31 62 24 - 31 62 54 /Steel Pipe Piles
31 62 31 - 31 62 61 /Timber Piles
31 62 41 - 31 62 81 /Composite Piles
31 62 42 - 31 62 82 /Concrete-Filled Steel Piles

I am avoiding the use of numbers ending in zero and numbers that are frequently already assigned (13, 16, 19, 23, 26, 29, 33 etc.). However, the titles are mostly the same.
Karen L. Zaterman
Intermediate Member
Username: kittiz

Post Number: 4
Registered: 10-2005
Posted on Wednesday, February 08, 2006 - 02:07 pm:   Edit PostDelete PostPrint Post

I can't believe none of you have comments or opinions... Is this topic too dry for y'all?

Moffatt & Nichol
Long Beach, CA
Ronald L. Geren, RA, CSI, CCS, CCCA, MAI
Senior Member
Username: specman

Post Number: 212
Registered: 03-2003
Posted on Wednesday, February 08, 2006 - 02:40 pm:   Edit PostDelete PostPrint Post

Okay, I'll bite.

This numbering system is consistent throughout MF2004. To change one division, or even a part of a division, would defeat the intent of consistency. To do as you suggest would require a complete revamp of MasterFormat--something CSI was trying to avoid.

There is no requirement that you must separate each type of pile into separate sections. Why not place the requirements for both the CIP and precast piles in a section numbered and titled 31 62 13 CONCRETE PILES?

I agree with you on the level 4 numbering. I don't intend on developing a project manual using that level of numbers.
William C. Pegues, FCSI, CCS
Senior Member
Username: wpegues

Post Number: 531
Registered: 10-2002
Posted on Wednesday, February 08, 2006 - 02:43 pm:   Edit PostDelete PostPrint Post


Perhaps not that many have your particular requirements. I don't, but there have been in the past (not currently) differences in the way a subject has been handled in versions of MasterFormat where I needed to cover a topic in a totally different manner.

What I did in those instances was to move to a part of the numbering system that was in the same series - but where those numbers were not used. Thus no current conflict.

Your "Option 2" does this where you move the topics down to a different group of numbers that are simply not used.

On the other hand, your topics are not really different (as mine were) they are just avoiding the 4th level.

Your "Option 1" keeps them in the same sub area but uses a number not specifically assigned.

Personally, I would prefer your option 1 only because the topics are essentially the same.

I don't think you would find problems on the contractor side with either option, but likely you would find less with your option 1.

If they do sort it out in future updates, it is more likely to be closer to your option 1 system, where theoretically the option 2 numbers might simply become used by other pile types without it being sorted out. I guess that saying that your Option 1 might be less trouble for your to maintain.

Architecturally they did the same thing to us in the 10 21 13 area. Under MF95, each toilet partition type had its own section number. Now for some reason though we have, theoretically, more numbers available all the partitions got crammed into a smaller area that has them all at the 4th level. Silly.

It happens in a couple other places.

I know what the logic is from a purest point of view, keeping a subgroup at the subgroup level.

Remember, the key is creative interpretation within the framework. Treat MF as a powerful suggestion, not an edict, and have a logical reason for deviations.

Ralph Liebing, RA, CSI
Senior Member
Username: rliebing

Post Number: 311
Registered: 02-2003
Posted on Wednesday, February 08, 2006 - 02:55 pm:   Edit PostDelete PostPrint Post

From a Dennis Hall presentation on MF04--

Levels 3 & 4: In general, last pair of numbers start with 13 and include 16, 19, 23, 26, 29, 33, 36, etc.

Purpose: Avoid connotation of hierarchy (10, 15, 20, 25, etc. were avoided) and to provide unassigned spaces between numbers

Conventions do not apply to user-created Levels 3 & 4 numbers – user may use any pair of numbers not previously assigned or reserved for future expansion
Robert W. Johnson
Senior Member
Username: bob_johnson

Post Number: 68
Registered: 08-2004
Posted on Wednesday, February 08, 2006 - 05:14 pm:   Edit PostDelete PostPrint Post

Another option for numbers and titles in a project manual:

31 62 00 //DRIVEN PILES
31 62 13 Concrete Piles
31 62 13 Concrete Piles (Cast-in-Place)
31 62 13 Concrete Piles (Concrete Displacement)
31 62 13 Concrete Piles (Precast Concrete)
31 62 13 Concrete Piles (Prestressed Concrete)
31 62 16 Steel Piles
31 62 16 Steel Piles (Sheet Steel)
31 62 16 Steel Piles (Steel H)
31 62 16 Steel Piles (Steel Pipe)
31 62 19 Timber Piles
31 62 23 Composite Piles
31 62 23 Composite Piles (Concrete-Filled Steel)

You can have the different versions of these files in your master library with any extension beyond the six digits for the file name that you prefer or you could use the designated 8-digit numbers for the file name. This scheme keeps your project manual (published) numbers at 6 but allows you to keep the separate versions in your library for ease in editing. This scheme works as long as you don't have multiple types of concrete or steel piles in the same project. It maintains the advantages of:
(1) Staying with the MasterFormat recommendations;
(2) Staying within 6 digits;
(3) While still allowing for the more narrow scoping of subjects for more efficient editing of your master.

I am keeping my own master restricted to the use of 6 digits in published project manuals by use of the above scheme in several other locations in MasterFormat such as the example of toilet partitions that William noted above.
John Bunzick, CCS, CCCA
Senior Member
Username: bunzick

Post Number: 469
Registered: 03-2002
Posted on Wednesday, February 08, 2006 - 05:32 pm:   Edit PostDelete PostPrint Post

I like Bob Johnson's approach, and would add that if you did have more than one type of, say, steel piles in a project manual you could always use a numbering concept similar to your option 1, but I'd keep them closer to the original number. You might end up with something like this:
31 62 17 Sheet Steel Piles
31 62 18 Steel H Piles
David Stutzman
Senior Member
Username: david_stutzman

Post Number: 44
Registered: 07-2002
Posted on Wednesday, February 08, 2006 - 07:58 pm:   Edit PostDelete PostPrint Post

I believe using a single number for multiple spec sections does not address the situation, completely. Saving master files with the same section number, but with different section content can work for items that rarely have two different items using the same number on the same project.

For marine and waterway construction, I would not be surprised to find steel sheet piles and steel H piles used for the same project - the sheet piles to protect a bulkhead and the H piles to support a structure. The sections should not be included in the project manual with the same section number, nor with the same section title. The specifier will still be forced to make a project by project decision for a numbering scheme or will need to introduce level 4 numbers and titles.

Personally, I intend to avoid Level 4 number and titles. If specifiers avoid 13, 16, 19, etc. for level 3 numbers, assuming all these will be assigned eventually, and if 00 and 05 are also avoided to prevent any possibility of an implied hierarchy at level 3, there are still 50 available numbers (01, 02, 04, 07, 08, etc.) for each Level 2 number that are currently unassigned.

Remember, there is no hierarchy at level 3, only at levels 1, 2, and 4. So you should feel free to select any Level 3 number for any subject that is implicitly or explicitly included by the "parent" Level 2 title.

I believe that if you pick any one of these 50 numbers within the Level 2 title, spec users will be able to find the correct spec section describing the work shown on the drawings. If the spec users cannot find a section in the project manual by using the table of contents, this industry has a much more fundamental problem.

Bottom Line: Pick numbers and titles that make sense for your business and the way you operate. There will be no MasterFormat police issuing summonses to appear before CSI Board of Directors to explain your illegal use of a number or title.
Ronald L. Geren, RA, CSI, CCS, CCCA, MAI
Senior Member
Username: specman

Post Number: 213
Registered: 03-2003
Posted on Thursday, February 09, 2006 - 02:09 am:   Edit PostDelete PostPrint Post


I agree with you. I wasn't suggesting using a single number for multiple sections when filing masters. My approach, which I'm sure many will disagree with me, is to number master sections according to MF2004 using level 4, and in some cases, level 5 (i.e. by client, etc.), and then, when I create a project manual, I'll renumber the section to the nearest level 3 number.

Now, here's where I'll get differing opinions. If, as in Karen's issue, I have two level 4 sections within the same level 3 number, I'll combine both into one section. The reason(s)? -- typically (in my experience), sections under the same level 3 number are so closely related, that much of the same Part 1 and Part 3 paragraphs are identical. This goes towards the "say it once and in the right place" creed, thereby minimizing conflicting information. It will definitely require some extra editing, but if the master sections are written properly, the information from each section can be copied and pasted into a combined section quite easily. And, in the end, it saves paper (albiet in a minor way).

As you state in your bottom line: "Pick numbers and titles that make sense for your business and the way you operate." :~)
Karen L. Zaterman
Advanced Member
Username: kittiz

Post Number: 5
Registered: 10-2005
Posted on Thursday, March 02, 2006 - 04:59 pm:   Edit PostDelete PostPrint Post

I'm finally getting back to this (not that I REALLY have the time-- ha! I'm becoming just like the rest of you!)

Now this is awesome, you guys rule!
Just what I wanted... some varying opinions and intelligent discussion on which to base my decision :-)

David, you are correct... we may use more than one type of pile so Bob's suggestion cannot work for us.

I don't agree with the concept of changing the section numbers for each project as I can only see this working if there is a sole specifier writing every project manual. Part of my goal as the Spec Writer is to develop a system where the Master can be modified by the Engineer for their project -- with only minor assistance from me. I believe I can encourage this to happen using the database we have. I would not expect the Engineers to select non-conflicting number.

I do find the idea of combining two sections into one interesting. I'd like to consider this a little further by analyzing the similarities and differences in Parts 1 and 2.

After all is said & done we will assign numbers similar to my option 2, avoiding the use of the established numbers and changing the titles wherever I can. Finding an alternate title can sometimes be challenging, though...

Thank you all for your input.

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