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David Stutzman
Senior Member
Username: david_stutzman

Post Number: 49
Registered: 07-2002
Posted on Monday, February 12, 2007 - 07:58 am:   Edit PostDelete PostPrint Post

A short debate resulted in divergent opinions expressed at a recent national meeting I attended. So I am curious:

Who is currently using MasterFormat 04?
How many projects are written annually using MasterFormat 04?
What percentage of your projects does this represent?
How many of your clients/owners demand MasterFormat 04?

Here is my response:
We are independent spec consultants.
We used MF04 for 3 projects one in 2005, none in 2006, and 2 in 2007.
This is less than 0.5% of our projects.
Only Verizon Wireless, the owner and not our client, required MasterFormat04. This accounts for 2 of the 3 projects we completed.
Only two of our more than 60 clients have published a MF04 spec.

We announced to our clients that we would convert to MF04 beginning January 2006. I am glad we can provide specs in MF95 and MF04 formats because none of our clients has made the decision to change to MF04.
Posted on Monday, February 12, 2007 - 08:44 am:   Edit PostDelete PostPrint Post

Spec consultant
Used MF04 for 1 project in 2006.
2 percent of projects done since MF04 published.
Posted on Monday, February 12, 2007 - 08:52 am:   Edit PostDelete PostPrint Post

Last year I converted my specs (350 sections including Divs 0 & 1)...took about 3 months start to finish. When push came to shove, my supervisor (an Architect) said don't use the new format..."nobody cares".
John Bunzick, CCS, CCCA
Senior Member
Username: bunzick

Post Number: 650
Registered: 03-2002
Posted on Monday, February 12, 2007 - 08:57 am:   Edit PostDelete PostPrint Post

We are converting now. Many of our projects are quite small, so I'm not sure how many were done last year in MF2004, but it was a small number. we did, however, produce several DD outline specs in MF 2004. Our first major projects in MF2004 are ongoing now, and we anticipate preparing all specs in MF2004 from this point forward. There will probably be some exceptions for projects that come back to life, and for a handful of engineering-only projects. Our engineering depts. are slightly behind the architecture dept. in conversion.
Richard Howard, AIA CSI CCS
Senior Member
Username: rick_howard

Post Number: 114
Registered: 07-2003
Posted on Monday, February 12, 2007 - 09:31 am:   Edit PostDelete PostPrint Post

We are one of the largest EA firms in the world. Our gross revenue for the last fiscal year was nearly 4 billion USD and we are projecting much better results for this year.

We started converting early in 2005 and by the fall of that year, all new projects in our office used MF04. Existing work under way will continue to use MF95 until we are done with those projects. New projects with those clients will go with MF04.

We made the decision to do this on our own. We don't discuss formats with our clients; for the most part they don't know and don't care, but as industry leaders, they expect us to be up to date. Most of our government clients have adopted the new format and require its use.

For similar reasons, we have started switching from 2D CADD to BIM.
William C. Pegues, FCSI, CCS
Senior Member
Username: wpegues

Post Number: 640
Registered: 10-2002
Posted on Monday, February 12, 2007 - 09:46 am:   Edit PostDelete PostPrint Post

We are an architectural firm, offices in Washington, DC (about 150) and Dallas, Texas (about 40). Specifications for both offices come out of our DC office.

We officially made the switch to MF2004 the end of January, 2006. The criteria was that all projects that had their 75% review date after the 31st would go with MF2004. Every project save one since that time has gone with MF2004 and that was a project that was the 2nd Phase of a project that went much earlier with MF1995.

A % is misleading since effective with the conversion only 1 went and that due to being a phased project. Effectively, that would be 100% of all projects are MF2004.

We have had no requests from Owner/Developers, we just produce the documents, we don't call it to their attention - not one has complained or requested otherwise. As Richard comments, we do not discuss our formats with our clients.

We had one client that is an Owner/Builder that requested a new project be MF1995 that was in February 2006 for its 75% point. He said that it was because his logging system did not have the MF2004 numbers. He was running on a 3 year old copy never updated and we pointed out that Sweets catalogs were in MF2004. He then updated his logging software and requested we proceed with MF2004.

We have minor complaints from some MEP consultants, but they all changed for their related projects. All landscape consultants changed without complaint. All structural changed without comment.

Just because someone made the mention of time, it took about 30 man hours to make the conversion spread over 3 weeks targeted for Masters updating in late 2005 where we had a short lull in the schedule.

In June of 2006, due to lack of use we obsoleted our MF1995 master and withdrew it from use. We no longer make updates to it and it is archived as reference only.

Sheldon Wolfe
Senior Member
Username: sheldon_wolfe

Post Number: 228
Registered: 01-2003
Posted on Monday, February 12, 2007 - 09:51 am:   Edit PostDelete PostPrint Post

Since converting in early 2005, nearly all of our projects have used MF04. The exceptions were projects that were already underway, and a few projects that used a mix of 95 and 04, before our consultants finished their conversion.

The only client that requires use of MF04 is the Minnesota State College and University system, which, in the fall of 2005, mandated use of MF04. Otherwise, our clients have expressed no preference; they rely on us to keep current with changing standards.
David R. Combs, CSI, CCS, CCCA
Senior Member
Username: davidcombs

Post Number: 195
Registered: 08-2004
Posted on Monday, February 12, 2007 - 09:52 am:   Edit PostDelete PostPrint Post

We converted in mid-2005.

With the exception of prototype projects, in-progress projects, and client mandates to use an earlier version (since they, too, were contributing specs to the project manual), ALL projects issued since August 2005 have been in MF 2004 (at least 95% of our work). This amounts to about 40 - 45 projects over the past 18 months (ranging in size from $2.5 million to $120 million). We have heard NO complaints from Owners, contractors, subcontractors, or suppliers.

We did not wait for clients to "demand" it; as I feel this is beyond their purview. I feel this is strictly a "tools-of-the-trade" decision best made by the specifications writer, and not by those less in the know.

During that 18-month time period, we had only two clients who contribute specs to our project manuals. One converted to MF '04 in the first quarter of 2006; the other still uses a version loosly based on MF '88 and shows no sign of crawling out from under their rock.

We also converted one of our prototype projects (same owner, same contractor for all projects) to MF '04, with no objection from either.

As mentioned in some of the posts above, we too took the iniative to do this as leaders in the industry. It was simply not prudent for us to take a "wait-and-see" attitude, which would have resulted in us falling behind the curve.
Wayne Yancey
Senior Member
Username: wyancey

Post Number: 280
Registered: 05-2005
Posted on Monday, February 12, 2007 - 10:59 am:   Edit PostDelete PostPrint Post

While working for a building envelope consultant in the assessment and rehab side, I made the switch first in early 2005. Nobody noticed and nobody commented.

In my current midsize A/ID firm I share duties with another spec writer. I use MF04 while he continues to use MF95. Again, no big deal.

From time to time we use an outside consultant who also uses MF04.

I echo Richard's comments. We want to be preeminent in our profession and the use of MF04 is part of that effort. I would not use or refer to an outdated version of SMACNA or AWI or TCNA.

Mitch Miller, AIA ,CSI, CCS, MAI
Senior Member
Username: m2architek

Post Number: 102
Registered: 02-2004
Posted on Monday, February 12, 2007 - 11:03 am:   Edit PostDelete PostPrint Post

We are currently using MF04, and made January 07 our firm's official conversion date. The only objections/resistance is from consultants. I conducted a seminar to educate all our consultants, invited 70 individuals with only about 14 that attended. While some projects are remaining in MF95, our goal is to eliminate MF95 totally by the end of the year. Again, you can LEAD, FOLLOW...or GET OUT OF THE WAY!
Steven Bruneel, AIA, CSI-CDT, LEED-AP
Senior Member
Username: redseca2

Post Number: 20
Registered: 12-2006
Posted on Monday, February 12, 2007 - 12:19 pm:   Edit PostDelete PostPrint Post

We have offices in San Francisco, Seattle, Salt Lake and Boston. More offices in Great Britain that do not apply regarding Spec Format.

All "New" projects use MasterFormat 2004. I phrase it as "new" because we have many very long term medical center campus projects that may kick out phases every few moths for 10 years or more. For consistency, we keep those sorts of projects in the old format.

In fact, I have already experienced the reverse: taking a new template spec developed in MasterFormat 2004 and converting it backward for a project in the old format.
Robert W. Johnson
Senior Member
Username: bob_johnson

Post Number: 122
Registered: 08-2004
Posted on Monday, February 12, 2007 - 12:48 pm:   Edit PostDelete PostPrint Post

Independent consultant doing almost totally private commecial projects for archiectural clients with private develper clients.

I started approaching clients and educating them about the change in late 2005 with the advice that we should start using the 2004 format on projects in 2006. Approximately 50% of my projects in 2006 have been 2004. I expect almost all my projects in 2007 to be in 2004.

I would echo some of the above statements. The biggest problem to overcome has been among MEP engineers who also have the most major changes to make. However, I saw more and more engineers making the change during the past year.

At this point, I now make the assumption that we will use 2004 and usually don't even ask the question regarding new projects. I am being retained as the specification expert and am expected to provide the lead advice in that subject area. If you wait for your clients to demand the change, you will probably have some long waits - people are natually resistive to change
Leon Ruch, RA, CSI, CCS (Unregistered Guest)
Unregistered guest
Posted on Monday, February 12, 2007 - 01:30 pm:   Edit PostDelete PostPrint Post

I started with MF2004 for a small project in late 2004 to test the waters. Beginning in January 2005, all "new" projects were done using 2004, with individual sections converted as they were used. We work with several MEP engineers (as well as doing some MEP in-house) and only one has been uncooperative about the conversion. I think we have had about two or three phone calls asking if we omitted the site specs by mistake, but beyond that the transition has been smooth.
Ron Lindow, CSI, CCS, CCCA, MAI (Unregistered Guest)
Unregistered guest
Posted on Monday, February 12, 2007 - 12:44 pm:   Edit PostDelete PostPrint Post

All specifications since July 1, 2005, have been written with MasterFormat 2004, including all consultant specifications.

We made this decision as a firm, and have not looked back. We sell ourselves as a "cutting edge" design firm and wanted to have "cutting edge" specifications.

Strictly an Architectural firm. Approx. 55 persons.

There has been absolutely no feed back from Clients, Construction Managers, or Suppliers.

Personally, I think it is a great way to go. Yes there was some downtime due to the conversion, but at the same time I broke up some large sections into smaller multiple sections, and now have greater efficiency in writing some sections.

My thoughts are "Those that don't convert will become dinosaurs".
Colin Gilboy
Senior Member
Username: colin

Post Number: 84
Registered: 09-2005
Posted on Monday, February 19, 2007 - 10:55 am:   Edit PostDelete PostPrint Post

Moved section to MF2004 area from specifications
John Carter (Unregistered Guest)
Unregistered guest
Posted on Saturday, April 28, 2007 - 10:18 am:   Edit PostDelete PostPrint Post

We provide whatever our clients (the architects) want us to provide. We have completed 2 or 3 projects out of 30 projects in MF04 during the last 2 years.
in one case, the architect regretted choosing MF04.

The problem is not lack of educating the architects. They can't find the Wood Doors section in MF95 and they still won't be able to find it in MF04.

No, the problem seems to be the "engineering consultants". They will (passive-agressively) fail to use MF04 if told to use it. Sometimes they will use MF04 even though we're using MF95 on the project.

On one occasion, a consultant sent a combination of files - some in MF04 and some in MF95. It delayed the project delivery for 2 days. They could not understand what they had done wrong.

I really wish the industry would embrace it, so we could get this transition over with and move on with more important problems, but the very engineers that complained abpout MF95 are the ones that are causing the problems in implementing it. At least, in my experience.
John Regener, AIA, CCS, CCCA, CSI, SCIP
Senior Member
Username: john_regener

Post Number: 295
Registered: 04-2002
Posted on Sunday, April 29, 2007 - 08:21 pm:   Edit PostDelete PostPrint Post

John Carter:

The issue with mechanical and electrical engineers is not only reluctance to change from MF95 to MF04 but to change from some corrupted version of MF83 (1983!) that some have inherited, adopted, swiped or whatever. I've also seen MF88 numbers. Wasn't the main reason to change Masterformat to accommodate the interests of mechanical and electrical engineering disciplines, including the process engineering and low-voltage systems designers? (selling books was just an afterthought --- right!)

At a meeting of in-house and out-sourced specifiers in Los Angeles on 4/25/07, the question was asked about using MF04. Of the 15-18 specifiers attending, only a handful had used MF04 for project specifications and only one or two were using MF04 as the primary section number and title system.

MF04 is very slowly being adopted in Southern California. Large institutional clients, such as Los Angeles Unified School District which sets the standard for many other districts, and which has a huge amount of construction in design, have not adopted MF04.

It seems like engineers and most architects are unconvinced that MF95 is broken and needs to be fixed by the adoption of MF04.

Oh, it was also mentioned at the 4/15/07 meeting that construction project management software has not adopted MF04 yet and using MF04 for the specs creates some difficulties.

In my opinion, firms designing large, sophisticated projects will migrate to MF04 first and the vast majority of firms, doing the majority of commercial, institutional and multi-unit residential projects will migrate MAYBE in a few years if there is a compelling reason --- BIM?
Mark Gilligan SE, CSI
Senior Member
Username: markgilligan

Post Number: 164
Registered: 05-2005
Posted on Monday, April 30, 2007 - 12:11 am:   Edit PostDelete PostPrint Post

Why is it that mechanical and electrical engineers, not to exclude other engineers, often do not make an effort to comply with current specification practices? Could it be that:
-- They were never taught how to do it right.
-- They have never seen a copy of the MOP let alone the PRM.
-- They keep being hired for the next project even thought they make no effort to follow good practice.

I contend that these bad habits are encouraged when the architects specification writer reformats the specifications or when they are given a copy of somebody elses master to edit.

If you want to change these bad habbits they need to see that there are consequences.
Margaret G. Chewning FCSI CCS
Senior Member
Username: presbspec

Post Number: 124
Registered: 01-2003
Posted on Monday, April 30, 2007 - 07:13 am:   Edit PostDelete PostPrint Post

It sounds like the east coast is finally ahead of the west coast. It took a while, but all but one of my clients here are on MF04 (willingly too) and most of them are medium to small firms.
J. Peter Jordan
Senior Member
Username: jpjordan

Post Number: 236
Registered: 05-2004
Posted on Monday, April 30, 2007 - 12:52 pm:   Edit PostDelete PostPrint Post

John-- When we have gone through the MF04 stuff with MEP consultants, they do some initial grumbling, but then they begin to see the advantages. It usually takes about 20 minutes of their time for them to see how their projects would benefit. Once they see the advantages, they are generally pretty enthusiastic.
Rebecca Werman ,CCS CSI (Unregistered Guest)
Unregistered guest
Posted on Monday, June 04, 2007 - 09:23 pm:   Edit PostDelete PostPrint Post

I am an Architectural Specifications Consultant and have not used one complete MF04 format. I am working on a project with state funding using MF04 for Bidding Requirements and MF95 for technical specs at the Owner's request. I have also worked on retail strip mall projects and the developers could care less.
William C. Pegues, FCSI, CCS
Senior Member
Username: wpegues

Post Number: 665
Registered: 10-2002
Posted on Monday, June 04, 2007 - 11:29 pm:   Edit PostDelete PostPrint Post

Since January 31 of 2006 (about 17 months ago right now) every project started has been MF2004. That's for 2 offices, DC and Dallas. Minor complaints at first from some consultants, but very minor and all have complied.

No contractor has ever questioned it, very few owners have noticed and only a few of those that noticed ask questions.


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