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Betty J Chavira
New member
Username: Bchavira

Post Number: 1
Registered: 01-2003
Posted on Tuesday, January 28, 2003 - 11:17 am:   Edit PostDelete PostPrint Post

I'm a civil engineer/specifier for a Federal agency. We are evaluating the process we have in place for review and technical approval of specifications. Currently, each design drawing is reviewed & approved by a PE in the appropriate discipline (structural, mechanical, electrical...). Specifications are prepared & coordinated by a separate group of specifiers. The specs are then peer reviewed by a PE and signed before inclusion in the Project Manual. For the specifiers out there - how is the review and approval process accomplished in your company/agency? Who signs? What does the signature (signature/seal/stamp) imply? Are the technical reviewers registered professional engineers, registered architects, CEOs? How is the review & approval process handled by independent specifiers?
Jo Drummond
New member
Username: Jo_drummond

Post Number: 42
Registered: 03-2002
Posted on Tuesday, January 28, 2003 - 02:08 pm:   Edit PostDelete PostPrint Post

Interesting questions. I am an independent specifier. I have lots of experience, and I work alone.
My specs. get written, the best I can, based on the information I have from my clients, who are usually architects. My contract says that my client will review them and advise me of what they may want changed, added, etc. My contract also says that my clients can send them to their clients (usually the owners or developers or district agencies) and they will review them, and I will correct them again.
That's what the contract says.
What happens? Frequently nobody reads them, unless there is a problem, in which case I get asked what to do about it; or on rare occasions, if I said something in the specs. that bailed them out of a problem, I might get called and thanked.

For a while I consulted and taught classes to a large local public agency here, and they had a review process something like you described. The problem in their case was that their review was done by committees which met only occasionally, so weeks or months would go by before even a simple change like an update to an ASTM spec no. could be made. The agency was doing a lot of work, so in the meantime, numerous specs. would go out with the old information.
So you have 2 choices, either have people you can trust doing the revisions and make the process very simple to approve and put in effect; or have a lengthy review process, and in the meantime have specs going out with the "old" data.
I tried to convince the above described agency to have 2 categories of changes: housekeeping updates and substantive changes. Have a simple signoff on the housekeeping updates, and do the meetings and approvals for the ones that matter.
But, like most bureaucracies, they had to have a series of meetings to approve my suggestions, by which time I was long gone.
I'm glad I work alone. I approve my own changes, and I change constantly. I couple of minutes ago, I added a new section to my masters, for a product I hadn't encountered before.

Betty J Chavira, CSI, CCS, CCCA
New member
Username: Bchavira

Post Number: 2
Registered: 01-2003
Posted on Tuesday, January 28, 2003 - 03:40 pm:   Edit PostDelete PostPrint Post

Joann - From your response, I have refocused to address 2 issues - (1) the processes firms use to review and approve drawings & specs (and other bidding documents) for each Project Manual, and (2) the process for creating, reviewing and updating guide (or master) specs. The guide spec issue is an important one. I'd like to know how the various firms & government agencies create and maintain their guide specs. When I edit a guide spec (or create a new section, as you have described, based on a new work item or product), {currently} I do have the freedom to make changes to housekeeping items you have described (like reference standard titles & dates). Where I need to improve, is getting these types of changes into the guide spec so that other users can benefit. The fast pace of spec production sometimes results in my overlooking this feedback step. I know that many agencies and firms have very specific rules in place for reviewing & revising their guides.
Ralph Liebing
New member
Username: Rliebing

Post Number: 2
Registered: 02-2003
Posted on Monday, February 03, 2003 - 02:42 pm:   Edit PostDelete PostPrint Post

To answer in part, most state registration laws require that the professional responsible for the work, or who is in charge of preparation, must seal and sign the specifications. This is usually a Lead or Project Architect or Engineer. In some cases, firms have corporate "registrations" and in that case, a registered pricipal of the firm must seal and sign [whether directly involved or not]. In essence, this indicates and displays a specific person who is responsible and accountable for the work of the project-- this same applies to the drawings. In large firms, they delegate the seal/sign to their Project people, and it is a legal and liability issue, and can impact personal professional liability and status [if the "balloon" goes up]

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