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Posted on Sunday, February 09, 2003 - 12:13 pm:   Edit PostDelete PostPrint Post


Copyright 1999 by Herman R. Hoyer, PE, FCSI, CCS

I have been asked to author a monthly column on Short-Form Specifications for our newsletter, the Specifics. The column is being copyrighted because I may use much of the material in a book I am writing. But, of course, you may use the material as long as you don’t quote the material verbatim in a competing book.

For those of you who have attended one of my Short-form Specifications Seminars, some of the material in this column may not be new and enlightening. However, I shall do my best to bring you the latest thinking and information on this short-form mode of construction specifying. I shall welcome questions, and those of general interest will be answered here.

Creating and developing short-form specifications requires specialized knowledge and skill, and imparting this special knowledge is the purpose of this column. It also requires an appreciation of the concept that the length of specifications should be kept in realistic proportion to the cost of the project.

First, let’s define short-form specifications and establish some guidelines. Short-form specifications are construction specifications reduced to the shortest length possible without reducing the effectiveness of the specifications and without sacrificing any essential ingredients. For smaller projects, short-form specifications can take the form of notes on the drawings.

Creating and developing short-form specs is not a process involving abridgement or condensation of so-called long-form specifications. Instead, it is a fresh approach involving the reengineering of construction specifications.
Abridgement of long-form specifications invariably leads to omitting important elements. The end product of our endeavor for this column will be “state-of-the-art specifications.”

My short-form specs have withstood the test of many field applications, as well as the test of time, dating back to 1965. I have never received any negative feedback. In fact, feedback from contractors has been positive and enthusiastic. They freely admit to bidding lower on projects with shorter specs. Their premise: there is less to read and, therefore, less chance of overlooking something.

Next month we will continue by identifying the fundamentals of short-form specifying.

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