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Colin Gilboy
Username: Colin

Post Number: 55
Registered: 05-2000
Posted on Sunday, February 16, 2003 - 02:21 pm:   Edit PostDelete PostPrint Post


Copyright 2002 by Herman R. Hoyer, PE, FCSI, CCS


In my last column I promised you some examples of sentences and paragraphs where the imperative mood is not the best sentence structure for specifying various installation instructions.

For my first example, let's take a case where installation of a particular product should be performed by a manufacturer-approved, specialist installer/subcontractor. In this case, we are talking about the installation of a glazed breakfast room conservatory structure, as follows:

G.Assembly and Installation: The Breakfast Room Conservatory structure, complete in all of its components, shall be assembled and installed by Amdega Pacific, a Division of Ryan Associates, in accordance with the approved shop drawings and Amdega's assembly and installation instructions for the indicated site conditions.

Another case where a product needs to be installed by a factory trained, specialist subcontractor, in this case a factory prefabricated or manufactured fireplace and chimney, as follows:

D.Installation: Fireplace and chimney complete, including exterior air-intake for combustion air, shall be installed by the manufacturer or its authorized representative in accordance with the approved shop drawings and the manufacturer's installation instructions and recommendations.

Some imperative-mood purists have argued that the foregoing installation paragraphs could very well have been written in the imperative mood. But for what purpose? To satisfy CSI's MOP recommendation to use the imperative mood, regardless of how awkward the result may be? Sometimes a sentence reads better when the subject comes first.

Another critic suggested that, instead of being so verbose, why not just say:

"D. Installation: Follow manufacturer's recommendations?" Theoretically, the critic is correct. All we want the contractor to do is follow the manufacturer's recommendations. However, in my experience, when such brevity is employed, it becomes an invitation for contractor mischief. The contractor almost never employs the manufacturer's factory trained subcontractor because of the extra expense.

Instead, the contractor botches the job using his/her own untrained forces, but claims he/she followed the manufacturer's recommendations by producing a copy of the manufacturer's printed installation instructions.

Take my word for it, it pays to be a little more detailed with your installation instructions. At least, you have a few specifics in writing you can hold the contractor to if a dispute arises.

Here are some more examples of sentences where the subject should come first:

o Drilling and cutting for installation of anchors shall be at locations which will be concealed in the finished work.

o Concrete may be placed by pumping if the maximum slump can be maintained and if approved in writing by the Engineer for the proposed location.

o Quarry Tile: Mortar setting bed, installation of tile, grouting of joints, and cleaning of tile shall be in accordance with the Drawings and the requirements of ANSI A108.3.

Here is an example sentence from my Quality Assurance Section where the subject comes first:

o The manufacturer of a product, system, or assembly which requires special knowledge and skill for the proper application or installation of such product, system, or assembly shall provide appropriate field or job service at no additional cost to the Contractor or Owner.

And speaking of quality assurance, this will be the subject of my next column.

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