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Richard Howard, AIA CSI CCS LEED-AP
Senior Member
Username: rick_howard

Post Number: 263
Registered: 07-2003

Posted on Friday, July 06, 2012 - 10:47 am:   Edit PostDelete PostPrint Post

I am working on a project where our Boston-based MEP engineers (their name starts with the letter V) have submitted a 25-page Section 200000 "Common Mechanical/Electrical Requirements" that includes all MEP General Requirements in one section. Much of it contradicting our Division 01 Sections. Have any other spec writers seen this or have ideas on how to deal with this development?
Marc C Chavez
Senior Member
Username: mchavez

Post Number: 462
Registered: 07-2002

Posted on Friday, July 06, 2012 - 10:58 am:   Edit PostDelete PostPrint Post

I have mixed results. AEI (Oh! did I say their name out loud) is another problem child. I have a nice letter I send telling them that they are twits and to get with the program. This works about 1/2 of the time. BECAUSE the architect signs the contract with them and does not remember to tell them we expect them to comply with a national standard that has been in place since 2004 and they whine about all the time and money it will take them to do it differently... Why we should have to tell them to comply with a national standard I don't know but...

Here is the body of my e-mail (I keep a copy in the draft folder of outlook at all times):

good luck and give'em hell

Please use MasterFormat 2004 not MasterFormat 1995. Also when switching over please DO NOT USE “Division 20” for general mechanical information or “Division 24” for general electrical information.

Just speaking about mechanical for the moment:

There is no division 20. Nor will there be for the foreseeable future. We need our consultants to ALL be using similar numbering systems.

I fully understand the traditional roll that 15100 and 16100 played in the world of MP&E. I would strongly suggest that in order to comply with a now well established National (and frankly North and South American) standard, that _______(name of company)___ use the “common work results sections” in Division 22 for hangers, valves, expansion fittings etc. and “221116 Domestic Water Piping” for the pipe.

Then have the fire sprinkler sections and HVAC sections reference back to these sections to retrieve this material.

Sections need not be narrow scoped (each type of material in a different section). For example use 220500 “common work results for plumbing” can be used for all of this common material.

This can also be done for electrical conduit, boxes, conductors etc in 260500

The other trades have been going from division to division for years. Metal workers and wood workers alike go to division 09 for painting and have never had any trouble finding it.

ZGF as a Corporation, asked it’s consultants to do this in 2005 it is now the end of 2012. We expect our consultants to have switched – completely - by this time.

I would be happy to help them renumber sections.
Lynn Javoroski FCSI CCS LEED® AP SCIP Affiliate
Senior Member
Username: lynn_javoroski

Post Number: 1514
Registered: 07-2002

Posted on Friday, July 06, 2012 - 11:05 am:   Edit PostDelete PostPrint Post

I see it frequently, and no matter what I say or do, they persist.

Last week, I decided to divorce the architectural divisions (as much as possible) from the MEP Divisions. Consequently, I will from now on publish a minimum of 2 volumes; volume 1 will be Divisions 02 through 14 and volume 2 Divisions 21 through whatever. Depending on who is responsible for Divisions 00 and 01, they will either be part of volume 1 - or will be separate in a volume 1, and volume 2 will be 02 through 14 and volume 3 will be the rest. Incidentally, after much frustration with the Tables of Contents, I've concluded the only way to keep my sanity (such as it is) intact, is to list my sections in my volume and simply reference the Divisions in the other volume in the same Table. (so the Table in Volume 1 lists the Sections and then states "Volume 2 - Divisions 21 through 28" for example)

I make an attempt to send Division 01 (when it is my responsibility) to the MEP consultants for their review. They almost never pay attention to it. I also frequently find in their sections contradictions with the firestopping, fire-resistive sealants and other related Division 07 sections. And again, no matter what I do, I have been unsuccessful in obtaining a change.

I still fight the fight as a cynical optimist, though.

But that doesn't completely address your problem. If you are the lead, I'd send them Division 01 with the instructions to review the sections and resolve the contradictions. That may require a teleconference to ascertain the best requirement, for instance, or include wording to the effect that the most stringent condition will apply and reference the applicable Article.

Marc, can I get a copy of your letter? I love the tone!
anon (Unregistered Guest)
Unregistered guest
Posted on Friday, July 06, 2012 - 12:58 pm:   Edit PostDelete PostPrint Post

I see it now and then. I fight it. I argue my point. I spend time listening to the twits' reasons for the section, and shoot them down one at a time.

It's painful, but if I (we) don't do it, who will? let's stand in solidarity and not give up the fight here.
Sheldon Wolfe
Senior Member
Username: sheldon_wolfe

Post Number: 578
Registered: 01-2003

Posted on Friday, July 06, 2012 - 02:03 pm:   Edit PostDelete PostPrint Post

One of our ME consultants is now updating their specifications, including elimination of Division 00 and Division 01 stuff. I'm more than happy to help them.

Many years ago, we had a client that insisted on compliance with MasterFormat and the MOP. To get everyone on board, I delivered a box lunch presentation to the ME consultants, pretty much an abbreviated CDT class. I had been encouraging these consultants to eliminate front end requirements from their sections for a long time, so I was thrilled when I saw the results - complete coordination, no duplication.

I finally had a project manual I could enter in the specifications competition! It did win an award, along with nice comments from the judges.

Afterward, I said, "That's great! Now we won't have to have that discussion anymore!" The reply from the consultants? "No, we did it just for this job."
Lynn Javoroski FCSI CCS LEED® AP SCIP Affiliate
Senior Member
Username: lynn_javoroski

Post Number: 1515
Registered: 07-2002

Posted on Friday, July 06, 2012 - 02:20 pm:   Edit PostDelete PostPrint Post

Let's just go get a beer...
Melissa J. Aguiar, CSI, CCS, SCIP
Senior Member
Username: melissaaguiar

Post Number: 155
Registered: 12-2003
Posted on Friday, July 06, 2012 - 02:25 pm:   Edit PostDelete PostPrint Post

I'm game! Lets roll...

Sheldon, that is exactly what happened to me when I tried to coordinate between disciplines.

My fave lately is red bull and vodka...makes spec writing so much better....jk.
Melissa J. Aguiar, CSI, CCS, SCIP
scott piper (Unregistered Guest)
Unregistered guest
Posted on Friday, July 06, 2012 - 02:23 pm:   Edit PostDelete PostPrint Post

I'm sorry but I gave up the fight a long time ago. I agree if there are contradictions then there is a problem that has to be addressed. Of course sometimes dispite our best efforts problems persist. For this reason we have added wording (similar to what Lynn refered to) allowing the architect and the Owner to select whichever provision they deem in their best interest at no additional expense or extension of time. However I don't care if my consultants call their sections Tom, Dick and Harry as long as they are correct.

I'm not trying to belittle the original point because it is important but we still need to be wary of paying to much attention to national standards and not enough attention to what our documents actually say.

This is not real estate: location, location, location. It's construction specs: content, content, content.
Richard Howard, AIA CSI CCS LEED-AP
Senior Member
Username: rick_howard

Post Number: 264
Registered: 07-2003

Posted on Friday, July 06, 2012 - 02:33 pm:   Edit PostDelete PostPrint Post

There are some 'good guys' out there. I used to work for a very large E/a firm, of Unlimited Reach and Scope, where the engineers sought my help in adopting the, then new, 2004 MasterFormat. They wanted to be early adopters of new industry standards to demonstrate their high level of professionalism. They were also actively involved with their largest competitors in the development of Division 46.
anon (Unregistered Guest)
Unregistered guest
Posted on Friday, July 06, 2012 - 02:45 pm:   Edit PostDelete PostPrint Post

I have worked with the large E/a firm of Unlimited Reach and Scope on a very large project. We were the prime, they were our consultant. It is the first time that my specifications dovetailed perfectly with a consultant's. It was such a joy working with them because of this. i had no idea that you were the reason behind this...

Thank you, Richard!
ken hercenberg
Senior Member
Username: khercenberg

Post Number: 296
Registered: 12-2006
Posted on Friday, July 06, 2012 - 02:57 pm:   Edit PostDelete PostPrint Post

While I typically rail against the heresy of make-believe Divisions, this is one where I can at least commiserate with the MEP folks though they do have the option of doing this right.

Since no one in their right mind actually wants to read through and coordinate Division 01 (it seems no one on this Forum is of their right mind), I can appreciate why MEP folks want their own 'front end' docs. Having said that, for items that should only be said once (sounds like Division 01 content to me), they are putting it in Division 20, the 'Division 01' of MEP.

Rick, I'm in Massachusetts and have been dealing in VderW (oops). At least we can get them to stop putting firestopping specs in their Divisions on individual projects, but we do have to send the same letter each time.

I just got a spec from another engineering firm that not only has a 'General Requirements' Section for each Division, instead of a single Division 20 Section, they also have a Supplementary Conditions Section for each of their Divisions.

Get a rope.
Ellis C. Whitby, PE, CSI, AIA, LEED® AP
Senior Member
Username: ecwhitby

Post Number: 160
Registered: 03-2003
Posted on Friday, July 06, 2012 - 03:31 pm:   Edit PostDelete PostPrint Post

"Get a rope."

Not for you I trust: it's Friday and somewhere the "sun is over the yardarm." Hence open your libation of choice and start fresh Monday morning.
Richard Howard, AIA CSI CCS LEED-AP
Senior Member
Username: rick_howard

Post Number: 265
Registered: 07-2003

Posted on Friday, July 06, 2012 - 03:46 pm:   Edit PostDelete PostPrint Post

Thanks, anon, but I didn't have to train them to play nice. I think that because they are so big and have so many people from multiple offices collaborating on projects, that they have developed good habits out of necessity. The urge to stay on top of current standards is similarly driven.

And for all the other former employees out there, they have a form for that.
Phil Kabza
Senior Member
Username: phil_kabza

Post Number: 512
Registered: 12-2002

Posted on Monday, July 09, 2012 - 05:54 pm:   Edit PostDelete PostPrint Post

First step is to get your Project Managers writing consultant contracts on board with the notion that formats are just as much a part of quality as content. Then create a checklist of common coordination issues per design discipline and provide the checklist to each consulting engineer long before they create their specifications, perhaps as an attachment to their contract. If you don't have Division 01 complete, send them a typical one from another project, so they can see what's in it. If you read the AIA C401 you will see that it is the consultant's responsibility to coordinate with the architect's documents, not the other way around.

If that doesn't fix it, push the resulting problem solving back to the consultants during CA, and let them burn up fees straightening out the mess. Don't own their poor practices. Oh, and remove their "Supplementary Conditions;" they do not have the contractual right to issue owner documents.

Even better - get some of their younger staff into CDT training. They got training to become system designers; they need training to become specifiers, too.
John Bunzick, CCS, CCCA, LEED AP
Senior Member
Username: bunzick

Post Number: 1417
Registered: 03-2002
Posted on Tuesday, July 10, 2012 - 03:14 pm:   Edit PostDelete PostPrint Post

Well, I can say that said firm has been creating such a problem for quite some time. My first such experience with them dates to about 1985 (yes, that's 27 years ago!), and included conflicts with Division 1 and overly broad scope sections. I was told at the time that only the managing principal could make the changes I requested. Some things never change.

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