VOLUME Construction Advisor Today   ISSUE 100   MARCH 24, 2011


There is no element of a construction contract more fundamental than the specifications. The specs define in detail many aspects of the work. It is surprising, however, how little thought and effort may go into the assembly of the specifications. There are many standard specs which are used over and over as a matter of course. Manufacturers provide specifications which are incorporated with no attention to coordination with other contract provisions. The specifications in any given contract may be nothing more than a “cut-and-paste” job.

This was illustrated on a recent project calling for replacement of a roof. The contract, quite typically, required the contractor to furnish the project owner with a manufacturer’s standard 20-year warranty. Yet the specifications, which had been written around and could only be met by one manufacturer, caused a problem. The specs called for the roof insulation to be attached to the roof deck in a manner which negated the manufacturer’s warranty. If the contractor complied with the specifications, it could not provide the warranty.


It is not necessary to reinvent the wheel each time a construction contract is prepared. The use of standard published specifications is not, in itself, bad. But the unthinking amalgamation of specifications can produce embarrassing and costly results. What is your experience? I welcome your comments.

Featured in Next Week’s Construction Claims Advisor:

  • AIA Contract Can’t Be Terminated Without Architect Certification
  • Specification Governed Special Provision
  • Sub May Have Extended Acceptance Period for Proposal


The American Society of Heating, Refrigerating and Air-Conditioning Engineers (ASHRAE) has approved a project to help specifying engineers and designers use building data to improve building operations, energy efficiency, comfort, and sustainability. Research Project 1633, "Data and Interfaces for Advanced Building Maintenance and Operation," is expected to yield a set of standard data-driven metrics, interfaces, and dashboards for advanced building operation and management.


By Bob Hutchinson

Lightning has struck, the clouds have parted, and the prophets have come down from the mount and proudly proclaimed, “BIM is the paperless solution that shall be the savior of the construction industry!”  Hmmmmm, … really?  Well, … kinda?! Is there a need for BIM?  ABSOLUTELY! 

Just as in other types of manufacturing operations, BIM can prove invaluable for the early detection of conflicts and provide volumes of information when it comes to all of the pieces and parts. But when it comes to putting work in place, are we killing an ant with a 10-ton wrecking ball? In theory, BIM is a great solution that should bridge the gap to paperless construction. But as my old college law professor used to spout, “Theory is great right up until it gets bit in the butt by reality.” Feel free to replace the word “reality” with “stupidity” as you see fit.


San Francisco utility officials recently selected Oracle’s Primavera Contract Management solution to assist in one of the largest water infrastructure programs in the United States. The solution will serve as the backbone of a construction management information system (CMIS) for the $4.6-billion Water System Improvement Program (WSIP).





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