What’s in a spec?
Typically created in the architect’s office, specifications are the instructions set for how every building component should come together.
Specifications may be performance-based, laying out requirements only for how an end system must function while leaving product selection and other details to the contractor. But they often go into greater detail, spelling out the exact processes and products that are to be used for a given design element. They can cover everything from materials and processes for submittals to inspection procedures.
Construction specifications are categorised according to divisions – such as plumbing and fire suppression – that represent the typical stages and types of work performed on the job site.
They can include things like stipulating the distance between nails in drywall, or the position of a building component down to the millimetre. In addition to being separated into divisions, a hierarchical numbering system is employed, with the architect assigning a section number to each spec for efficient referencing.
Page-turning is costing you a pretty penny
As with drawing sets, project managers and supers need to be able to quickly locate the information they need so they can distribute it to their subcontractors. Therefore, having an organised spec book at the job site trailer is vital.
Because of the breadth and depth of information, spec books can range in size from 100 to over 3,000 pages. Too much time spent trying to access and track down the right information in these endless binders is not only costly in regards to the money spent on the physical search, but even more so on the potential cost associated with rework due to outdated specifications.
It’s about more than just specs
In the past, project risk was particularly difficult to manage because there was a consistently high rate of unknowns. To perform their role optimally, project managers need to know who is doing what and where. This translates into a need to have access to real-time data, and to extensively document project occurrences, both of which are easy to do with cloud-based project management software.
All project stakeholders are now able to stay up to date on even the most specialised job site activities. In addition to real time updates on drawings and specifications, contractors are instantly notified when there’s a problem and new software tools make it easier to perform inspections and quality control. These factors combine to create a level of accuracy and completeness that simply was not possible before the introduction of cloud-based software. More complete problem resolution combined with more accurate records reduce project risk dramatically.
Eliminate hours of tedious manual labour
Using advanced optical character recognition (OCR) technology, Procore’s Specifications Tool automatically names and divides spec sections as soon as the files are uploaded. It also facilitates faster searching, so team members can stop flipping through spec books or scrolling through digital folders. Instead, they can perform a contextual search, typing in the division, section, or related key term, and search results populate in seconds. Organising specs using mobile or cloud-based apps keeps all related project information together. Spec sections can be attached to tender packages and submittals so relevant specs can be found in seconds and for the first time, it is easy to view specs in context. As a result, informed decisions can be made more quickly than ever before.
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Image courtesy of Procore.