A Specifier's Christmas Wish

Just what would a specifier wish for Christmas? Peace? Goodwill? Perhaps, but there are some more mundane wishes to help improve every construction project. And if they all come true, the entire design team, contractor, and especially the owner will enjoy a better New Year.

Share the Schedule:

Seems simple enough. Just pick up the phone. Send an email. Tell the team the real schedule. Inform the team when the schedule changes. When specifiers know the delivery date, the work will be done on time.

Require Consultant Input:

The first specification step is always review the drawings and create a project table of contents to identify scope and help coordination. The last step is always to add the other consultants' spec lists to the contents - without time for any possible scope verification and coordination. Demand that all consultants submit spec lists as a first step. Use the table of contents to coordinate the project, including the specifications and drawing terminology.

Provide Drawings:

Yes, drawings would be nice! (It's sad but true: specifiers have written some project specs without seeing any drawing.) Current drawings would be even better. Concept and schematic drawings would be best. Let specifiers see the drawings as they develop. If specifiers cannot understand the drawings, neither will the contractor. Specifiers' questions avert change orders, while contractors' questions do not. Take advantage of the drawing review provided as a normal part of the specification process to make all the documents better.

Extend Meeting Invitations:

True, most meeting discussions do not revolve around specifications. However, knowing the rationale for design decisions will allow the specifications to explain the design intent better. And when you least expect it, the specifier may contribute a thought or experience that will "save the day."

Distribute Meeting Minutes:

Add another name to the email distribution list for meeting minutes. Allow specifiers to review and track design discussions that may affect specifications. From experience with hundreds of projects, specifiers may be able to offer suggestions for more efficient solutions and alternative materials and systems better suited to the project conditions.

Respond Thoughtfully:

Review the draft specifications. Consider the specifiers' questions and suggested solutions. Make a decision providing specific direction based on the available information. Move on to the next decision. Repeat until complete. Arrows and question marks are not an answer. If discussion is needed, say so. Voice your concern to open the dialog. Yes designs will change, and so will the specs, in response.

Acknowledge Contributions:

Specifiers are never in the limelight. Managing the technical detail correctly may be the difference between success and a law suit. "Thank you" goes a long way especially when the entire project team, including the owner and contractor, hears the recognition.

Merry Christmas and Happy New Year!

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