SPECIFICATIONS AND CONTRACTS  

Specifications are “that portion of the Contract Documents consisting of the written requirements for materials, equipment, systems, standards and workmanship for the Work, and performance of related services,” according to the General Conditions of the Contract.   The work sections (CBI 2000 to 8000) are a written description of the materials, products, and workmanship used to construct a building.  The General Sections, CBI 1000, are the requirements for administering and performing the work of constructing the building.

What is CBI Level 1 - General?  

CBI Level 1 General expands upon the requirements in the Agreement and the Conditions of the Contract (General Conditions and Special Conditions.)  It specifies administrative requirements, procedural requirements, temporary facilities and controls, and performance requirements.  CBI 1000 applies to all the work sections in CBI 2000’s to 8000’s.

What are the most important things for designers to remember about the specs?  

The Contract Documents “consist of the Agreement, Conditions of the Contract (General, Special and other Conditions), Drawings, Specifications, Addenda issued prior to execution of the Contract, other documents listed in the Agreement and Modifications issued after execution of the Contract.” Specifications are part of the contract. 

The intent of the Contract Documents is to include all items necessary for the proper execution and completion of the Work by the Contractor.  The Contract Documents are complementary, and what is required by one shall be as binding as if required by all. In other words, if it’s in the specs, it’s in the contract, just as much as it’s in the contract if it’s in the drawings.

Unless the design team intends for something to be included by the contractor in the project, it shouldn’t be in the specs (or drawings).  There shouldn't be a bunch of things in the specs “in case we need them” if we don’t actually intend for them to be in the project, because by doing that, we’ve taken the first step to our documents not being taken seriously by the Contractor.  If there is extra information in the specifications, the contractor will assume that the specifications are boilerplate specifications that are reused on all projects, and are not specific to the project, and may ignore all the specifications.

Also, the designer should enforce the provisions of the specs and the agreement and the conditions of the contract, or else these documents won’t be taken seriously.  We have to say what we mean, and prove that we mean what we say.

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