04 Jun 2024
Building Code Updates 2023-2024
This month we have published amendments in response to building code updates. The 2023-24 NZBC changes were published by MBIE on the 2 November 2023,...
04 Jun 2024
NZ Building Code Changes: Type 1 Domestic Smoke Alarms
From November 2023 the Building Code Acceptable Solutions for Protection from Fire (C/AS1 and C/AS2) have been amended to make Type 1 interconnected...
05 Apr 2024
Understanding Project Scope and How to Specify Window Systems
It is vital that Movement and Deflection criteria are correctly defined in the Specification. We cannot over emphasize the importance of correctly...
04 Apr 2024
MBIE Building Consent System Review - Overview and Update
In July 2022, MBIE commenced a review of the building consent system, as part of the Building System Reforms to improve the consenting process. The...
30 Nov 2023
NZCIC Guidelines Responsibility Schedule Goes Digital
The new online tool enables real-time collaboration among multiple stakeholders, fostering efficiency and innovation in construction processes.
10 Nov 2023
BCA Requests to Modify Manufacturers Technical Content
mDocs allows the specifier to quickly access the latest version of a document uploaded by the manufacturer or supplier. Importantly, these detailed...
27 Sep 2023
Masterpec Specified: Award Winning Soaring Box House by Turner Road Architecture
The house’s unique design fits into the rural landscape. The house has a cantilevered structure and a soaring angular volume. The interior design is...
27 Sep 2023
Masterpec Specified: Award Winning Taharoto Lane by X Studio Architects
The development will have 19 units, including studio, office, and retail space. The residential units will have balconies with views of the city...
13 Sep 2023
Hallmark Group Opens Up About BPIR
Recently, Hallmark Group turned to Masterspec, a trusted name in compliance solutions, for guidance on their BPIR for fire doors. In this article, we...
06 Sep 2023
Al Bahr Towers in Abu Dhabi: Kinetic Architecture, Innovation and Sustainability
In the heart of Abu Dhabi's skyline, two iconic towers stand as shining examples of innovative architecture and sustainable design. The Al Bahr...
05 Sep 2023
Silica - Understanding the Risks
Over recent months, we have had several enquiries from designers in relation to industry concerns with silica-based building products and the...
18 Aug 2023
Masterspec: Your Partner in BPIR Product Review Compliance
The Building Regulation Act 2022 comes into force on 11th December 2023, requiring building product suppliers in New Zealand to provide baseline...
27 Jul 2023
Masterspec Partners with NZCIC & CSA to Digitise the NZCIC Guidelines
Masterspec, has been working with the New Zealand Construction Industry Council (NZCIC) and the Construction Sector Accord (CSA) in an exciting new...
24 Jul 2023
Belle View House Waiheke: An Innovative Design Response
The plan is for Belle View House to be situated on a Waiheke Island headland, the Belle View House will be an architectural marvel when completed,...
24 Jul 2023
How Specifiers Reduce Risks by using Masterspec's Work Section Support
In the construction industry, collaboration is one of the keys to success. Masterspec, as a leader in providing specification solutions, has long...
21 Jul 2023
Streamlined Documentation and Error Prevention with Masterspec
In the fast-paced world of architectural design and documentation, avoiding errors is paramount to the success of any project. Michael Pepper, from...
19 Jul 2023
Introducing New Building Product Information Requirements: Ensuring Compliance and Transparency
Leverage on Masterspec's expertise to meet the new Build Product Information Requirements (BPIR) requirements effective December 11, 2023. Our...
09 Jul 2023
Building Law Reforms 2022
Did you know that the Building Regulations 2022 will introduce new requirements for building products?
06 Jul 2023
What is a Specification?
Some of the world's leading national specification bodies met at conference earlier this year. Representatives from twenty influential nations,...
06 Jul 2023
Preparing a Specification
The specification is a fundamental part of the documentation set provided for the delivery of a construction project. The Building Act 2004 states...

Preparing a Specification

06 Jul 2023

The Importance of Specifications in Construction Projects

The specification is a fundamental part of the documentation set provided for the delivery of a construction project. The Building Act 2004 states that a building consent application must be accompanied by plans and specifications. While plans effectively display the general arrangements, the specification provides the detailed written description of the build and its component elements. It is an essential quality and risk control document for projects of any size. Plans and specifications are both important and when coordinated and effectively used together, support the delivery of enduring built outcomes.

Evolving Compliance Demands: Necessity for Detailed Specifications

A specification that lacks detail and project specific customisation, runs the risk of being vague and ambiguous, irrelevant, and often inadequate for the project and providing an environment for contractual dispute. In addition, there is now a greater onus on designers to clearly display through the specification how their project meets the requirements of the Building Code and accordingly cautious Building Consent Authorities (BCAs) are demanding an increased level of detail to demonstrate compliance pathways.

Roles of Different Parties in Utilizing Specifications

The Building Act 2004 states that a specification defines how a building is to be constructed, altered, demolished or removed. For a new project, it must define the intended use of the building, detail all the systems and materials used and provide procedures for installation, inspection, and maintenance during and after construction for the life of the building.

Elements of a Comprehensive Specification

A good specification should provide clear detailed information to support each stage of the project works and to mitigate risks of time delays, additional costs, and disputes.

The various parties to a build use the specification in a slightly different way. The designer uses it to accurately describe the components and expected standard of the build, the BCA uses it to be reasonably satisfied that Building Code compliance has been demonstrated, the builder uses it to carry out the construction and the owner uses it as part of their agreement with the builder. Lawyers focus on each and every word in the specification and their meaning, but are less inclined to look at or understand the drawings.

Principles of Effective Specification Writing

The specification needs to clearly describe each aspect of the construction project. It must be specific and not simply present a range of options or generic statements. It is unacceptable to simply reference a standard or Acceptable Solution or cite the manufacturer’s recommendations in a non-specific way, as all these sources contain options for construction. The specification should clearly define:

  • the extent of work to be carried out.
  • quality of the materials.
  • how materials should be placed and fixed.
  • details about particular products required for compliance.
  • acceptable standards for each trade or aspect of the construction.
  • complete schedules eg windows, linings, and finishes.

The writing of a specification requires, in addition to necessary technical knowledge, a high degree of skill in the use of language and a clarity of intent.

Simplifying Specification Preparation with Masterspec NextGen2

A great specification not only accurately describes the work to be done, the materials and products to be used – by product name and manufacturer identification number or reference – and the acceptable standards of workmanship, it also provides sufficient detail for the main contractor and subtrades to complete the construction without having to guess what is actually required. This is where the quality of the information and its delivery becomes critical.

When preparing specifications, the principles of the “five C’s” need to be followed, effectively communicating requirements- clear, concise, complete, correct and consistent.

Information should be presented in an easy to follow and logical sequence, free from repetition or irrelevant information. Importantly, information should be consistent and coordinated, both between sections of the specification and with the accompanying drawings, including those from other disciplines.

If supporting material from other sources, such as manufacturers’ literature or producer statements is included, make absolutely certain that the material and the specification agree, the material is relevant to the project and drawings from different sources work together.

Writing a specification using the online cloud based Masterspec NextGen2 system could not be any easier! Products and systems are thoroughly researched and documented by the Masterspec technical team with compliance pathways with the New Zealand Building Code demonstrated.  

Leveraging the Power of Masterspec's Dedicated Libraries

Masterspec's eight dedicated libraries allow you to specify almost any construction or engineering project, from the smallest to the largest scale and budget. The libraries of work sections are written by industry experts specifically for the New Zealand construction environment. Sections are often reviewed by leading consultants in specialist fields. Work sections are regularly reviewed and updated as required to remain current. We invest a significant amount of our technical editor’s time, each month on section maintenance and updates. For professionals not using Masterspec, this task is often overlooked, and specifications quickly fall behind. Poorly maintained and incorrect specifications translate to increased professional risk.

Customization and Importance of Updating Specifications

There are both generic and branded work sections for most areas of work, providing the option of using brand specific sections with applicable product detail included. Specifiers can build up a specification relatively quickly from a library of pre-prepared clauses and product profiles, while the Q+A subtractive tool helps the user remove unneeded clauses from a series of pre-written sections.

Finally, and most importantly the specifier needs to customise the proforma specification to reflect the project specific requirements. This work takes time, but with this investment can mean the difference between a poor and great documentation set and often the ultimate success of the project.

Bonus: Pro Tip

Always run “Update Manager” on any new specifications prior to issue. This will ensure that the most recent changes from Masterspec are incorporated.