The Masterspec Team – Architects, Designers, Engineers and more.

30 Dec 2017

Recently Alex Hammond and Mike Tinney published ‘The Secret Life of the Pencil: Great Creatives and their Pencils’ that pays homage to the drawing tool, emphasising its importance in an increasingly tech-focused world. We thought we’d take this opportunity to show you the Masterspec Editorial Team’s pencils (still in almost daily use), and cover the enormous experience our specifications writers have.

According to Masterspec Managing Editor Alex Shaw “our main editorial team of 7 full time and 3 part time writers have a combined experience of over 320 years as practicing Architects and Designers”.

“The breadth of experience across the team is enormous, with team members expertise covering, residential, commercial, industrial, institutional and hospitality, etc. - many of these in New Zealand, but with quite a number in other parts of the world”.

Alex alone has been an architect for 42 years. "Most of my career was managing medium to large projects and quite often I ended up writing the specifications, which is where I learnt the craft of composing a specification. In fact in the late 1970's I did one or two projects using a new fangled system off a large format floppy disk that eventually evolved into Masterspec".

“I have always been interested in the role that specifications play in a project, and realised quite early on that the specification can save you if there is any conflict amongst the construction team, especially when it comes to product substitutions and performance standards”.

Shaw joined Masterspec in February 2008 as Managing Editor. Since then he has not only focused on the quality of the specifications, but on the quality of those writing those specs. “We usually take many weeks to find the right candidate with the combination of creativity, inquisitiveness, experience, technical know-how and dedication that the post requires” says Shaw. 

“Masterspec Specifications must be clear, correct, concise, consistent and once you have selected your options, complete.  They are written not only to achieve great construction outcomes, but to hold up under rigourous cross examination in the courts if there is a subsequent problem”.

“Many architects don’t realise that a quality specification holds for the life of the building, often through to demolition, and can protect the Architect and their practice”.

During Alex's tenure the scope and range of Masterspec has increased significantly, with now over 1,000 sections and new systems like, Structural & Civil, Services, Interiors and Landscapes. With some of these new systems, different disciplines and expertise were needed to provide technical guidance to the writers.  

“We have a number of Civil and Structural Engineers, Services Engineers, Landscape Architects and Interior Designers working as consultants on our specification sections” he says. “All of these people must have many years experience in their chosen profession before they are considered as a member of the wider Masterspec team”.

All the Masterspec writers are still extremely interested in Architecture and Design. “We encourage everyone to take a keen interest in ongoing design and construction projects, as it helps keep them up to date with the latest technologies and Standards” says Shaw.

So the next time you open a Masterspec specification, remember it’s been written by experienced Architects, Designers, Landscape Architects and Engineers for Architects, Designers, Landscape Architects and Engineers.

‘”We are an industry-owned body” says Shaw, “tasked with providing the best across the entire New Zealand construction landscape. To do that we have focussed on having some of the best, most experienced specification writers in New Zealand on our team”.

Masterspec are always interested in talking to anyone with extensive specifications and technical experience. If you think you might fit that bill please don't hesitate to contact Alex on for a chat 



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