Masterspec
24 May 2022
The Different Approaches to Specifying & What to Consider ​
In this article, we talk about the approaches to putting a specification together and what to consider.
18 May 2022
What is a Construction Specification?
A construction specification or, architectural specification, is a document that states how a building is to be constructed, demolished, altered, or...
18 May 2022
The Different Ways to Create a Specification
In previous articles, we defined what a specification was and its importance. Now that we understand the basics of specifying, it is important to...
23 Feb 2022
Boosting the Masterspec Writing Team
We’re happy to announce the appointment of five experienced professionals to the Masterspec team. This equates to an almost doubling of the...
23 Feb 2022
Introducing Masterspec Cloud Issue
Masterspec has introduced a new way to output and share your specification, targeted to the recipient’s requirements and totally secure. The process...
08 Dec 2021
A SUBSCRIBER HIGHLIGHT: SOLUTIONS ARCHITECTURE
Solutions Architecture is a small but knowledgeable team with over 20 years of experience in the industry. This highly skilled design practice uses...
01 Dec 2021
A SUBSCRIBER HIGHLIGHT: MIA CASA ARCHITECTURE
Mia Casa Architecture is an Auckland based architectural practice driven to create functional designs that are aesthetically pleasing. With a growing...
24 Nov 2021
A SUBSCRIBER HIGHLIGHT: CGW CONSULTING ENGINEERS
CGW Consulting Engineers is a multi-disciplinary engineering consultancy with offices located across New Zealand. With over 40 professions, this...
23 Nov 2021
MASTERSPEC FAREWELLS MANAGING EDITOR ALEX SHAW
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23 Nov 2021
WET AREA TIMBER FLOORS NOW AN ALTERNATIVE SOLUTION
With the adoption of the Building Code updates in November, timber-based products covering a wide range of timber flooring types are largely excluded...
17 Nov 2021
A SUBSCRIBER HIGHLIGHT: FABRICATE ARCHITECTURE
Fabricate Architecture is an emerging, design-driven studio that is focused on delivering unique, functional, and affordable homes. Led by Hamish...
10 Nov 2021
A SUBSCRIBER HIGHLIGHT: IGNITE ARCHITECTS
Ignite Architects is a full-service design practice that specialises in master planning, architecture, and interior design. Masterspec assist this...
28 Oct 2021
BUILDING MATERIAL SUPPLY SHORTAGES
It has been well publicised that there is currently a global shortage of building materials, stemming both from demand and a disrupted supply chain...
22 Oct 2021
A SUBSCRIBER HIGHLIGHT: PONTING FITZGERALD ARCHITECTS
Ponting Fitzgerald Architects is an architectural practice committed to delivering world-class architecture through design and service excellence....
01 Oct 2021
WORKING TOGETHER - MASTERSPEC INTEROPERABILITY
Masterspec extends to many areas of the construction sector, that’s why we’ve made sure it’s versatile and interoperable.
30 Sep 2021
UNIVERSAL HOMES USES MASTERSPEC TO EXCEL DIGITAL CONSTRUCTION WORKS
Universal Homes are a major New Zealand building company and prepare over 200 sets of compliance documents for Building Consent every year, with that...
24 Sep 2021
AMPS MATTER WITH ELECTRICAL APPLIANCES
In this article we will give a background of amps, cables and mains for house designers. It won't get too technical as that can get very complicated...
13 Sep 2021
THE HISTORY OF MASTERSPEC
Construction Information Limited (CIL) is a New Zealand owned and operated industry organisation incorporated in 1995 to manage and create information...
09 Sep 2021
THE BEST WAY TO COLLABORATE THROUGH MASTERSPEC
There’s nothing quite like the peace of mind of a professional, well-thought-out specification. Build quality specifications in Masterspec with...
31 Aug 2021
SPECIFYING SCNZ STRUCTURAL STEEL ON MASTERSPEC
Structural Steel New Zealand (SCNZ) has had a Structural Steel specification document based on AS/NZS 5131 since 2018. However, a new industry...

What is a Construction Specification?

18 May 2022

A construction specification or, architectural specification, is a document that states how a building is to be constructed, demolished, altered, or removed. 

A construction specification, if concise, should articulate design decisions and apply them to the construction sequence. The specification defines the products used and quality standards of a projects design. In New Zealand the specification is typically included in the contract and completes the documentation set alongside the drawings and schedules.

The process of specification writing, conducted in parallel with design and drawing work, helps create the balance between client, statutory, technical, and aesthetic requirements.

Who writes building specifications?

Specifications are most commonly written by architects, designers, and engineers. The industry normally labels the author a ‘specifier’.

However, in larger organisations, specifications can be completed by specialist specification writers, project managers, or members of the project design group. The principal qualifications needed are:

  • Familiarity with the project, including the design philosophy
  • Expertise in editorial, technical and contractual matters
  • Familiarity with NZ Building codes and standards

Why do we write specifications?

Specifications are very important for the construction of a building, landscape, or site. They assist in reducing the chance of miscommunication, delays, over-runs, changes to your design and much more. The specification document is important because it articulates important details that cannot be written on the drawing set.

Specifications also allow professionals to keep a record of their design intent in the unlikely case of a dispute.

When do you write a specification?

Best practice is to develop your construction specification alongside the drawings or model. Completing your documentation set all at the same time will ensure your building is consistent, and your constructor can follow your instructions without confusion or complication.

How do you write a specification?

Specification writing is imperative for every design and can be very time-consuming. Most design professionals subscribe to online specification platforms to manage their risk, obtain up to date content and minimise their time writing specifications. This allows them to efficiently build specifications with pre-populated templates and information and update the specification information if there are changes throughout their project life.

Construction specifications must be:

  • Technically accurate
  • Up to date
  • Simple to use
  • Easy to coordinate with the project drawings
  • Have a logical relationship with other related documents, including schedules of quantities
  • Standard conditions of contract and tender

Achieving this is not an easy task, especially for the smaller design practice, which may not have access to the wide range of information sources and support structures maintained by larger organisations.

Drawings convey information in a graphic form and are usually the preferred means for providing information on “where” and “how.” Qualitative or “what” information is often best described in writing. When this qualitative information is gathered together the document is called a specification.

A project specification should collect design decisions and allocate them according to the required construction sequence. Information must also be easy to locate and simple to co-ordinate with project drawings and related documents.


Not sure where to start? Masterspec is New Zealand’s largest online construction library that is relied on for up-to-date information and maintained specification content. Whether you are designing a kitchen, large commercial building, or a civil engineering project, Masterspec has the latest NZ codes and standards to specify from. Start your free 30 day trial today.


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