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
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...
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,...
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
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...
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,...

What is a Specification?

06 Jul 2023

DEFINITION OF A SPECIFICATION - International Construction Information Society June 2023


 The specification is a detailed document/set of information with the primary function to define precisely and succinctly the quality of materials, systems, and standard of workmanship required, and the processes necessary for constructing a built environment asset. Specifications are not a standalone documents but are to be read in conjunction with the other contract documentation including the conditions of contract, the drawings/model, quantities, schedules, etc. For built environment projects, the specification is often referred to as the building specification or the construction specification.


A specification conveys design decisions that cannot be expressed in graphic form on design documentation such as drawings or models. Specifications complement, without duplication, information in the design documentation. Used together they express the designer's intentions. The specification acts as a blueprint for the construction process and helps to ensure that the final product meets the required standards and quality. By specifying the materials, components, testing, products, assemblies, and techniques to be used, the specification helps to eliminate ambiguity and reduce the risk of misunderstandings during the construction process. This in turn improves the quality of construction as it helps to ensure that the finished asset meets the required standards and is built appropriately. The specification also helps to ensure that the building is constructed in accordance with relevant building codes, regulations, and industry standards, which helps to improve the overall quality of the final product. The specification has many roles including being:

  • a document embodying design decisions.
  • a document demonstrating compliance with statutory requirements.
  • an estimating document.
  • a tendering document.
  • a legal (contractual) document.
  • an on-site working document.
  • a dispute settlement document.
  • a project management tool.


Specifications may be written in one or more of the following methods:

  • Reference: By referring to a published document, such as a Standard, Norm, Reference Specification, or manufacturer’s technical manual. The reference is made project specific with the addition of project specific information.
  • Performance: By prescribing the desired end result and the criteria by which the result will be judged for its acceptability.
  • Prescriptive/Descriptive: By describing in detail the materials, workmanship and installation procedures to be used.
  • Direct/Proprietary: By stating a proprietary trade name or product that can perform at the levels needed.


The specification takes effect through regulation, legal or industry precedence, or inclusion as part of the construction contract documents.



I.C.I.S. - International Construction Information Society - June 2023