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Lessons Learned

CI Specifications Committee


Specifications Survey

Calling all specification engineers! The CI Specifications Committee is conducting a survey to determine current preferred project spec structure formats; and, in particular, to ascertain the acceptability of MF2004 by the industry.

Please participate in our survey and let us know whether or not your organization is using MF2004 and why.

Specifications Lessons Learned Videos


Specifications Books

 Specifications DBB Book NB  Preparation of Construction Specifications for Civil Projects

This report is a ready, convenient resource for the recommended principles and approaches used for specification production in civil-engineered projects. Poorly written and ambiguous specifications can result in construction claims, increased cost, and litigation. This guide includes step-by-step instructions, checklists, and sample documents for various specifications.

Topics include:
*purpose, goals, philosophy, and developmental planning for specifications;
*formatting, writing, and review of specifications; and
*bidding and contract award documents.
Preparing Requests for Proposals and Specifications for Design-Build Projects

Preparing Requests for Proposals and Specifications for Design-Build Projects  

This report explains in detail the key steps in writing a request for proposal (RFP) or specifications document for construction projects using design-build as the project delivery method. A concise, well-written RFP is a cornerstone of a successful design-build project, and knowledge about how to create and interpret RFPs and specifications is essential for project owners and the design and construction professionals.  


Specifications Articles

What's Fair?

by David Marihugh and Peter Danso

"All other items and materials not covered or mentioned in the scope of supply, but are found necessary to ensure the safe and efficient operation of the facility shall be considered as included in the Contractor's Scope of Supply."

The problem with this broad statement is that it is not fair. The specification attempts to take all of the responsibility and risk for furnishing a safe and efficient installation off the engineer and owner and place it solely on the contractor's shoulders. More...  

Who Checked the Specs?
by David Marihugh

I was recently reviewing a specification book for a heavy civil construction contract prepared by another consulting engineering firm, and I read under the heading of "Methods of Construction" for a rather complicated item of work that is new to our region of the country the phrase, "The work shall be performed in accordance with the industry's generally accepted methods of construction." Not quite understanding what specifically that meant, I contacted the writer, and I asked him to explain to me the intent of this specification language. More...  

Contract Substitutions
by John Morey 

In the last issue, I provided an example of the potential hazards of using the “Or Equal” clause. On the other hand, there are times when substitutions may be considered by the engineer. More...  

Or Equal Clause
by John Morey

“Or Equal” clauses are commonplace in projects constructed in the public sector. Many states require its use in an attempt to maximize bid competition for manufactured products on projects, trying to save taxpayer funds. However, if used incorrectly the clause can actually increase project costs instead of reducing them. More...

CI's Specifications Committee Publication Assists with Design-Build RFPs
by David Marihugh  

One of the reasons many owners are moving in the direction of design-build is increased efficiency, in both time and costs. In order to promote the efficient and consistent preparation of requests for proposals (RFP) and contract specifications for the execution of projects by engineers and architects preparing DB projects, the Construction Institute’s Committee on Specifications has developed a guide for the DB process called, Preparing Requests for Proposals and Specifications for Design-Build Projects.  More...