Types of specifications in construction industry

Types of specifications in construction industry

You may have known very well about performance and conformance specifications. While the former informs the supplier about the outcome/output that they must deliver, the latter tells them the technical aspects of the product: dimensions, materials, etc. But are they enough for a contractor to construct a building?

Look at this design.

The drawing alone can be considered as a conformance specification for the contractor. Can they send you a detailed quotation solely based on this drawing? I think they can’t. Though this drawing is great, but lots of information is unknown by both the buyer and the contractor:

  • Whether the wall will be made from bricks or woods?
  • What kind of materials is needed to make doors and window frames? Wood, aluminum, steel or plastics?

In fact, in Design-Bid-Build project, where the designer of the construction is independent of the building contractor, another type of specification is needed: the prescriptive specification.

A prescriptive specification typically contains detailed descriptions of the following components:

It looks like this:

A prescriptive specification is used together with design specification so that a contractor can know what exactly they must do. From these documents, they can quote their work accordingly.

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