Blog Archives

10 Features of Good Construction Documents for Massachusetts Filed Sub-Bids

Scope clarity is the highest priority when it comes to developing documents for Filed Sub-Bids. Massachusetts General Law (M.G.L. c.149) establishes requirements for Filed Sub-Bids on public building projects. Separate Filed Sub-Bids are mandated for certain trade-specific classes of work

Posted in Construction Administration, Construction Documents, Project Management, Specifications

Please Follow the Wood Ceiling System Specifications…

Suspended wood ceiling systems can look very nice and can earn LEED credits for the right wood, but all components of the system must work together in order for the ceiling to stay up. A few years ago in a

Posted in Construction Administration, Project Management, Specifications

Spec Writer = Information Manager

A comment from Sheldon Wolfe RA, FCSI, CCS, CCCA, CSC on The Role of the Spec Writer got me thinking about how, in today’s world of design and construction, the spec writer really is an information manager. Although spec writers

Posted in Design, Practice Management, Project Management, Specifications

The Rise of Manufactured Systems in Architectural Design

One of the many things that have changed in the practice of architecture during the last 50 years is our dependence on manufactured building systems. Architectural education and training 50 years ago included the detailed design of components like windows,

Posted in Construction Documents, Design, Practice Management, Specifications

The Role of the Spec Writer

Reading recent grumblings by specifications (spec) consultants, I started thinking back over the roles of the spec writers at firms where I have worked since I began my architectural career in the 1960s. Spec writing and related technologies have changed

Posted in Construction Documents, Design, Practice Management, Project Administration, Project Management, Specifications

The Devil in the Details: Installation of Vinyl Composition Tile

When we think of the “Devil in the Details”, we may think mostly of drawing details, but there are other types of details that can affect a project. The following situation illustrates the importance of installation details to the quality

Posted in Construction Administration, Specifications

Constructability Reviews: From The Ground Up

The Whole Building Design Guide (a program of the National Institute of Building Sciences) has published an informative guide to constructability reviews: Performing Efficient and Effective Constructability Reviews by Jason G. Smith. Smith’s Top Five Rules for constructability reviews include

Posted in Construction Documents, Project Administration, Project Management, Site Work, Specifications

SIP Building Performance Depends on Effective Moisture Management

Structural Insulated Panels (SIP) have enjoyed growing popularity as interest in building energy conservation has increased. With its large, prefabricated, factory insulated panels, SIP construction offers nearly continuous insulation, fewer joints than conventional frame construction with stud-cavity insulation, and possibly

Posted in Construction Administration, Construction Documents, Design, Practice Management, Project Management, Specifications

A Catch 22 Product Specification

Specifications occasionally include unintended contradictions, and in some instances they are related to schedule. Not long ago, I reviewed a specification for roofing that included a requirement for a particular “ice and water shield” product and allowed no substitutions. The

Posted in Construction Administration, Project Management, Roofing, Specifications

Interdisciplinary Coordination of Construction Documents

Gaps between design disciplines are a common cause of construction change orders. In some cases, the consulting disciplines’ standard practices may generate a gap. For example, the electrical engineer may establish an electrical scope of work that “stops” 10 feet

Posted in Construction Documents, Design, Practice Management, Project Management, Site Work, Specifications

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