Building Relationships Through Education SpecGuy


Glossary of Construction Specifications Terms

4Specs – "The Specifier's Electronic Library" 15,000 manufacturer listings.

ANSI – The American National Standards Institute. ANSI is an umbrella organization that administers and coordinates the national voluntary consensus standards system.

ARCAT – Building product information aggregator website with downloadable specifications and short form spec generator.

ARCOM – Architectural Computer Services, Inc. Publishers of MasterSpec® under license from the American Institute of Architects. Developers of SpecWare® specifications automation software, including Alterix® and Masterworks®.

ASTM International – Formerly the American Society for Testing Materials. They develop and publish testing standards for materials and specifications used by industry.

BSD SpecLink® – Subscription master guide specification library with standard and manufacturer specifications and database editing software. Complies with CSI MasterFormat.

CCB – Construction Criteria Base. An electronic library of federal construction guide specifications, manuals, standards and other criteria documents, published by the National Institute of Building Sciences (NIBS) as part of the immensely useful Whole Building Design Guide.

CSI – Construction Specifications Institute. Membership organization of design professionals, construction professionals, product manufacturers, and building owners. Develops and promotes industry document standards and certification programs.  Local chapters promote education and networking opportunities for members.

FM Global – Factory Mutual Global. Insurance industry consortium whose loss prevention engineering standards serve as defacto construction industry standards for roofing and other construction systems.

General Conditions – (When used by contractors) Construction project activities and their associated costs that are not usually assignable to a specific material installation or subcontract. Example: temporary electrical power.

General Conditions – (When used by everyone else) The contract document (often a standard form) that detals the relationships between the parties to the contract. Example: the AIA Document A201

Guide specification – A resource specification section that is used as a guide or assist to persons writing or editing contract specifications.

LEED™Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design. A sustainable design building rating system promulgated by the United States Green Building Council. Also an accrediting program for professionals (LEED APs) who have mastered the certification system.

Leeds – A city in Yorkshire, England.  Nothing turns off savvy young designers more than to hear a building product representative mistakenly talk about "Leeds points."

Master specification – A resource specification section containing options for selection, usually created by a design professional firm, which once edited for a specific project becomes a contract specification.

MasterFormat™ – Industry classification system for organizing specifications and other construction information, published by CSI and Construction Specifications Canada. Not to be confused with "MasterSpec."  6+-digit numbering system with 50 divisions. Updated in 2010.

MasterSpec® – Subscription master specification library published by ARCOM and owned by the American Institute of Architects. Complies with CSI MasterFormat.

PageFormat™ – Companion industry standard to MasterFormat. Dictates the page design of construction specifications.  Updated in 2008.

Product MasterSpec® - A manufacturer’s proprietary guide specification library based on MasterSpec and published by ARCOM.

Project Resource Manual® (PRM) - Industry resource text for the organization, preparation, use and interpretation of construction documents, published by CSI. Previous edition: see Manual of Practice.

Proprietary Specification – A method of specifying that references the name of a manufacturer or product as a means of establishing the required characteristics of a product.

SectionFormat™ – Companion industry standard to MasterFormat. Organizes specification sections into 3 parts, subdivided by standard article titles.  Updated in 2008.

SpecAgent® – A browser-based specification resource platform used in conjunction with MasterSpec to present manufacturer product information, including guide specifications, product data sheets, education programs, online support, and contact information.

SpecsIntact – Specification editing software developed by NASA for use with the UFGS and used by several federal government agencies.

SPECTEXT® – Subscription master guide specification library published by the Construction Sciences Research Foundation. Complies with CSI MasterFormat.

UL – Underwriters Laboratories, Inc. A private testing and labeling organization that develops test standards for product compliance. UL standards appear in roofing requirements, and in equipment utilizing or delivering electrical power.

UFGS - Unified Facilities Guide Specifications. A master specification library published for use by the Army Corps of Engineers, the Naval Facility Engineering Command, and the Air Force Civil Engineer Support Agency. Edited using SpecsIntact software.