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Last edited 23 Mar 2022
Why specifications are important to your business
Every construction project needs a specification document to help keep it on track making it an essential part of the process. The National Building Specification (NBS) provides construction specification information for a range of building professionals to describe the materials and standards for a construction project. This often describes the things that diagrams, and models are not able to show, and it is crucial to the construction industry. It is a document which is vital, not only for the delivery of a project, but also for its legality and compliance. Here, we take a look at the role of the specification and why it is of such importance.
 What is a specification?
In the construction world, a specification can cover a number of things, including the site establishment, the type of contract, asset performance criteria, systems and product quality, the specific products and materials to be used and the applicable standards being used and how they are executed.
The specification can relate to either the project or the procurement route, whether that is performance based, prescriptive or proprietary. The specification will be required at the design stage and will form a part of the contract documentation, so it forms the foundations of the whole project.
Generally speaking, it is recommended to start writing this document as early as possible to incorporate as much information as you can so that it can provide a better understanding of the performance requirements of a project. The specification can then grow as the project is developed and encompass each element effectively.
You will need to make sure that the specification outlines your requirements for the project and the expected levels of quality and standards that are applicable to the job. You may need to include supporting drawings to capture a lot of different details and enough information to allow a contractor to price the job quickly and correctly.
Lucinda Thorpe, Business Development Executive at Newgate commented "A good specification should be thought of as an instruction manual for your project, so take the time to ensure that it gives clear instructions, focusing on the expected outcomes rather than the process of delivery. It can be a huge tool when it comes to the efficiency of a construction project, and ensures that each stage runs smoothly and with as few hitches and hiccups as possible."
By putting all of this detail in writing, it can help avoid future disputes and minimise complaints further down the line. It helps to reduce the risk of penalties later on as it is easier to verify that the documented requirements have been met. The specification forms part of the contract documentation and is therefore legally binding, so it is important to make sure that it is correct and up to date at all times.
Specification lies at the centre of any construction project, and its importance cannot be underestimated. The Building Safety Bill has been brought in to improve established protocol for the design and construction of safer buildings and this includes ‘stage gates’ which create extra requirements for the specification. This will be available for scrutiny and approval by the HSE.
Sustainability is now also a huge consideration for the construction industry, and there are increasing moves to make the design and construction of new buildings more sustainable. The specification can outline the green credentials of a project and the decision-making process behind this to ensure it can be approved by all parties involved.
Using the right technology allows different people to contribute to the specification from wherever they are. This can become a truly effective working document that can be updated regularly. The improved use of technology can also be worked into safety testing, waste control and many other processes to make sure that the specification contains all of the essential information that it needs.
By ensuring that the specification is correct, accurate and thorough, you can ensure that it is compliant in every way. As regulations and legislation changes, it can provide greater levels of transparency and accountability throughout the process and allow you to stay ahead of the curve when changes are made. It can ensure that your project is efficient too, by presenting product data clearly, making it easier for others to work with.
A specification document is not generally the job of one single person, and so it can help to encourage collaborative working from the beginning of the project. Many find that it can save both time and money, which means that clients are likely to be happier too.
--Newgate 15:53, 14 Mar 2022 (BST)
- Bill of quantities BOQ
- Construction Specifications Canada CSC.
- Construction Specifications Institute CSI.
- Final specifications.
- NBS Chorus.
- NBS Source.
- Performance specification.
- Prescriptive specification.
- Specification guidance for construction
- Tender documentation for construction projects
- Schedule of work for construction
- Technical specification
- Outline specification
- Output-based specification.
- Green Guide to Specification.
- Common Arrangement of Work Sections.
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