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Construction Specification Writing

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To All:

I am trying to organize a course/seminar on specification writing for
Structural Engineers and would appreciate your comments.

It has been my observation that Structural Engineers are often ignorant
about good specification writing practices.  As a result the specifications
created by engineers often have mistakes that may allow poor quality work
or make it possible for the Contractor to obtain an inappropriate extra. 
In addition the lack of awareness of good specification practices can
result in numerous comments from the Architect's specification writer which
can take time to resolve.

The problem is basically due to the fact that engineers are not educated on
specification writing practices.  The CSI Manual of Practice is a good text
but few read it.  In fact many engineers have never heard of Construction
Specifications Institute (

I have an initial expression of interest from the local CSI and SEAONC
Continuing Education Committees, have recruited some volunteers, and am in
the process of developing a plan.  Towards this end I would appreciate
feedback to help us to be responsive to the needs of structural engineers. 
With luck the course will be offered in the early part of next year in San

What I would appreciate are:
    -- Suggestions of topics that should be addressed.
    -- Difficulties you have had in dealing with Architects Specification
    -- Problems you have had in understanding how to write specifications.

The course will deal with the organization of specifications, legal and
contractual issues, formatting concerns, and where to place information. 
The course will not deal with technical issues such as what type of cement
to specify or what testing and inspections should be specified.

please send your e-mail responses to me at markkgilligan(--nospam--at)
PLEASE do NOT post your responses to the seaint list server.

Mark Gilligan


PS. If you are located in the SF Bay Area and want to volunteer please let
me know.