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Re: Economy in Steel - Comments

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I would suggest that the best way to make sure that each requirement is
properly addressed and that the contents of a specification section are
clear is to follow an industry wide system.  The Construction
Specifications Institute,( has developed such a system 
that is the basic for most project specifications.  The key to
understanding this system is to read the CSI-Manual of Practice.  

By following the CSI system you will make it easier for the Contractor to
find project requirements since they will tend to be in the prefered
location.  Thus during Bidding he will have to spend less time trying to
find a specific provision.  Correspondingly the subs can define their scope
of work by listing the appropriate specification sections with specific
exclusions.  In addition this is compatible with most estimating software
and construction data-bases which use the CSI MASTERFORMAT numbering

In response to your specific scenerio I would suggest that you:

Assign the various materials and products to the appropriate specification
section.  Address the materials and fabrication issues in Part 2 of this
specification section and the installation issues such as tolerances and
bolt tightening in Part 3 of the specification.

In the case of steel items that will be embedded in concrete specify in
Part 3 of the Formwork section that all embedded items need to be securely
attached to the forms before placement of the concrete. 

At this point stop worrying, you have given the contractor the information
he needs and you have minimized the risk of problems to yourself and your
client.  For what it is worth I have followed this approach on large
projects and small projects and cannot remember having any problems as a
result of not tuning the specifications to reflect specific trade

If you try to guess who will do what work and thus customize your
specification to refelect that assumption you run the risk of guessing
wrong and contribuiting to confusion by placing requirements in a place the
Contractor didn't expect.

For those who are interested most CSI chapters regularly offer courses on
specificaiton writing that are reasonably priced.

Mark Gilligan

Message text written by INTERNET:seaint(--nospam--at)
>While I would concur that the Designer should not be held responsible for
defining the roles of a General Contractor's subs.  The General Contractor
relies heavily upon the divisions of trade in the project specifications
'defining'  what is and is not a part of a subcontractors bid.  For those
who have never experienced a 'Bid Day' on public works construction,  it is
nothing short of a controlled explosion.   The project estimator will have
to review hundreds of bids in just a few hours,  assess the completeness of
each bid and determine who is low bidder in each sub-trade.  IMO, what the
article is trying to convey is that the scope of work in each section needs
to be clearly identified.  And that the FOB portions of the structural and
misc. steel should NOT appear to be a part of the scope of the Concrete or
Rough Carpentry,  even though the concrete/framing  sub is typically
required to provide the labor for installation of these structural/misc
steel items.

Robert Shaffer, PE
Santa Cruz, CA