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RE: CSI Guidelines - Drawing Notes?

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To: Bill Polhemus

There is a lot of misinformation regarding
specifications and what CSI has published.  Even if
you are opposed to specifications I would recommend
that every engineer read either the CSI Manual of
Practice or the new CSI Project Resource Manual. 
There is a lot of information on such topics as
submittals and construction administration that every
engineer should know.

Master Format is simply a classification scheme for
assigning titles and numbers to the various
specification sections.  Uniformat is a classification
scheme based on building systems that was developed to
facilitate the development and comparison of
estimates.  Neither of them, by themselves, will be of
much help in improving General Notes.

CSI considers the use of General Notes to be poor
practice.  You could prepare specifications and print
them on the drawing but if it involves more than a few
sheets you might ask why not bind them seperately.

CSI has given a lot of thought to the issue you raise
and they have come to the conclusion that the best
approach to reducing risk is to produce specifications
in a format that is accepted by the industry.  

General Notes, almost without exception, are less
thorough, poorly organized, and poorly coordinated. 
Thus by using General Notes in place of specifications
you are actually accepting more risks because of the
information that you are omitting.  The arguments for
placing the notes on the drawings, if valid, would
mean that you would have more problems on the large
projects where there are no general notes and where
all of the information is in the specifications.  I
have seen both types of projects and I do not believe
that this is the case.

In conclusion, if you want to control your risks I
recommend you read one of the CSI documents listed
above.  Most of the criticism of specifications and
defense of General Notes comes from people who do not
understand CSI?s recommendations.

Mark Gilligan

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