ConstructionPro Week, Volume: Construction Advisor Today - Issue: 100 - 03/24/2011

Cut-and-Paste Specifications

There is no element of a construction contract more fundamental than the specifications. The specs define in detail many aspects of the work. It is surprising, however, how little thought and effort may go into the assembly of the specifications. There are many standard specs which are used over and over as a matter of course. Manufacturers provide specifications which are incorporated with no attention to coordination with other contract provisions. The specifications in any given contract may be nothing more than a “cut-and-paste” job.

This was illustrated on a recent project calling for replacement of a roof. The contract, quite typically, required the contractor to furnish the project owner with a manufacturer’s standard 20-year warranty. Yet the specifications, which had been written around and could only be met by one manufacturer, caused a problem. The specs called for the roof insulation to be attached to the roof deck in a manner which negated the manufacturer’s warranty. If the contractor complied with the specifications, it could not provide the warranty.


It is not necessary to reinvent the wheel each time a construction contract is prepared. The use of standard published specifications is not, in itself, bad. But the unthinking amalgamation of specifications can produce embarrassing and costly results. What is your experience? I welcome your comments.


Featured in Next Week’s Construction Claims Advisor:

  • AIA Contract Can’t Be Terminated Without Architect Certification
  • Specification Governed Special Provision
  • Sub May Have Extended Acceptance Period for Proposal




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