The Practice of Writing Specifications

Among CSI's basic tenets are "say it once" and "clear, concise, complete, and correct." The Manual of Practice develops these ideas, carrying the logic into every aspect of the project manual. All CSI documents express various aspects of a comprehensive, consistent system for organizing, preparing, and interpreting construction documents.

There are often good reasons for departing from the "true path," but most departures are a result of misunderstanding or neglect. I make no claim to perfection; I can rattle off excuses along with everyone else. I often wonder, though, can't we do a better job?

I suspect most of our professional members have a copy of the MOP, and all certified members must have had some acquaintance with it to pass their examinations. Yet, despite our education and professed adherence to CSI's principal document, the average specification falls far short of compliance with our own standards.

This is a forum for discussion of the art of writing specifications. If you want to argue the case for a better way to write, or want to find out why something is done a certain way, let me know.

SpecProcessor! is a series that explores ways you can use your word processor to make it easier to write and edit specifications.

Principles and Problems looks at general issues related to specifications.

The Written Word includes discussion of grammar and syntax.

Specs on the Web looks at sources for specifications on the Internet.

Principles and Problems

There's always time to fix it; why isn't there time to Do it right the first time! 

Infoglut - what is the best format for product information?
Librarian's Lament

Many ASTMs change each year; how can we keep track of them?
Changes in ASTMs

It's o.k. if I copy that book - isn't it? Copycats

Is it safe to specify anything anymore? Junk Science

What's best for the building isn't always best for the building:
Best Isn't Always 

Y2K in Specifications - what's wrong with typical requirements for Y2K compliance 

Specifiers may not be dead - yet: The Future of Specifications 

The Written Word

Proper use of the serial comma - your English teacher was wrong!
Serial Killer

There is a difference! When Shall I Use Will?

Which or that? A restrictive subject that might be of interest
A Which Hunt

It's o.k. if I copy that book - isn't it? Copycats

Specs on the Web

What's wrong with web sites? 

Using the Internet for product information: 
Is the Internet Just Another Holiday Ornament? 

Digital certification is right around the corner: 
Sign On the - Digital - Line 

Material from CSI Chapter newsletters used with permission.