December 7, 2016
Last week, StructureTec's Building Construction Technology Educational Center (BCTEC) hosted a webinar entitled “A Successful Roadmap for Obtaining the Best Price Without Sacrificing Project Quality”. During the webinar, our in-house experts explained the critical elements that must be included in your project specifications in order to ensure the lowest price and highest quality project.
Here are some of our favorite insights and key takeaways from this webinar:
BASIC SPECIFICATION WRITING PRINCIPLES
When writing specifications it is important to avoid often misused or ambiguous terms (ex. any, either & both, balance & remainder) and avoid phrases that have missing “objects” (ex. as allowed, as approved, as directed). Information collected for a section should be placed in the three-part section format recommended by CSI: general, products, and execution.
Descriptive specifying defines exact properties of materials and methods of installation without using proprietary names. There are five basic steps in preparing descriptive specifications. These include: researching available products, comparing requirements, determining features, describing critical properties of each product, and providing specific information about submittals, testing, and other necessary procedures.
Performance specifications state the desired end result, gives criteria for verifying compliance, and does not limit the methods for achieving the required results. Performance specifications help expedite construction through system techniques, while allowing access to a wider range of options.
Reference standards are established criteria published by trade associations, government, and institutional organizations. To properly incorporate a reference standard into your specification, you must include: name of the writing organization, number of the standard, title, and date of issue.
Proprietary specifying identifies the product by manufacturer’s name, brand name, model number, type designation, or other unique characteristics. Several products or just one product can be listed on the specifications. This is also where you determine if you will or will not allow substitutions. StructureTec has determined it best practice to NOT allow substitutions. Substitutions are not conducive to a truly competitive bid process.
PROJECT MANUAL CONCEPT OVERVIEW
A project manual provides an organizational format and standard location for all of the various documents involved.
When bidding capital projects relating to the exterior building envelope, schedule needs to be a main consideration when trying to obtain the best competitive price. Historically, a way to yield effective results was to bid in the first quarter anticipating for work to begin in the spring, summer, or fall. There are however additional savings that can be achieved if the bidding occurs in the fourth quarter as opposed to waiting until the New Year. With the schedule set for the construction period, the earlier the project is bid the better.
With a proper specification and formal bid or negotiation process, you can be assured that all bidders will be comparing apples to apples. So when all is said and done, you, the building owner, can be assured that the lowest bid is the best choice.
WHAT WE DO
StructureTec is a building envelope, pavement, and roof consultant specializing in the waterproofing and restoration of existing building envelopes, roofs, pavement and concrete structures.
"We provide the best solutions"