01 October 2012

Comments to Clients; the project manual

What are specifications? Why are they important?

Most people have some understanding of what drawings are, and how they are used in construction. However, it takes more than drawings to build a building. Along with the drawings, on nearly every project, we issue a project manual. Many people are unaware of the project manual, and I suspect most who have seen one don't pay much attention to it, for a couple of reasons. First, the project manual for a typical project will have two volumes, each one being two to four inches thick - enough to scare off all but the most curious. Second, it is not light reading, with countless pages of what appears to be highly technical mumbo-jumbo, full of strange acronyms and unknown terms, written in a style clearly not meant for entertainment. Obviously, few would be interested in the project manual!

But without it, the building can't be built. The project manual and the drawings are complementary - that is, they work together. Each needs the other, each serves a specific purpose, and each is used to show specific information that is not shown in the other. In the construction contract, they are treated as a single document.