GENERAL SCOPE OF THE SPECIFICATION The specification presents the general conditions under which the work indicated by the drawings is to be executed. It calls for the kind and quality of labor and materials desired, and contains all the written instructions and descriptions that may be needed to indicate fully to the bidders just what is required to be furnished.
Specifications must be written in language perfectly intelligible to all persons connected with the work; and special care should be ex ercised, as they, together with the contract drawings, form the basis u the final agreement or bargain between the Owner of the proposed building and the Builder, which agreement is called the "contract." The building to be erected is described by the Architect in two ways—namely, by drawings and by a written description (the speci fication). The same experience and ability that enable him to make the drawings, will be required in giving the verbal statements neces sary to express what cannot be fully shown in the design. The purpose of the specification is to state the character of the work and material, as distinguished from the sizes and quantities shown in the drawings. The importance of the specification is shown in the fact that it takes precedence over the drawings in case of discrepancy.
The term "specification" is used sometimes, though not common ly among builders, as a legal expression to mean the plans, specifica tion, and contract, which are the essential documents in connection with the erection of a building.
It is advisable to block out a memorandum specification indi cating very generally the points which will be completely covered in the finished copy, and to do this at the time the sketches are made, which indicate in a general way the scheme to be followed later in the contract drawings. On them a close estimate of cost can be made, and the necessary modifications incorporated to bring the cost of the work to the required sum. In the final writing, however, this memor andum should be used only for reference, as an effort to copy any part bodily into the completed work is apt to introduce matter not desired, or to cause the omission of essential matter not considered at the time the memorandum was made.
As a general rale the specification should give the quality and kind of material used, and the method of workmanship, leaving the quantities and sizes to be obtained from the plans. If this method is carefully followed, it makes the checking up more simple in com pleting the plans. Changes in quantities and dimensions can be made on the plans, while changes in material are looked for in the specification.
If the method of writing the specifications very completely, with a few small-scale drawings, is followed, much more will have to be written, especially in regard to the sizes and quantities of mould ings, dimensions of expensive material, etc. Drawings at a scale of inch to a foot will require more explanation than 1-inch scale plans, unless 1-inch or 1-inch scale details accompany the small-scale drawings. Such information, for example, as the size of wooden mouldings, or the number of inches required in section for a copper gutter, can be stated in the specification.
The completeness and clearness of the specification generally govern the amounts of the bids, and also regulate the amount of extra charges brought in by the Contractor at the final settlement.
Reference should be made to everything required for the build ing, unless it is of such a nature that the drawings leave nothing to describe or require; but any description of work which is fully set forth on the drawings, is out of place.
The specification should be correct and complete, and should be written by a person who fully understands, and who is in thorough sympathy with, the design.
The specification, while setting forth most clearly the points under consideration, should not be longer than is absolutely neces sary to convey the intended ideas; there should be no repetitions of requirements.