It is often desirable to stipulate that certain portions of the work, etc., are warranted to exercise their functions properly when completed, and for a certain period of time thereafter. For ex ample, the heating specification may stipulate that the apparatus is to ,maintain a temperature of 70 degrees when that of the outside is at zero or 30 degrees below. Or it may be that the roofer is to warrant the roof to remain waterproof for a certain length of time. Such warranty clauses should be sparingly used, as, in case of defect in the portion warranted, it is generally as expensive to get the per son who installed the defective portion to remedy it, as to get the work done over by another party, and the delays incident are annoy ing in the extreme. When such warranty clause is used, it is gen erally made an excuse for constantly changing the work from that specified, under the plea that, if carried out in accord with the con tract, the work cannot be warranted. Such changes are always in favor of poorer work. It is generally better for the Architect to know just what will do the work, see that such is installed, and leave the warrant clause out.
Specifying a particular make or brand of material is apt to carry the impression that the writer's knowledge is limited or that he is unduly influenced in favor of the article specified. If a par ticular appliance is required, it is well to except it from the con tract, and say that the Owner will furnish a delivered on the site, which the Contractor is to set in place and connect, etc.
In large and important work it is sometimes customary for the Contractor to submit the names of the sub-contractors whom he proposes to deal with, for the approval or disapproval of the Architect. This requirement is inserted in order to prevent work men of indifferent character getting onto the work. It is a very delicate problem for the Architect to pass judgment on sub-con tractors; and if, after approval, they furnish unsatisfactory material, it is embarrassing to reject it if it puts the general Contractor to loss. This clause, therefore, as well as the warranty clause, should be used only after very mature consideration, and never in the less important work.
In important work, specifications on electric wiring, heating, plumbing, ventilation, etc., are frequently prepared by consulting engineers employed by the Owner to arrange these points under the direction of the Architect. In this case the engineers prepare the specifications, which can be included in the Architect's other specifications; and any changes that may come up during the progress of the work should be referred to the consulting engineer by the Architect, before change is made. This is quite customary in the
erection of high buildings, where engineers are frequently employed to lay out the steel construction.
But when the services of specialists in any line are required, it should in all cases be understood that the general scheme for the work should not be altered, that the Engineer should adapt his portion of the work so as to carry out the general plan, and should not insist on modifying this to suit any particular methods or appli ances he may desire to use.
In a building operation, four questions always arise: (1) What is to be done? (2) How is it to be done? (3) When is it to be completed? (4) What is to be the manner of payment? The first two questions are answered by the plans and speci fications.
Although the last two are finally stated in the contract, it is neces sary that some reference should be made to them in the specifica tion, for information to bidders.
The periods for completion may be stated in terms of months and days after the signing of the contract.
Payments on the contract may be by: Stated sum, Cost plus a percentage, Cost plus a percentage with guaranteed limit, • Cost plus a fixed sum.
The first is the usual method of contracting.
Full information relative to the method of payment which the Owner prefers and intends to incorporate in the contract, should be fully set forth in the specification, as this is a matter which will have a ma:ked influence on bidders.
While the first method is the usual one of awarding a contract, unless the payments can be arranged so that the owner pays for the material and labor at frequent intervals, it follows that the Con tractor has to use consideraLle of his own capital or credit to carry the work along. For this he must be paid; and therefore, as the Owner generally has the funds prior to beginning work, it is advis able to state in the specification such dates and percentage of pay ments as will permit the Contractor to carry on the work with a minimum charge for the use of his own capital or credit.
The completeness and clearness—and therefore the useful ness—of a specification, depends on its systematic arrangement. The first thing to do, therefore, is to prepare a skeleton or outline of what is later to be the finished form. This should consist, in the first place, of list of the different general branches of the work, such as: Then, under each of these general heads should be set a List of sub heads, in general, as follows; but it is not good policy to attempt to cover every point before beginning the writing of the specification proper, as, in writing, items will constantly occur to the writer in connection with what has already been written.