Creating Effective Construction Specifications

Online /
Nov 18 - 19, 2024 /
Course Code: 15-1103-ONL24

The confirmation of this course depends on early registration; Register early to avoid the postponement or cancellation of a course.
  • Overview
  • Syllabus
  • Instructor


Please note, This instructor-led course has specific dates and times:
This course is held online over 2 days on the following schedule (All times in Eastern Time Zone):

9:30 am to 5:30 pm Eastern (Will include the usual breaks)

After participating in the course, you will be able to:

  • develop skills to write specifications for control of project delivery and quality
  • explore the most advanced concepts in developing effective contract relationships between practices to the contract
  • avoid claims by honing your skills for producing quality specifications
  • establish bidding requirements, bonds and insurance
  • learn to control time and quality during the construction process effectively
  • structure effective general and supplementary conditions

Many major problems in construction can be traced to misunderstandings or misinterpretations of the specifications by the contractor, supplier, inspector, and owner. It is your responsibility to describe the project in words that prevent on-the-job controversy and misunderstanding.

This is done through carefully organizing and writing construction specifications for the project and its many parts, which will carry to all individuals responsible for the project, the designer's version without any ambiguity. All parties to the construction contract must refer to their specifications.

In workshops designed to enhance your specification writing skills, you will have the opportunity to apply what you learn in the course.

Course Outline:

  • The Role of Specifications in Project Quality
  • The Specifier's Search for Clarity
  • Role of Specification Writer
  • Product Representatives and Specification Writers-Forging A Working Relationship
  • Basis of Project Delivery
  • General and Supplemental Conditions
  • Bidding Requirements-Division 0
  • General Requirements-Division 1
  • Specification Formats and Sources
  • Workshop

Who Should Attend
Design Engineers • Specification Writers • Technical Specialists • Contract Coordinators • Estimators •Project Engineers •Consulting Engineers and Architects • Construction Engineers, Contract Administrators • Construction Inspectors • Building Officials • Construction Estimators Construction Mediators • Contract Lawyers and other Individuals Involved in Civil Construction will benefit. 

More Information

Time: 9:30 AM - 5:30 PM Eastern Time

Please note: You can check other time zones here.


Day I

The Role of Specifications in Project Quality

  • Importance of quality specifications
  • Prerequisites for quality specifications
  • Need for efficient production of specifications
  • Legal principles
  • Contract and specification organization

The Specifier's Search for Clarity

  • Discussion of specification writing practices aimed at clearly communicating project requirements, including consideration of specification language, grammar, abbreviations, etc.

Role of Specification Writer

  • Types of specifications-descriptive-performance-reference standard-propriety
  • Obtaining owner input
  • Product investigation and selection
  • Environmental concerns

Product Representatives and Specification Writers-Forging A Working Relationship

  • Discussion of issues of mutual interest
  • Identifying and understanding the self-interests of both groups
  • Recognizing the responsibilities each have to one another

Basis of Project Delivery

  • Summary of work in project delivery
  • Mechanical and electrical general requirements
  • Measurement and payment
  • Administration
  • Time of completion
  • Bonuses, liquidated damages
  • Damages for delay
  • Warranties/bonds/insurance
  • 'Division 1'

General and Supplemental Conditions

  • Subjects normally covered
  • Relationship of general conditions to specifications
  • Differing site conditions
  • Materials and equipment
  • Shop drawings and samples
  • Disapproving or stopping the work
  • Purpose and scope of supplemental conditions

Day II

Bidding Requirements-Division 0
General Requirements-Division 1

  • Public/private bidding
  • Advertisement/invitation
  • Instructions to bidders
  • Prequalification of bidders
  • Bid form
  • Alternates, separate prices, unit prices, allowances
  • Subcontractors
  • Completion date
  • Bid security, attachments
  • Relationship of specifications to the proposal

Specification Formats and Sources

  • Manual organization
  • Divisions 2 through 49
  • Sections
  • Available sources
  • In-house master specifications

Workshop I: Writing Specifications for A Civil Engineering Project

Workshop II: Writing Specifications for A Mechanical/Electrical Engineering Project

Case Study

Open Forum-Questions and Answers

Concluding Remarks and Final Adjournment


Martin Gerskup, B. Arch, OAA, MAIBC and MRAIC

Martin has over 35 years of experience and is the president of BEST Consultants Martin Gerskup Architect Inc. He specializes in the field of investigative architecture and building science with particular emphasis on the resolution of problems affecting the building envelope. Martin is a member of the Ontario Association of Architects (OAA) and has served in various capacities on the Ontario Building Envelope Council (OBEC) Board of Directors from 1991 to 1997.

He was president of OBEC from 1993 to 1994, a member of the council for the OAA from 2003 to 2005, and a member of the ULC Thermal Insulation Committee. During his tenure on the council at the OAA, Mr. Gerskup was Chair of the Discipline Committee while also serving on the following committees: Practice Committee, Registration Committee, Public Interest Review Committee, Communications Committee, and the University Liaison Task Group.

In addition to authoring and presenting many technical papers on the subject of building science, Mr. Gerskup taught as an assistant adjunct professor and tutor at the University of Toronto Faculty of Architecture, Landscape and Design from 1999 to 2001 and at the Faculty of Engineering and Applied Science at Ryerson University in 2002.

The Engineering Institute of Canada

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Course Rating
4.3 out of 5

Overall rating of this course by its previous attendees!

Fee & Credits

$1295 + taxes

  • 1.4 Continuing Education Units (CEUs)
  • 14 Continuing Professional Development Hours (PDHs/CPDs)
  • ECAA Annual Professional Development Points

Group Training
This course can be customized and delivered to your group of staff at your facility, saving time and money.
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