CSI releases two MasterFormat drafts

ALEXANDRIA, VA. The Construction Specifications Institutes MasterFormat Expansion Task Team Oct. 22 released Draft 2 of a revised MasterFormat document. The second draft invites comments from everyone in the construction industry to significantly affect the direction and contents of the proposed revision before final publication. The feedback from this comment period will be reflected in Draft 3,

ALEXANDRIA, VA. — The Construction Specifications Institute’s MasterFormat Expansion Task Team Oct. 22 released Draft 2 of a revised MasterFormat document. The second draft invites comments from everyone in the construction industry to significantly affect the direction and contents of the proposed revision before final publication.

The feedback from this comment period will be reflected in Draft 3, due to be published in April 2003. An additional comment period will take place after Draft 3 is published, but changes at that point are expected to be minor.

Based on extensive industry feedback on Draft 1, the task team included two different proposals for revising and expanding CSI’s flagship document. The 16-division MasterFormat specifications system, which functions as the “Dewey Decimal System” for the commercial construction industry, provides the organizational framework of the written instructions for construction of commercial buildings.

“We encourage everyone with a stake in the commercial, civil engineering and industrial construction industry to review the two reorganization proposals carefully,” said Dennis Hall, task team chairman. “The revised and expanded MasterFormat will affect everyone involved in creating and sustaining the built environment, and we will finalize and publish a new document based on the feedback we receive.”

The Mechanical Contractors Association of America and Plumbing-Heating-Cooling Contractors - National Association were contacted by CONTRACTOR but were unable to comment on the second draft, which was released just before press time.

Both reorganization proposals incorporate specifications formats for heavy civil engineering projects and industrial construction, Hall said, but they rearrange the current 16-division system in different ways.

Proposal A is a refinement and revision of Draft 1:

  • Divisions 3-14 would remain largely intact.
  • Divisions 15 (Mechanical) and 16 (Electrical) would be eliminated, and their content would be divided among a proposed group of new divisions containing expanded content for mechanical, electrical and plumbing.
  • Three new divisions, covering Communications, Life Safety and Integrated Automation and Control, would be created.

The Communications division would address many topics in the proposed “17th division” advocated by some stakeholders, although not necessarily using the exact structure or language submitted.

The new Life Safety division also addresses some additional topics related to “active” means of ensuring occupant safety such as alarms and surveillance and has been split from the more “passive” means of ensuring facility protection with which it was grouped in Draft 1.

An additional division was created to deal with the integrated instrumentation and control systems, which have become more prevalent with the advent of “smart building” technology.

  • Divisions 15 through 19, and other divisions throughout the proposed expansion, would be left blank as placeholders for new divisions dedicated to topics that may arise in the future. They are marked as open and designated as reserved in Draft 2.
  • Divisions 20-29 would include sections for specifying heavy civil engineering projects, drawing from the material that was in Divisions 30-39 in Draft 1, but moving their location closer to the structural and architectural divisions in response to commentary received. Divisions 40-49 would cover sections for specifying industrial construction, and have been broadly expanded in response to participation by process engineers.

In contrast, Proposal B is a complete reworking of MasterFormat’s organization. Nine discipline groupings, or “super divisions,” would incorporate the expanded content needed to specify for all types of construction, throughout the full life cycle. These super divisions are:

  1. Procurement and contract requirements;
  2. Common requirements;
  3. Common construction;
  4. Infrastructure and exterior construction;
  5. Building construction;
  6. Mechanical;
  7. Electrical and communications;
  8. Processes; and
  9. Equipment and furnishings.

“These super divisions will serve as subject matter ‘umbrellas’ and are designed to promote similarity in the way the built environment is created and sustained,” Hall said. “There are a minimum of numbers assigned, just enough to provide guidance for commentary from the industry.”

In developing Draft 2, the task team sought and received input from more than 500 contracting, architectural and engineering organizations. The team’s plans call for publishing the reorganized MasterFormat in April 2004.

Draft 2 can be found at the official CSI Web site, CSINet, at the MasterFormat Expansion Task Team Update page, www.csinet.org/technic/mfrevision.htm. Feedback can be submitted at the official commentary site on Infraknowledge (www.infraknowledge.org), which can be reached from the Task Team Web site.

CSI is an individual membership technical society that serves the entire construction industry. The institute offers products and services that provide a common system of organization and presentation of construction information. CSI’s more than 18,000 members include contractors, architects, specifiers, engineers, product representatives, building owners and facility managers. Founded in 1948, CSI is headquartered in Alexandria and has 143 local chapters nationwide.