Goodbye to Division 15?

BY ROBERT P. MADER Of CONTRACTOR's staff ALEXANDRIA, VA. By December 2003, mechanical contractors might not be bidding on Division 15 work. The Construction Specifications Institute's executive committee recently approved a concept for revising and expanding the organization's flagship document, the 16-division MasterFormat specifications system, based on a recommendation from CSI's MasterFormat Expansion

BY ROBERT P. MADER

Of CONTRACTOR's staff

ALEXANDRIA, VA. By December 2003, mechanical contractors might not be bidding on Division 15 work. The Construction Specifications Institute's executive committee recently approved a concept for revising and expanding the organization's flagship document, the 16-division MasterFormat specifications system, based on a recommendation from CSI's MasterFormat Expansion Task Team.

Mechanical specifications in new construction project bid documents had been placed in Division 15 for decades.

The proposed changes include eliminating mechanical Division 15 and electrical Division 16 and moving the work into a variety of divisions that better mirror the way work is done today, explained the task team chairman, architect Dennis Hall of Charlotte, N.C. Under the concept approved by the executive committee:

Divisions 3-14 will remain largely intact. Divisions 15 and 16 will be eliminated, and their content will be divided among a proposed group of new divisions. Two new divisions, covering Communications and Life Safety and Facility Protection, will be created. Divisions 15-20, and other divisions throughout the proposed expansion, will be left blank as placeholders.

Last revised in 1995, the MasterFormat was created in the early 1960s with a focus solely on building construction, Hall told CONTRACTOR. Since then, architects, engineers and customers have been using the MasterFormat for building maintenance and renovation, and some customers have been using it for leasing purposes, both applications never considered as part of the original MasterFormat.

CSI also wants to move beyond building construction to include heavy civil work such as highways and bridges. In addition, new products have sprung up in the telecommunications, computer and security fields that didn't even exist a few years ago.

With the proposed Divisions 15-19 left open for future expansion, a number of mechanical contracting disciplines would be moved into the 20 Series. Division 21 would be created as a new life-safety and facility protection division that would include fire sprinklers, fire alarms and fire stopping. Plumbing would move into Division 22. Mechanical would be called HVAC and go into Division 23. Standard electrical contracting would be in Division 24, and telecommunications would get its own slot, Division 25.

Site work would move into a 30 series, including a division for below-grade work.

Process engineering, including process piping, would be placed in the 40 series. Division 41 would include water and wastewater treatment equipment and systems, including filtering, oxidation systems, digesters, and fluid treatment instrumentation and controls. Division 42 would cover energy production and transmission. Division 43 would cover process piping, valves, pumps, heaters, boilers, filters, etc., for any type of fluids or gases.

All the new divisions would have spaces in them for future incorporation of products and services that might not even exist today, Hall said.

Hall emphasized that CSI wants to be as inclusive as possible to create a MasterFormat that is in the best interests of contractors, architects, engineers and customers.

We want to get the entire construction industry involved in creating a format that works for everyone, he said. We're trying to get people in other professional and industry organizations involved in the process.

CSI will present its draft MasterFormat for public input at several industry symposiums, he said. The organization is inviting representatives from industry associations to a meeting Aug. 2 at CSI headquarters in Alexandria. The group plans a second meeting in January 2003 at a location to be determined.

Comments are invited from all contractors and contractor associations. CSI plans to have the draft on its Web site, www.csinet.org. Comments received on csinet.org will be considered to be official comments on the draft. Contractors and associations can also call CSI at 800/689-2900.

CSI's goal is to be ready to publish the new MasterFormat by May 2003, with actual distribution of the finished product by December 2003.