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Architectural Specification Writing


Why Subcontract with ARCHISPEX

The constant pressure to build more quickly and more cheaply does not make the working life of an architect any easier. Recruitment of experienced staff is becoming more difficult and young architects are increasingly untrained in the technical aspects of building construction. Whereas larger practices may be able to respond to the increasing complexity of the construction industry and employ architects specializing in one project type or branch of the industry, this is a luxury that few small and medium size practices can afford.

We have more than thirty years of experience in the field of architecture and an established track record in writing architectural specifications for projects of all sizes and ranges of complexity. We know how to tailor the specifications to suit different methods of project delivery including standard bidding process, Design-Build, and CM/GC. Engaging this architectural and specifications experience allows the smallest practice to compete on equal terms with the largest.

MasterSpec is Our Preferred Platform

A typical project involves a blend of spec sections taken from a prepared package, manufacturer’s guide specs, and sections that need to be created from scratch.  Arcom’s MasterSpec provides an industry accepted, thoroughly-researched, platform which encompasses the most widely used elements of most projects. It is the preferred choice of many of the firms with whom we have associated, and provides easy to use editing tools making it a logical choice.

How Do I Work?

Our preference is to begin by a reviewing the project with the architect, going over the planning, the proposed materials and systems, and the goals that the architect wants to achieve in its execution (LEED, CO-CHPS, etc.). With this knowledge, we use a Project Initialization Template that we have developed which helps us to walk through the industry-accepted format for construction systems and develop a preliminary Table of Contents. Filling out this template jointly provides both us and the architect an opportunity to ask questions and stimulate discussion as to the requirements for the project.

Then, using the template as the starting point, we begin to develop spec sections specifically for the project, provide these to the architect for review and input at identified milestones, and finish with a set of contract documents that meet the goal of the Construction Specifications Institute (CSI) of being Clear, Concise, and Complete.

Our preference is to have the documents well started and the palette of materials firmed up before we start our work, but sometimes we are required to develop the specifications concurrently with the design of the building.

We expect the architect, as the designer, to make all decisions regarding anything that affects the appearance of the building. This may be as common sense as selecting the finish on the exterior aluminum storefront framing, or as unassuming as the color of the fire extinguisher in the cabinet.

Most communication will be by email or phone, but I will also come to your office for review sessions (within reason).

Files are most commonly transferred by a variety of electronic means, but can be printed and delivered as an option.

How Much Will it Cost?

There is no single answer to this question as each project is unique. We provide a project-specific Fee Proposal, using the Project Initialization Template as a guide, and the proposed fee will vary based upon the size and complexity of the project.

The proposal is generally a lump sum, but an hourly rate with an agreed maximum or a rate per section may also be utilized.