Now that you know who drives product specification, do you have a clear understanding of the various types of specification architects can use in a given project? The needs of each project dictate the unique specification requirements.
Following are the three most common construction specification types used in commercial projects:
Performance Specifications address the operational requirements of an installation. The focus is on the project outcome, indicating how the final installed project must be able to function. Here, architects provide direction to the general contractor about what is needed and the general contractor must determine the best path to achieve the desired outcome. While this approach gives the general contractor flexibility in his construction approach, it limits how much authority an architect maintains once construction is underway.
Prescriptive Specifications contain detailed descriptions of what specific materials must be used as well as the installation instructions. This type of spec usually involves three key components:
- General provisions: requirements surrounding codes and standards
- Required products: the type of products required based on performance and structural stipulations
- Execution procedures: how to do the install and measure its effectiveness
Prescriptive specs put a greater burden on the architect (as opposed to the general contractor) to ensure proper installation.
Proprietary Specifications demand that only one specific product be used for a given installation. It commonly utilized if the portion of a project requires a certain performance that only one product can achieve. This could ultimately drive up project costs.
It is critical for building/design product manufacturers to understand the various types of specification as well as in which spec scenarios their products will most frequently be considered.