CSI Approves Concept For Revising Masterformat

March 6, 2002
New Divisions to Address Expanded Industry Needs
Under decision by CSI's Executive Committee, existing Divisions 3 through 14 will change little, while Divisions 15 (Mechanical) and 16 (Electrical) will be eliminated and the information formerly included in them will be incorporated in other divisions Two new divisions in place of a proposed "17th Division will address Communications and Life Safety and Facility Protection Revision will broaden the base of potential users of MasterFormat, providing effective specifications formats for heavy civil engineering projects and industrial construction.Alexandria, VA - The Construction Specifications Institute's (CSI) 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. MasterFormat, last revised in 1995, is the nation's most widely used formatting standard for specifications concerning nonresidential building projects. MasterFormat, which functions as a "Dewey Decimal System" for the commercial construction industry, provides the organizational framework of the written instructions for construction of commercial buildings. "The current revision, part of CSI's regular review and revision of its flagship product, is especially significant because of all the changes that have taken place in the construction marketplace since the last revision in 1995," said Dennis Hall, FCSI, CCS, CCCA, Chair of CSI's MasterFormat Expansion Task Team. "When completed, the new MasterFormat will improve the process of creating and sustaining the built environment across a much wider spectrum of the industry. "At the same time, current users of MasterFormat need not be concerned about major changes, because those who use MasterFormat will be able to continue using it in much the same way as they do now," Hall added. Under the concept approved by the Executive Committee: Divisions 3-14 will remain largely intact. Divisions 15 (Mechanical) and 16 (Electrical) will be eliminated, and their content will be divided among a proposed group of new divisions containing expanded content for mechanical, electrical, and plumbing. Two new divisions, covering Communications and Life Safety and Facility Protection, will be created. The Communications division will address many topics in the proposed "17th division" advocated by some stakeholders, although not necessarily using the exact structure or language submitted. Life Safety and Facility Protection will address some additional topics related to low-voltage systems, as well as some subject matter already covered in other locations in the current edition of MasterFormat. Divisions 15 through 20, and other divisions throughout the proposed expansion, will be left blank as placeholders for new divisions dedicated to topics that may arise in the future.In developing its proposed revisions, the Task Team sought input from more than 500 AEC industry organizations. In addition to a desire for a "17th division," many parties expressed interest in expanding the types of projects covered by MasterFormat divisions so as to aid in the organization of specifications for roads, bridges, utilities, and other heavy civil engineering projects, as well as industrial construction projects. "With the proposed changes, MasterFormat will provide civil and process engineers with the specifications tools they need to help them do their jobs," Hall said. "As an integrator for the entire industry, CSI wants to make MasterFormat better not just for its current users but also for professionals who up until now have not been able to realize the benefits that effective specifications formats can provide." The MasterFormat Expansion Task Team's plans call for publishing the revised MasterFormat in late 2003, although many factors could change the publication date. In the interim, Hall said, CSI plans to reach out to key construction industry organizations that have a stake in the publication to begin the process of educating them about the proposed changes and getting their feedback. The Task Team also plans to solicit additional information from the CSI membership, as well as nonmember specifiers and architects who are current and experienced MasterFormat users, and to hold two symposia (dates and places to be determined) for extensive face-to-face discussion between CSI and affected parties. "We're going to work hard to make the revised MasterFormat something that both current and prospective users will be comfortable with," Hall said. About CSI CSI is an individual membership technical society that serves as the premier integrating force for those that create and sustain the built environment, and as a primary gateway to resources for programs, services, and the exchange of knowledge. The Institute offers products and services that provide a common system of organization and presentation of construction information, enhancing communication among all construction industry disciplines. CSI's 18,000 members include architects, specifiers, engineers, contractors, product representatives, building owners, and facility managers. Founded in 1948, CSI is headquartered in Alexandria, VA, and has 143 local chapters nationwide. For more information about CSI, call (800) 689-2900 or visit www.csinet.org.

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