The Importance of Material Specifications in Achieving the Architects’ and Designers’ Vision
Important factors during the design of a building and its spaces are to use quality, durable, low maintenance, aesthetically pleasing, and environmentally friendly materials. This involves exterior and interior exposed building materials.
There are many low-maintenance and durable material manufacturers that are also environmentally friendly. Some interior examples are linoleum, epoxy floorings and coatings, lay-in ceiling tiles, aluminum, stainless steel, rubber flooring, and terrazzo flooring.
The role of technical specifications in the design process is significant. In the specifications, the description of the products and materials are defined by a set of requirements. This will increase the probability of achieving a successful design. Specifications are essential to the construction process because they define in words what cannot be visualized or explained on a drawing or in drawing notes.
1. The specification provides clear instructions on project intent, performance, and construction.
2. It references the quality and standards that apply.
3. Materials and manufacturers’ products are clearly defined.
4. Installation, testing, and handover requirements are identified.
5. It eliminates the need for information overload on the drawing or in the notes, making identifying information easier.
6. A specification can support project costing, not only the materials and products but the performance and craftsmanship.
7. Along with the drawings, the specification forms part of the contractual documents, minimizing project risk and liability and providing support should there be any legal disputes.
8. It is essential for the construction phase and asset management, and the lifecycle cost plan.
9. A specification provides answers to many onsite construction questions by being clear, concise, and information-rich, saving the project team, client, and contractor time and money.
10. After project completion, office master specifications can incorporate best practices and lessons learned, improve efficiency, provide quality assurance, and ensure project consistency.
11. Office master specifications also save the team time and money because they can be developed over time and adapted to suit a project’s specifics, relying on the specification writer’s knowledge when needed.
12. The technical specifications are a living document to be used by the entire project team throughout the construction phase; the value of concise specifications does not end at the design phase.
Specification development for a specific project should not begin at the Construction Document phase. To prepare concise and correct specifications, they need to be developed at the beginning of the Design Development phase in close coordination with the designers, the project team, and the project’s design intent. A proprietary specification gives the client more certainty about the quality of the product, which is integral to the overall design.
For Elevatus projects, a combination of proprietary and non-proprietary-based specs are written. Items critical to the design and aesthetics, such as a particular façade, external finishes, and some interior finishes and products, are written as proprietary specifications. Items critical to building performance include waterproofing, roofing design, low maintenance, and durable materials. These items are also specified as proprietary.
Specifiers should consider how the products they specify can deliver lasting value to the client, how easy they are to install, their green credentials, overall functionality, and course maintenance. Knowing the value of a product with what architects and designers want to achieve will develop a compelling argument for specifications, using best practices, case studies, technical papers, and the manufacturer to support the use of their products.
At Elevatus, we position ourselves with the manufacturers to have a lasting relationship with someone we can trust and who will continue servicing our clients after the project is complete. Having a relationship with the manufacturer and representative is an integral part of quality control in our building designs.
In closing, architectural technical specifications and methods used during the production of the specification can and do help achieve the successful outcome, satisfaction, and approval of our clients in Elevatus’ designs.