MasterFormat Committee Still Seeks Industry Input


Continuing its MasterFormat 2004 awareness and education campaign, key members of the Construction Specifications Institute gathered with the industry press during their annual conference in Chicago last week.

Awareness remains a top priority. “We’re still getting a lot of feedback, especially since it’s been officially approved,” said Dennis Hall, with Hall Architects, Charlotte. Hall oversaw the MasterFormat reconstruction process as chair of the expansion task force.

In fact, Hall said he still encounters many people who aren’t even aware of the new edition. “Many people simply believed we’d never do it, and now that we have, a lot of them said they wished they’d been involved.”

The good news is that Hall feels the organization has done its due diligence, including getting valuable feedback from the M/E/P engineering community. That said, MasterFormat remains a living organism, and Hall said that they’re continuing to collect information to improve the specification’s organizational standard. In fact, a revised version may be available in as soon as six months.

“We feel like we have an obligation to the industry to not just create, but maintain the standard,” said Gary Betts, CSI’s president.

On the adoption front, some big guns—the General Services Administration, NASA, the U.S. Navy and Air Force—are all in the process of making the new MasterFormat their standard. Elsewhere, the state of Ohio, the city of Orlando, the Orange County, Fla. school system, General Motors and even Disney are other early adopters.

Charles Hardy of GSA noted the new MasterFormat appeals to the government because of the building team/master builder philosophy it’s adopted. “We really like that it promotes teams that speak the same comprehensive language,” said Hardy. “And we really feel we’re at a revolutionary point in that we’re meeting with lot of different owners and building managers to share information, and really inventing something that’s never been done before.”

GSA hopes that all its 2006 contracts will require the 2004 MasterFormat.

CSI realizes the “pain of change” is still probably its greatest challenge, but the organization is confident the new format will be worth it.

With the growth of a more global economy, Hall added that the new edition is an ISO standard that was jointly written with Canada and has since been adopted by Japan as well. He expected India and the United Kingdom to adopt the standard shortly.

“I think that’s one of the most exciting aspects about it,” said Carl Wagus, a manufacturer’s rep on the committee. “The U.S. is leading the way with the development of a data management technology developed by the private sector that will help us better compete in the world. It shows the U.S. still has a lot to offer the world,” he said.

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