MasterFormat Revisited

The latest revision to the Construction Specifications Institute's (CSI) MasterFormat is now available for review by the AEC community at www.csinet.org/technic/mfrevision. "This draft, like those before it, is provided to elicit commentary from users and others interested in and affected by the MasterFormat expansion process," notes Leonard Greenberger of the CSI MasterFormat Expansion Task T...

09/01/2003


The latest revision to the Construction Specifications Institute's (CSI) MasterFormat is now available for review by the AEC community at www.csinet.org/technic/mfrevision .

"This draft, like those before it, is provided to elicit commentary from users and others interested in and affected by the MasterFormat expansion process," notes Leonard Greenberger of the CSI MasterFormat Expansion Task Team. "We believe that input from experienced users is one of the most important resources that can be incorporated into the development of this expansion."

Draft 4 has 49 separate divisions—within three groupings— for mechanical, fire suppression, electrical, communications, safety and security and integrated building systems; Draft 3 had 86 divisions in nine groupings. Draft 4 also includes divisions for heavy civil construction and process engineering.

"The industry gave us its feedback on Draft 3 and, as always, we listened," says Dennis Hall, FCSI, CCS, CCCA, AIA, chairman of the CSI/Construction Specifications Canada MasterFormat Expansion Task Team. "We now have in Draft 4 what we believe is a good compromise. It will look familiar to current MasterFormat users but will still be able to adapt to new subjects, methods and materials."

Key to Draft 4's expandability, according to CSI, is that it retains a new six-digit numbering system for the sections within divisions. The system makes it possible to have up to 10,000 sections per division—a hundredfold increase from the existing five-digit system.

Of course, many of the MasterFormat changes were originally driven by the proposal to break out a new division for telecommunications. That area is being addressed in the newly proposed Division 26. According to Kevin Marszalek, RCDD, director of telecommunications for Arnold & O'Sheridan, Madison, Wis., much of the MasterFormat revision will boil down to administrative changes, but changes that should benefit everyone by its better organization.

More importantly, from an M/E/P and "T" design perspective, Marszalek believes the new divisions will force architects to address systems like telecom, fire suppression and security at a much earlier stage of the design process.

The clarifications of the divisions, according to Marszalek, should also give M/E/P designers more control in the specification process as to who will take charge of these specialized systems.

"If the designer really wants to specify a low-voltage integrator for the telecom or fire alarm/ security system, he or she can," says Marszalek.

Furthermore, Marszalek believes these clarifications will also force designers to think more about relationships—and again, who he or she wants to do the work—which may ultimately mean more and earlier partnering with outside integrator firms.

Draft 4 is the final version to be submitted for the industry's input. It will be posted for feedback throughout the fall. The new MasterFormat is scheduled to be published in late 2004.





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