Tuesday, April 8, 2014

Ask the Experts: Why Was Part 1 - Related Requirements Removed from MasterSpec Plumbing Valve Sections?

Occasionally as a part of our Ask the Experts series we'll post questions asked by users, along with a response by an ARCOM staff member. Today we'll look at why Part 1 - Related Requirements was removed from plumbing valve sections.


Q: Part 1 - Related Requirements was removed from the plumbing valve sections.  Was this intentional?  It seems out of step with the ARCOM specification structure.  I see the Evaluations still reference Related Sections.  Are those particular references up-to-date?

A: We have not changed our philosophy about Related Requirements in the 30 years I have been involved in MasterSpec production. When plumbing valves was updated, this section was split into several sections and at that time we discovered that the cross references in the Related Requirements paragraph did not conform to our organizational policies in MasterSpec. Those previous cross references were removed from their location in Part 1. I will now attempt to explain our organizational philosophy as briefly as possible. First, every section in a project specification is "related" to every other section; this is a contractual issue. Second, the purpose of this paragraph is not to define scope of work or related work of a particular subcontract or trade. It is, however, a part of the Summary Article in a specification section, which is like an "executive summary" of a report or technical paper. A reader, such as a contractor or contract administrator, who may be looking for a specific subject and believing (by virtue of the section title) that he or she may find it in the section can quickly see it is elsewhere. Preceding this paragraph where it does appear is the following "Note to the Specifier": "Retain subparagraphs below to cross-reference requirements Contractor might expect to find in this Section but are specified in other Sections."

We also make targeted cross references elsewhere within a section. An example is in Part 3 - Execution of a plumbing piping section where we refer to Section 220548 "Vibration and Seismic Controls for Plumbing Piping and Equipment" for piping restraints. This type of cross reference is made at the point in the specification where the requirement may ordinarily be found rather than in Related Requirements. This is because a person searching for such a product description would not necessarily open the plumbing piping section when the Table of Contents lists the section title that is more descriptive of the subject for which they are searching. When we make a targeted cross reference like this, we do not duplicate that cross reference in Related Requirements. With each update release, we verify all cross references, not only in the sections being updated, but also in the remainder of the library. However, deciding where to make a cross reference is a judgment we make, and among the almost 400 MEP sections, this judgment is sometimes inconsistently employed.

To alert the engineer that there are coordination requirements during writing and editing sections, we include a Specifications Coordination Checklist as one of the supporting documents for each section. This checklist is a helpful tool since MEP sections are so interdependent that when revising one section, adjustments must be made to one or more other sections. However, this is necessary for writing and editing only. We are working on some automation software that will aid in this endeavor, but it's a ways off.

Michael King, FCSI, CCS, is Vice President of Engineering Specifications at ARCOM.

Thursday, March 27, 2014

2014 MERC Meeting Highlights

Earlier this year, members of the MasterSpec Engineering Review Committee (MERC) convened in Alexandria, Virginia, to discuss MasterSpec section revisions, inclusion of reference standards, and sustainable design.

MERC members included 2014 MERC Chair John Hardesty, P.E., EYP Architecture & Engineering, Washington, DC; James Prosch, P.E., Prosch Engineering, Indianapolis, Indiana; Victor Ammons, P.E., Jacobs, Hillsborough, New Jersey; Tom Montgomery, P.E., MWH Global, Las Vegas, Nevada; and Henn Rebane, P.E. (retired), Tampa, Florida.

Prosch and Montgomery with ARCOM Vice President
of Engineering Specifications Michael King.
The committee reviewed sections that will be heavily revised within the next year to expand the scope and scale of the sections due to significant changes in product design, types, or capabilities over the past couple of years.

MERC determined that in order to properly increase the scope of two Division 28 sections, some numbers and titles must be reorganized. The committee also came to several conclusions regarding various Division 26 sections. Section 260923 "Lighting Control Devices," Section 260936.19 "Standalone Multipreset Dimming Controls," Section 260913 "Electrical Power Monitoring and Control," and Section 262713 "Electricity Metering" will be revised to better reflect products currently available in the market and their expanded importance in the design of sustainable buildings.

Sections 260913 and 262713 prompted a discussion of how MasterSpec is going to approach the specification of data storage and equipment whenever the sustainable design requires such equipment. Each committee member had a slightly different approach on this particular topic. In the future, ARCOM will discuss how to incorporate these requirements into MasterSpec and will develop at least four new sections for networks, software, and control and monitoring.

MERC also discussed the inclusion of reference standards into MasterSpec, such as the NETA ATS and the NEC. The committee also discussed the major topic of sustainability and all members agreed that vehicle charging stations should be a new specification in MasterSpec due to the increased prevalence of electric vehicles. MasterSpec writers have since started development on this specification.

2014 MERC members (from left to right): James Prosch, Victor Ammons,
Tom Montgomery, Henn Rebane, and John Hardesty.

Friday, March 21, 2014

Ask the Experts: Which Section Covers General Requirements for Electrical Work?

Occasionally as a part of our Ask the Experts series we'll post questions asked by users, along with a response by an ARCOM staff member. Today we'll look at where to find general requirements for different types of work.


Q: Without MasterSpec Section 260500, which has been discontinued, which section covers the general requirements for electrical work?

A: The common work results sections (MasterFormat™ 2012 numbers: 210500, 220500, 230500, 260500, 270500, and 280500; in the old MasterFormat™ 1995 number system: 15050 and 16050) were discontinued from Divisions 21, 22, and 23 in the March 2008 update and for Divisions 26, 27, and 28 in March 2009. These sections were discontinued as a final step in a long process to spread the subjects covered in those sections to other sections within their respective divisions. Over several years, ARCOM has been relocating subject matter to other sections and creating new sections in order to eventually discontinue these XX 05 00 sections ("XX" refers to the division number).
The section numbers "XX 05 00" are a major classification placeholder in CSI MasterFormat™. They, being at a high level in the classification schema, are more appropriate to use as a category of sections rather than a section containing many diverse products and activities. Sleeves, sleeve seals, and escutcheons were the last of the subject to be moved out of these sections, and in this case, ARCOM created separate sections with that title. This action makes that specific subject matter easier to find and provides the ability to focus on that subject for the various requirements for the several systems within each division. The following are other "common work results" sections that have been updated or introduced over several years to accommodate this action:
  • Common Motor Requirements for…
  • Expansion Fittings and Loops for…
  • Hangers and Supports for…
  • Vibration and Seismic Controls for…
  • Identification for…
  • Grounding and Bonding for…
Many of these "common work results" sections are in each of the six aforementioned divisions. While this may seem redundant, it is not. The redundancy or duplication ends with the titles of sections, articles, and paragraphs. The actual requirements vary according to the system or equipment served in each division. As a voting member of the former CSI MasterFormat™ Expansion Task Team, and as the Chair of the CSI MasterFormat™ Maintenance Task Team, I can assure you that this follows the intent of the new organizational scheme of MasterFormat 2012.
It is not possible to delineate the many sections to which content was distributed. However, most of the section numbers and titles in Divisions 26, 27, and 28 are descriptive of their content and many new sections have been added since the "common work results" sections were discontinued.

Michael King, FCSI, CCS, is Vice President of Engineering Specifications at ARCOM.

Thursday, March 13, 2014

Ask the Experts: Why Were Angle Valves and Globe Valves Removed from MasterSpec Plumbing Valves Sections?

Occasionally as a part of our Ask the Experts series we'll post questions asked by users, along with a response by an ARCOM staff member. Today we'll look at the justification behind why two types of valves were removed from MasterSpec's plumbing valves sections.

Q: In the plumbing valves sections, angle valves and globe valves are deleted. Was this removal intentional? If so, what is the reason? Similarly, why was the [SANITARY-WASTE] [AND] [STORM-DRAINAGE] VALVE SCHEDULE deleted? I see Compressed Air Schedules have been added, which makes sense.

A: The organizational philosophy of MasterSpec mechanical sections (particularly for valves) is to include within them several valve sections that are applied generally among various systems to avoid having to repeat them in each system section where they apply. System sections (e.g., Domestic Water Piping and General Service Compressed-Air Piping) will include those valves that are especially or uniquely used in those sections. We did not include angle and globe valves in the plumbing valves sections because these types of valves are mainly used for hydronic and steam piping systems rather than being "general-duty plumbing valves." So, they are included in the Division 23 sections.

We did not include any valves for sanitary waste and storm drainage sections in the general-duty valve sections as these systems are written for building drainage piping systems where flow is by gravity. If you have forced mains in the systems you are specifying, then that system specification section should include descriptions of those valves. Also, since there are so few valve types in these drainage piping sections, there is little benefit in having a valve schedule. However, if you desire one, it could be copied from one of the other valve sections and adapted to the valves specified in the drainage piping sections.

Michael King, FCSI, CCS, is Vice President of Engineering Specifications at ARCOM.