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.