Architectural specifications may not be the most glamourous or desirable part of an architect’s job. However, architect's need to understand that it’s part of the profession and every budding architect should learn how to produce a quality specification. Let’s take a look at the three P’s of specifications below.

 

Professional

A specification is a professional document. It represents the architect’s desires and demands for how a project is to be constructed. It’s through the spec that an architect can specify quality, which they can’t do on the drawings. If architects are on site less, they need to have their voice heard by the contractors. This is achieved through a professional specification complete with the architectural practice’s custom branding and style.

 

Practical

A good specification means less clutter in drawings and ‘lighter’ 3D models. By stating relevant standards and including product and system data in the specification, it becomes a practical document that will be referred to by contractors and trades throughout the project’s construction. 
As a practical representation of the designer’s voice, the specification outlines what exactly is to be supplied and installed, including the methods used, particularly with proprietary products.

 

Protection

The final P encompasses the legal protections that a specification provides an architect or designer. The construction sector is a highly litigious environment and the architect is often at the front of the firing line if something goes wrong. By producing a professional specification, architects are protecting themselves against issues that may arise down the track. These could include building quality and performance problems, which may be caused by incorrect product substitution and poor workmanship that deviates from the architect’s design. If it isn’t written, it isn’t true and it can’t be proven that the architect isn’t at fault.


“If it’s written, it’s true. You did say it. That needs to be realised by all architects. If it isn’t written, it isn’t true and it didn’t happen.”

Glenys Nall



NBS and SpecPack

In 2021, NBS acquired architectural specification template provider SpecPack Pty Ltd. We did this to provide Australian architects and specifiers with familiar, trade-based content sets in a digital format. To celebrate the recent launch of SpecPack within the NBS Chorus platform, we caught up with SpecPack founder and specification expert Glenys Nall for a webinar on all things SpecPack. Glenys and her late husband David created SpecPack almost 30 years ago, building a successful business providing architects with an alternative to NATSPEC. Watch the webinar on demand.