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Types Of Construction Contract Specifications


Florida construction projects are built upon contracts, as the rights and obligations of all involved parties are too important to entrust to a handshake agreement. The documentation must be as meticulous as possible to ensure the client is satisfied with the end result, so construction contracts include a specifications section that lays out the details. Because they are developed by engineers, the descriptions can be highly technical and overwhelming – yet this is the road map that subcontractors must rely on when working at the site. Due to the complexities, the Construction Specifications Institute (CSI) created an index to standardize specifications.

With a well-developed set of specifications, you avoid hassle, waste, and costs that occur when the parties are not on the same page. The details enable better communication and coordination, preventing disputes and reducing the potential for construction defects. A Florida construction contracts lawyer can advise you on specifications, and some background information may be useful.

Three Classes of Specifications in Construction Contracts

 The CSI specifications index establishes three categories:

  1. Prescriptive specifications provide detailed instructions for each step of a construction project, along with information on what products and materials must be used by contractors. They may also include requirements for installation.
  1. Performance specifications take the opposite approach, as these describe the end result and what the client expects as far as the final product. They leave the details up to the discretion of the contractors.
  1. Proprietary specifications cover every minute detail of a construction project, including the type of product, brand of materials, and how each component must be installed. They are rare, but often used when a property owner is renovating and needs to match the new space with existing structures.

Liability for Defective Specifications 

These three categories of construction contract specifications are important for laying the framework of the project, but they may also play a role in disputes. Subcontractors rely on these details, so liability will depend on what class of construction specifications was implemented for the project. For instance:

  • Performance specifications allow the contractor doing the work to use discretion in achieving the end result. Decision-making authority falls on the contractor, so liability follows.
  • With prescriptive specifications, the instructions on products and installation methods are provided to the contractor. If there are defects, the party who prepared them will be liable. Often, this will be the architect or engineer.
  • There can be questions about proprietary specifications based upon who developed them and the demands of the owner. Liability for defects may vary, so engineers usually try to avoid employing them.

Discuss Projects Specifications with a Florida Construction Contracts Attorney

Construction contract specifications work well to keep projects on track, but they are also key for determining liability in the event of construction defects. For more information, please contact Linkhorst Law Firm, P.A. to set up a consultation. Individuals in Palm Beach County can call 561-626-8880 or visit our website to reach our firm. We can provide more information after reviewing your situation.



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