Are your specs “clear as mud”?

“The Specification.” The basis of all construction projects. It is the bridge between ideas and structures, the all-important first step between a concept and, in the case of this article from PaintSquare, a coal tar enamel coated, fiberglass wrapped water pipe. When the “spec” is correct there is a great probability of success on any project.  And by “correct”, what I really mean is for the spec to be SPECIFIC.

Now, I’m not advocating a single source to reduce competition (therefore violating the whole concept of capitalism), but I am promoting tightly-defined details. Defined details were lacking on this Vancouver water project. The mention of an AWWA Standard with further wording that blurs the definition of that standard or even conflicts with it qualifies. When referencing any standard, and there are many available, especially in the coatings business, make sure that both the core concept as well as all of the details are understood and followed. Additionally, open-ended terms such as “The seal coat may be omitted, if in the Corporations’ opinion, sufficient tar has bled through the felt” only act to further muddy the waters and should be avoided.

Ambiguities like those mentioned in this article are a recipe for disaster. Disaster in this case resulted in a $4MM “adder” as well as time delays, attorney’s fees, loss of “stomach lining” for all parties involved and certain other “hidden” costs.

Davies Hood, Executive Vice President, Induron

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