Specifications

By Davies Hood, Induron Executive VP

I’ve said it here before and have discussed it at length with co-workers, clients and friends in the business – the Specification is the single-most important component of a quality coating or lining project. I know that might sound strange coming from a paint manufacturer, but the truth is when the jobs’ parameters – including workmanship, quality of materials and time standards – are clearly laid out at the beginning of a project, the chance for success is immeasurably better. 

With this in mind, I wanted to share an editorial by Bill Shoup, Executive Director of the Steel Structures Painting Council (SSPC) in the September 2011 edition of the Journal of Protective Coatings and Linings. The real nugget of quality in this article is where Mr. Shoup describes the potential for conflict when some contractors read a loosely written spec “with a fine tooth comb,” looking for errors or ambiguities that they can manipulate or take advantage of. Oftentimes, these loopholes are known to the contractor but not the owner, and are brought up at the most inconvenient times. This leaves the owner and/or engineer with little or no option other than to pay for a costly “change order.” Another bad scenario in this situation is the result of an incorrectly coated surface, which leads to a premature failure. No one knows that the job is a failure until everyone has been paid, the job is complete and the low-bid contractor has left the jobsite.

My favorite part of Mr. Shoup’s editorial is that it not only points out a real problem in the coatings industry (and other specification-driven fields), but provides a solution to the problem of loose or poorly written specifications. The SSPC has recently provided a new publication entitled “Preparing and Using Protective Coatings Specifications.” In addition to discussing all coatings and linings projects with your local Induron representative, I strongly recommend reading this helpful SSPC publication.

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