Practicing Safe Specifications

Insurance premiums are on the rise, a trend which could be attributed to the increasing number of notifications regarding cladding systems. This underscores the importance of discussing strategies for safeguarding oneself as a designer, with the specification serving as a pivotal starting point. Practising safe specifications is where SCLspec can support you – we’re a team of expert specification consultants with decades of accumulated global experience.

Dispelling Misconceptions
One prevalent misconception is that the specification holds little importance because it often goes unread. Fortunately, this antiquated notion is rapidly diminishing. As architects, we are well aware of its significance, despite assertions from builders suggesting otherwise; their stance may be more advantageous to them but does not diminish the importance of a comprehensive specification.
Another misconception revolves around the belief that all specifications are identical. However, we’ve observed instances where architects utilise the same specification across various procurement methods, neglecting the distinct requirements for pre- and post-novation scenarios. Understanding the nuances of the construction contract is paramount, as it dictates how risks and responsibilities are allocated.
Importance of Adaptability
Recognising the significance of the procurement method is paramount for accurately detailing the project through drawings, schedules, and the specification. Aligning these documents with the contractual obligations ensures clarity and accountability throughout the project lifecycle.
Adapting to Different Procurement Routes
For instance, in a Design and Construct (D&C) procurement route with novation of the design team, the pre-novation phase requires the design consultant to furnish design intent supported by minimum performance requirements. The specification, structured as a performance-based document, outlines the procurement for tendering contractors.
Post-novation, however, entails a significant overhaul of the specification as the design team may be novated to the contractor, shifting the responsibility for design development. Specifications are tailored to suit the contractor’s trade packaged procurement route, necessitating a shift from performance-based to prescriptive specifications.
Emphasising Purposeful Documentation
It’s imperative to recognise that pre- and post-novation specifications serve distinct purposes and involve different stakeholders. Utilising a pre-novation specification in a post-novation scenario is not only impractical but also risky.
Our Commitment to Support
At SCLspec, our mission has always been to empower designers. Recent legal decisions, such as the Lacrosse apartment building case, have prompted a reevaluation of documentation practices. Rest assured, our team remains steadfast in our commitment to upholding the highest standards and supporting you through every stage of your project. Understanding your requirements is merely the beginning; knowing how to effectively address them is where our expertise truly shines.
With decades of accumulated experience across our team, we at SCLspec been at the forefront of delivering specialised specification services to architects in Australia, New Zealand, Southeast Asia, and the Middle East. Find out more about our team here. Ready to get started? Request a quote here.