Specification Writing for Architects: Practicing Safe Specs

In the realm of architectural practices, the escalating trend of rising premiums has become a focal point. This surge is particularly attributed to a growing number of notifications, with cladding systems emerging as a significant concern. For architects in Australia, it underscores the crucial need to fortify their positions, with the linchpin of defence being meticulous specification writing.

Dispelling Misconceptions in Australian Architectural Specifications
  1. Essential Role of Specifications: Contrary to outdated opinions, the importance of specifications is rapidly gaining acknowledgement. While builders may downplay their significance, Australian architects, well-trained in their craft, understand the pivotal role specifications play.
  2. Tailoring Specifications: A common misconception is treating every specification the same way. Architects often use a universal approach, applying the same specification across various procurement types. However, understanding the intricacies of pre-novation and post-novation requirements is vital for aligning risk and responsibility, especially in the Australian context.
  3. Procurement Relevance in Australia: The type of procurement holds substantial weight, particularly in Australia. Failure to accurately reflect risk and responsibility in design documents, including drawings, schedules, and specifications, can lead to complications. The procurement method significantly informs the design approach and is intricately linked to the construction contract.
  4. Consistency in Australian Architectural Roles: Ensuring consistency in roles and responsibilities is paramount in the Australian architectural context. Aligning consultancy agreements, construction contracts, and design documents is not just good practice; it’s a necessity.
Setting the Foundation Right for Australian Architects

Next to the contract, the specification holds paramount importance in conveying design requirements. It takes precedence over drawings and schedules, making it essential to kick off on the right foot, especially for architects in Australia.

Understanding the Australian Procurement Route: Before delving into specification writing, a thorough understanding of the nominated procurement route and specific construction contract is crucial for Australian architects. This includes identifying parties involved, their duties, and the allocation of risk and responsibility, forming the basis for preparing an effective specification.
Example: D&C Procurement Route in Australia: In a pre-novation scenario, Australian architects focus on design intent and minimum performance requirements. The specification is performance-based, aimed at tendering contractors, forming part of the Principal’s Project Requirements.
Post-novation, with the design team now under the contractor, a major overhaul is needed, especially in the Australian context. The specifications are tailored for the contractor’s trade packaged procurement, becoming prescriptive and detailed. Distinguishing between pre-novation and post-novation specifications is crucial, as their purposes and involved parties differ significantly, especially in Australia.
Adapting to Australian Architectural Insights: In light of recent developments in Australia, such as the scrutiny on documentation methods in cases like the Lacrosse apartment building, architects need to reassess their approach. At SCL | Schumann, our goal has always been to support Australian architects. We continuously refine our core values and processes to meet evolving industry standards and expectations.

Understanding your project’s requirements is a commendable start, but knowing how to navigate and respond to these requirements is equally critical for Australian architects. Explore the intricacies of specifications with our expert team at SCLspec – your partners in specification writing for Architects. Contact Us about your next project.

SCLspec guarantees precision. Explore the intricacies of specifications with our expert team – your partners in specification writing for Architects. Contact Us about your next project.