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Specifying HelpHow to Write Clearer Equipment Shelter Specs

Are your bid specifications outdated? Maybe it’s time to take them out of the closet and brush them off. Did you know that you could be increasing the cost of your project by using outdated, incorrect or limiting terminology in your job specs? 

Copying and pasting specifications used in past projects may be quick and easy, but, those specs eventually become outdated and the verbiage can be unclear in its intent and limited in scope. These specifications may result in an inferior building being used on a project, causing added expenses, headaches and damaged reputations.

The Use of "Self Extinguishing"

A common reoccurring error we see in specifications is the use of the term “Self Extinguishing” in sections describing insulation. This term was used in the late 1950’s and 1960’s when describing foam plastic insulation.  A 1974 ruling in a Federal Trade Commission lawsuit against the Society of Plastics Industry established that the use of “Self Extinguishing” was ‘misleading’ and ‘deceptive’.  This lawsuit helped to set standards for verbiage used in the advertising and packaging of foam plastics.  The terms ‘Self Extinguishing’ and ‘Non-Burning’ cannot be used when describing the characteristics of foam plastic products. This includes the polyisocyanurate foam typically found in job specs.

The lawsuit removed ASTM D-1692, Bunsen burner test, when measuring burn characteristics, and required the currently used ASTM E 84 test method of surface burning characteristics be used as a testing standard.  It was also a key factor in the establishment of Section 1717 of the 1976 Uniform Building Code and has been used in every subsequent edition.

The Use of NPG or Neopentyl Glycol

NPG or Neopentyl Glycol is another material we see a lot in customer specs.  NPG is typically used with powder coating resins to increase weatherability and thermal UV stability or with liquid gel coats in boats and kitchen & bath fixtures.  At Shelter Works, we use liquid gel coats that already provide superior resistance to ultraviolet deterioration and hydrolysis.  Although we can meet specs that require NPG easily enough, unless your project is for a wastewater application or located in a marine environment, having Neopentyl Glycol required by your spec only adds unnecessary costs to your project.

Consult with Our Specialists

Clearly written, updated and correctly worded specifications have a direct impact on the cost and accuracy of your project.  At Shelter Works, we work with our customers to review and make recommendations regarding specifications.  In some cases we have developed specifications tailored to the individual job for our customers, saving them time, money and headaches.

If you would like us to provide you with a Complimentary Specification Review for your next job, please contact us.