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BuilSpec Spec Tips

Specifying controls and building automation systems is no easy task. Often, bad specs end in bad results—bids over budget; proprietary specs; change orders; and ultimately, a customer not getting what they wanted. What's an engineer to do?

Consider these tips proffered by Paul Ehrlich, president of the Business International Group and program development director for the BuilSpec seminar series:

Write performance-oriented, not prescriptive specs. For example, alarm response time: "The maximum time from when an object goes into alarm to when it is annunciated at the workstation shall not exceed 45 seconds," as opposed to "Data communication rate should be 19.200 bits per second."

Include clear language that is obtainable at the job site. Remove unneeded sections and use clear and concise language that follows CSI or AIA-type formats. And finally, state things only in one place. Ultimately, make sure you understand the specification.

BuilSpec wraps up this month with stops in Washington, D.C., Atlanta, Los Angeles and San Francisco.

Visit for more information or to register.