History Edit After World War II, building construction specifications began to expand, as more advanced materials and choices were made available. In , they published a format for construction specifications, with 16 major divisions of work. In November , MasterFormat expanded from 16 Divisions to 50 Divisions , reflecting innovations in the construction industry and expanding the coverage to a larger part of the construction industry. Additional divisions added to include infrastructure and process equipment divisions. Advantages Edit Standardizing the presentation of such information improves communication among all parties involved in construction projects, which helps the project team deliver structures to owners according to their requirements, timelines, and budgets. Manufactures will often publish specifications for their products based on MasterFormat.
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Contributor By Robert Paul Dean Anyone involved in construction by now should be aware of a transformation that is under way in the master list of numbers and subject titles used to organize construction information. These numbers and titles affect applications such as data filing e. Sweets catalog files and First Source , cost estimating e.
Previous versions of MasterFormat and its predecessor documents dating to have organized construction data into 16 divisions. For example, information about concrete has always gone into Division 3, while information about thermal insulation has gone into Division 7.
The first document actually called MasterFormat was published in and further organized construction data by adding five-digit section numbers and titles for commonly used construction materials and systems. New editions of MasterFormat up through maintained this division system with five-digit section numbers and expanded the titles and numbers to include more detailed subjects.
The uproar was immediate and intense from several quarters, despite the fact that the drafting process had gone on for 3 years with input from an array of individuals and construction organizations. There were objections from some trade groups and building product manufacturers, but the greatest resistance came from design professionals and specification writers. Many individuals and firms saw no reason to abandon the old format and hesitated to incur the expense of converting their office master systems.
Why was MasterFormat Changed? Several reasons. For one thing, technology in the construction industry has changed in the decades since the division organization was formulated.
New products and whole new areas of specialization have evolved, particularly in the area of building services. New wire and wireless services, new environmental technologies, and new construction techniques have emerged and continue to be developed. The old division organization with five-digit section numbers was simply running out of room for new topics. Another factor was a desire to expand the use of MasterFormat beyond building construction. The new structure has been designed to accommodate all types of construction, including transportation and heavy civil engineering projects, plus industrial and process engineering.
There was also a desire to extend the use of MasterFormat beyond the construction phase itself and address topics related to the use of constructed facilities over their entire life-cycle. The old numbering system had become somewhat arbitrary and hit-or-miss, with some divisions chock-full of titles and others sparsely populated. Because several divisions had little space available, the logic for assigning numbers to new topics became increasingly arbitrary. This led directly to the most comprehensive goal of providing sufficient space and flexibility in the new system so another wholesale reorganization of the classification structure would be highly unlikely in the foreseeable future.
Figure 1 Section numbers are generally 6 digits but may be extended to 8 digits. By moving to six-digit numbers within each division, the new MasterFormat provides 10 times as much space within each division.
For topics that are even narrower in scope, MasterFormat has added a new level of specificity with two additional digits that are separated from the first six by a decimal point. If users need even more room for extremely specific topics, they may add two more digits following another decimal point. By allowing this much expansion space, it has become possible to number similar subjects consistently within each division.
For example, operations and maintenance issues are numbered with 01 as the middle pair of the basic six-digit numbers within each division. Similarly, common work results include 05 as the middle pair of digits, schedules use 06, and commissioning uses 08 see Figure 1. In addition to assigning a new six-digit or eight-digit section number to every topic, MasterFormat has also altered the titles of many sections. The primary reason for new titles is to reflect as consistently as possible the concept that all section titles should reflect a work result, rather than a product.
Has Anything Stayed the Same? For architects and structural engineers, the changes are not as dramatic as they are for landscape architects and civil, electrical, plumbing, and HVAC engineers. The reason? Divisions 03 through 14 - those typically used by architects and structural engineers - have stayed relatively intact and should look fairly familiar, even with the added digit in section numbers and slightly modified titles.
For example, concrete remains in Division 03, steel in Division 05, doors and windows in Division 08, and finishes in Division 09 see Figure 2 for a comparison of the divisions under the old and new organizations. Civil engineers and landscape architects will have to adjust a bit because subjects previously included in Division 02 have been moved to a new Site and Infrastructure Subgroup that includes earthwork, exterior improvements, and utilities in Divisions 31 through 35, with 30 and 36 through 39 reserved for future expansion.
What Is MasterFormat™ 2004 and Why Should I Care?
MasterFormat Specification Divisions (CURRENT)