CSI’s MasterFormat™ 04 and its Impact on Our Work

The current status is that late in 2004 the Construction Specifications Institute (CSI) will formally publish the new MasterFormat™ layout. Over the last few years the MasterFormat™ Task Team has been working on the first major update in 38 years. MasterFormat™ is the most widely used standard for organizing specifications in commercial building projects in North America. It provides a master list of titles and numbers for organizing information about construction requirements, products, and activities. Standardizing this information improves communication among the people involved in building these projects, which makes it easier to meet the owner’s requirements, timeline and budget.

The 16 Divisions that we are used to working in is expanded to 49 Divisions to encompass new subject matter. The goals for the update include:

  1. Impose as little change as possible into the divisions that have composed the architectural building subjects.
  2. Make MasterFormat™ more acceptable to building engineering disciplines.
  3. Expand MasterFormat™ to cover other than building construction.
  4. Revise MasterFormat™ to follow classification principles such as the National Cad Standard.
  5. Provide space for expansion within each division.
  6. Maintain organizational consistency among divisions.

What all of this means is that we will need to become familiar with the new six digit numbering system that replaces the current five digit system. The other major change that affects Thorburn Associates’ design work is that audiovisual and technical systems will move from Division 11 into the new communications section, Division 27. Acoustical finishes, framing and other building products remain unchanged, but HVAC and electrical have moved to Divisions 23 and 26 respectively.
More information on the expanded MasterFormat™ can be found at http://www.csinet.org/masterformat/.