The Construction Specifications Institute discussed its task force's proposed changes to the MasterFormat* Divisions 15 and 16 at an Aug. 2 meeting in Alexandria, Va.

Various industry groups - the Mechanical Contractors Association of America (see "MCAA Urges Reconsideration of Spec Format Changes," August 2002), the Plumbing-Heating-Cooling Contractors-National Association, the Mechanical Contractors Association of Canada, the Canadian Construction Association, the National Electrical Contractors Association, Associated General Contractors, and the Sheet Metal and Air Conditioning Contractors' National Association -- raised concerns as to whether new divisions were needed, and if the CSI process in forming these changes had been open to the entire industry and not just a narrow segment.

"This is a situation in which an organization has put together a process on bidding without contractor representation," said Ike Casey, PHCC executive vice president, who attended the meeting. "It's difficult for contractors to bid a job when they have to look all over the specs to determine their work scope."

Apparently the task force had a construction member at one time, but he was promoted to a higher position, said Lake Coulson, PHCC director of government relations. "The task force seems to think its timeline is fine, even with the lack of construction contractor input."

Casey added: "The task force needs to consider the people who will be using the spec format, not just the design people."

The next draft of changes was expected in early September, with another meeting set for early October in Ottawa, Ontario. The draft is due March 2003, with the finalized proposal expected June 2003.

The next step for PHCC, Coulson said, is to look at the second draft and see if there are any positive changes for the industry. "If that is not the case, you will see industry associations working together to influence the final draft," he told PM.

To comment on the proposed changes, visit