The Construction Specifications Institute's Executive Committee recently approved the revision and expansion of the 16-division MasterFormat specifications system. MasterFormat is a formatting standard for specifications and provides the organizational framework of the written instructions for construction of commercial buildings.

"The current revision ... is especially significant because of all the changes that have taken place in the construction industry since the last revision in 1995," said Dennis Hall, chair of CSI's MasterFormat Expansion Task Team, which recommended the changes.

However, Hall assured current users that they would be able to continue using the system in much the same way as they do now.

Divisions 15 (Mechanical) and 16 (Electrical) will be eliminated; their content will be divided among a new group of divisions containing expanded content for mechanical, electrical and plumbing.

Two new divisions will be created: Communications and Life Safety/Facility Protection. Life Safety and Facility protection will address some additional topics related to low-voltage systems, as well as some subject matter already covered in other locations in the current edition of MasterFormat.

CSI intends to begin the education process by reaching out to key construction industry organizations in order to discuss with them the proposed changes and get their feedback. The Task Team will be soliciting additional information from the CSI membership, as well as nonmember specifiers and architects who are experienced users of the system, and hold two symposia for face-to-face discussion between CSI and affected parties.

The Task Team's plan calls for publishing the revised MasterFormat in late 2003.