The Construction Specification Institute and the MasterFormat Expansion Task Team released a new draft of the specifications program that is a drastic change from previous versions. This newest draft, which replaces both of the Draft 2 versions and the alternate proposals posted to CSI's Web site earlier this year, has nine major groupings with up to 10 divisions each.

"In direct response to commentary from mechanical contractors, and because the revised numbering system allowed for it, the decision was made to re-consolidate all of the mechanical divisions, including plumbing, into a single Mechanical Division in Draft 3," wrote MasterFormat Expansion Task Team Chair Dennis J. Hall in the draft's introduction.

Draft 3 changes the traditional numbering system from five digits (for four levels of classification) to six digits (for three levels of classification). This six-digit numbering system will allow for future revisions with little or no need to change any existing numbers.

The expansion also will provide better formats for heavy civil engineering projects such as roads and bridges, and industrial construction such as power plants and factories.

A concern of the task force is the ability of the new version of MasterFormat to work with the OmniClass Construction Classification System as the demands of electronic information exchange will need to be met. Also of concern is meeting the needs of the system's current user base as there are significant costs associated with the system's implementation -- retraining users and transferring various types of information to the new system.

CSI expects to publish Draft 4 this May for a last round of public comment. The final draft is to be completed early this summer, with the revised MasterFormat to be published by the summer of 2004.

Visit the CSI Web site at for detailed information on MasterFormat's Draft 3 Divisions.