Square Peg, Round Hole?

Does anyone else think it’s funny to see CSI MasterFormat 2004 section numbers rammed into the old CSI MasterFormat 1995 categories in construction estimates?

This is what most of the construction estimates that I see look like:

Division 1 General Requirements

01 50 00 Temporary Facilities and Controls

Division 2 Site Work

02 41 19 Selective Demolition

31 00 00 Earthwork

32 12 16 Asphalt Paving

Division 15 Mechanical

22 00 00 Plumbing

23 00 00 HVAC

Division 16 Electrical

26 00 00 Electrical

It looks funny to see section numbers that start with 22 put under Division number 15.  In the olden days, like maybe in 2003, the same info would have looked something like:

Division 1 General Requirements

01500 Temporary Facilities and Controls

01732 Selective Demolition

Division 2 Site Work

02300 Earthwork

02741 Asphalt Paving

Division 15 Mechanical

15000 Mechanical

Division 16 Electrical

16000 Electrical

See how nice and neat that looks with those first 2 numbers of each section matching the Division number of the category?  But then the spec writers went and started using different section numbers.  So there was some confusion, a period of transition…

But now, 9 years after MasterFormat 2004 was published, I’d expect this same info to be categorized like this:

Division 01 General Requirements

01 50 00 Temporary Facilities and Controls

Division 02 Existing Conditions

02 41 19 Selective Demolition

Division 22 Plumbing

22 00 00 Plumbing

Division 23 Heating Ventilating and Air Conditioning

23 00 00 HVAC

Division 26 Electrical

26 00 00 Electrical

Division 31 Earthwork

31 00 00 Earthwork

Division 32 Exterior Improvements

32 12 16 Asphalt Paving

But mostly, it’s not.  Those square pegs keep getting rammed into those round holes.

  

9 thoughts on “Square Peg, Round Hole?

  1. It is a bid odd that, nearly ten years after the introduction of MF04, older versions remain in use. Despite a push from the top – Federal adoption – and from below – manufacturers making the switch – some parts of the country seem to be firmly entrenched in MF95. Or, more likely, a mishmash of 95, 88, and a random number generator.

    I will confess to a bit of heretical behavior, driven by practical considerations. Prior to MF04, there was a somewhat even balance between the typical two-volume project manual, with Divisions 15 and 16 in one volume, and everything else in the other. Both contained certification pages and a complete table of contents.

    The move to MF04 created a printing problem. I refused to print three volumes, and including everything in sequential order left me with one volume half the size of the other. Instead, my first volume contains Divisions 00 through 14 plus the 30s series, and the occasional 40s section, while the second volume contains the 20s. As expected, there have been no problems.

    However, as we move to electronic distribution, those issues vanish, and we’ll go back to sequential order. One less geometrical incongruity!

    • Yeah – there really isn’t a problem with what Sheldon’s been doing, and there really isn’t a problem with putting MF 2004 Section numbers into MF 1995 Division categories in an estimate – it just looks funny.

      Some of us have a higher tolerance for geometrical and numerical incongruity and things like that than others of us do…

  2. One thing I noticed in the hybrid table of contents was the insertion of Division 31 and 32 Sections in Division 02. I a still not happy with the move of site work to Divisions 31 and 32. While specifications are not strictly work-sequence related, they are generally arranged in construction sequence. If all I want to do is dig a hole and put in some pavement, it strikes me strange that we are directing the excavator to look in Divisions 31 & 32, usually in Volume 3 of the Project Manual. It feels as though Division 02 has been hijacked by the bridge and dam engineers.

  3. Steve

    You are correct that MasterFormat has never been organized by sequence of construction – finishes before elevaors and MEP rough-in.

    One of the problems being faced in the expansion of MasterFormat was that Division 2 along with a few other divisions were overcrowded and there was no room for expansion. These divisions need to be subdivided.

    During the process to expand MasterFormat there was some reaction to distributed drafts to completely reorder the format – if you are going to change it go all the way and start from scratch for the best system – such a scheme was formulated and circulated for reaction. The reaction was to stay with the scheme that kept the distrubance to existing divisions to a minimum and that was what was adopted – minimizing the disturbance to Divisions 3-14.

    In other words the resulting revised and expanded format was a compromise – keeping the disturbance to the existing format to a minimum won over concerns to have the purest form of organization.

  4. Quite interesting! We have Project Managers here who just “love” to re-use specs, say from 1990 something
    Old text, old products, do not reflect many mergers, use old format and numbering– we talk a lot!!!

    Time and construction do not stand still

    Ralph W. Liebing, RA, CSI, CDT
    Senior Architect- Specifications

  5. In my new business, I intend to try and get to the bottom of this square peg/round hole issue with contractors. Or as I view it: throwing 2 puzzles into the same box, shaking it up, and trying to make a single picture.

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