Liz O’Sullivan is my favorite blogging architectural specifications writer. (She may also be the only blogging architectural specifications writer I know of, but she is still my favorite…)
Her most recent post offers some great advice for owners who are engaging in construction: “Require the contractor to submit Record Specifications.” As she points out, this requirement is a common provision in the standard AIA A201-2007 contract. However, O’Sullivan recommends expanding on that requirement in the specifications so that any material substitutions are documented, with careful attention to concealed components. This may result in a small increase in cost and time spent by the contractor, but there are numerous benefits:
Spending this tiny extra bit of money now will save you money in the future. If you have the Record Specifications to refer to in the future, you will save yourself time that you might otherwise have to spend searching for a product name or model number that you urgently need. If you have the Record Specifications to copy and give to other people that you hire to do maintenance on, or an addition to, your building, you will save yourself money because you will be saving the people you have hired some significant time.