Posts Tagged ‘MasterFormat’

My two favorite subcontractors are Not Me and I Dunno (apologies to Bil Keane).

As a recovering contractor (I built stuff in a previous life), I often had to deal with the conflict between subs resulting from the popular misconception that the organization of construction specifications into divisions and sections dictates their scope of work and division of labor. The classic scenario that illustrates this misconception comes from plumbers and site utility contractors, but is true for other trades as well. Typically, the plumber would extend pipes to a point five feet outside the building. Likewise, the site guy would bring utilities to a point five feet from the building. It seems that neither gave a moment’s thought as to who would actually make the connection, and the general contractor often would get stuck with making the connection at the interface between the work of the two trades. Imagine the chaos that results when there are three trades involved in a single connection (yes I’ve actually seen this happen).

This scenario results in construction delays while the parties involved argue over whose responsibility it is to make the connection. Imagine the chaos also when it comes to getting submittals from these guys when wearing my current hat as an architect. All too often, Paragraph 1.2.2 of AIA A201 is ignored – probably more out of ignorance than anything else.

Now that I’ve complained, let me introduce something positive to the conversation in the form of CSI’s Certified Construction Contract Administrator program. A CCCA brings to the table a working knowledge of contract documents; after all, the CDT is a prerequisite to the certification. CCCAs are particularly knowledgeable in the roles and responsibilities of the various parties to the construction process (as distinguished from the parties to the construction contract). They handle the administration of a construction contract with competence and professionalism. A CCCA is familiar with bidding and negotiation procedures, Division 01, conditions of the construction contract, and can distinguish between construction observation and inspection.

A CCCA has demonstrated his/her knowledge by successfully sitting for a certification exam. The exam is arduous enough that one is unlikely to be successful without a thorough knowledge of the subject matter. The exam is based on the CSI Contract Administrator Practice Guide, Project Delivery Practice Guide, MasterFormat and other CSI formats, construction contracts, and general conditions. The exam is administered during two periods each year lasting approximately a month in the spring and again in the fall. CSI publishes the CCCA Candidate Handbook to facilitate exam preparation and act as a guide for the candidates studies. Information about the CCCA is available at http://csinet.org/Main-Menu-Category/Certification/CCCA .


Read Full Post »

What follows is an article I initially penned for the February 2002 Parameter, the newsletter of the Central Virginia Chapter of the Construction Specifications Institute (CSI).  the original title was Division Two: Plastic Storm Piping.  It should be noted that since the adoption of  MasterFormat 2004™  and the subsequent withdrawal of support for MasterFormat 95™, Division Two (Division 02) (formerly Sitework) has been reassigned to Existing Conditions.  Sitework has been moved to various divisions in the 30’s.


— Raymond E. Gaines, AIA, FCSI, CCS

For generations, storm drainage piping has remained essentially unchanged.  Designers specified and the industry used reinforced concrete pipe (RCP) or corrugated metal pipe (CMP) for larger sizes and terra cotta, cast iron, and similar materials for smaller applications.  Other structures (manholes, drop inlets, etc.) were made of masonry of some kind, either brick and block, cast in place concrete, or precast.  Precast has been the dominant material used for these in recent years, but the other materials remain in use, to a lesser degree depending on the preferences of the contractor/installer.

In the last several years, plastic materials have entered the marketplace.  In the (1970’s) plastic pipe came into use for applications of 8” (20cm) or less, and was frequently used for roof drainage.  These included Polyvinyl Chloride (PVC), ABS, and others.  Their use as catchment piping for larger paved areas was limited, of course, by their size.

Over the last twenty years or so, the industry has gone to High Density Polyethylene (HDPE) for large diameter piping with increasing frequency.  It is usually used in corrugated form with smooth interior walls.  Interior friction is slightly less than for RCP, so flow characteristics are similar to slightly better.  The HDPE pipe can be used with conventional masonry drainage structures (manholes, etc.) or with plastic structures that the manufacturers are promoting now.  These materials are rated for AASHTO loads when installed properly  Plastic piping and related materials should comply with applicable ASTM and AASHTO standards.

When installing plastic storm piping materials, meticulous care needs to be exercised to follow the manufacturer’s instructions and recommendations.  This is of particular importance in backfilling and protection from direct sunlight.

When properly backfilled, the piping is resistant to crushing due to arching action of the backfill.  Conversely, voids in the backfill could allow deformation of the pipe under load.  Because of this, an appropriate inspection and testing program is strongly recommended.  Backfill should be placed and compacted in accordance with applicable AASHTO and ASTM standards.

Certain plastics degrade when exposed to Ultra-Violet (UV) light/radiation.  The piping manufacturers have recommended certain end details to prevent said degradation.  If using plastic piping in applications where exposure to sunlight is a possibility, the designer and installer need to verify that the specific piping material is intended for such exposure.

Other important considerations include volume of flow and buoyancy.  The last two are particularly important given the light weight of plastic materials compared to RCP.

When properly installed and maintained, the newer materials produce a satisfactory project with a long life.

Read Full Post »