Forms of Specifications



Hema walked up to me and placed the BOQ of the project on my table, requesting 10mins for a discussion. I obliged, as I always spend time on subtilities on the contract document. Also, she interned with us on another project and was growing rapidly in her career and needed assistance.


Hema mentioned a situation between her and the contractor (he was also in his formative years). The issue was about curing of n RCC element not being detailed in Bill of Quantities (BoQ) specifications. Hema wanted me to clarify on no mention about curing in the entire contract document.


I was glad that when in doubt, Hema chose to talk to someone senior.


Specifications come from the word ‘specifics’. The specific on how work will have to be carried out, about its ingredients/components/constituents, more zoom-in about the ingredients, details about the process, next steps after process, preferences, location, fixing elements, and many more.


It is typical for a site engineer that specifications ‘are equal to’ what is mentioned in BoQ, since all the ones I have detailed above are in it. Is that all?


Remember the word ‘specifics’; not all details are mentioned in the BoQ.


There are several other documents where specifics are available for a project. They are in various types of drawings, technical datasheets, product catalogues, user manuals, contract documents, logical sequences, method statements, SOPs, and there are also industry practices. All these constitute specifications. It is incorrect to infer that all specifications are available in BoQ alone.


It is necessary for all engineers to gather lots of information and data available to complete the glossary of specification for a particular project.


In project management, Specifications is part of Scope Management. These details of the scope of work is available in several areas, as I mentioned above. After completion of work or part of it, it needs to be VERIFIED.


Often Verification of scope is mistaking as a quality check. These are two different areas of management. Scope validation is just making sure that all obligations are completed. Sometime, despite adhering to all that details in the scope may not yield the right result. The result validation is Quality Management.


Example :

  1. A door shutter is to be hung to the frame using three hinges of a particular make and size. When this is accomplished, scope requirements have been adhered to. But, when the door sags over time, it is an issue about quality.

  2. When all ingredients as in the cookbook to prepare a dish, are used in the right proportion, the scope is adhered to. What if the taste is not as desired? We attribute it to a quality issue.


Quality relates with skill, experience, and right/ improved methodology—more about quality in another article.


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