372. The specifications for any particular piece of work should be considered as of equal importance with the drawings. The architect should not expect the contractor to do anything not provided for by the plans and specifications without extra compensation, nor to do the work better than the specifications call for. He must therefore be sure that everything which he wishes done is clearly indicated either by the plans or specifications, and that no loopholes are allowed for poor workmanship or inferior materials. The portions of the work to be done by each contractor should also be clearly stated, so that there can be no misunderstanding as to who is to do certain portions of the work. It very often happens that some minor details, such as closing up the windows, protecting stonework, etc., are not properly specified, and the contractors dispute, much to the annoyance of the architect, as to who shall do that part of the work. Such annoyances are largely avoided when the entire contract for the erection and completion of the building is given to one person or firm, but even then it is better to have the duties of the sub-contractors clearly defined.
As a rule, the form, dimensions and quantity of all materials should be fully indicated on the drawings, so that only the kind and quality of the materials and the manner of doing the work need be given in the specifications. General clauses should be avoided as far as possible, as they only cumber the specifications and tend to obscure the really important portions.
The following forms of specifications for various kinds of mason work are given merely as a guide or reminder to architects, and not always to be copied literally. Figures or words enclosed in ( ) may be changed to suit special or local conditions.
Every specification should be prepared with special reference to the particular building for which it is intended.
The use of standard specifications is not recommended, as when such specifications are used the architect is more apt to overlook important points, and the use of such forms, moreover, tends to a lack of progressiveness and a study of the best construction to suit the varying circumstances of different buildings.
The author would recommend to the young architect that before commencing to write or dictate his specifications he make a skeleton, consisting of headings of the different items to be specified, carefully looking over the plans and revising the skeleton until everything seems to be covered and the headings arranged in their proper sequence. The specifications can then be filled out in the manner herein indicated.