This section is from the book "Cyclopedia Of Architecture, Carpentry, And Building", by James C. et al. Also available from Amazon: Cyclopedia Of Architecture, Carpentry And Building.
In smaller work, when the Architect is the designer and specification writer, the matter will be or should be so in mind that no assistance should be required in arranging this skeleton; but in larger offices, where generally the first time the writer sees the drawings is when he begins consideration of the specifications, it is very desirable - in fact, necessary - for him to have some reminder of the items which are to be considered. These reminders were referred to on page 73 in connection with the card index of subjects; and as practice extends, these specification cards, with their accumulated notes, become very valuable. It is desirable, as items are observed in technical papers and about buildings in course of construction, and from conversation, to make careful and much abbreviated notes from day to day on the cards under the proper heading, which will recall the details of the case when this will be of assistance later.
There is given on page 79 a list of headings which cover certain items generally needed, with occasional notes written out to illustrate how other notes can be made when experience furnishes the matter. It is especially desirable to call attention in the notes to any difficulties in any line of work which have been particularly noted from any source.
In order to make the best use of these reminders in preparing a specification, the drawings, after they have been delivered to the specification writer, should be most carefully studied so that the whole scheme of design, arrangement, use, construction, and decoration may be well in mind. Having obtained a general comprehensive impression, the general method of obtaining the results desired is next to be studied. A considerable time can be spent in this work to advantage. It is a good plan after what is considered to be a sufficient period of study, to sit down, close the eyes, and call up in mind the different parts as a whole and in detail. If the scheme then appears clear, and can be followed out understandingly in mind, without reference to the drawings, then - and not until then - is the writer fitted to begin the work. He can then with surprising rapidity lay out his first line of main heads, and with a similar rapidity his subheads, which completed the main part of the work is done. Stress is here again laid on the importance of the clear mental comprehension of the entire scheme, as a whole and in detail, before a word is written. If the writer fails in this grasp, his specification will be neither clear nor complete, and is very apt to degenerate into a series of disconnected sentences with little or no affinity to those which precede or follow.
After the grasping of the situation as above outlined, look through the lists of general headings, noting each head that applies to the work in question; then look under each Subdivision of the general headings, in a similar way noting each item that applies to the scheme under consideration.