Interpretation Of Plans And Specifications 102

THERE are many paragraphs in specifications, particularly under the heading of "General Conditions," which might seem unnecessary. There is nothing which enters into the wording of a specification, however, which is not an important part of that document, and does not serve a useful purpose, as the following analysis will show. Specifications usually start out with a paragraph to the effect that the plans and specifications are to be construed together, and that anything shown on the drawings but not mentioned in the specifications, or anything mentioned in the specifications but not shown on the drawings, shall be included in the work as though fully shown and mentioned in both the plans and specifications. This at first thought might seem an unreasonable requirement, but it is far from being so. The conventional symbols used to designate plumbing work, fixtures or apparatus on drawings might not always be clearly indicated, may be so confused by other lines as not to be recognizable, or might be omitted altogether, in any of which cases they would not be seen or recognized by the estimator. If, however, in the specifications specific mention is made of these materials, apparatus or fixtures, he is put upon inquiry, and can find out if Such goods are to be included. If he fails or neglects to do so it is at his own risk. If, on the other hand, the work, fixtures or apparatus are clearly shown on the drawings but not mentioned in the specifications, here again he is put upon inquiry, and neglects to find out at his own cost.

A further condition of this section usually is that any material or labor obviously required to complete the work shall be included in the specifications as fully as though mentioned in the specifications and shown on the plans. This paragraph is intended, however, to include such necessary materials only as screws, bolts, brackets, etc., without which the fixtures could not be secured in place, and must not be mistaken to include materials which are necessary to the complete work but which might be supplied by some other contractor. For instance, the marble stalls for urinals, compartments for water closets and wainscoting in toilet rooms are sometimes included in the plumbing specifications, and at other times in the specifications for marble work. If mention of these stalls and compartments is omitted from the plumbing specification, and nothing on the plans indicates that this material is to be furnished by the plumber, it cannot reasonably be considered part of his contract, although shown on the plans and obviously necessary to the completion of the plumbing work. The reason for this is that marble is not distinctly a plumbing material, and, therefore, the estimator is not put upon inquiry if the matter is not in some way, on plans or in specifications, indicated as belonging to the plumbing contract. The same may be said of the kitchen range, which sometimes, but not usually, is furnished by the plumbing contractor. To put the estimator on inquiry, the work or materials shown must be distinctly plumbing work or materials, and not work and materials which are sometimes made part of a plumbing contract. He is justified in believing, when no mention is made in his specification of the latter class of goods and work, that he is not to estimate on them. Materials and work obviously necessary to complete the plumbing work can only be stretched to cover little details belonging to fixtures or work already specified, but cannot be extended to include entirely new fixtures or separate lines of pipes. For instance, it would be obviously necessary to make tight the joints around vent pipes where they are extended through the roof, and the flashing of pipes at this point would be part of the plumbing work; but escutcheons and sleeves are not necessary where pipes pass through walls and ceilings, and would not be required unless specified. It might be well to add that while it would be necessary for the plumbing contractor to make tight the joints where vent pipes are extended through the roofs, in the absence of a city ordinance, or a clause in the specifications directing how they shall be made tight and the weight and quality of materials to use, he is justified in suiting his own views on that point.