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2.1 Performance Specifications

Specifications provide the basis for design and installation of mechanical insulation.

The construction industry commonly uses a MasterFormat specification that is modified for each project with up-to-date products and conditions. A limitation with this approach lies in the fact that detailed project information contained within the MasterFormat specification is not readily accessible or sometimes even available early on in the project design phase. With no project information available during the primary project description phase, the detailed MasterFormat specification that is produced may need considerable editing to accurately capture the goals of the project.

If a project is delivered by construction management (CM), or by an owner-builder, a big part of the CM’s or the owner-builder’s mandate is to look for equivalents that are less expensive, easier, or faster to construct—also known as value engineering. The precision of the MasterFormat specification may limit the creativity that the CM or owner-builder can bring to the value engineering process, leading to less than optimal results. Further, any changes have to undergo careful review by the specification writer and the designers to ensure that the performance requirements are met.

An alternative is to organize performance specifications by UniFormat instead of MasterFormat. The ASTM E1557 2010, Uniformat II standard is another way of looking at the project and its definitions. The Uniformat system is a top down project definition system that can work in conjunction with the MasterFormat specification system. The Uniformat system defines assemblies through performance and other user defined variables, starting at a concept level then progressively refines the project deliverables. Specific products are only an end result.

With UniFormat specifications almost all selections of proprietary materials and equipment can be left to the constructor, who selects them on the basis of detailed descriptions of performance attribute requirements.

This method provides more flexibility in meeting performance objectives and may result in cost savings to the owner. The method is ideal for projects where design goals can be easily described in written form.

The UniFormat II document structure can also be used for Preliminary Project Descriptions. Both performance specifications and Preliminary Project Descriptions share a similar approach, they differ in purpose and level of detail. Preliminary Project Descriptions are not suitable as contract documents because descriptions of elements and their components are brief and intended only for conveying preliminary information to evaluate the practicality of the design. Performance specifications must have sufficient detail to be suitable for use as contract documents, including actual cost of the work.

The basic underlying ideas behind the concept of the Preliminary Project Description are:

  • Written descriptions of the Schematic Design should be organized around systems and assemblies that correlate to prevailing industry methods of cost estimating for this phase.
  • Written descriptions should allow design professionals to provide sufficient information for cost estimating without the necessity of making final design decisions.
  • Written descriptions should document qualitative requirements for the project appropriate to the level of decision-making and detail in the design.
  • Using an industry-standard organizational format provides a checklist to help design teams make sure all appropriate subjects are included.

Further, as the industry moves into using Building Information Modelling [13] (BIM) for producing construction documentation, designers should correlate the organization of information into functional elements in the Preliminary Project Description, which should correspond to the model objects in BIM or conventional CAD software. The major developers of BIM software use UniFormat as the organizing format for objects in the electronic model. By aligning the descriptions with objects in the electronic model, designers can achieve a unified presentation of the design not possible with un-structured narratives.

For purposes of this study, we have provided a simple UniFormat model project description as an example. Note that most elements will have multiple components. In these cases, it is necessary to describe requisites for the entire assembly as well as for the constituent parts.

Table 2.1.1 - Example  [14] Preliminary Project Description Using Uniformat

D20 Plumbing Sustainability and Energy Performance: At minimum, meet ASHRAE 90.1 2007 requirements for mechanical insulation.Whole building to achieve LEED 2009 NC Gold certification with 2 “optimize energy” points – equivalent to 14% improvement over ASHRAE 90.1 2007. MI may be optimized to help meet economic and whole building LEED energy objectives.

Aesthetic Requirements: Match appearance of existing building.

D2010 Domestic Water Distribution Service life: Greater than 25 years.
D2010.40 Domestic Water Piping Materials: Copper on main vertical runs and where pipe diameter greater than 1 inch and PEX piping used within suites. No reduction in insulation for clamed R- Value.Supports: As required by Plumbing Code.

Labeling: All valves and pipe to have tags and labels indicating on/off positions and direction of flow within equipment rooms.

Data Acquisition: Provide water meters on hot and cold water lines and thermostats on tanks, supply and return piping.

Insulation and Vapour Retarder Application: Insulate all copper, pex and other pipe, valves and fittingsLabeling: to match standard for Domestic Water Piping

Thermal performance: to meet minimum pipe insulation thickness requirements or exceed ASHRAE 189.1 requirements.

Vapour Retarder: Required on cold water piping.

Mechanical Protection: Outside of building envelope and in certain areas of parking garage.

Service Life and Durability: Insulation systems should remain in service for the life of the piping system and the appearance should remain as new throughout the life of the system.

Installation Requirements: All valves and fittings to be insulated.

Fire Rating: 25

Smoke Developed Rating: 50

D30 Heating, Ventilation and Air Conditioning Thermal Performance Requirements: At minimum, meet ASHRAE 90.1 2007 requirements for mechanical insulation.Sustainability Requirements: Whole building to achieve LEED 2009 NC Gold certification with 2 “optimize energy” points – equivalent to 14% improvement over ASHRAE 90.1 2007. MI may be optimized to help meet economic and LEED objectives.

Sustainability Requirements: Meet or exceed ASHRAE 189.1.

Aesthetic Requirements: Match appearance of existing building

D3030 Cooling Systems Service Life: Greater than 40 years
D3030.30 Evaporative Air Cooling Materials: Galvanized steel and aluminum.Supports: As required by SMACNA.

Labeling: All ducts to have tags and labels for service and direction of flow within equipment rooms.

Data Acquisition: Provide water meters on hot and cold water lines and thermostats on tanks, supply and return piping.

Insulation and Vapour Retarder Application: Insulate all heating and cooling supply air ducts.Labeling: To match standard for Supply Air.

Thermal Performance: U value to meet or exceed ASHRAE 189.1 requirements.

Vapour Retarder: Required on cold air supply duct work.

Mechanical Protection: Outside of building envelope and in certain areas of parking garage.

Service Life and Durability: Insulation systems should remain in service for the life of the duct system and the appearance should remain as new throughout the life of the system.

Fire Rating: 25

Smoke Developed Rating: 50

D3050 Facility HVAC Distribution System Service Life: Greater than 40 years.
D3050.10 Hydronic Distribution Materials: Seamless, ERW, Sch 40, Copper.Supports: As required by Building Code.

Labeling: All piping to have valve tags and labels for direction of flow within equipment rooms.

Data Acquisition: Provide pressure gauges on pumps.

Insulation and Vapour Retarder Application: Insulate all heating and cooling supply piping.Labeling: To match standard for Hydronic Distribution.

Thermal Performance: U value to meet or exceed ASHRAE 189.1 requirements.

Vapour Retarder: Required on chill water supply piping.

Mechanical Protection: Outside of building envelope and in certain areas of parking garage.

Service Life and Durability: Insulation systems should remain in service for the life of the duct system and the appearance should remain as new throughout the life of the system.

Fire Rating: 25

Smoke Developed Rating: 50

D3050.50 HVAC Air Distribution Materials: Galvanized steel and aluminum.Supports: As required by SMACNA.

Labeling: All ducts to have tags and labels for service and direction of flow within equipment rooms.

Data Acquisition: Provide pressure gauges across all filters.

Insulation and Vapour Retarder Application: Insulate all heating and cooling supply air ducts.Labeling: To match standard for Supply Air.

Thermal Performance: U value to meet or exceed ASHRAE 189.1 requirements.

Vapour Retarder: Required on cold air supply duct work.

Mechanical Protection: Outside of building envelope and in certain areas of parking garage.

Service Life and Durability: Insulation systems should remain in service for the life of the duct system and the appearance should remain as new throughout the life of the system.

Fire Rating: 25

Smoke Developed Rating: 50

 
 
In Section 3 of this Guide, detailed reference specifications are provided using MasterFormat, and a numbering matrix for MasterFormat and UniFormat is provided. Either or both formats may be used for a given project, depending on project needs.


[13] Building information modeling (BIM) involves the generation and management of digital models of physical and functional characteristics of a facility, including visualization, coordination of construction documents, and other information.

[14] Content is provided as an example, and is not intended as actual design information.