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The Importance Of Specifications When You Build Your Own House

Oct 31, 2007
When you have completed the plans and are satisfied that you have just exactly the right house for you, the right size, the correct number of rooms, a workable arrangement, and a pleasing exterior appearance, you need one more thing before you start to build.

That is the specifications.

This important building document, not so well known as the plans, is a group of typewritten sheets, made in several carbon copies, usually bound in a folder, that sets forth in detail the exact house to be built, giving the location, the street address, the name of the owner, and of the person who prepared the plans.

The plans are referred to by date or number, so that they can easily be identified. The specifications are on an equal footing with the plans, and are just as important.

The first part of the specifications is known as the general conditions.

This gives in detail the responsibilities of the contractor, his sub-contractors, and of the owner. The owner generally is responsible for the fire insurance, while the contractor takes care of the workmen's compensation insurance, unemployment benefits for the workers, in fact, everything that has to do with the men he employs. The specifications should be very clear on these points.

Be sure to state that the owner reserves the right to reject any or all bids without incurring obligations of any kind.

The second part of the specifications gives a complete description of each part of the work, just how each part of the house is to be built, with what materials, what qualities of materials are to be used, how the work is to be done, and just what is involved in the work of each trade, with a section on everything from excavation, concrete work, through plumbing, wiring and heating, to the linoleum on the kitchen floor and the paint on the bathroom ceiling.

Make the specifications as complete as possible.

If you plan to write your own, it would be a good idea to get a sample set of well-written specifications that have been used to build other houses similar to yours and use them as a guide in writing your own.

This will give an idea of the scope and form of specifications, the phraseology used, and the vocabulary of builders.

The main thing is to say exactly what you want to say. Give the make and catalog numbers of plumbing fixtures, electrical equipment, heating plant, windows, and any other items you have definitely selected. Sometimes it is wise to state after a definite selection, "or approved equivalent," just in case the thing you have selected is difficult to get, you and the contractor can select something else that is equivalent, but you are the one to do the final approving.

Be sure to include everything from screens on the windows to the type of roofing on the porch, and everything else you consider important.

A specialty contractor who is awarded the contract for some part of the building, as plumbing, wiring, or plastering, is to be known as a SUB-CONTRACTOR. There may be two classes of sub-contractors: those employed by the general contractor and those employed by the owner.

The work in general shall include all labor, materials, tools, equipment, transportation, temporary protection, and superintendence necessary to complete the entire building, including everything shown on the plans, and/or mentioned in these specifications, and everything necessary to make a complete and finished building whether shown or specified or not so shown or specified.

The plans and specifications as previously mentioned, together with the agreement signed at the time of awarding the contract, will be referred to collectively as the contract.

It is worth mentioning that it is a good idea to use a mortgage calculator to save you money when you purchase property.
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How To Save On Your Mortgage: Save Money With Mortgage Calculators http://www.greatpublications.com/mortgagecalc.htm
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