Canadian Consulting Engineer

New 50-division Masterformat released

November 15, 2004
By Canadian Consulting Engineer

Hold on to your hardhats - the construction industry is set to experience a major change in the way it operates.

Hold on to your hardhats – the construction industry is set to experience a major change in the way it operates.
Construction Specifications Institute and Construction Specifications Canada have released the new MasterFormat 2004. The Masterformat system has been called the “Dewey” system for construction project information and is widely used throughout North America and other countries for organizing information and specifications for construction projects.
The 2004 Masterformat is a landmark edition, completely revamped, with 50 divisions instead of the existing 16 divisions, and a six-digit numbering system within the divisions.
CSI launched the new edition at the Greenbuild International Conference and Expo in Portland, Oregon, last week. CSI executive director Karl Borgstrom, said whereas the old format, which was introduced 40 years ago, primarily served the architectural scope of work, the revamped version applies to a much wider field.
Most important for engineers, the new Masterformat has new divisions for heavy civil construction, such as roads and bridges, in the Infrastructure subgroup. There are also new divisions for industrial construction, such as power plants and factories, in the Process Construction group. As well it now has separate divisions for mechanical, plumbing, fire suppression, electrical, communications, integrated building systems, HVAC, etc.
For consistency, the first 14 divisions still cover the traditional architectural disciplines. Also, to help designers and specifiers become familiar with the new system, Masterformat 2004 has a transition matrix that relates the 1988 and 1995 edition titles and numbers to their 2004 edition equivalents.
Starting next year, CSI is going to be providing group education sessions for engineering, architecture and construction firms. They also hope to begin an accredited instructor program next year to prepare people on how to teach the new system.
Dennis Hall, AIA who led the expansion task team, said in Portland that they spent four years reformatting the document, consulted with 800 professional and industrial organizations and considered thousands of comments. The final version is the culmination of four draft predecessors. Hall said some authorities have started introducing the new format and Japan has already endorsed the document and will be using the 2004 version for its construction documents.
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