The roles and characteristics of specifications for different project delivery approaches

Tsun Ip Lam, Mohan M. Kumaraswamy, T. S T Ng

Research output: Chapter in book / Conference proceedingConference article published in proceeding or bookAcademic researchpeer-review


For Design-Bid-Build projects, construction specifications have been used to complement drawings and communicate the requirements of the clients and the design team to the construction team. During the construction stage, the specifications become important quality control documents, both for use by the client vis-à-vis the contractor and by the contractor vis-à-vis his sub-contractors. With the increasing use of alternative project delivery methods, the roles of specifications have to be re-defined and their characteristics differ. For Design and Build projects, the use of performance specifications is more on communicating clients' requirements and enabling verification of compliance. It is not used as a quality control tool on site. For management-led projects, the specifications take on their usual roles, together with the important task of delineating work boundaries between the works contractors. For projects based on Private Sector Initiatives, the output specifications define the services to be provided in addition to the required performance of the built facilities. When it comes to the basis of paying the contractors, the specifications for a Guaranteed Maximum Price contract differ in details from one based on Cost Reimbursement. As such, specifiers need to discern the different roles and characteristics of specifications under different project delivery scenarios in order to best serve the interest of their clients. This paper elaborates on the areas of differences, potential pitfalls, as well as recommendations for proactive specification strategies in the different project delivery scenarios described.
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationProceedings - 33rd CSCE Annual Conference 2005
Subtitle of host publication6th Construction Specialty Conference
Publication statusPublished - 1 Dec 2005
Event33rd CSCE Annual Conference 2005 - Toronto, ON, Canada
Duration: 2 Jun 20054 Jun 2005


Conference33rd CSCE Annual Conference 2005
CityToronto, ON

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • General Engineering


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