This is a copyrighted archive website. All outgoing links have been dismantled.
Copyright © 1999 Web Design by Galileo All Rights Reserved.
Web Server Hosting by


Residential Construction Services

Return to Home

The Construction Process 

Specifications, Estimating, Project Control

From design to "punch out", the construction process can be broken down into three distinct active areas - Specifications, Estimating and Project Control.

However a design is acheived, from the mind of an architect, by the hand of an experienced builder or the creative collaboration of a prospective owner in cooperation with either or both; it manifests itself in the "hard copy" called specifications.

Drawing from the wealth of information provided in the specifications and balanced with the experience in the "customs of the trades", the keystone of the construction process is called estimating.

That part of the construction process most visible by the general public, indeed uniquely seen as the identifier of the process, is project control.

These three active components, when working together, can be seen in all construction projects, during the process, and in the successful end result.



Specifications come from several sources and take several forms. Broadly speaking, every drawing or print is or carries with it specifications. This includes floor plans, elevations, site drawings as well as area characteristics and community infrastructures - topography, flood plains, streets, septic or sewer considerations, storm drainage, potable water supply, utilities & zoning usage, set backs & easements.

Particular methods or materials annotated along side drawings are also called specifications. These "called out" instructions take priority over the drawings as they are provided to preclude various interpretations. A magnified "detail" drawing of a particular aspect of the overall project serves the same purpose. Lastly, although each drawing is drafted to "scale", dimensions noted on the drawings take priority over the scaling.

The industry standard underlying every construction project is known as the "summary of specifications". Every aspect of a project, as to method of construction, materials, hardware, equipment and level of workmanship can be categorized into one of seventeen (17) classes. Each of these 17 divisions are broken down into subcategories. All are coded. Unseen and largely unknown by the general public these specifications are the building blocks of the "scope of work".



Estimating stands at the heart of each project. The unique attributes of an estimator is based on experience in, and knowledge of, the "customs of the trades". The estimator balances the logical -- determined by measurements -- with "best judgement" -- determined by man-hours.

The work of estimating is defining the potential "cost of doing business". That cost is "time and materials".

Just as the builder needs a set of plans to layout a floor plan, he also needs the estimate to determine his "bid" on the project, and even, the desirability of taking on the project.

The estimator provides the builder with a "best judgement" scenario for completing a project and maximizing profit.

Town House

Project Control

Project control can be seen under a variety of titles, such Project Manager, Construction Manager, Construction Director, Field Superintendent, Site Supervisor, Project Foreman, Site Foreman, even, Lead Carpenter and the current euphenism, Construction Administrator. Any, and each, of these titles can mean a contractor wearing a tool belt and a pencil behind his ear --- or carrying a pen in his pocket and a clipboard in his hands. The terms are interchangable or stratified in pecking order depending on the area of the country and the size of the construction company.

Whichever title is used, project control balances staff, employees, subcontractors, suppliers, vendors and code requirements with budgets, site conditions, the weather and "work changes".

Project control translates the concept and specifications of the designer; as determined and interpretated by the estimator, into concrete reality.

Return to Top             Return to Home

Copyright © 1999. Web Design by Galileo  All Rights Reserved.