A specification is an explicit set of requirements to be satisfied by a material, product, or service. In the North American construction process, specifications are used as a set of "blueprints” to help govern materials, products and methods used in building construction. MasterFormat is recognized in both Canada and the United States as the guiding document for building specifications (MasterFormat is a product of the Construction Specifications Institute (CSI) and Construction Specifications Canada). MasterFormat 2004 is the most current version of this document. Within MasterFormat 2004, specifications are grouped in 50 Divisions which are further broken into subcategories called Sections.
MasterFormat 2004 organizes similar work result, product, requirement and activities into a heirarchial format with "levels”. The broadest category (Level 1) is the Division. Within a division, there may be several Level 2 subcategories know as Sections. Each Division can have up to 4 levels, with each subsequent level providing more detail regarding the specification. Generally, level 4 numbers are not utilized, but when they are, an additional pair of digits is attached to the end, preceded by a "dot.”
For example, firestopping is addressed in Section 07 84 00. Here, (07) denotes Level 1 (Division). The title of this Division is listed as "Thermal and Moisture Protection”. (84) denotes the Section "Firestopping”. This particular specification lists 3 Levels, with the 3rd Level (00), left open. Had the specification been 07 84 13, the Level 3 digits (13) would have further defined the information as pertaining specifically to "Penetration Firestopping".
To learn more about MasterFormat 2004, including the transition from 1995 to 2004 specifications, click here.