Every one of us, at some point in our lives, has come face to face with the nightmares of building or renovation. For those who are doing it for the first time, the enormous task of undertaking the responsibility and the risks that come with it could turn out to be daunting.

From the bulky folders of architectural drawings and details, many among us are clueless even about how to read a floor plan properly. But that is just for starters. Once you get the drawings done, the course of details start.

House designs are not just about plans. It starts with that anyway but what makes the differences are the quality and models of the materials used. This is determined by specifications.

What are Specifications?

Put in simple terms, specifications are the specified details of a particular material or design used in the construction.

For example, if you take flooring for your house, the specification will detail what kind of flooring you are using in each room of the house, its quality, sizes and if possible, even the model number.

It doesn’t concern only materials. It could also mean the design specifications like the length and width of a staircase, called the tread and rise, and even the height of the ceilings.

Specifications are particularly important both for construction clarity and cost. When you hire a builder, they provide you with a quote with the cost of the specified material. Even a minor change in the specification could result in changes in the costing.

Standard Specifications

Every country and every region has its own standards set out for construction. This also includes specification covering many aspects of buildings. This will affect the quality of anything from the lumber to the size of the rooms. This depends entirely on the local authorities and the region pertaining to the construction. It would also vary on the type of construction, whether it is commercial or residential.

For example, all townhouse builders Brisbane has available will take on building specifications in accordance with the policies and budget set by the local council.

The specifications of soundproofing, flooring and even the sizes of lift are determined by such standard specifications listed out by the governing authorities.  

For certain regions, there is a strict code for keeping the elevations of all the building in a lane alike. This will also influence the floor plans in return.

Following these specifications is necessary to get the required approval and permits for construction from the council. The architects and builder Brisbane offers, should be aware of these standards, so as the client you can discuss this with them further.

You can ask for further information regarding these from Brisbane City Council or the local authorities.

Who Determines the Specifications?

Deciding what material goes where in your house is a decision that you should have a say in. If you are hiring an architect or an interior designer to design the spaces, they will specify the types of materials used in the home designs.

If you are unsure about what material goes where make it a point to discuss this with the designer during meetings. Today, with 3D visualisations, it is much easier to picture how the end product would be.

However, not all specifications could be understood easily. A few specifications might be regarding the quality of window and door materials or even the glazing. If you are building something for the first time, it might be a bit difficult to understand what a particular quality means from reading it.

In such cases, it is best to sit with the designer or builder and clarify your doubts before you proceed further.

How to read Specifications?

Specifications are mostly a document that lists all the detailed specification of the materials used in construction.

It is usually split into different categories or done by per room. A specification list caters to items such as doors, windows, floors, appliances, bathroom fixtures, electrical fixtures, cabinets, kitchen accessories and countertops.

A typical specification for a door would look like this; JELD-WEN Mahogany Prehung Solid Core 3-Panel Round Top Plank Interior Door, Item #520521, Model #245

Many specifications are also finalised after consulting with the shops and clients that the particular model is available. Custom products, if required, would cost you more money and time to make.

The specifications might not be marked directly in the plan, but there would be a legend or a guide for you to refer it to the specification.

There are cases when there might be some discrepancies between the floor plans and the specifications. For example, the width of the window marked in the plan might be different from the specification or there might be only one sink marked in the plan where there is two in the specs.

These differences may result in confusion while making the costing and if not addressing at once, even cause damage at the site.  

Though it is the architect’s job to ensure that the plans and the specs are entirely matched, it wouldn’t hurt you to double check the same. After all, if there are any damages, you will be the one ultimately paying the price.

Avoiding Errors

Even if you hire a builder and has someone to overlook the entire construction process, as a client you need to make frequent visits to the site to ensure that things are going as planned.

There are instances when the builders misread house plans and specifications. You can’t always blame them. Even if you do, if the construction is already done then it might be too late to change it.

Having a basic understanding of how things work would help you a long way while building your house.

In a perfect world, the drawings are accurate, the builders work is impeccable and the specifications show precisely what you need. However, we are not. To err is human so to guarantee the best outcome, take a little effort to coordinate and study the plans, and then all would be well.

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