Construction Specifications Institute (CSI)
The Construction Specifications Institute (CSI) is an organization that keeps
and changes the standardization of construction language as it pertains to
building specifications. CSI provides structured guidelines for specification
writing in their Project Resource Manual, (formerly called the
Manual of Practice (MOP)).
CSI authored MasterFormat, which is an indexing system for organizing
construction data, particularly construction specifications. For many years
MasterFormat consisted of 16 Divisions of construction, such as Masonry,
Electrical, Finishes, or Mechanical.
In November 2004, MasterFormat was expanded to 50 Divisions, reflecting
the growing complexity of the construction industry, as well as the need to
incorporate facility life cycle and maintenance information into the building
In this way, MasterFormat will eventually help facilitate
Building Information Modeling (BIM) to contain project specifications.
However, current technology is unable to handle specifications to the degree
drawing information is able to be referenced, displayed, quantified and other
benefits of BIM. For example integrated systems, industry standards and
methods that may not be shown in the drawings (because they are typically
explained in the specifications) do not fit neatly within current BIM libraries.
The MasterFormat standard serves as the organizational structure for
construction industry publications such as the Sweets catalog with a wide
range of building products, and MasterSpec, a popular specification software.
MasterFormat helps architects, engineers, owners, contractors, and
manufacturers classify how various products are typically used.
Nearly all CSI approved sections also include performance and safety
requirements generated by agencies such as the American Society for
Testing and Materials (ASTM), Occupational Safety and Health Administration
(OSHA), and numerous other federal and professional organizations.
In November 2009, CSI launched GreenFormat, an online database organizing
sustainable product attributes. Manufacturers in the construction industry can
list product information based on 5 categories in an online comprehensive
questionnaire. Designers, specifiers, and building constructors can find product
information which is organized by MasterFormat divisions and titles.
CSI's Uniform Drawing System comprises the largest part of the National CAD
Standard (NCS), together with the American Institute of Architects (AIA)'s CAD
Layer Guidelines, Plotting Guidelines.
Administered by the National Institute of Building Sciences (NIBS), the NCS
coordinates these CAD-related publications to allow consistent and
streamlined communication among owners and design/construction teams.
In November 2010, CSI acquired Building Systems Design (BSD) to help
advance software tools for specifications development and communication of
building information across the building team. BSD is a software firm that is a
leading developer of commercial master specifications and construction cost
BSD is involved in the development and maintenance of several of CSI format
documents including MasterFormat®, UniFormat, and OmniClassTM, all of
which relate to specifications and cost estimating.
Founded in 1983, BSD maintains and supports advanced specification writing,
cost estimating and BIM interoperability products used by thousands of
architects, engineers and design professionals nationwide.
FIND ALL CSI CODE AT: www.arcat.com