Specification Sources


Hey all!

I just submitted my first 100% CDs and I am excited.  Though the contractor was unhappy with the final Specs... which somehow escaped his 20, 60, 90, 95% reviews.  I used SpecLINK to create the basis of the project and heard it was a solid program to pull from.  Now I am in question as to what to use.  

Are there other free online, software, downloadable content that I could use to double check my Specs?  For anything that I had to establish a basis of design I followed the typical format of GENERAL, PRODUCT, EXECUTION.

Just a little confused.  HELP!?

Jul 25, 19 9:00 pm
atelier nobody

BSD SpecLink is a good product (though not my favorite), but just as Revit won't design and document a building for you, neither SpecLink nor any other specification solution will write your specs for you.

SpecLink's only major competitor for spec. content is AIA MasterSpec (sold by Deltek/Avitru). I personally prefer MasterSpec over SpecLink, but have worked with both, and they are both fine.

For spec. editing, SpecLink's competitors are eSPECS and VisiSpecs (SpecLink is both content and editing, you can't get either without the other). eSPECS is also from Deltek/Avitru, and really only works well with MasterSpec; VisiSpecs is an independent solution that works with any set of master guide specifications that are in MS Word format. I have worked with both eSPECS and VisiSpecs and prefer VisiSpecs, but eSPECS is also a perfectly usable solution. MasterSpec (and many other guide spec sources) doesn't require the use of special editing software like SpecLink does - editing can be done in Word, but an editor like VisSpecs makes it much simpler and quicker (also, eSPECS and VisSpecs offer some Revit integration, so there's that).

For free content, many vendors have created their own sections, many of which are available on Arcat or 4specs dotcom, but BEWARE of using vendors' specs - they are generally not well written, and are often written to try and prevent competitors from being able to bid jobs.

The other free resources are from the Goobemint - UFGS (which requires the use of SpecsIntact for editing) and the VA (which are Word files). Both of these are very cumbersome to use, especially for less experienced spec writers, but if you want to take a look they are both available at WBDG dotorg. There are also other public domain guide specs, generally in Word files, available from other government agencies, you just need to search around for them.

Jul 25, 19 9:34 pm  · 

Excellent synopsis. Only chiming in to add SpecBuilder Cloud from Deltek/Avitru to the list of editing software. I believe it comes free with a MasterSpec subscription. Not a big fan of it, but I can see the appeal from a user side who may not be that familiar with editing specifications.

Jul 26, 19 11:27 am  · 

BSD SpecLink E is my favorite product, although I also have Deltek Masterspec.  I have to charge more to use it however, (as most spec writers do).  Free software is worth what you pay for it.  The reason I prefer SpecLink is that the specifications are linked.  So as you build up the written documents (and Division 01 should be done first), you are getting some clues from the software about which options you should pick as part of the technical section.  More importantly, you are getting indications that you are about to select something that conflicts with other sections via a red light.  For example:  you select setting materials within the tile section and want setting materials that are epoxy based ANSI A118.3..  SpecLink only highlights the manufactures that make that material and the products that meet it.  You cut down on the time you spend fussing with manufacturers websites.

I echo the warning about manufacturers proprietary specifications.  It is very poor practice, and they will tuck in all kinds of escape hatches for their liability.  Warranties are full of exclusions.....not in the owners interest at all. 

Dec 5, 19 4:49 pm  · 
Non Sequitur

Ah... this guy again.

Dec 5, 19 5:17 pm  · 

Must be a slow day over on the CSI forums

Dec 5, 19 6:30 pm  · 

Also ... NS, what got your comments nuked from this thread?

Dec 5, 19 6:32 pm  · 
Non Sequitur

I don’t know EI, but last I remember, this fine gentlemen got pretty aggressive so perhaps since he’s dumb enough to use his real name office email, the whole conversation got nuked.

Dec 5, 19 7:12 pm  · 


Dec 5, 19 5:28 pm  · 

Something you disagree with, Mr. reply that has no relevance to what preceded it.

Dec 5, 19 5:29 pm  · 
Non Sequitur

Nope, Mr. dangerously obsessed with specifications and no practical knowledge of architectural practice.

Dec 5, 19 5:32 pm  · 

Has anyone had problems trying to renew your Master Spec subscription? I’ve tried numerous times to connect Deltek through calls and emails without any response. I’m ready for another spec product. 

Jan 18, 20 11:26 am  · 

Question for architects: When using Speclink or Masterspec, have you ever encountered a situation where you have specified a product into a job and then the manufacturer stopped participating(paying) in the SL/MS programs and they removed their products from the offering and your specifications? Or once they are specified they are there forever? Asking as a manufacturer...

Sep 21, 21 1:20 pm  · 

I can't speak for how it works for SpecLink, but I don't think MasterSpec makes you pay to simply get listed. They have criteria that you need to meet (like national distribution rather than just local), and as long as you keep meeting that criteria you'll stay in their listings. Note this is different than getting MasterSpec to write you your own guide specification written around your products as part of Product MasterSpec.

Edit: It looks like Deltek is phasing out Product MasterSpec ( and moving to a new platform called Specpoint. I'm not sure how that all works for manufacturers, or if it means changes to how you can get incorporated into the listings in MasterSpec for the paragraph builder. You're probably better off calling Deltek to find out more.

Sep 21, 21 2:15 pm  · 
1  · 

I haven't used masterspec for years and years, but I have used Vision. If they put as much effort and care into masterspec as they do into Vision I think I might move to space to avoid ever touching masterspec again.

Sep 21, 21 2:30 pm  · 

I actually think Deltek is doing a better job at updates and support than Avitru ever did. At any rate, BSD just got bought up as well ( If your software company isn't getting bought up by someone larger, you're probably doing it wrong*. 

*Wrong might be different in the eye of the be-"holder of the bank account" though.

Sep 21, 21 2:53 pm  · 

In SpecLink when content is removed from SpecLink's master, it doesn't automatically disappear from our projects' specs or from our firm's master templates. We are alerted that there are changes available for the affected section(s), and it's up to us whether to accept them or reject them. We can choose to accept all changes to that section at once, or we can go paragraph by paragraph and decide separately for each item, or we can just ignore the changes and let the spec stay exactly the same way it was.  So if you stop paying for your Widget Adhesive 2021 to be in SpecLink's masters, but I already used that master to create my Widget Adhesives section, your product will still be in my specs unless I deliberately accept the SpecLink change that deleted it.

Typically if a manufacturer removes their paid content and it was something I never or rarely specified anyway, then I accept those changes and let those products disappear from our master template. But if it's something that we were specifying frequently then I do the research to make sure the company/product still exists, and if they do then I keep the content - it turns into user content at that point, as opposed to SpecLink native content. The drawback of keeping content that's not supported by SpecLink anymore is that it doesn't get manufacturer's updates for things like product name changes, new products available, and changes to associated other spec paragraphs.

Sep 23, 21 5:07 pm  · 

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