BY ROBERT P. MADER of CONTRACTOR’s staff

ALEXANDRIA, VA. — The Construction Specifications Institute released the section numbers and titles June 9 for the upcoming 2004 edition of MasterFormat, the specifications-writing standard for most nonresidential building design and construction projects in North America.

The section numbers and titles may be downloaded, in Adobe PDF format, from CSI’s Web site, www.csinet.org/masterformat, at no charge. According to CSI, the new “MasterFormat 2004 Edition: Numbers and Titles” was downloaded about 3,700 times the day it was released. Between June 9 and 16, it was downloaded more than 102,000 times.

A significant difference in the 2004 edition’s numbers and titles as compared with the 1995 edition is a new six-digit numbering system. It creates room for users to develop and systematically organize far more comprehensive and detailed specifications amid the rapidly growing volume and complexity of information generated by new products and technologies for nonresidential building projects.

The numbers and titles release contains only the section titles and numbers of the document, which CSI believes is enough information for many in the industry to begin converting software and documentation.

The major revision of MasterFormat had created considerable controversy in the mechanical industry, and not just because of the change to a six-digit numbering system. The revision kills Division 15, which covered all mechanical work, and holds Divisions 15 through 19 open for future use.

The new MasterFormat separates the HVAC and plumbing specifications. The two disciplines are now under the Facilities Services Subgroup as Division 22 — Plumbing and Division 23 — Heating Ventilating and Air Conditioning. Fire sprinklers are in Division 21 — Fire Suppression.

Last revised in 1995, the MasterFormat was created in the early 1960s with a focus on building construction, said architect Dennis Hall, chairman of the MasterFormat Expansion Task Team. Since then, architects, engineers and customers have been using the MasterFormat for building maintenance and renovation, and some customers have been using it for leasing purposes, both applications never considered as part of the original MasterFormat.

CSI also wanted to move beyond building construction to include heavy civil work such as highways and bridges. In addition, the electrical division did not have space to accommodate new products such as telecommunications, computers and electronic security.

Among the major changes of interest to the mechanical industry are:

Division 15 — Mechanical. Division 15 has been reserved for future expansion and material has been relocated to Division 22 — Plumbing and Division 23 — Heating, Ventilating, and Air Conditioning in the Facility Services Subgroup.

Division 16 — Electrical has been reserved for future expansion and material has been relocated to Divisions 26 — Electrical and 27 — Communications in the Facility Services Subgroup.

The Facility Services Subgroup retains the same content as published in earlier Draft 4 but with some new divisions, arranged in a revised order.

Division 21 — Fire Suppression holds all the fire suppression subjects relocated from Division 13 in the MasterFormat 1995 Edition.

Division 25 — Integrated Automation contains expanded integrated automation subjects relocated from Division 13.

In addition to the traditional mechanical contracting disciplines, MasterFormat contains three new divisions addressing industrial work performed by larger contractors.

Division 42 — Process Heating, Cooling, and Drying Equipment pertains to materials, liquids, gases and manufactured items and materials.

Division 43 — Process Gas and Liquid Handling, Purification and Storage Equipment pertains to process liquids, gases and slurries. It includes atmospheric tanks as well as pressure vessels.

Division 44 — Pollution Control Equipment contains specifications for equipment for controlling emission of contaminants from manufacturing processes and treatment of air, water, soils and noise contaminants.

The complete version of MasterFormat 2004 Edition will be released this fall, and will be available for purchase on CSI’s Web site. It will include the numbers, section titles, an application guide, use and scope notes for many entries, related terms for all entries and a keyword index.