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Byun Partners

Your partner in construction specification writing and related services.
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1. Decision tree.
2. Infographics.
3. Product datasheet.
4. CAD drawings.
5. Specifications.
6. Submittal sheets.
7. PO forms.
8. Test data.
9. Warranty.
10. Client list.
11. Project list.
12. Manufacturer's representative contact info.
13. Maintenance instructions.
14. QR code integration.
15. Installation animation.
16. Sustainability literature.
17. Sample request forms.
18. Color charts.
19. Frequently asked questions (FAQ).
20. MSDS.
21. Product comparison.
22. Format: pdf, flipbook, iPad app, iBook.

Occasionally I get asked by manufacturers to write their product specification.

They might want a spec written from scratch. When they do, I suggest they write specs with the end in mind; to obtain a Purchase Order (P.O.).  Then, why not write specs that lend themselves to have all the information to complete a P.O.?  How often do you have P.O. without complete technical information? Number of RFIs can be minimized with complete technical information.

Let’s take a look at the whole buying cycle. A buying cycle might look like this.  A manufacturer sells an idea to use their product to an architect with product datasheet (document 1).  Architect agrees and incorporates such a product in their project.  In turn, the manufacturer may help the architect with drawing details (document 2) and specification (document 3).  Winning bidder, a contractor submits a submittal form (document 4) showing exactly what they will provide for the project.  Architect approves and contractor gives P.O. (document 5) to the manufacturer for the product.

As you can see from this simplified buying cycle that there are at least 5 documents involved.  Each document has a different content for different purpose/audience.

Let me summarize each different document listed above:

Product Datasheet (document 1): Can be fancy but contains technical information to sell the product. It may have multiple options to be selected for a particular project. Also, used to reject competing products during substitution process.

Drawings (document 2): CAD drawings for architects to use/modify to help kick start detailing for a particular project.

Specs (document 3): Standard CSI 3-part spec for an architect to edit for each differing projects.  It contains pertinent technical information. Of course, all options need to be reviewed and selectively chosen.

Submittal Form (document 4): Form used by contractor show the architect that the contractor understands the design intent and summarizes exactly what the contractor will provide where. Sometimes, product datasheet used instead.

Purchase Order (document 5): The orders from contractors are used to actually buy the product from the manufacturer. It should spell out exactly what products, how many, any options selected, etc.

All 5 documents mentioned above should spell out exactly what is needed.

How does an architect actually select a product?  Once a manufacturer is selected for a project, how do we determine which product to use from an array of different offerings?  Here are some options.  Option one; ask the manufacturer’s rep. This happens not too often since architects don’t like to ask “dumb” question, reps are not available, rep’s are not too helpful, or etc.  Option two; try to figure out from manufacturer’s website by reading many product data sheets to figure out what should be used.

I would imagine Option two, the web, has become the default method.  Then, manufacturers have to make their website user-friendly. You have to assume that your customer (architect) is there to buy (use your product as bases-of-design).  A good website might have some sort of a product configuration tool (tool 1), decision tree (tool 2), or have a product comparison table (tool 3) to help architects make the correct choice.

Explanation of different tools:

Configurator (Tool 1): Series of Question and Answer that will guide architects to a suitable product for a product.  Depending on your answers, at the end, a product is recommended. 

Decision tree (Tool 2): A chart showing different product selection depend on Q and A.  Similar to Configurator, except you, can see the whole Q and A sequence.

Comparison table (Tool 3): A table containing all products in a category with different attributes/options for each product. We see this in the automotive industry, i.e. Honda Accord vs Toyota Camry.