Specifications aka Description of Materials

In by Andy Bozeman

House Plans show the locations of house parts, like walls, appliances, fixtures, and doors & windows. Specifications (spec’s), also known as the Description of Materials, describe what those house parts are made of, and how they’re installed. The Specifications emphasize the content of the plans.

Blank (nearly blank) FHA/VA style Specifications are available for free download HERE.

Spec’s are used by every construction trade, including every supplier of boards & beams, wiring & windows, even nails & nasturtiums, plus :

  • builders to buy materials.
  • sub-contractors to determine what a builder wishes to buy.
  • appraisers to calculate value for loan purposes.
  • Architectural Control Committees to assure design standards are met.
  • Insurance companies to evaluate replacement cost vs. value.
  • Historic District Management Departments to assure authenticity of materials, colors, and textures.
  • Building departments to issue permits.
  • Building inspectors to verify safe materials and installations.
  • Bank and loan-related inspectors to verify that proposed materials and installations are actually put into place.

The goal of all these groups is to assure that the process of building your next new home or renovation remains safe, and yields a home that is secure, attractive, and valuable for many years to come. By adding emphasis to the plans, Specifications use a few written words to assure a long, healthy life for you and your home.