General FAQs

How do I write a spec?
CSI produces Standards and Formats that help users to write quality specifications. CSI's MasterFormat and SectionFormat/PageFormat documents are the two main documents to adhere to when organizing specifications and their content. Stylistic and content guidance is provided by CSI's Construction Specifications Practice Guide. None of these are template solutions, instead, they simply provide guidance to the user in how the documents should be identified, organized, and formatted. CSI recommends that those unfamiliar with specification-writing consult an expert in the field prior to beginning specification writing on their own.

How do I get my product into a specification?
There are many different construction product listing resources on the market, most use CSI MasterFormat to organize product listings, which helps designers and specifiers find solutions that apply to the technical solution they are trying to achieve. A common method of marketing one's product is to provide a "guide specification" that generically specifies the proper use of the product to accomplish an outcome, these specifications should be authored following CSI standards and best practice. Building Systems Design provides services in the product guide specification area.

How do I connect with other commercial construction professionals?
CSI-Connect, CSI's online community, is a great place to find and network with construction professionals. Please note, you must be logged in and a CSI Member to view discussion threads in CSI-Connect. Not a member? Don't miss out on the discussions, join now!

What credentials are available for construction professionals?
CSI is the construction community's authority on communication and construction documentation. Through CSI's Certification Program and preparing for certification examinations, you can develop a conceptual understanding of the entire construction process, and concrete skills in construction documentation development, contract administration, specification writing, product research and sourcing, and communication with the design and contracting teams.

CSI's Construction Documents Technologist (CDT) certificate is a prerequisite to CSI's Certifications: Certified Construction Contract Administrator (CCCA), Certified Construction Specifier (CCS), and Certified Construction Product Representative (CCPR).

What education/CE is available for construction professionals?
CSI offers a wide variety of education, both in-person and via the internet. These are often available in both live and recorded formats.

What is MasterFormat vs. MasterSpec?
CSI's MasterFormat is the North American standard for classifying construction project information and is used in many countries around the world. MasterFormat consists of 50 Divisions that provide the top level breakdown of construction results with over 8000 more specific sub-divisions beneath them, known as "sections." 

MasterSpec, produced jointly by the AIA and ARCOM, is a proprietary specification software solution. MasterSpec follows the MasterFormat standard. 


Other helpful links: