MasterFormat 2004 Edition

Aug. 30, 2004
The new world of MasterFormat 2004 Edition is here! Conversion to MasterFormat™ 2004 Edition can begin in earnest now that the numbers and titles from the standard have been posted at To download the numbers and titles in Adobe PDF format, go to: is the specifications-writing standard for most nonresidential building design and construction projects in North America. It lists titles and section numbers for organizing data about construction requirements, products, and activities. By standardizing such information, MasterFormat facilitates communication among architects, specifiers, contractors and suppliers, which helps them meet building owners’ requirements, timelines and budgets.CSI updates MasterFormat regularly to reflect the industry’s needs. This revision is the most significant in the product’s 40-year history, and reflects the growing volume and complexity of information generated for nonresidential construction projects.MasterFormat Expansion Task Team Chair Dennis Hall, FCSI, CCS, CCCA, AIA, expects several of the most influential organizations in the construction community to download the numbers and titles soon so that they can begin converting. These organizations will lead the conversion because their products and programs form the frame the construction industry stands on.“This will be the first time major stakeholders-organizations like Sweets, McGraw-Hill, ARCOM and BSD-will see all the numbers and titles,”  Hall said. “ These are people who need to do something in order for the rest of us to do something.” Hall expects many smaller organizations to begin converting as well this summer because MasterFormat 2004 Edition better suits their needs, or because they like to be on the cutting edge of construction.He used the electronic communications field as an example. This field has exploded since MasterFormat’s last edition was released in 1995. Hall said practitioners in communications have been looking forward to the new edition because it will address much of what they do for the first time.“They’re ready and they have a need to do it,”  he said.Hall’s firm, Hall Architects Inc., has produced a project manual using MasterFormat 2004 Edition without any difficulty. The manual was for a door replacement project that had unusual requirements in part because the owner was an energy company.“We did not have any issues dealing with MasterFormat,”  Hall said. “ What’s interesting is that after dealing with that, our senior specifier said, ‘it was easy with MasterFormat 04 because it was so logical.’“ Hall has also helped San Francisco’s Bay Area Rapid Transit (BART) convert all of their master specifications to MasterFormat 2004 Edition.“They were very pleased,”  Hall said.Hall said conversion will not be difficult for practitioners, although the new numbering system, which can go to eight digits in some cases, will look odd at the beginning.“It looks a little funny at first, but once you understand the logic, you know that’s just the next level down, and it’s OK,”  he said. “ We included it in our project, and the contractors had no trouble with it.” MasterFormat’s copyright is held by the Construction Specifications Institute (, and in Canada by Construction Specifications Canada (CSC). All rights reserved including world rights and electronic rights.

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