The Pre-Contract and Specifications Office manages multiple different types of specifications. Over the years, the types of specifications used by the Agency have varied, and both currently active and retired types of specifications are described below. These descriptions identify how the different types of specifications interact with each other and how they are generally used and updated.
CURRENTLY ACTIVE SPECIFICATION TYPES
Standard Specifications for Construction – The Standard Specifications for Construction are incorporated into all contracts by reference and contain specifications that have been approved for general application and repetitive use. The Standard Specifications are published on a variable schedule, on average every 5 years.
Special Provisions – Special Provisions, in one form or another, date back to at least the 1926 Standard Specifications. The Special Provisions document is included in every contract, contains contract-specific information and specifications, and takes precedence over the Standard Specifications. The document has the following two components:
(a) Part I – Notices to Bidders – Notices to Bidders (NTB) contain important contract-specific information and requirements that the Agency wishes to bring special attention to, such as the contract completion date, work hour restrictions, and environmental restrictions. They may also contain modifications to the Standard Specifications. All contracts include at least some Notice to Bidders.
(b) Part II – Special Specifications – Special Specifications are specifications for contract-specific pay items. Special Specification must be related in subject to an existing Standard Specification pay item. Special Specification pay item numbers will be in the form of XXX.YYYYZZZ, where XXX.YYYY is a Standard Specification pay item that is related to the Special Specification pay item and ZZZ identifies the individual Special Specification pay item.
RETIRED SPECIFICATION TYPES
General Special Provisions (1964 – 2018 Standard Specifications) – General Special Provisions were first defined in the 1964 Standard Specifications and were eliminated beginning with the 2024 Standard Specifications. Earlier standard specifications included various errata and amendment pamphlets, often glued into the front of the book, that served the same basic purpose.
The General Special Provisions contained periodic revisions, corrections, and additions to the Standard Specifications that were applicable to and incorporated into all contracts. They took precedence over the Standard Specifications.
Supplemental Specifications (1956 – 2011 Standard Specifications) – Supplemental Specifications were first defined in the 1956 Standard Specifications and were eliminated beginning with the 2018 Standard Specifications (although the 2018 book contained a definition for Supplemental Specifications, none were ever issued, and the definition was eliminated with GSP-1804). Earlier standard specifications included various errata and amendment pamphlets, often glued into the front of the book, that served the same basic purpose.
Supplemental Specifications contained requirements for particular work items not contained in the Standard Specifications. They were standardized and did not contain project-specific information but were used too infrequently to warrant inclusion in the Standard Specifications. The Supplemental Specifications took precedence over both the General Special Provisions and the Standard Specifications.
Section 900 Special Provision Items (2006 – 2018 Standard Specifications) – Section 900 Special Provision Items are no longer used, having been replaced by Special Specifications, but were used with 2018 and earlier Standard Specifications.
Section 900 Special Provision Items were a subset of the Special Provisions. These were specifications for work items applicable to an individual contract or limited group of contracts only. Not all contracts had Section 900 Special Provision Items.
Unofficial Specifications Book (2018 Standard Specifications Only) – The Unofficial Specifications Book was only ever used with the 2018 Standard Specifications.
The Unofficial Specifications Book was a single, continuous electronic document that incorporated all modifications made to the Standard Specifications by General Special Provision. When identified, errata, such as incorrect spellings or missing punctuation, were also corrected. Additionally, both internal and external cross references were linked in the document for ease of use. The Unofficial Specifications Book was not a contract document and was neither legally nor contractually binding. It was provided for informational purposes only.