Small Project Specifications

Greater Than Minimum Code

Specifications begin where expectations leave minimum building codes behind.

Describing What, Exactly, Are the Project Requirements

Professional drawings dimension the project, describing building elements in broad strokes, leaving local municipalities with the task of enforcing the prescriptive requirements set forth in the building code. While the building code is a substantial resource, and, in fact, legally incorporates many other technical documents by reference, and are thus enforceable, the objective is a universal design suitable for Canada's entire building inventory. The building code does not consider the wide variety of quality of building materials, from economical "contractor grades" to premium performance and specialized products. Furthermore, specified products often have unique or optional installation procedures that are frequently omitted, skipped, ignored, or unknown.

Written specifications expressly identify manufactures, products, required components, installation procedures, and quality assurances. Without specifications, the contractor will rely on vague Schedule A details and will most often source materials and equipment exclusively on pricing.

Commercial Construction Has Benefited For 100 Years

As the world got to work rebuilding in the late 1940's, building construction specifications expanded. The Construction Specifications Institute was founded in 1948 and began the process of organizing written specifications using a numbered system. From 1975 to 2004, the numbering system, called MasterFormat, grew from 16 divisions to include Concrete, Masonry, Metals, Thermal, Equipment, Plumbing, HVAC, and many others, to a total of 50 divisions. In each division there are hundreds of titles:

  • 07 30 00  Steep Slope Roofing
    • 07 31 00 Steep Slope Roofing - Shingles and Shakes
      • 07 31 13 Steep Slope Roofing - Shingles and Shakes - Asphalt Shingles
        • 07 31 13.13 Shingles and Shakes - Asphalt Shingles - Fiberglass-Reinforced Asphalt Shingles

Using the example above, Owens Corning written specification, SECTION 07 31 13.13 - FIBERGLASS-BASED ASPHALT SHINGLES & ACCESSORIES, is 25 pages, and includes such requirements as:

1.3 E. Canadian Standards Association (CSA): CSA A123.5 - Asphalt Shingles Made from Glass Felt and Surfaced with Mineral Granules.

1.9 D. Do not install underlayment or shingles on wet surfaces.

1.9 F. For rooftop loading, lay shingle bundles flat. Do not bend over the ridge.

3.2 B. Remove all existing roofing down to the roof deck.

3.3 C. 2. Where valleys are indicated to be "open valleys", install metal flashing over self-adhering ice and water barrier before roof deck underlayment is installed; DO NOT nail through the flashing. Secure the flashing by nailing at 18 in (457 mm) on center just beyond edge of flashing so that nail heads hold down the edge, or use valley metal with a formed edge and secure with clips.

3.4 D. Fasten shingles to deck with number of roofing nails per shingle and type of nails specified by Owens Corning, or in accordance specified by local Authority Having Jurisdiction.

(Note: For high wind installations, the requirement is six nails, not four. - RJM BP)

Affording Protection for Consumers

While a specification can never replace experienced construction professionals, in conjunction with good construction means and methods, it is obvious to see how the quality of the work and materials can vary greatly.

Specifications level the playing field for reputable contractors competing in a marketplace with inexperienced, low quality, or deceptive contractors.

For your next project, be reassured that the best work and materials come together with specifications adapted to the needs of a residential project with easy to follow guidelines and illustrations for:

  • Low Slope ("Flat") and Sloped Roof Installations
  • Wood, Vinyl, and Concrete Cladding ("Siding")
  • Energy Efficient Windows and Doors
  • Roof, Wall, and Floor Sheathing
  • Insulation for Wall, Roof, and Below Grade Assemblies
  • Mini-split ("Ductless") Heat Pumps
  • Heat Recovery Ventilators
  • Plastic and Copper Plumbing Systems
  • Exterior Structures: Decks, Balconies, and Stairs
  • Asphalt and Concrete Driveways and Walkways

List of Residential Home Design Services

RJ Miller Building Professionals Inc. is proud to provide the highest standards in residential home design services for a variety of client requirements. The following links provide additional information on each available service, also found in the available services menu, along with a brief description.

  • Professional services for new home builders.
  • A beautiful collection of near ready-to-build house plans created to suit a variety of family sizes and budgets.
  • Written guides to define projects where expectations leave minimum building codes behind.
  • Unique high performance new home designs uniquely designed for your style, objectives, and creativity.

Standards of Practice

As an AETTNL Professional Technologist, I have demonstrated technical proficiency and I am committed to upholding the associations Code of Ethics.

As a CAHPI National Certificate Holder, I will conduct home inspections by the CAHPI Standards of Practice, will obey the CAHPI Code of Ethics, and will provide excellent customer service.

Technical Qualifications

Commercial Services

Business clients can learn more about our commercial inspection services by visiting and design services at