For the Tulsa commercial contractor, the two most common building material are soil and concrete and they represent division two and three respectively in the CSI building division code. In the CSI divisions group one represents the contract documents. After soil and concrete come the structural elements of the building. Concrete can be used as the structural element for a building, but if not there is masonry, steel, and wood. Masonry, steel, and wood represent division four, five, and six respectively in the CSI division for a Tulsa commercial contractor. The American Institute for Constructors or AIC have the following to say about CSI divisions:
“… The specifications are typically divided by CSI (Construction Specifications Institute) divisions and sections. The CSI divisions are a standardized arrangement of construction activities and scopes of work. For many years a 16-division format was used and is provided in Figure (). The divisions are further broken down into sections. Sections are more specific areas of scope within the divisions. For example, Division 02, Site Construction, includes specific sections for demolition, site utilities, earthwork, and paving. Division 09, Finishes, includes sections on drywall, carpeting, acoustical ceilings, and painting. Division 15, Mechanical, covers all mechanical systems, specifically including sections on fire protection, plumbing, and HVAC. Although the 16-division format is still used, it is being phased out by the newer 50-division format… In 2004, the 16-division format was updated to 50 divisions (). CSI made the change to better define the scope between the trades, especially in mechanical, electrical, and civil work. The 50-division format has been widely accepted by the industry and is the most common method of construction scope organizations…Notice in Figure () that many sections are reserved for future expansion, giving the new format room for growth and making it unlikely to change in the future. It isn’t necessary to memorize all 50 divisions; however, it is highly recommended to know Divisions 01–14, 21–23, 26, and 31–33 because these are very common systems included in most building construction projects..”
The Tulsa commercial contractor must recognize which CSI division codes the architects and engineers are using for several reasons. The AIC list key differences between CSI 16-Format and CSI 50-Format as follows:
“…There are a number of differences between the 16- and 50-division CSI formats. However, for most commercial construction projects the most significant changes are in Divisions 02, 15, and 16. Each of these divisions was subdivided. The trades in Division 02 under the 16-division format are now in sections 02 and 30–39. The mechanical systems in Division 15 are now sections 20–23. The electrical system previously in Division 16 is now distributed among sections 25–28…”
The format that the architect and engineer choose, tell the Tulsa commercial contractor how the specifications are going to be arranged and where to find specific information based on specification section. The CSI divisions also arrange information within the specification section. The AIC has the following to say about three-part specification format:
“Another contribution CSI made to the construction industry is its introduction of the three-part technical specification format. Most specifications are divided into three parts: general, products, and execution. The standardized three-part format makes it much easier to locate specific information within a product’s technical specifications. The description of each part is found below:
Part 1, General, provides a description of the work, the submittals required, and any inspections or testing needed to be performed by the contractor.
Part 2, Products, provides the technical specification of all of the material or equipment described in the section.
Part 3, Execution, provides clarification on how material and equipment are to be installed. Minimum workmanship standards are provided along with approved installation procedures…”
These CSI codes maybe key part of job cost breakdown. The CSI 50-format has more categories, but it makes entering in job cost easier. By splitting the mechanical section so that plumbing and HVAC each have their own division allows the Tulsa commercial contractor the ability to accurately track those trades through each job. Cost codes also help in the budgetary breakdown of a project. The AIC has the following to say regarding cost codes:
“…During the estimating phase the intention is to develop the final cost of the project. The estimate provides the maximum amount of cost that a project can incur before it starts to erode the contractor’s profit. In the development of the estimate, lump sum subcontractor costs, square foot estimates, and allowances are used. The estimate developed during preconstruction is typically recast into a budget by the project management team. Lump sum cost items, square foot estimates, and allowances are broken down into labor, material, equipment, and subcontractor costs and assigned a cost code. Each cost code is a small, manageable portion of the overall budget…Most large construction projects will have hundreds if not thousands of cost codes. Companies may have a unique structure for their cost codes but typically align closely with the CSI divisions… In this example, 1000, 2000, 3000, and 4000 represent labor, material, equipment, and subcontractor cost codes, respectively. Labor, material, equipment, and subcontractor costs from the estimate can be imported directly into the budget with the appropriate cost codes. This process is commonly referred as “the dump” because the estimate is dumped into the project’s budget. However, many costs included in the estimates are not broken down. For example, the estimator may have priced self-performing the sidewalk with a simple $5.00/square foot value multiplied by the takeoff. In this example, the project manager will need to break that down into labor, material, and equipment and allocate money into all three cost codes to effectively manage the work…”
For every budget or cost estimate, the Tulsa commercial contractor will start with a breakdown, largely based of the CSI divisions. The breakdown is a work breakdown structure or WBS, and the AIC defines it as follows:
“…A work breakdown structure (WBS) is a hierarchy of tasks needed to complete the project. A WBS doesn’t sequence the work but divides the project into manageable work packages. Work packages are the fundamental elements needed to complete the work under contract. Four guiding principles should be used when developing the WBS:…”
The CSI division not only represent the way in which a project and budget are broken up, but also in general move from the ground up in a construction project. These are not absolute, but allow the contractor to break down each project.