CSI MasterFormat: Basic Overview to Understand the Bid

Every industry has its own jargon and code that it uses to communicate, and the commercial construction industry is no different. Having a basic understanding of this language can be particularly useful when it comes to understanding a bid and ensuring seamless communication with your construction team.

For commercial projects in the U.S. and Canada, we rely on the Construction Specifications Institute (CSI) MasterFormat for organizing and formatting specifications and other written information for our construction projects. Having a consistent coding system helps improve communication among various project stakeholders, including contractors, architects, project owners, and more.

 

How is the CSI MasterFormat Organized?

Within the MasterFormat system is a group of 50 divisions of construction information. The divisions are assigned their own number, which makes organizing documents systematic and functional.

Prior to 2004, there were 16 divisions in the MasterFormat, and it continues to expand as needed. Here in the local industry, only about 30-40 percent of contractors are using the larger 50-division format. The 16-level format is still more common and is the preferred format for most builders.

The CSI MasterFormat provides a consistent indexing system that all of us in the construction industry follow. As you receive project bids and have questions about how to read and compare various bids, please get in touch with us at Seacoast Construction. We can help you understand what the bids mean and how to use the MasterFormat to compare multiple bids.

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