CSI MasterFormat Outline

Organize Construction Specs and Project Information

Engineers and construction workers reviewing blueprints at construction site
••• Caiaimage/Agnieszka Olek / Getty Images

MasterFormat is the universal method of organizing project manuals and documents under categories using standardized guidelines to relate drawings to specs. MasterFormat is a publication of CSI, Construction Specification Institute, divided by titles and number used to organize specs and project information for almost every commercial, industrial and residential project in the world. The established guidelines help in getting a systematic and industry-wide standard applicable to almost all construction documents, contracts, and drawings.

Advantages of Using the Construction Specification Institute MasterFormat Outline

The CSI MasterFormat is divided into sections and numbers that will help you organize construction requirements, products, specifications and activities by groups or trades. One of the most important benefits of using the CSI MasterFormat outline is that communication will be improved between project groups as all team members can refer to specific sections of the document using that same outline. It will reduce and facilitate coordination and communication between project owners, architects, contractors, and suppliers, minimizing the time spent organizing documents using other methods.

The guideline provided will also help contractors and architects working on additions and for future projects. The MasterFormat is also being used by BIM systems maintaining the same or similar outline, making it easier the overlap between different building technologies.

When to Use It in Construction Projects

The CSI MasterFormat is used in schools, industrial, hospitals, green buildings, residential and even transportation projects. When a construction project involves more than one trade, so almost all projects, you might find useful using the format, as it will facilitate the communication between the project team. Divided by disciplines and with many subdivisions for each discipline, the MasterFormat outline will help you develop and organized information needed for your construction project, making it easier for every team member to look up information or use them as a reference during the construction process.

The MasterFormat document can be used to organize the following project documents:

  • Specifications or Project Manuals
  • Drawings (Keynotes)
  • Product literature/data filing
  • Facility management/maintenance documents
  • Project integration and communication
  • Detailed cost estimating/project accounting
  • Building Information Model

Groups, SubGroups, and Divisions

The subgroups and list get reviewed from time to time, so make sure always to verify the most recent version. Per the latest document released by CSI, division and groups are arranged

  • Procurement and Contracting Requirements: Division 00
  • General Requirements Subgroup: Division 01
  • Facility Construction Subgroup: Divisions 02 - 19

           02 Existing Conditions

            03 Concrete

            04 Masonry

            05 Metals

            06 Wood, Plastics, and Composites

            07 Thermal and Moisture Protection

            08 Openings

            09 Finishes

            10 Specialties

            11 Equipment

            12 Furnishings

            13 Special Construction

            14 Conveying Equipment

            15-19 Reserved

  • Facility Services Subgroup: Divisions 20 - 29

            20 Reserved

            21 Fire Suppression

            22 Plumbing

            23 Heating, Ventilating, and Air Conditioning (HVAC)

            24 Reserved

            25 Integrated Automation

            26 Electrical

            27 Communications

            28 Electronic Safety and Security

            29 Reserved

  • Site and Infrastructure Subgroup: Divisions 30 - 39

            30 Reserved

            31 Earthwork

            32 Exterior Improvements

            33 Utilities

            34 Transportation

            35 Waterway and Marine Construction

            36-39 Reserved

  • Process Equipment Subgroup: Divisions 40 - 49

            40 Process Integration

            41 Material Processing and Handling Equipment

            42 Process Heating, Cooling, and Drying Equipment

            43 Process Gas and Liquid Handling, Purification, and Storage
Equipment

            44 Pollution and Waste Control Equipment

            45 Industry-Specific Manufacturing Equipment

            46 Water and Wastewater Equipment 

            47 Reserved

            48 Electrical Power Generation

            49 Reserved

A new six-digit section numbering system replaces the five-digit format for the sections within the divisions. The new system creates room for adding many additional sections as needed. All of this restructuring has given MasterFormat the capacity to be easily managed over time, allowing it to evolve based on user demand instead of being changed dramatically every five to seven years as happened in the past. Consult http://www.masterformat.com/revisions/ for the most current additions and changes to MasterFormat.