The contents of SpecLink are the master guide specification texts that you will edit for your projects. The specifications are divided into sections -- the term "section" is the specifying community's name for an individual specification document. The section is the smallest unit of text in the Contract Documents that can stand alone. A section describes a particular unit of "work results," which is exactly what it sounds like – the executed combination of products (materials and equipment), installation (labor), and relevant administrative requirements. Some examples of work results are:
- 02 41 00 - Demolition (no products but still a work result)
- 06 10 00 - Rough Carpentry
- 08 62 00 - Unit Skylights
- 22 40 00 - Plumbing Fixtures
- 26 27 26 - Wiring Devices
- 31 32 13.16 - Cement Soil Stabilization
- 32 92 19 - Seeding
There are over 650 sections in SpecLink -- see the Catalog Listings for the entire list. At that page you can also download or print pdf files containing the Catalog Listings, for future reference. If you save the pdf files, you can make a shortcut on your desktop to them, making it quick and easy to look up specific subjects.
The sections are arranged in order according to their Section Number and grouped into Divisions. Each section has a unique number and title, which is not changed from one project to the next. Project specifications include only the sections needed, leaving the other section numbers unused. This practice has two benefits: simplifying the preparation, and making it easier to memorize some or all of the section numbers. Most of the Section Numbers and Titles come from CSI's MasterFormat® and the Division grouping is exactly the same as in that document.
The titles of the sections are as descriptive as they can be while remaining concise. More information about what each section covers is shown on the Catalog Listing – the one-line synopsis to the right of the title. In addition, when you open a section in the software, a more extensive description of the contents of the section appears in the master note attached to the title of the section. This note also usually mentions items that might be expected to be in the section, but which are not.
You may or may not have subscribed to all of the available sections. Sections are assigned to one or more different "Catalogs" (hence the name Catalog Listings) which can be subscribed to separately. The letters "ASCLME" on the catalog listing (and following the section title in the Tree Panel) indicate the catalog assignments of the section — "Architectural", "Structural", "Civil", "Landscape Architecture", "Mechanical/Electrical". A checkmark or asterisk indicates that a section is also in the cross-discipline "Basics" catalog. The letters "DC" and the pound sign (#) indicate sections in the Design Criteria catalog.
Closely related to what's in SpecLink is what is not. Even though SpecLink contains the most commonly specified work results for building construction, you will inevitably discover that something you want to specify is not included. Also, the further your work diverges from building construction or includes highly specialized items, the more likely you'll have to create a new section. This will require giving it a Section Number and Title -- although you are entitled to invent any number and title you wish, MasterFormat has an extremely extensive list (go to that page to get your free copy of the 2004/2012+ edition, which SpecLink-E uses).