research board about home
MasterFormat™04 Conversion
 webformat contact newsletters SPECTEXT publications news releases links search

 By David Stutzman, RA, CSI, CCS

The conversion is underway. The new numbers and titles will be inserted into SPECTEXT® documents for version 5.2 due to be released this summer. The revised specifications will include two sets of numbers and titles using the Construction Specifications Institute's (CSI): MasterFormat™ 04 (MF04) and MasterFormat 95 (MF95). This will allow subscribers to maintain one set of files and select the system to suit each project's needs. Using a single set of files to accommodate all project specifications will minimize the effort required to keep SPECTEXT® and office master files current.

There has been much discussion of how and when to make the transition. There is concern about the time and cost required to convert existing office master specifications. How long it will take for the industry to embrace and use MF04 is unknown. Many factors will affect the decision to convert completely. SPECTEXT® will provide the tools to help you make the conversion automatically and to accept total conversion when it is right for your own practice.

The specifications will be issued with each MF04 number and title followed by the equivalent MF95 number and title. The form for the entries will be MF04 {MF95}. The text will be marked with character styles for each format version. The new styles will be STMF04 and STMF95. The numbers and titles will be displayed in color controlled by the styles to help identify each version. When opening a new SPECTEXT® file, the colors displayed in the first two lines will show that the section contains both sets of numbers and titles.

SPECTEXT® will use CSI's preferred scheme for displaying the new six digit section numbers. The numbers will be shown in three pairs of two numbers (00 00 00) with hard or non-breaking spaces between each pair.

Two Separate Lists

Two separate lists of related sections will appear in SPECTEXT® files. The first list will use the MF04 numbers and titles. The MF95 list will immediately follow the MF04 list. The new list using MF04 will be sorted by the MF04 section numbers.

SPECTEXT® files will be stored using the MF04 section number for the file name. The SPECTEXT® installer introduced in version 5.1 will be updated to install all SPECTEXT®, SPECTEXT® II and Drawing Coordination Considerations (DCC) files using the MF04 section number as the file name. Only the MF04 number and title will be used in the footer for each specification section to keep the text to a reasonable length and to correspond to the file name.

Some existing specification sections will be split into two or three sections. The best example of the need to split sections is the first several sections in Division 15 and Division 16. The existing sections are general requirements and products that apply to several systems specified in Divisions 15 and 16. Under MF04 Division 15 becomes Divisions 21, 22, and 23 and Division 16 becomes Divisions 26, 27, and 28. Therefore the sections such as Section 15060 - Hangers and Supports become three sections, one in each of the three new mechanical divisions for Fire Suppression, Plumbing, and HVAC. To ease the transition to MF04, SPECTEXT® will split the existing section's content to match the new section titles. The newly split sections in the MF95 version will be renumbered so a one-to-one relationship of MF95 sections to MF04 sections will be maintained. The new section numbers for MF95 for Section 15060, for instance, will become 15060, 15061, and 15062.

New Macros And Tools To Be Added

To help subscribers use the new sections efficiently, several new macros will be added to the SPECTEXT® toolbar. These macros will allow users to automatically select either MF04 or MF95 schemes to use in project specifications and help users migrate existing office master specifications based on SPECTEXT® to the MF04 scheme.

New Macros will include:

Accept MF04: Click on this button if you want to use MF04 numbers and titles throughout the section. The MF04 scheme is marked with orange text. When you click on the Accept MF04 button, all MF95 numbers and titles will be removed and all MF04 numbers and title will be changed to normal black text.
Accept MF95: Click on this button if you want to use MF95 numbers and titles throughout the section. When you click on the Accept MF95 button, all MF04 numbers and titles will be removed and all MF95 numbers and title will be changed to normal black text.
Apply MF04: Click on this button to insert MF04 numbers and titles into an existing specification based on SPECTEXT®. This macro will read specification numbers and titles from a separate, user modifiable table to insert the MF04 number and title that matches the existing MF95 number and title.

A conversion table will be issued to subscribers with all the section numbers and titles used in the SPECTEXT® and SPECTEXT® II libraries already included. Users can modify this table to add or revise the list to include section numbers and titles used for in-house office master or project specifications. After adjusting the conversion table, the macro can be used to search existing files for MF95 section numbers and titles. Where MF95 numbers and titles are found, the corresponding MF04 will be inserted. The text will be marked with the appropriate styles and the MF95 numbers and titles will be surrounded by braces.

Existing EDITSPEC® tools that use section numbers and titles such as the Create Header/Footer macro will be modified, as needed to work with both sets of section numbers and titles. Users can continue editing sections just as they have in the past.

Finally, when the industry makes the switch to the MF04 scheme, simply use the Accept MF04 macro on your office masters and continue to use the same files you always have for your new projects.


About the author: David Stutzman is President of Focus Collaborative, a specifications and quality assurance firm with offices in New Jersey, Pennsylvania and Ohio. He can be reached at

The CSRF newsletter is published for SPECTEXT® subscribers and others involved in design and construction. To obtain your copy of Creating a Common Language®, please contact the CSRF Support Center by telephone at 1-877- SPECTXT or 410-838-7561 or you may e-mail us at

©  Copyright 2007, The Construction Sciences Research Foundation, Inc.  Updated January 12, 2007.

Home |  About |  Board |  Research |  WebFormat™ |  Contact Us |  Newsletters
Publications |  News Releases |  Related Sites |  Search