Zombie Specifications

Darrell Peil

Darrell Peil holds the position of Specifications and Business Development Mgr./Commercial & Industrial for Knauf Insulation (www.knaufinsulation.com), serving North America. Currently a member of ASHRAE and ASTM, he serves on several committees related to mechanical insulation systems and components. He is a past Chair of NIA’s Technical Information Committee, a past Chair of ASHRAE’s TC 1.8 Handbook Subcommittee, current Secretary for TC 1.8 - Mechanical Systems Insulation, and a member of the editorial committee for the North American Commercial and Industrial Insulation Standards manual (NACIIS manual). Mr. Peil has been associated with the building mechanical systems industry since 1982, holding various roles in the contracting, distribution, and manufacturing segments of the industry. During that time, he has served in several positions requiring in-depth work with business and product development, systems design, specifications, standards, and codes applying to a wide range of applications.

October 1, 2016

How Some Boilerplate Language Resurrects Long Dead Insulation Materials

Is your boilerplate language up to date? When was the last time that you reviewed the insulation materials and system design that you recommend to clients? All too often in mechanical insulation system design specifications, the boilerplate language goes unrevised for long periods of time, even years. Recently, National Insulation Association (NIA) members have reported that they have seen boilerplate language that recommended sewn canvas lagging cloth—a material that has not been used in several decades—and specifications that require the installation of asbestos-containing insulating materials. It is important to ensure you are not copying and pasting old language like this into your brand new project specifications. In a more common scenario, energy codes change and new product technologies are not updated. Are you recommending a system that is not efficient or is already out of date for a brand new “energy-efficient” building? Often the problems that these specifications create are dealt with much further into the project, and you may not even be aware of the changes and adjustments that are being made.

Bad Language Costs Money and Time

Copying and pasting older specifications may make project design easier, but someone will pay for it down the line. Sometimes these erroneous specifications are not noticed until too late, and then cause a delay in the build process. Frequently, it is the insulation contractor who realizes that the specifications are not current or will not work with the job as it is designed; this may happen either during the bidding process or later during the construction phase. The insulation contractor then has to send his or her changes and new recommendations to the mechanical contractor, general contractor, or project manager, who takes it to the field engineer, who may need additional approval. Once everything has been reviewed and approved and that has been conveyed back down the line, the materials still have to be ordered and received before the work can begin. These material purchases and time delays can impact a project or delay the schedule. This easily preventable situation happens far too often, but it can be mitigated by ensuring the
recommendations are done correctly the first time, rather than being corrected after the project has begun.

There Is a Solution

Take a look at your boilerplate language today to make sure you are recommending the best system and materials to meet today’s product advancements and energy regulations and standards. If not, NIA members are always available to review boilerplate language and help you update it. Midwest Insulation Contractors Association (MICA) also suggests that specifiers require insulation contractors to use the insulation system plates found in the National Commercial & Industrial Insulation Standards (NCIIS or MICA Manual) manual to detail the insulation materials and design. These illustrations allow contractors to show the types of insulation and insulation installation accessories to be used during installation and eliminate insulation specification confusion. It can be yet another tool to ensure zombie specifications stay buried and prevent them from wreaking havoc on your project.

Visit www.insulation.org/membership to find a NIA member to help you update your specifications today.



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This article was published in the October 2016 issue of Insulation Outlook magazine. Copyright © 2016 National Insulation Association. All rights reserved. The contents of this website and Insulation Outlook magazine may not be reproduced in any means, in whole or in part, without the prior written permission of the publisher and NIA. Any unauthorized duplication is strictly prohibited and would violate NIA’s copyright and may violate other copyright agreements that NIA has with authors and partners. Contact publisher@insulation.org to reprint or reproduce this content.

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