Spec Coordinator Description: 
This position entails learning the process of editing/developing architectural documents via software programs in a team-based collaborative atmosphere in our Farmer’s Branch office. The Spec Coordinator is also responsible for learning project administrative tasks, participating in client meetings, working with fellow team members, and supporting management staff. 

Skills We Are Looking For: 

  • Willingness to learn. 
  • Attention to detail. 
  • Time management. 
  • Proficiency in Microsoft Word and other Office Suite programs. 
  • Typing. 
  • Proofreading. 
  • Good communicator. 

Susan Bliss is the Founder and Principal at Spec Services, LLC. After over 40 years as a specifier, Susan started Spec Services to provide specification writing services to architects and to train new specifiers. 

When interviewing candidates interested in training to become a specifier, it often becomes clear that most have no knowledge that such a career exists. In a recent interview with Cherise Lakeside on the 
Detailed podcast, Susan provided  insight into the world of a specifier. 

What is a specification writer? What do you do? 
A specification writer, or specifier, is a technical writer who focuses on architectural materials, products, assemblies, and systems. That is, we describe in writing what the Architect draws. A Specifier works directly for the Architect, either as an employee or as an outsourced service provider. Spec Services is an outsourced service provider.

What are specifications? 
Construction contract documents are comprised of drawings and specifications (the technical writing). The specifications also contain information about the administration of the construction contract.  

Construction Specifications Institute (CSI) states “Specifications define the qualitative requirements for products, materials, and workmanship upon which the construction contract is based.” In other words, the drawings and specifications are complementary—they complete each other.  

What do you like about being a specifier? 
I love learning! As a specifier, there are opportunities every day to learn something new. And this is still true after over 40 years. The overall work of a specifier is much more than technical writing. We need to understand how the whole project works together while also staying informed of new developments and standards in the industry. 

Another important aspect of spec writing is quality assurance. I like having processes and procedures, checklists, and organization. Although every construction project is unique, the means of preparing and delivering the specifications is repetitive. Adhering to our proven process is key to successfully managing all the details. 

How can someone become a specifier? 
While most are, it is not necessary for a specifier to also be a registered architect. Specifications are provided as part of the construction contract documents as mentioned above, so the specifier must work under the direction of a licensed architect.  

Writing specifications is an unknown career, and there are no schools that teach it. Even though specs are an integral part of what an architect is to provide, specifications are not taught as part of architectural studies. Even the registered architects must learn to write specifications on the job. 

Spec Services developed a training program for specifiers. We start with those who have no background or experience in architecture or construction and begin teaching them our proven process. Our program works!