Building Specifications

Very often, not enough information is pit into building plans/working drawings. You will often see the words:

  • As per national building regulations.
  • As per local authority.
  • Work to match existing.
  • As per engineer’s detail.
  • Establish final levels on site.

If you want to get a correct price on a building – you must include a lot of detailed information. Specifications (details of what you need to build a house) are the details of what you must do to build a house. This will help you write a cost estimate, (a list of items that you need to build a house) which is a list of prices for everything needed, added up to give a total price for building a house. This would include profit. Without Specifications, you cannot work out a correct price for a house. Then if you sign a contract agreeing to build a house without a detailed price, either you or the
person paying will lose money, because the total pricing will be wrong.
Some buildings are different, and a new Specification and cost estimate must be done for project that is different. A Specification must have all the information about the building of a house, as you will see in the example below.

Here is an example of a well-prepared Specification:


(all building elements below the floor level)

  • What are soil conditions?
  • What are the site levels – how will the site levels change the floor levels?
  • Damp proof layers.
  • Poisoning.
  • Filling and compaction.
  • Concrete strengths.


All building elements between floor and finished roof height

  • Damp proof layers.
  • Type of walling system.
  • Type of brock and mortar. (Mortar commonly referred to as dagha)
  • How bricks should be laid and what is the thickness of mortar joints.
  • Reinforced lintel and beams.
  • Windows and doors – where they must go and how high must they be.
  • Roof tiles.
  • Expansion joints – if you need them, describe them well.
  • Chimneys and fireplace units.

Window Schedule

  • Type and make of window.
  • Sizes of windows (sizes may be different from various manufactures – the windows may also be fitted later).
  • Type of glass to be used in each window (this forms a glazing schedule).
  • Position of each window in the structure.
  • Type of lintel to be used above windows.
  • External and internal window sills per window.
  • Positioning of the window in the wall.
  • Burglar proofing. 
  • Special features to the structure around the window.
  • Finish to the window, e.g. paint.

Door Schedule

  • Type of frame
  • Position of frame in the structure, in the wall and position of hinges. 
  • Type of door.
  • Special features.
  • Finish of frame and door, e.g. paint.
  • Ironmongery or furniture.


  • Each point must be clearly marked on the drawings, e.g. plugs, lights, light switches and to which lights, geyser point, telephone, television, intercom, etc.
  • Light fittings should be specified or at least a P.C. amount should be allowed.
  • The length and type of cable from the boundary. Cables may be required for outbuildings, swimming pools and external lights.


  • Each plumbing point must be marked on the drawing showing the exact position, e.g. bath.
  • The finished height of certain fittings must also be indicated, e.g. basin.
  • The finished height of certain fittings must also be indicated, e.g. basin.
  • The drain and fittings that will be connected to it must be shown on the drawing.
  • External water taps.
  • Fitting in the kitchens. Co-ordination between the kitchen manufacturer and plumber is essential.

Sanitaryware and fittings

  • Clearly define by supplier code and description. The following table describes well detailed sanitaryware schedule. 
  • All items should be clearly marked on specification as to where they will be fitted in the structure.


  • External and internal plaster.
  • Screeds.
  • Special features.
  • A sample panel should always be used on site. 

Kitchen and Cupboards

  • A specialist supplier should be used to detail these items, A provisional amount is usually allowed.
  • Final electrical points should be determined after the kitchen has been designed.

Ceilings and Insulation

  • Describe the type of ceiling and insulation by room.
  • Finish to ceilings, e.g. Rhinolite, paint.
  • Ceiling heights.
  • Type of cornices per room.
  • Position trap doors.


  • Locks and door handles per door.
  • Towel rails and rings and exact position for fitting.
  • Type of curtain tracks.
  • Specify specialised fittings.


  • Skirtings and quadrants.
  • Medicine cabinets.
  • Mirrors.
  • Special features.

Wall and Floor Tiling

  • Type of tile per room.
  • Height of wall tiling.
  • Soap dishes, toilet roll holder and positions.
  • When allowing a labour amount for tiling per m2 the quantity to be laid must be specified. When ordering tiles, wastage must be added.
  • Colour grouting.
  • Special features and patterns.


  • Type of paint, e.g. enamel, PVA, acrylic.
  • Refer to the table below:


  • Floor levels specified for different flooring thickness.
  • Type per room.

Associated Trades

  • Paving.
  • Swimming pools and water features.
  • Boreholes.
  • Wash lines.
  • Solar heating.
  • Alarms, security systems and intercom’s.
  • Fencing and precast walling.
  • Landscaping.
  • Awnings.
  • Staircases and balustrades.
  • Air conditioning.
  • Garage doors.
  • Gates and metalwork.

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