The Construction Specifications Institute(CSI) recently announced the outlines of an industry-wide education program being developed to aid the commercial/institutional construction industry's transition to the groundbreaking 2004 edition of MasterFormat™, North America's predominant standard for organizing specifications and other information for construction projects.

In anticipation of the release of MasterFormat 2004, this year CSI will launch an education initiative for two groups: MasterFormat users and prospective instructors.

Two types of MasterFormat education programs are being developed:

  • Customized Education Programs - CSI will offer education programs directly for groups of MasterFormat users - architectural, engineering, and construction firms, government agencies, corporations, and others. The program will address the differences between MasterFormat's 1995 and 2004 editions, best-practice concepts for the new edition, and the use of its section numbers and titles directly affecting a particular organization.
  • The MasterFormat Accredited Instructor Program - The program's objective is to prepare people from various segments of the industry to teach others about MasterFormat's 2004 edition. Using CSI-supplied materials, accredited instructors will conduct education tailored to the needs of their particular constituencies, including architects, specialty contractors, product suppliers, owners, and others.

Education programs about MasterFormat's 2004 edition also are being developed for The 49th Annual CSI Show & Convention, taking place April 20-23, 2005 in Chicago.

"Without question, MasterFormat's 2004 edition is going to make project delivery and the management of construction information far more efficient once users become familiar with it. Because the new edition is the most extensive rewrite in MasterFormat's history, CSI is working full bore, in consultation with a variety of industry groups, on an education program designed to make the learning curve and the transition as short as possible for all the disciplines involved in delivering construction projects," said CSI executive director Karl F. Borgstrom, Ph.D.

MasterFormat 2004 education programs also are being developed specially for selected CSI members. One program will train members as MasterFormat Accredited Instructors. Plans call for holding the program twice during 2005, including a session at CSI's Annual Convention & Exhibit in Chicago. Special participation fees will be available for one member from each CSI chapter.

Another CSI member education program, now downloadable from the Chapters section of CSI's website (, is available to provide people at their local chapter meetings an overview of MasterFormat's new edition.

Functioning as the "Dewey Decimal System" for construction information, MasterFormat is divided into divisions, and each division is composed of sections. The 2004 edition has additional divisions and many more sections. That enables specifications, the written instructions for construction projects, to address spectacular advances in construction technology since the 1995 edition. The new edition also enables specifications to better address building owners' evolving construction priorities such as security, life safety, and environmentally responsible facilities.

The new MasterFormat's section numbers and their titles (plus errata) are downloadable at no charge from CSI's website.