Updates from ASLA

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Updates from the ASLA MasterSpec Landscape Architecture Review Committee

By Phillip L. McDade FASLA, ASLA MasterSpec Landscape Architecture Review Committee Chair

The ASLA MasterSpec Landscape Architecture Review Committee (MLARC) members were appointed by ASLA in November 2020 and volunteer their time in support of MasterSpec®, a product of the American Institute of Architects (AIA). The MLARC is one of a handful of review committees charged by AIA with the review of MasterSpec sections and related materials in an advisory role to AIA and Deltek. The committees review specification sections scheduled for updating, new sections, and other selected documents developed by Deltek for distribution to MasterSpec Licensed Users. Deltek is the company that produces MasterSpec, while rights to MasterSpec are owned by AIA. In addition to architects, review committees consist of mechanical and electrical engineers from across the country.

The 2020-2022 ASLA MLARC committee members included:
Phillip L. McDade FASLA, Chair

Patty King, ASLA
Wight and Company

Glen Phillips, ASLA

Thomas Ryan, FASLA
Ryan Associates

Gaylan Williams, ASLA
Design Workshop

Jennifer Wong, ASLA
Central Park Conservancy

MasterSpec specification sections must be responsive to the changing needs of the design professions and to the changing technology of the construction industry, according to the discipline represented in each section. The MasterSpec library contains 11 sections designated as landscape architectural specifications as well as 14 others that touch on aspects of landscape architecture.

The committee’s work began in 2021 with an assessment of current MasterSpec sections in need of revision as well as orientation of the review and revision process, facilitated by Deltek. Full committee meetings occur three times per year and each committee meeting is immediately followed by separate section meetings of the architects, various engineering disciplines, and landscape architects. These periodic meetings may span two days, dependent upon the workloads of the subcommittees. Prior to each meeting, technical specifications scheduled for review are provided to subcommittee members. Using Bluebeam, committee members provided comments and suggested edits for each section under review. This allows the entire committee and Deltek technical writer to review the sections during our subcommittee time.

Our ASLA committee spent the first few months on Zoom meetings getting to know one another and discussing existing technical specification sections in need of updating as well as the need for new sections. A list of 15 specification sections, in addition to two sections identified as needing clarification, were submitted to Deltek. As of September 2022, the following MasterSpec sections have been reviewed by the committee:

Section #Section Name
015639 Temporary Tree & Plant Protection
077273 Vegetated Roof Systems **
321813 Synthetic Grass Surfacing
329300 Plants
329600 Transplanting
312000 Earth Moving
321400 Unit Paving
321443 Porous Unit Paving
321313 Concrete Paving
321316 Decorative Concrete Paving

** The MLARC submitted an inquiry as to why Vegetated Roof Systems was included in Division 07 – Thermal and Moisture Protection rather than Division 32 – Exterior Improvements. Deltek is forwarding the question to the Construction Specifications Institute, which sets industry standards for organizing specifications and other written information for commercial and institutional building projects in the U.S. and Canada via MasterFormat, a product of CSI.

Every quarter, Deltek issues published MasterSpec revisions to licensed users.

Landscape architecture section updates are scheduled with MLARC input along with MasterSpec licensed user demand and other factors as determined by Deltek. The MLARC would like to solicit suggestions and questions from ASLA membership regarding updates to technical specifications or requests for new technical specifications related to the practice of landscape architecture. Please contact Katie Riddle, ASLA, PLA, SITES AP, Director, Professional Practice,

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