Performance-Based Specifications

The concept of basing a project specification on the way in which the end product performs rather than on the methodology for creating the product has been around for decades. Take a highway pavement for example. Rather than specify the materials, the percent compaction, the minimum placement temperature, the type of roller, etc. a transportation agency can specify how long they want the pavement to be serviceable without cracking or rutting before it has to be overlaid or replaced.

The same can apply to 3D laser scanning. Rather than specify the methods for acquiring data, locating control, the types of targets, how to register and model the data the contract specifications could spell out the way in which they expect the data to perform in supporting a specific workflow.

This would seem to offer the contractor greater flexibility and room for innovation. The challenge is specifying the performance in an unambiguous manner. Any suggestions?



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1 Response to Performance-Based Specifications

  1. charles smith says:

    I totally agree. When you are dealing with clients in the private field, they typically don’t care about the methods, only the results. When you deal with public entities, they typically “spec it” to death. Only the latest and greatest will do thinking that that will insure the best result. The difference? Private companies typically will check the work and reject if bad, use you again if good. Public entities will typically not check the work thoroughly and even if they do and it is bad, will not bring the producer to heel but rather “bury’ it to avoid the mess and to be fair to them, the huge amount of internal BS they will have to go through to get it fixed. Low bid brings out the worst examples.

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