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SSPC: The Society for Protective Coatings

40 24th Street, 6th Floor • Pittsburgh, PA 15222-4656
Copyright 2011

SSPC Preparing and Using Protective Coating Specifications Aug. 2011

SSPC: The Society for Protective Coatings

Preparing and Using Protective Coating

For many decades, some owners and engineers have considered protective coatings as
“incidental” work not requiring any specialized expertise. With the changes that have
occurred in protective coatings in the past 60+ years, we know that treating coatings as
incidental work can produce costly errors. Up until the designation of hazardous
materials in paint, such as lead, chromium, cadmium, arsenic, it was common for owners
to allow contractors to scrape and paint with primers containing one or more of these
materials, and expect years of good service. Those paints were frequently used for
protection of steel structures because they worked, and they were generally one-part
materials that did not require careful mixing of multiple components, Parts A and B for
instance. Those days are gone, and the replacement coatings are much more complicated
in formulation, in surface preparation requirements, in mixing, and in application and
curing. There is less room for error in using high performance industrial coatings today.

The purpose of this report is to describe some best practices for preparing and
administering a quality specification for application of high performance protective
coatings and linings to industrial structures. This report focuses on developing an
appropriate set of requirements for applying coatings and linings to obtain maximum
coating system performance, service life, and protection of substrates in the prevailing
service environment. A well-prepared and administered specification will help ensure
that the selected contractor performs the work according to the specification requirements
in the allotted time.

This report focuses on the preparation and administration of specifications for

competitively bid contracts, frequently called “low bid” contracts. This is the most
common type of contract, at least in the public sector, and is widely seen throughout the
coating community. Competitively bid contracts are generally the most difficult for
which to develop specifications (more detail required), and arguably, are the most
difficult to administer, although when designed and administered appropriately, they can
produce consistent, predictable, and cost-effective results. This report is also applicable to
direct selection, best value, and other negotiated contracts, but some tailoring of the
requirements discussed herein may be prudent.

The primary audience for this report includes facility owners, both public and private,
coating program managers and engineers, and architecture-engineering firms responsible
for preparing coatings specifications for clients. However, all parties involved in coating
contracts can benefit from the information presented in this report.

SSPC Preparing and Using Protective Coating Specifications Aug. 2011

This report does not cover the formatting of the specification document. It instead,
permits specification preparers to use their own formats as long as the requirements are
presented logically and systematically so that its users can readily find them. Also, this
report does not cover contract language intended to manage risk. However, all the
recommendations included in this report should be considered by the designer
(specification writer) based upon knowledge of the project (competent design) and
risk/reward factors dictated by cost and other restrictions imposed by the specific project.

This document does not provide legal advice. It is instead intended to serve as a guide for
the creation of a coating specification. This document and any associated educational
information are only offered as a general discussion of the subject matter and do not
purport to offer legal advice. It is strongly recommended that the designer seek the
assistance of competent local legal counsel prior to final dissemination or use.

This report is composed of two parts and four appendices:

• Part I. The Contracting Environment

• Part II. Items Commonly Required in Coating Specifications
• Appendix A. Itemized Checklist of Important Items to go into a Specification
for Coating Steel/Concrete
• Appendix B. Glossary of Words or Terms as Used in This Report (that may
not be familiar with all readers and may be used differently by different
• Appendix C. Description of CSI/CSC Division and Section Formats
• Appendix D. Guidance for Developing a Coating Condition Survey (CCS)
• Appendix E. Other Resources.

SSPC Preparing and Using Protective Coating Specifications Aug. 2011

Part I. The Contracting Environment

Types of Coating and Lining Contracts

To be effective, a well-designed coating specification must take into account the field
conditions in which the specification will function. Thus it is important to consider both
the types of contracts and the roles of contracting parties in the construction contracting

A construction contract is a written legal agreement between two or more competent

parties, usually an owner and a contractor, in which an offer for conducting coating work
is made and accepted. It provides benefits for all parties.

A coating specification is that part of a coating contract that details the qualitative and
quantitative requirements of the process and finished product. The contractor is required
to provide the specified product and no more without receiving additional compensation.

There are many types and variations of contracts used in the construction industry,
including the coating industry. For purposes of this report, contracts will be divided into
two groups:

• Competitive-bid
• Negotiated

Competitive Bid. A competitive -bid contract, also known as Design-Bid-Build (DBB),

is a type of contract in which the contractor who quotes the lowest acceptable price is
awarded the contract. With such a contract, there is little or no chance for reward with
negotiated follow-on work, so the contractor has little to no incentive for providing more
than minimal completion of contract requirements. Nor should the prudent owner expect
more. This is the most common type of contract used for coating work, as it can result in
the lowest cost for the desired work.

Negotiated. A negotiated contract can have any of a large number of types and options,
generally ranging from direct selection (no competition) through many forms of
competitive negotiation. A negotiated contract permits more of a partnering relationship
between the owner and the contractor. This type of contract is likely to be easier to
administer, and the results are more likely to be closer to full contract conformance. But
this does not diminish the need for proactive contract administration. Actual contract
performance will be a function of the contractor’s quality management system and intent
to satisfy the customer. Such a relationship may be more beneficial to both parties than a
competitive-bid contract, which sometimes becomes adversarial in nature.

Creating a Level Playing Field

There are many types of contracts to address many different purposes and owner
processes. The competitive bidding process is generally thought by public agencies to be

SSPC Preparing and Using Protective Coating Specifications Aug. 2011

the most equitable way to distribute public contracting funds. That assumption, however,
is only valid when the entire process is fair to all potential bidders. This fair process
creates the “level playing field.” that nearly every owner desires to find, and most
contractors wish for when bidding on jobs., Such fairness is difficult to develop,
implement, and maintain in the real world; however, designing a good specification can
help work toward achieving a more equitable contracting environment.

A level playing field will exist in any owner’s contracting environment when its contract
requirements are equitably, equally, and totally enforced. All bidders must know and
believe they will be held responsible to meet all contract requirements. Then, contractors
who are fully qualified will be encouraged to bid, and those not fully qualified will be
discouraged from bidding. A level playing field encourages contractors to be more
efficient in all aspects of planning and executing work. It can even result in an improved
owner-contractor relationship by establishing a good working environment.

Writing a specification that cannot or will not be enforced defeats the purpose of striving
for an equitable contracting environment. Working with competitive-bid contracts can be
challenging but it is possible to overcome the drawbacks by developing a better
awareness of the issues . Identifying and addressing the root causes of competitive
bidding problems and writing your specification to close gaps and potential loopholes
will most likely enhance project success.

Roles of the Contracting Parties

The agreement between the facility owner and the contractor is typically one in which the
contractor will perform the specified requirements and the owner will pay the contract

The Owner’s Role

The owner should:

• Develop a complete and unambiguous description of the work detailing the
desired product
• Provide pro-active administration and enforcement of the project requirements,
including timely Quality Assurance (QA) action
• Coordinate actions
• Professionally manage the project while ensuring coordination and cooperation so
that others perform their responsibilities in an appropriate and timely fashion and
in a friendly manner

Key Elements for Success. Key elements of the specification that give the owner the
best chance of hiring the lowest responsible bidder who will likely fulfill all contract
requirements are:

• Hiring a contractor with an established quality management system (QMS) (e.g.,

SSPC QP Contractor Certification, ISO 9001, etc.)

SSPC Preparing and Using Protective Coating Specifications Aug. 2011

• Requiring performance and payment bonds for the full cost of the project
provided by a rated insurance company
• Establishing comprehensive quality control (QC) requirements (i.e., require the
use of qualified QC personnel, as well as a qualified work force of blasters and
painters or other craft workers) and the means to assure compliance
• Requiring a detailed Work Plan such as that described by Brandon and Damiano
in the Journal of Protective Coatings and Linings (“Work Plan: Use It or Lose It,”
JPCL, June 2011, pp. 14-19)
* Implementing Corrective Action throughout the job, including timely response to
program weaknesses and elimination of the causes of nonconformities

Competent Design. The design must be accurate and complete so that contractors can
properly estimate the cost of full contract conformance. Even so, depending on market
variables, competitive bidding can encourage some level of betting on what estimate will
win the job rather than bidding the cost of full performance. The specification and its
administration must be very strict for competitive bid contracts, because “hungry”
contractors may bid low to obtain the contract and plan to make up differences with add-
ons, or, even worse, by “cutting corners” to be sure to make a profit. Owners should be
wary of estimates that are significantly below their estimated cost of full performance. An
extremely low bid, say 20-25% lower than the second low bidder, will likely indicate that
the contractor failed to take all requirements into account, or that the specification was
vague or incomplete. Another reason for developing a good specification is that it reduces
the chance of getting wildly low bids.

The designer, generally an architect or engineer, is charged with creating a competent

design for the project that will result in the desired product, and includes all of the
information needed for each potential bidder to estimate costs and prepare a competitive
bid. The designer may be an employee of a large organization or an independent
contractor hired by the owner. The designer may, in turn, hire coating or other specialists
to assist in unfamiliar phases of the specification. The designer’s chief responsibility is to
establish and convey project requirements in the specification. The designer should also
be responsible for continuous review of all requests for information involving all
technical issues, as well as all submittals, to ensure that the specification is being properly

With a well-written and executed specification, the owner is much more likely to receive
the desired product within the established time and price. However, if the specification is
weak, vague, ambiguous or incomplete, the owner may encounter one or more of these

• Withdrawal of bid invitation to correct project specification deficiencies

• Unrealistically high or low bids
• Bids from unqualified contactors
• Costly change orders for additional work
• Change orders because of different interpretations of specification requirements
• Costly delays resulting from disputes

SSPC Preparing and Using Protective Coating Specifications Aug. 2011

• Very costly litigation

• Defaulted contracts

Pre-Bid Conference. For large contracts, it is a good practice for owners to hold pre-bid
conferences for potential bidders. Here, the owner presents the specification and
describes the scope of work. The participants may ask for additional information about
the project and specification requirements, and owners should answer questions as
appropriate, and provide those answers to all potential bidders. Participants are frequently
given the opportunity to tour the work site (if available) with the owner to become
familiar with it. Potential bidders are allowed to take measurements and photographs and
ask questions concerning the work. Holding an informative pre-bid conference may result
in more realistic bids with a narrower bidding range. Owners may also require the
contractor who is awarded the contract to inspect the work site and all conditions
affecting the work, review all contract documents, and then submit any errors, omissions,
or other discrepancies within a certain period of time, such as 30 days after award.

Pre-Construction Meeting. The owner should hold a pre-construction conference with

the selected contractor, QC and QA personnel, and other interested personnel as soon as
possible after the award of the contract. This ensures that all participants have the same
understanding of requirements and administrative procedures to be followed. Scheduling
and safety requirements can be discussed also. Ideally, the approved Work Plan will be
discussed at the conference, but it can just as effectively be discussed at a separate pre-
work meeting if timing is an issue.

Qualifications of Personnel for Planning and Specifying Coating Work. Facility

owners must exercise due diligence when choosing personnel, both in-house and
consultants, for all coatings-related work. SSPC supports owners hiring qualified coating
specialists or having persons become qualified through SSPC and other industry
programs. More information about the SSPC Protective Coatings Specialist (PCS)
Program can be found here:
Program/ In addition, JPCL/PaintSquare maintains a list of coating industry consultants.

Role of the Contractor in Producing Quality Products

Payment for Work Completed. The contractor is responsible for planning, scheduling,
and producing work that conforms to all contract requirements. The contractor is also
required to provide objective evidence of conformity (documentation) of completed work
to project requirements when tendering for work to date. The fact that invoices are
allowed to contain projected work rather than actual work to date seems to confound
many administrators in their attempts to ensure payment for work based on objective
evidence of conformity, but there are ways to handle this. Some owners may choose to
either audit invoices for evidence of conformity a month or two in arrears, or to require
contractors to provide this traceability through logs or other methods. Other owners may
choose to make a one-time extra payment at the beginning of the project to compensate
for the extra delays associated with payment for evidence of conformity. There may be

SSPC Preparing and Using Protective Coating Specifications Aug. 2011

other ways as well, but the intent is to keep all parties focused on paying only for
documented conformity.

Subcontractors. Even on large construction contracts, the coating portion may comprise
only a small part of the work. When a subcontractor is used for specialized work such as
coating, the prime contractor must provide documentation that the qualifications of the
coating subcontractor are equal to those of the prime contractor, or as specified. Some
prime contractors may shop around for the cheapest subcontractors available for different
parts of project work without considering their capabilities for providing quality work.
This is a bad practice, because the prime contractor is responsible for all requirements of
the project contract. This practice will likely become less of an issue where bidding is
done in a known environment with a level playing field, as subcontractor bids to prime
contractors will be both responsive to all contract requirements and competitive in price
based on efficiencies.

The prime contractor should also have a separate contract containing appropriate
submittals with the subcontractor that will ensure that all project requirements will be
met. In the event that there is a conflict between the requirements of the owner’s contract
and the subcontractor’s contract, a dispute is likely to arise. Thus, both the contractor and
subcontractor should be familiar with the terms of the contract between the owner and the
prime contractor and that between the prime contractor and subcontractor.

Prime contractors must provide subcontractors with scheduling and sequencing

information to avoid interference among different trades. They must also provide
subcontractors with notice of any changes made to scheduling and sequencing that may
occur during project production. The Prime must inform subcontractors of any
communications between the prime and the owner that may affect the subcontractor’s

Vague Specification Requirements. Coating contractors like to bid on well-prepared

project specifications because it is easier for them to determine the amount and quality of
work required, and thus, easier to prepare a realistic and accurate bid. A few contractors
may look for errors or vague requirements in a coating specification that will require
change orders. Then, they may decide to bid low to get the contract and hope to make up
for the money they “left on the table” through change orders and extras. This is an unwise
practice that can be prevented by a clear, complete specification and good contract

Requests for Information (RFI). There are often contract clauses that require
contractors to review plans and specifications and request clarification where necessary,
and advise the owner of errors, omissions, or other contract deficiencies where
appropriate, before work begins. A request for information (RFI) may be used to ask for
clarification of vagueness in requirements or apparent work conflicts or discrepancies.
Contractors should include procedures for the RFI process in their QC plans. RFIs should
never be used for requesting contract deviations.

SSPC Preparing and Using Protective Coating Specifications Aug. 2011

Role of the Inspector in Producing Quality Products

Requirements for inspection come in many variations, and inspectors may be hired by the
owner, the contractor, the engineer, or some combination of these. The owner may or
may not specify qualifications for the contractor’s inspectors (referred to as QC
inspectors hereafter), and may or may not hire Quality Assurance (QA) inspectors to
monitor the contractor’s Quality Control (QC)/QA inspection and documentation.
Regardless of the QC and QA inspection functions, the owner should specify
requirements for inspection and documentation. If the contractor is to document
conformity to all requirements, this should be clear in the specification. It is
recommended that the owner base payment obligations on objective quality evidence
(OQE) of conformity to all requirements. This must be coordinated with procedures for

Inspector Responsibilities. The coating QC inspector is responsible for:

(1) observing production work as it is being done;
(2) assessing the conformity of the work to project requirements as described in the
Work Plan; and
(3) documenting and timely reporting of results of the inspection to others in either
the QC program or the QA program if the QA process includes hold point

Inspectors should not be responsible for final acceptance or rejection of work unless
specifically assigned this responsibility and qualified for this task. Quite often, the final
accept/reject function requires knowledge and experience beyond that required of
inspector certification programs. Making accept/reject decisions are more suited to
Protective Coating Specialists (PCS) certifications, or other qualifications.

To assume that a certified coating inspector has the capability to properly represent the
owner’s interests may be unfair to both the inspector and the owner. A final accept/reject
decision by unqualified personnel can do more harm than good in terms of incentivizing
appropriate contractor behavior, or in providing the desired work product.

Regardless of employment arrangements and assigned duties, inspectors are expected to

provide honest, unbiased data in reporting of tests and observations that are specified for
determining conformance of the work. The required inspections, tests and observations
from the project specification and referenced documents should be incorporated into the
Inspection & Test Plan as a part of the Work Plan.

SSPC Preparing and Using Protective Coating Specifications Aug. 2011

Legal Concerns in Coating Contracts

Because coating contracts are legal documents, it is important to consider various legal
concerns when writing the specification and drawing up the contract. A contracts attorney
should review the final contract with special attention to:

(1) Full performance - conformity to all contract requirements.

(2) Breach of contract - nonconformity to some or all portions of a contract

(3) Substantial completion - project condition in which nonconformance is not

material to the performance, breach is unintentional, and should be subject to
a price credit for all value not received.

(4) Claims - Assertions for a right, such as money or property, as part of a legal

(5) Mechanics liens - Security interests in the title to property for the benefit of
those who have supplied labor or materials that improve the property.

(6) Alternative Dispute Resolution – Identifying processes or systems designed to

resolve disputes between parties without going into litigation, or detailing the
drafting parties preferences including venue and jurisdiction if litigation is

(7) Indemnification - Agreement to compensate or reimburse someone for

damages incurred as a result of the act of another.

(8) Affirmative action - Policy designed to redress past discrimination against

women and minority groups through measures to improve their economic and
educational opportunities.

A well-written specification should eliminate or minimize the issues discussed below.

Contract Deviations. Deviations (often called variances) are changes to contract

requirements. Contractor requests for deviations should be submitted during the
solicitation process when they can best be addressed by addenda to the specification.
Otherwise, requests for deviation should be submitted early in the planning process.

Requests for deviation (DFS) should be made by the contractor in the production phase
only when unforeseen conditions are discovered that could not have been identified prior
to production.

Differing Site Conditions (Site Variation). Owners should inform potential contractors
of all site conditions that may affect the project cost or production before bidding begins

SSPC Preparing and Using Protective Coating Specifications Aug. 2011

or provide for a full and unfettered site investigation. Thus, it can be critical to provide all
bidders the opportunity to inspect the work site, where feasible, before submitting their

After production begins, the contractor may discover work site conditions that differ
materially from those indicated in the specification and could not have been identified
during the planning process. The contractor should be required to inform the owner of
this within a reasonable time frame, so that these conditions may be promptly addressed.
Differing site conditions are often a cause of contract disputes and litigation.

Specification Nonconformance. A nonconformity is some element of interim or final

work that fails to completely meet all contract requirements. A nonconformity usually
requires rework or repair. In some cases, a nonconformity may be disposed of in a
manner that may preclude rework or repair, based on the recommendation of the PCS. A
properly prepared specification will reduce the potential for nonconformance and thus
minimize costs for rework and delays.

Corrective and Preventive Action

A set of tools to be used during contract performance has proven to be particularly

effective in minimizing the occurrence and recurrence of nonconformities with the
specification. When properly used, this set of tools, Corrective Action (CA) and
Preventive Action (PA), can keep the contractor focused on producing conforming work.
It is wise to consider these tools as a good mechanism for obtaining quality work rather
than a means of contract enforcement.

CA identifies the root cause of a nonconformity, takes steps to eliminate it, and then
follows up to ensure that the nonconformity does not recur. Corrective Action is initiated
through a Corrective Action Request (CAR) which may be prepared by the inspector or
other individual involved in the project QC or QA process. It is tracked on a
Nonconforming Work Log, or similar document, and on a Corrective Action Log, to
ensure that the problem is satisfactorily resolved and that appropriate action is taken. The
correction and repair procedures taken by the contractor should be those prescribed in the
specification or as recommended by the coating manufacturer and/or an established
industry practice, and documented.

While CA is reactive in nature (responding to identified nonconforming work), PA is

proactive in nature. It makes use of knowledge and past experience to prevent
nonconformities from occurring in the first place. PA is initiated, managed, and tracked
through preventive action requests (PARs) in much the same manner that is done for
Corrective Action. A PAR may be initiated by anyone who sees an opportunity to prevent
a potential action that would require CA. Health and safety programs and safety
incentives are good examples of PAs that have had good payoff.

CA/PA clauses can be specified in the project specification or in the QMS standard. For
instance, SSPC QP series contractor certifications require project-specific Work Plans,

SSPC Preparing and Using Protective Coating Specifications Aug. 2011

Corrective Action, and other requirements that are pertinent to the contract administrator.
If an owner has specific requirements that tend to overlap QP series requirements, it is the
contractor’s responsibility to harmonize the requirements to avoid any conflicting
requirements. The ideal place to do this is in the Work Plan.

Basic Expectations from a Contractor’s Quality Management System (QMS)

A quality management system addresses the principles and processes surrounding the
design, development, and delivery of a general product or service. Specifying a QMS
standard as a preliminary requirement of the contractor sets up a process of organized
activities to meet established goals.

The owner should have expectations from the contractor concerning the work to be
accomplished. The most important expectation is that only work conforming to the
specification will be tendered. More specific expectations of contractors obligated to a
QMS include but are not be limited to:

(1) Reviewing the specification for discrepancies, omissions, and conflicting


(2) Performing complete project planning and submitting a Work Plan or series of
process control procedures (PCPs) to the owner.

(3) Verifying conforming work through inspection, process control, or a

combination thereof.

(4) Producing documentation of conforming work (objective evidence of


(5) Identifying and addressing all nonconformities through Corrective Action.

(6) Submitting certifications of contractor and craft-worker personnel.

(7) Submitting qualifications of personnel doing planning and preparation.

(8) Complying with laws and regulations governing the project.

(9) Submitting written requests for deviations from project requirements, as

necessary. (No oral agreements to changes should ever be made.)

The QMS concept is based on proven relationships between planning processes and
satisfactory results and promotes continual improvement to build on the planning process.
The intent of the QMS is to ensure that the contractor’s initial planning and preparation
and its verification efforts are designed to achieve conforming work.

SSPC Preparing and Using Protective Coating Specifications Aug. 2011

Coordination of Contract Participants to Obtain Quality Work

As discussed in this section, obtaining a work product conforming to all contract

requirements in a timely manner is best achieved by setting up a process that establishes a
level playing field and holds all parties to a contract accountable:

(1) The designer must prepare a specification that describes all requirements in a
readily understandable manner that is realistic and achievable.

(2) The owner must provide complete information for potential bidders to
estimate costs, ensure fairness in the bidding and the contract administration

(3) The contractor must collect all contract requirements from the contract
documents, referenced documents, secondary references in referenced
documents, and any other pertinent documents, such as best practices. From
this information the contractor must develop a Work Plan that describes all
processes that will be used to create conforming product, and all inspection
and documentation requirements.

(4) The contractor must use the Work Plan as a continuous working document, all
work must be inspected to the Work Plan requirements.

(5) Supervisors and production workers must understand all requirements and
have the ability, equipment, and incentive to meet all requirements for
processes in each phase of the work.

(6) Inspectors must verify that the work meets all specification requirements. All
nonconformities must be documented, tracked, and either corrected or
resolved through contract change order. A Nonconformity Log can facilitate

(7) Owner quality assurance (QA) personnel should audit the documentation
prepared by the inspectors and periodically conduct observations, as deemed
necessary, to ensure that documentation of all work is complete. If the latter is
not the case, use the Corrective Action system to address the documentation
deficiencies and any other identified issues. A Corrective Action Request
(CAR) Log can facilitate tracking.

SSPC Preparing and Using Protective Coating Specifications Aug. 2011

Part II. Items Commonly Required in

Coating Specifications
Part I described the contract environment and outlined tools that the specification
developer (designer) can use to develop specifications that provide the owner with the
best chance of success for competitive bid coating contracts. Part II lists key elements of
the specification and describes their functions.

Coordination Requirements

To be fully effective, the technical specifications must be coordinated with the owner’s
“front-end” documents, as well as the general requirements for each project. The front-
end documents, such as General Conditions, Additional General Conditions, Special
Conditions, etc., establish the legal contracting environment, and the general
requirements, designated as Division I requirements by the Construction Specification
Institute (CSI), apply to all technical specifications. Division I specification Sections
include such requirements as Submittals, Payment Procedures, Site Conditions, Quality
Control, Environmental Protection Requirements, and many more.

Foundation of the Specification

Coating specifications, as with most technical specifications for construction work, can
be very complex documents, even without considering the thousands of seemingly
mundane issues that are encountered on every project. Many specifications do not try to
cover all of the routine issues, but most industries have developed standards for these
routine issues. The coating industry, for instance, has covered many of these issues for
coating of industrial steel structures in SSPC PA 1 Shop, Field, and Maintenance Printing
of Steel. Each coating specification for steel structures should start with SSPC PA 1 as
the foundation, and modify as needed or add to it as necessary to create a complete
specification that gives both the contract administrator and the contractor a complete
description of requirements. SSPC PA 7 should be similarly used for concrete structures.

Key Elements

Scope of Project. Specifications should have introductions that describe the general
scope of the project to prospective bidders. It should cover requirements for furnishing all
of the required materials, labor, equipment, and tools for the surface preparation,
application, and inspection work for the project. It should also provide a description of
the project location and may include a map or plan of the work area. No project
requirements should be included in the scope. Each project requirement should be located
in its appropriate area of the specification and nowhere else. This minimizes confusion to
persons using the specification. Enough information should be presented in the scope
section to permit potential bidders to determine whether they are interested in
investigating the proposed project further.

SSPC Preparing and Using Protective Coating Specifications Aug. 2011

Areas to be Coated and Not to be Coated. The specification must define all of the areas
that are to be coated and all of the areas that are not to be coated in order for the
contractor to understand the full scope of the project. Areas not to be coated may have to
be masked, and, if other areas are added after start of the production, the owner may be
required to provide additional funding.

Site Access and Storage Area. The owner must provide contractor personnel with
access to the work site. Work areas often have limited access because of security or
safety concerns or the presence of other conditions such as vehicular traffic, close
proximity to the public, or the presence of other trades. Also, sufficient area must be
provided for the contractor to store required equipment and materials.

Site Investigation Clause. When the contract documents fully describe the project’s
existing conditions, the importance of site investigation prior to submitting bids can be
diminished, because bids are more likely to be representative of costs of performing the
work and it is less likely that differing site condition claims will arise. It is reasonable to
require qualified bidders to identify errors, omissions, and other contract discrepancies
they find prior to submitting bids, but this is difficult to administer. A reasonable
alternative is to require the contractor to advise the contract administrator of any errors,
omissions, and other contract discrepancies, other than those that cannot be anticipated or
identified without special access, within a reasonable time after submission of bids, such
as 30 days.

References/Applicable Documents. A reference section of the specification should

provide a listing of all documents (e.g., test procedures) cited in the specification and no
others. References to other reading materials of interest will only create confusion as they
might be considered as a specification requirement. The listed documents form a part of
the specification, to the extent described in the specification. Because the requirements in
the referenced standards or documents are incorporated into the contract and become
enforceable contract requirements, designers must read and know what they say. They
should not be used as a “catch-all” just in case the designer might have left something
out. Designers should also be aware that some of the information in the standards may be
contradictory or in conflict with other standards and thereby create ambiguities that may
be interpreted against the drafter.

Technical organizations that provide standards and other guidance relevant to coating
projects include but are not limited to:

• ASTM (American Society for Testing and Materials) for test procedures
• API (American Petroleum Institute) for fuel tanks and appurtenances
• AWWA (American Water Works Association) for water tanks and appurtenances
• FHWA (Federal Highway Administration) for bridge and highway structures
• NACE International for metal corrosion
• NSF (National Sanitation Foundation) for potable water tank interiors
• SSPC (The Society for Protective Coatings) for guidance in coating operations

SSPC Preparing and Using Protective Coating Specifications Aug. 2011

Precedence of Documents. If required, this section of the specification sets an order of

precedence in the event there is a conflict or an ambiguity between contract documents.
Some owners use General Conditions or Special Conditions in the “front-end” documents
to describe precedence.

Approved submittals usually supersede specifications, unless stated otherwise; however,

many owners require that all deviations embedded in submittals be separately identified
in special submittals called Requests for Deviation, or similar. It is also good practice to
require that any work encumbered by a pending Request for Deviation in submittals be
identified as such in each applicable submittal.

Definitions. A definition section of the specification should include definitions of all

words and terms used in the specification that are not universally understood. Local
workers often use terms that are not understood by workers in other geographical areas.
Industry standard definitions such as those in SSPC’s Protective Coatings Glossary are
normally preferred to those of governmental organizations, because they are more widely
used in the coatings industry.

Submittals. Submittals are the required documents, information or products (samples)

for owner or designer review to assure conformity with the specification. Paint submittals
are typically required to ensure the contractor is intending to use the specified products in
accord with the manufacturer’s recommendations and the specifications so that if there
are any conflicts between the specifications and the manufacturer’s recommendations,
they can be reconciled before the work proceeds.

A submittal section of the specification requires the contractor to regulate the timely flow
of materials and documents used on the project and ensure their compliance with
specification requirements. Some of the submittals require submission in time for owner
review in time for procurement, delivery, and contractor QC of materials and equipment
before initiating the production. Other submittals document the progress and quality of
the production work to date.

Typical coating project submittals required prior to initiation of production include but
are not limited to:

• Manufacturer’s product data sheets for materials to be used

• Manufacturer’s material safety data sheets for materials to be used
• Samples of specified liquid coatings
• Coating draw-down films (cured films of uniform thickness applied to cardboard
or other substrates)
• Any required permits, access rights, etc.
• Procedures for procuring samples of coating for laboratory testing
• Procedures for procuring samples of abrasives for laboratory testing
• Laboratory test results
• Certificates of product conformity to specification

SSPC Preparing and Using Protective Coating Specifications Aug. 2011

• Project-specific Work Plan (or series of process control procedures [PCPs] to be

utilized by the contractor for the specific project)
• Project-specific safety, health, and environmental protection plan
• Containment drawings (SSPC Guide 6)
• Warranty

Typical coating project submittals required after initiation of production include but are
not limited to:

• Requests for information (RFI) log

• Contract change order log
• Submittal log
• Daily production reports (including safety reports)
• Daily inspection and test reports
• Corrective Action Requests (CARs)
• Nonconformity log
• CA log
• PA log
• Other reports that would provide meaningful data

Safety and Health Plans. SSPC PA Guide 10 Guide to Safety and Health Requirements
for Industrial Painting Projects provides guidance, including sample contract language,
for specifying safety and health requirements for contractors. SSPC Guide 17 Guide to
Developing a Corporate Safety Program for Industrial Painting and Coating Contractors
is also usable by owners to evaluate contractors’ safety programs. Again, these
documents should be reviewed by the owner or designer to ensure they are appropriate
for inclusion in the contract documents.

Work Plan and Process Control Procedures (PCPs). A Work Plan is a written
document containing a list of all actions and procedures, assembled in logical sequence
that describes all steps necessary for the contractor to produce a finished product
conforming to all specification requirements. It translates the requirements of the
specification into a series of steps for field implementation. It provides to the contractor’s
staff the ability to plan and prepare to accomplish cost effective production within the
schedule and in accordance with project requirements. It also provides the owner’s staff
with the ability to review submittals and understand the contractor’s intended processes.

The Work Plan also permits but is not limited to scheduling such project procedures as:

• Health, safety, and environmental compliance plans

• Confined space entry plans
• Procurement of necessary materials
• Procurement of necessary job site and support equipment
• Assigning the management team to the project
• Obtaining craft workers with the necessary skills
• Mobilization of all of the above

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• Worker training and personal protective equipment (PPE)

• Inspection and test plan (including forms with criteria for conformance and
nonconformance) and log to match requirement and schedules of other work

A process control procedure (PCP) is a written procedure presenting details of the

individual process being conducted as part of the total project work. It documents a single
process such as mobilization and setup, abrasive blasting, coating application and curing,
and clean up.

Coating work typically involves multiple processes, each of which will have to be
documented. Sometimes the owner prefers to use PCPs instead of a Work Plan to
facilitate routine coordination of work between the contractor’s forces and the owner’s
forces. PCPs are commonly used in refineries and shipyards. In such locations, work is
usually done “piecemeal” and must be coordinated with that of other trades. All of the
PCPs, when combined, should contain the same basic information as in a Work Plan.
When PCPs are used individually, a separate schedule is required to show the order in
which each process is to be used. When using a Work Plan or a series of PCPs, hold or
check points may be placed in the specification to permit inspection for conformance of
work to date before proceeding further.

Work Plans are more commonly used where the entire site is turned over to the contractor
to complete work on the contractor’s schedule. The format, i.e. Work Plan vs. a series of
PCPs, is the contractor’s choice, unless specified otherwise in the contract documents.
Good planning will result in more efficient work production, and thus a savings to the
contractor. It will also help to avoid disputes by identifying conflicts, discrepancies, etc.
at an early time in the process.

Quality Assurance. A quality assurance section of the specification includes

prerequisites, standards, limitations, and criteria that define the quality for products and
work. They may include but are not limited to:

• Qualifications of the coating contractor

• Qualifications of certified protective coating specialist (PCS)
• Qualifications of a coating inspection company
• Qualifications of a quality control (QC) coating inspector
• Qualifications of individuals performing abrasive blasting, water jetting, coating
application and in some cases operation of specialized equipment such as plural
component spray systems
• Qualifications of a certified industrial hygienist (CIH)
• Qualifications of a testing laboratory for coatings
• Qualifications of a testing laboratory for abrasives
• Certifications of materials
• Regulatory requirements
• Field sampling requirements
• Pre-construction conference and coordination meeting

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Qualifications and certification statements may be requested to establish the capabilities

of the contractor and those employed or utilized by the contractor. SSPC-QP 1, Standard
Procedure for Evaluating Painting Contractors (Field Application to Complex Industrial
Structures) can help assess a contractor’s ability to complete the project work in a
satisfactory and timely manner. Additional certifications (e.g., SSPC-QP 2) may be
required for special projects, e.g., if removal or disturbance of existing lead-based, or
other hazardous paint complicates the work.

SSPC offers additional industry-specific contractor Quality Management Certifications

for specialty applications such as: Shop Coating (QP 3), Metallizing (QP 6), Coating of
Concrete (QP 8).

The coating industry is fortunate to have multiple certification programs for coating
inspection personnel and coating inspection companies. It is recommended that these
certifications be used to the maximum extent on coating projects (e.g. NACE CIP or
SSPC equivalent for inspectors or SSPC QP 5 for coating inspection companies).

While qualifications for contract planners, administrators, and workers are often
undefined, it may be desirable to identify more specific qualifications, such as those
listed above, to help reduce the number of discrepancies between the owner and the
contractor and permit easier resolution.

Delivery and Storage of Materials and Equipment. A delivery and storage section of
the specification should contain special requirements for packing and shipping products,
equipment and their components. Conditions for acceptance of these items at the project
site should also be included, along with special storage, handling, and disposal
requirements necessary to prevent contamination or damage.

It may be desirable to have a clause permitting the owner’s representative to obtain from
the contractor at any time a sample of the coating being applied. Local air pollution
personnel usually have this authority.

Handling of Hazardous Materials and Production Waste. All hazardous materials

brought onsite should be stored and handled in the safe manner as described in their
material data safety sheets (MSDSs), which must always accompany the products. An
emergency action plan should be in place to respond to accidents involving hazardous
materials. An OSHA-approved procedure must be in place for collecting, storing, and
disposal of hazardous waste generated during project work. Spill kits for clean up of
spills are frequently required.

Description of Project Site Conditions. It is important that the project site condition be
fully described. Information on any environmental limitations or other conditions at the
project site that might affect project work should be presented. These may include
prevailing temperature, humidity, or ventilation. This section may also describe where the
contractor can locate work equipment, trailers, lunchrooms, or shower facilities.

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Specified Type and Size Range of Abrasives. The specified abrasives should be tested
for particle size distribution, oil content, crystalline silica, and soluble contaminants by
the referenced test methods, e.g., SSPC-AB 1, for conformance to specification before
use. This presumes the specification contains specific requirements for the abrasive. If
there are no abrasive requirements specified then the choice of abrasive is left to the

Kits and Equipment for Testing for Surface Cleanliness and Profile and Film
Thickness. QC kits and other equipment necessary for testing for surface cleanliness and
profile and for coating thickness must be available at the work site. Production workers
must be able to monitor the quality of their own work, and QC personnel must be able to
verify that the specification requirements are being met. Wet film gages are commonly
used by applicators to verify that the wet coating thickness at application time will meet
the final dry film thickness specification requirements once the coating dries. The
specific parameters and test requirements must be included in the specification if the
owner/designer expects those tests to be performed.

Specified Types of Coating Materials Delivered and Their Verification. A materials

section of the specification lists the coating materials to be used on the project. It may
provide the names and code identifications of approved products, a qualified products list
(QPL), Qualified Products Database, a description of the generic material, or a
description of the required performance. Typically public works projects require the
allowance of an “or equal” clause if a particular product or manufacturer is referenced.
There are specific legal requirements to be met if public owners want to try to “sole
source” or limit the paint products. The legal requirements vary based on the status of the
public owner (e.g., federal, state, or local governments, defense agencies, etc.) In some
cases these limitations are unenforceable. The designer should be familiar with the legal
requirements if the intent is to limit bidders to the use of products to only a single paint

The VOC (volatile organic compound) content of coating materials is required in most
U.S. geographical locations. If commercial products are specified, their colors should be
selected from the manufacturer’s list of available colors. It is always best to procure all
products of a multiple coat system from the same supplier and make sure that they are
suitable for the intended use. Where multiple suppliers of a single system must be used,
rules for determining all requirements of the coating system must be specified to avoid
conflict among suppliers.

Upon delivery, the coating materials must be identified as those specified and as having
sufficient shelf life to complete the project. It is a good practice to check both the
condition of the containers, including the seals, and the condition of the coating by
laboratory testing of one or more samples and record the batch numbers. The volume of
coating materials required can be calculated from their spreading rates and the surface
areas to be covered. This will ensure that there is sufficient coating at the job site to
complete the work.

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Acceptable Ambient Conditions. A section of the specification should list acceptable

ambient conditions for surface preparation and coating application and curing or at least
require the products to be applied in accordance with the manufacturer’s
recommendations. These include but are not limited to:

• Air temperature
• Surface temperature
• Dew point/relative humidity
• Wind speed
• Lighting for all work areas (as prescribed in SSPC-Guide 12)

Pre-cleaning of Surfaces for Painting Prior to Surface Preparation. This section of

the specification describes the required pre-cleaning actions (e.g., grinding of welds and
sharp edges) before the actual surface preparation for coating. It also describes the
required levels of pre-cleaning.

Blast Cleaning of Surfaces for Coating Application. Abrasive blast cleaning is the
most commonly specified surface preparation method for cleaning industrial steel
surfaces for coating. Waterjetting is sometimes used to prepare previously blasted and
coated steel surfaces. Any required special equipment or procedures should be specified
along with the required level of cleaning and profiling. Some recommended methods for
surface preparation of concrete and concrete masonry unit (CMU) for coating are
described in ASTM D4258, “Practice for Surface Cleaning Concrete for Coating”, and
ASTM D4261, “Practice for Surface Cleaning of Concrete Unit Masonry for Coating.”

Other requirements that may be included are field checking for cleanliness of abrasives
and air supply used in abrasive blasting and blow down and the quality of the water used
in waterjetting (usually potable water can be specified).

Coating Application. An application section of the specification specifies acceptable

methods (e.g., brush, roller, or spray) that may be used to apply the specified materials.
Manufacturers’ product or technical data sheets (usually specification submittals) are
commonly required to provide recommended procedures for application for specific
coatings. Application concerns are listed below, with those specifically applicable to
chemically-curing multiple component coatings identified with a *.

• Condition in container
• The ratio by volume of the components to combine *
• Instruction for mixing components
• Amounts of thinner, if any, permitted
• Ambient conditions for application
• Induction time at different temperatures *
• Pot life at different temperatures *
• Recoat window *
• Contrasting colors for multiple coat systems
• Stripe coating requirements

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• Acceptable dry film thickness range

• Acceptable wet film thickness range (if coating must be tacky when topcoat is

The dry film thickness range should have minimum and maximum limits necessary for
optimum coating performance. If appearance is important the appearance of cured films
can be required to be in accordance with SSPC-PA 1 for steel surfaces and in accordance
with SSPC-PA 7 for concrete surfaces.

QC Inspection and Documentation Requirements. Project documentation, including

inspection and testing records, must be used to determine the contractor’s compliance
with specification requirements and approved procedures. Project-specific forms that
include pass and fail criteria found in the specifications should be used for the
documentation. The coatings inspector should sign these forms and copies of the
documentation should be forwarded to the contract administrator as soon as they have
been completed or as specified in the contract documents.

Accepting Project Work and Clean-Up of all Equipment, Materials, and Waste
Products. A punch list of action items needing completion is prepared prior to a final
inspection to ensure that all work is complete and ready for the final acceptance by the

At all times, the contractor must keep the premises and surrounding area free from
accumulation of waste materials and rubbish created by project work. Following
completion and acceptance of the work, the contractor must remove all debris,
equipment, and materials from the site. Materials and equipment may have to be
decontaminated if exposed to hazardous materials such as lead-based paint before being
removed from the work site. The existing facilities must be restored to their original

Some owners find that it is cost-effective to take possession of specific hazardous

materials. The specifics of any such transfer should be detailed in the specifications,
including requirements for submittal of procedures, etc.

Warranty. The warranty section of the specification requires:

• That all materials and equipment be of good quality and new

• That the work be free from defects
• That the work conforms to all contract documents

It is important that a warranty section of the specification clearly states any special or
extended warranty or bonding for conformance to specification.

Warranties for coating work are typically for one year after acceptance of the work.
Arrangements should be made to have completed projects re-inspected for deficiencies
prior to the termination of the warranty period, so that a written legal claim can be made

SSPC Preparing and Using Protective Coating Specifications Aug. 2011

within this time frame. Some owners withhold 5 to 10% of the total payment until the end
of the warranty period to ensure that deficiencies found within this period are addressed.
A prudent owner or designer should consider defining the conditions that would
constitute a breach of warranty at the end of the warranty period. If desired, a scheduled
warranty inspection and list of attending parties can be included in the specification.

SSPC Preparing and Using Protective Coating Specifications Aug. 2011

Appendix A. Checklist of Items Commonly Found in

Specifications for Coating Steel and Concrete
NOTE: This list is intended to be used with the text above, even though it is more
detailed than the text. Use applicable portions of this document for each project, and add
requirements not listed here as appropriate to produce a competent design.

General contract considerations

• Coordinate with owner’s “front-end” documents (General Conditions, Additional
General Conditions, Special Conditions, etc.)
• Define scope of project fully (Get detailed field conditions if maintenance work)

Contract specifications (using CSI three-part Section format – see Appendix C))

Scope of Project
Areas to be coated and not to be coated
Site Access and Storage Area
Site Investigation Clause
References (sometimes called “Applicable Documents”)
• SSPC PA 1 Shop, Field, and Maintenance Painting of Steel
• For coating concrete surfaces:
• SSPC-PA 7, Applying Thin Film Coatings to Concrete
• SSPC-TU 10, Procedures for Applying Thick Film Coatings and
Surfacings Over Concrete Floors
• Surface preparation
• Others
Precedence of Documents
Submittals (pre-work)(Many of these continue during work)
• Contract errors, omissions, and other discrepancies, including conflicting
requirements, ambiguous requirements
• Procedures for Corrective Action
• Project-specific Work Plan or Process Control Procedures (PCPs)
• Project-specific Health, safety, and environmental compliance plans
• Site access/security requirements
• Project-specific Confined space entry plans (permit required and non-
permit required)
• Procurement of necessary materials
• Procurement of necessary job site and support equipment
• Assigning the management team to the project

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• Obtaining craft workers with the necessary skills

• Mobilization of all of the above
• Worker training and personal protective equipment (PPE)
• Inspection and test plan (ITP) (including forms with criteria for
conformance and nonconformance)
• ITP Log to match requirement and schedules of other work procedures
• Qualifications
• Qualifications of the coating contractor
• Qualifications of certified protective coating specialist (PCS)
• Qualifications of a coating inspection company
• Qualifications of a quality control (QC) coating inspector
• Qualifications of individuals performing abrasive blasting, water
jetting, coating application
• Qualifications of a certified industrial hygienist (CIH)
• Qualifications of a testing laboratory for coatings
• Qualifications of a testing laboratory for abrasives
• Certifications for materials used
• Regulatory requirements
• Field sampling requirements
• Pre-construction conference, coordination and progress meetings
• Manufacturer’s product data sheets for materials to be used
• Shelf-life of applicable materials
• Rules for shelf-life extension
• Manufacturer’s material safety data sheets for materials to be used
• Samples of specified liquid coatings
• Coating draw-down films (cured films of uniform thickness applied to
cardboard or other substrates)
• Laboratory test results
• Certificates of product conformity to specification
• Requests for Information (RFI) Log
• Contract Change Order Log
• Submittal Log
• Daily production reports (including safety reports)
• Daily inspection and test reports (DIRs)
• Corrective Action Requests (CARs)
• Nonconforming Work Log
• Corrective Action Log
• Preventive Action Log
• Other reports that would provide meaningful data

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Submittals Required during Production

• All Logs
• Production, inspection, and other reports
• CARs
• Other reports or information affecting production or conformity to

Coating materials and thinners (other than as specified by mfg.)
• Contrasting colors for multi-coat systems
Test Kits
• Amine blush testing
• Salt testing

Deliver, Store, Mix, Apply, and Cure Coatings According to SSPC-PA 1 (for steel
surfaces) or SSPC PA 7 or TU 10 for concrete surfaces)
Equipment for Surface Preparation and Coating Application
Kits and Equipment for Testing for Surface Cleanliness and Profile and Film
Specified Types of Coating Materials Delivered and Their Verification
Field mock-up (as part of verifying procedures during start-up – particularly for
coating of concrete)
Acceptable Ambient Conditions
• Periods of control
• During surface preparation
• During coating application and initial curing (specify initial cure time)
• During other operation
• Parameters of control
• Air temperature
• Surface temperature
• Dew point/relative humidity
• Wind speed
• Surface contaminants
• Lighting for all work areas (as prescribed in SSPC-Guide 12)
Blast Cleaning of Surfaces for Coating Application
• Desired results
• Allowable methods
• Ambient conditions for surface preparation

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• Pre-cleaning of Surfaces for Painting Prior to Surface Preparation

• Profile shape/height/peak density
• Protection of areas not to be prepared
Other Methods of Surface Preparation (e.g. Water jetting; Hand and Power Tool
cleaning; Scarifying, etc.)
• Desired results
• Allowable methods
• Ambient conditions for surface preparation
• Pre-cleaning of Surfaces for Painting Prior to Surface Preparation
• Profile shape/height/peak density
• Protection of areas not to be prepared
Coating Application
• Condition in container
• The ratio by volume of the components to combine
• Instruction for mixing components
• Amounts of thinner, if any, permitted
• Ambient conditions for application and curing (length of cure)
• Induction time at different temperatures
• Pot life at different temperatures
• Allowable application methods
• Stripe coating
• Protection of areas not to be coated
• Protection of painted surface during curing
• Initial cure period
• Recoat window
• Acceptable wet/dry film thickness range
• Repairs (how much allowable and special requirements)
QC Inspection and Documentation Requirements
Final inspection
• Punch List
• Clearing of Punch List
• Clearing of Nonconforming Work Log
• Clearing of Corrective Action Log
• Review of docs for completion/certification of documentation
Warranty & correction period requirements/criteria
Clean-up and proper disposal of wastes
Clean up of site to condition at start of project

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Appendix B. Glossary of Words and Terms as

Used in Report
• Addendum - Modification of original specification before contract signing and
start of work
• Affirmative action - Policy designed to redress past discrimination against
women and minority groups through measures to improve their economic and
educational opportunities
• Audit - Systematic review of evidence to verify acceptable completion of work
• CA - See Corrective Action
• CAR - See Corrective Action Request
• Change order - Modification to the original specification after production has
begun to address errors or unforeseen conditions that may occur
• Claim (legal) - Legal demand or assertion by a claimant for compensation,
payment, or reimbursement for a loss under a contract or an injury due to
• Coating contractor - An individual or firm whose primary business is providing
surface preparation and coating application services for home, commercial, or
industrial markets
• Competent design - Cost effective design that encompasses all of the pertinent
scope and technical requirements of a specification and for which the owner is
willing to pay
• Compliant – Fulfillment of a legal or regulatory requirement
• Confined space - As defined in U.S. regulations, a space that is large enough and
so configured that an employee can bodily enter and perform assigned work; has
limited or restricted means for entry or exit; and is not designed for continuous
• Conforming - Fulfilling a contract requirement
• Contract - A written legal agreement between two or more competent parties,
usually an owner and a contractor, in which an offer for conducting work is made
and accepted; it provides benefits for all parties.
• Contract administrator - The representative of the facility owner (the second
party to the contract) is generally responsible for administering the contract
requirements, coordinating actions, and keeping the project moving forward while
ensuring that others perform their respective responsibilities appropriately
• Contractor - The first of two parties to a contract who is responsible for planning
and preparing production work that conforms to contract requirements and for
tendering that conforming work for acceptance and payment with appropriate
objective evidence (documentation) of conformance to specification
• Contractor quality control - That part of an owner-contractor relationship in
which the project contractor is responsible for conformance with specification
requirements and correcting any deviations
• Correction - Action taken to address and/or correct a nonconformity (i.e., fix a

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• Corrective Action - Correcting a nonconformity and eliminating its root cause so

that it does not recur
• Corrective action request (CAR) - Written request to identify the root cause of a
nonconformity, correct it, and prevent its recurrence
• Designer/Engineer - Owner’s representative responsible for preparation of
contract specifications, as well as technical aspects of their implementation
• Deviation - A change to the project specification, generally submitted during the
planning process
• Differed site conditions - A physical condition, other than the weather or a act of
God, discovered on a coating project that differs in a material respect from what
was indicated in the specification or what might be reasonably expected
• Dispute resolutions - Process or system designed to resolve disputes between
parties without having to enter into litigation
• Hazardous substances - In the U.S., 400 substances defined as posing hazards to
humans and the environment, based upon ignitability, corrosivity, reactivity, and
• Indemnification - Act of compensating for incurred injury, loss, or damage
• Inspection - Confirmation by observation, testing, and documentation to provide
evidence whether specified requirements have been met
• Lien - A legal claim against an asset which is used to secure a loan and which
must be paid when the debt is paid off
• Litigation - Legal action
• Lockout/Tagout System - In the U.S., an OSHA rule that provides a means of
protecting workers from injury or death caused by the accidental start-up or
release of stored energy from equipment. It involves (1) blocking the flow
(lockout) of energy from a power source to a piece of equipment by using a
device such as a padlock or chain, or by removing a fuse or circuit breaker
(lockout) and (2) placing a tag (tagout) on the source identifying the party who
has locked it out.
• Maintenance Coating or Coating Maintenance - refers to repair and/or
overcoating of existing coating as opposed to complete removal of coatings and
• Material Safety Data Sheet - Information sheet that informs workers about
health and safety hazards of a material’s components and provides safety
procedures for handling and proper actions to be taken in the event of an
• Mechanics lien - A security interest in the title to property for the benefit of those
who have supplied labor or materials that improve the property
• MSDS - See Material Safety Data Sheet
• Nonconformity - Interim or final work that fails to fulfill contract requirements
and requires rework or repair
• Objective evidence of nonconforming work - Documented evidence (i.e.,
written records or photographic documentation) indicating required rework or
• Objective Quality Evidence - Unbiased documentation of a existing condition

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• Occupational Safety and Health Administration - Federal government agency

in the Department of Labor with the responsibility of maintaining a safe and
healthy work environment
• OQE - See Objective quality evidence
• OSHA - See Occupational Health and Safety Administration
• Owner - Individual, group of individuals, or organization that actually owns a
facility or is responsible for its operation and maintenance
• PA - See Preventive action
• PAR - See Preventive action report
• PCP - See Process control procedure
• Pre-construction conference - Meeting of owner, contractor, and other pertinent
personnel to review specification requirements before production work begins
• Preventive action - Action taken to prevent nonconformity or any condition that
reduces efficiency before it has the opportunity to occur
• Preventive action report - Action taken to prevent a problem from occurring,
based on an understanding of the product or process
• Prime contractor - Individual or firm that holds a construction contract with a
facility owner
• Proactive - assuming an active rather than a passive role in doing or
accomplishing a task, i.e., taking the initiative
• Process control procedure - Written procedure presenting details of the
individual process being conducted as of a total work project.
• QA - See Quality assurance
• QC - See Quality control
• QPL - See Quality products list
• Qualified products list - List of products approved by the owner for protection of
specified surfaces, i.e., materials that have passed tests as the qualifying agency
believes to demonstrate satisfactory performance
• Quality - Degree of excellence or essential characteristics
• Quality assurance - All of the actions required by the owner to ensure contractor
conformity to all contract requirements
• Quality control - That part of quality assurance in which the contractor ensures
that all project work meets the standards developed by coating and related
technical organizations, specifically those required in the project specification
• QMS - See Quality management system
• Quality Management System - System of general or specific policies and
procedures intended to improve and control work processes
• Request for information - Procedure for contractor to procure information from
an owner to clarify contract requirements
• RFI - See Request for information
• Safety plan - Contractor-developed plan for a project that addresses specific
project hazards and provides workers with both general safety training and
additional safety training related to specific project hazards
• Site variation - See Differing site conditions
• Specification - That part of a contract that details the qualitative and quantitative
requirements for the finished product

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• Subcontractor - Individual or firm contracted by the Prime contractor to perform

part or all of a contract
• Submittal - Project documentation that the contractor is required to provide to the
owner to assure complete conformance to the specification; some submittals are
required before production is initiated, and others are submitted during actual
work production.
• Technical standard - Consensus document of engineering, trade or other
professional associations that define a test method or procedure of the
• Tender - Offer for acceptance and payment
• Variance - See Deviation
• Volatile organic compound - Organic chemical product, such as a coating and
liquid cleaner, that contains compounds that pollute the air upon evaporation
• VOC - See Volatile organic Compound
• Verification - Confirmation by examination and provision of evidence that
specification requirements have been met
• Warranty - Written guarantee of integrity of a product and the producer’s
responsibility for repair or replacement of deficient parts
• Work - Materials, workmanship, manufacture, and fabrication of components
• Work Plan - Document containing a list of all actions and procedures, in logical
sequence, necessary to produce a product meeting all specification requirements

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Appendix C. Description of CSI/CSC Division and

Section Formats
There are numerous formats for organizing project specifications, one of which is the
MasterFormat,® published by the Construction Specification Institute (CSI).
MasterFormat® is a master list of numbers and titles classified by work results or
construction practices, used throughout the North American construction industry to
organize project manuals, detailed cost information, and relate drawing notations to

Division Structure

Division 00 - Procurement and Contracting Requirements

Miscellaneous examples of sections:
00 10 00 Solicitation
00 20 00 Instructions for Procurement
00 30 00 Available Information
00 40 00 Procurement Forms and Supplements
00 50 00 Contracting Forms and Supplements
00 61 00 Bond Forms
00 70 00 Conditions of the Contract

Division 01 - General Requirements – Requirements that apply to the entire

Miscellaneous examples of sections:
01 10 00 Summary
01 20 00 Price and Payment Procedures
01 30 00 Administrative Requirements
01 31 00 Project Management and Coordination
01 32 00 Construction Progress Documentation
01 33 00 Submittal Procedures
01 35 00 Special Procedures
01 40 00 Quality Requirements
01 50 00 Temporary Facilities and Controls
01 60 00 Product Requirements
01 70 00 Execution and Closeout Requirements
01 80 00 Performance Requirements
01 90 00 Life Cycle Activities
01 91 00 Commissioning
01 92 00 Facility Operation
01 93 00 Facility Maintenance
01 94 00 Facility Decommissioning

SSPC Preparing and Using Protective Coating Specifications Aug. 2011

Divisions 02 thru 48 – Technical Requirements - Requirements that apply

Miscellaneous examples of sections:
03 00 00 Concrete
04 00 00 Masonry
05 00 00 Metals
06 00 00 Wood, Plastics, and Composites
07 00 00 Thermal and Moisture Protection
08 00 00 Openings
09 00 00 Finishes (including coatings)
09 90 00 Painting and Coating
09 91 00 Painting
09 96 00 High-Performance Coatings
09 96 13 Abrasion-Resistant Coatings
09 96 23 Graffiti-Resistant Coatings
09 96 26 Marine Coatings
09 96 33 High-Temperature-Resistant Coatings
09 96 35 Chemical-Resistant Coatings
09 96 43 Fire-Retardant Coatings
09 96 46 Intumescent Painting
09 96 53 Elastomeric Coatings
09 96 56 Epoxy Coatings
09 96 59 High-Build Glazed Coatings
09 96 63 Textured Plastic Coatings
09 96 66 Aggregate Wall Coatings
09 97 00 Special Coatings
09 97 13 Steel Coatings
09 97 13.13 Interior Steel Coatings
09 97 13.23 Exterior Steel Coatings
09 97 23 Concrete and Masonry Coatings
09 97 26 Cementitious Coatings
09 97 26.13 Interior Cementitious Coatings
09 97 26.23 Exterior Cementitious Coatings
10 00 00 Specialties
23 00 00 Heating, Ventilating, and Air Conditioning
23 10 00 Facility Fuel Systems
23 11 00 Facility Fuel Piping
23 11 13 Facility Fuel-Oil Piping
23 11 16 Facility Gasoline Piping
23 11 23 Facility Natural-Gas Piping
23 11 26 Facility Liquefied-Petroleum Gas Piping
23 12 00 Facility Fuel Pumps
23 12 13 Facility Fuel-Oil Pumps
23 12 16 Facility Gasoline Dispensing Pumps
23 13 00 Facility Fuel-Storage Tanks
33 00 00 Utilities

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33 10 00 Water Utilities
33 50 00 Fuel Distribution Utilities
33 51 00 Natural-Gas Distribution
33 52 00 Liquid Fuel Distribution
33 56 00 Fuel-Storage Tanks
45 00 00 Industry-Specific Manufacturing Equipment
46 00 00 Water and Wastewater Equipment
48 00 00 Electrical Power Generation

*The miscellaneous examples of sections are intended to show the layout of the
CSI/CSC Masterformat. The entire system is available through the CSI web site: . CSC – Construction Specifications Canada:

The U.S. Department of Defense facilities guide specifications use a modified

version of the above numbering system, available at the following web site: .

Section Format
Each Section concerns a particular portion of the work, and has a three-part structure that
interfaces with the Division 01 general sections. The format is as follows:

Section xx xx xx xx
Part 1 – General
Part 2 – Products
Part 3 – Execution

Sections in Division 01 contain requirements only under Part 1 – General while Sections
in Divisions 02 – 48 generally have requirements in all three Parts. The Part 1
requirements in Divisions 02 – 48 supplement the general requirements of Division 01
Sections. For instance, it is common for there to be requirements in many Divisions 02 –
48 Sections specific submittals, and these submittals would be subject to the general
submittal requirements in Section 01 33 00 Submittal Procedures.

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Appendix D. Guidance for Developing a Coating

Condition Survey (CCS)
SSPC PA Guide 5, Guide to Maintenance Coating of Steel Structures in Atmospheric
Service, covers procedures for developing a maintenance coating program for steel
structures. The guide may be used for one-time recoat or long-range recoat programs.
Every owner should consult this guide to manage the coatings on their facilities. When a
specific facility or group of facilities is considered for maintenance coating work, a CCS
should be performed in accordance with SSPC Technology Update 3 ( SSPC TU 3)
Maintenance Overcoating to determine if maintenance overcoating is appropriate, and to
establish the detailed requirements for the maintenance coating design.

The CCS should be accomplished by personnel from a business that routinely performs
coating evaluations, and the individual investigator should be Certified by SSPC or
NACE as a Protective Coatings Specialist (PCS). The CCS should be sufficiently detailed
to provide all technical information about the coatings, and structures to be coated,in
order to properly design the project. At a minimum, the CCS should provide a detailed
report of:

1. Existing coating conditions, including condition of coating film, and the existence
of potentially hazardous substances that may impact coating management (i.e.
lead, cadmium, chromium, etc.);

2. Analysis of remaining coating life, suitability of overcoating, and technical

requirements for overcoating;

3. Technical recommendations for the most cost effective management of existing

coating systems, including any hazardous materials present in paint film; and

4. Any other information of interest to the coating system management that should
be identifiable by an individual trained and experienced in the field of coating
analysis, coating failure analysis, and coating design.

The scope of the CCS should be tailored to the specific project, and it should be
recognized that while multiple coating failures or deficiencies may look similar to the
untrained eye, the risks of generalizing to save evaluation costs are potentially very high.
The cost of large-scale failure of the overcoating, and complete replacement of the
coating system, is far more than the cost of a CCS for all but the smallest projects.

The risks of overcoating can usually be avoided by designing the project to remove all
existing coatings to bare metal, then providing appropriate surface preparation and
coating application. However, the extra costs of the coating removal, especially if
containing hazardous material, may be exorbitant compared to the costs of maintenance
overcoating where the existing coating system is in fair-to-good condition.

SSPC Preparing and Using Protective Coating Specifications Aug. 2011

The fact that lead was highly used as a primer is indicative of its value to the corrosion
control industry. Premature removal of sound lead primer is not considered to be a good
coating management practice, but it must be coordinated with the owner’s overall
facilities management plan.

Owners should consider an annual CCS to survey all structures to be authorized for
design in the coming year or two. When accomplished for multiple projects, the per-
structure cost will decrease. By accomplishing this survey prior to design, the basis for
budgeting and design is fully identified.

The CCS can also be a very useful tool when used to screen structures for maintenance
painting requirements. A CCS can be scoped to provide a general inspection of many
structures to screen for near-term overcoating or recoating requirements, and subsequent
investigation can be made to provide appropriate details for project planning and design.

It should be pointed out that the aesthetic features of a coating do not define the coating
condition; they only describe how the coating looks. Many coating systems have been
replaced when only the topcoat is in need of "refurbishment." Likewise, many structures
such as water tanks and fuel tanks have had complete coating replacement when only the
roof coating needed replacement. A CCS can identify the weak components as well as the
satisfactory components, and propose solutions to make maximum use of existing

SSPC Preparing and Using Protective Coating Specifications Aug. 2011

Appendix E. Other Resources

Pertinent Links


SSPC PCS Program –

SSPC Contractor Certification Program –


SSPC Coating Training -

SSPC Coating Standards –


Articles on Contracting

J. H. Brandon and M. P. Damiano, “Effective Contract Administration: Key to a

Successful Coating Project,” JPCL, January 2007, pp. 58-72

J. H. Brandon and M. P. Damiano, “Contract Expectations,” JPCL, August 2007, pp. 50-

J. H. Brandon and M. P. Damiano, “Contracting Issues: Are Owners Getting What They
Ask For,” JPCL, March 2008, pp. 27-37

J. H. Brandon and M. P. Damiano, “Surveillance Techniques to Administer Contracts for

Procedural Conformity,” JPCL, December 2008, pp. 18-33

Flowchart Supplement to Surveillance Article

Articles on Work Plans

J. H. Brandon and M. P. Damiano, “Work Plan: Use It or Lose It,” JPCL, June 2011, pp.

SSPC Preparing and Using Protective Coating Specifications Aug. 2011

Brandon, J.H.; Hames, B; Gorrell, P.G. Use of Work (Quality) Plans on Coatings
Projects. SSPC:The Society for Protective Coatings 2003, New Orleans.