Authoring Construction Quality, Safety & Commissioning Issues Part 5: Avoid Ambiguous Phrases With Missing Objects
Here’s my fifth blog post on best practices in authoring construction quality, safety and commissioning issues and items of work to complete or correct, out in the field and at the point-of-construction.
These best practices help to ensure effective communication of quality and commissioning conformances and non-conformances, and of safety conditions and at-risk behaviors, in two key ways:
- In operational reporting or transactional reporting on to contractors, trade contractors, specialty contractors, subcontractors, vendors, building product manufacturers (BPMs), and other project stakeholders and participants;
- And, for analytical reporting both on one project and across many projects.
Today, let’s continue to discuss good writing styles for issues and items of work to complete or correct, and take a page from the CSI Manual of Practice of “inappropriate terms” of language usage.
Again, avoid ambiguous phrases with missing objects. As phrases with missing objects are vague, the language has the potential risk first to deny the readers of explicit instruction, second to offer the readers overly generous latitude in interpretation, and third to undermine the intention of the author, sometimes inadvertently and unknowingly.
Team members may not know what the phrase means without referring back to a wide array of source documents, such as contracting requirements, specifications, contract drawings, and resource drawings, for example – which only burdens the process, slows the turnaround time, and creates new sources for potential conflict, as opposed to collaboration.
Phrases with missing objects lack clear, concise, correct and complete direction, and generally serve as an easy way to skirt around understanding and communicating the requirements of the specifications, both for the author and for the reader.
If the phrase starts with the preposition “as,” it’s a red flag – it’s a signal not to use the phrase as a substitute for proper language. Help your project team, be specific, and explain the what, where, when, why and how, as opposed to using generic fillers and meaningless catchalls with missing objects.
For example, avoid using the following phrases:
- As accepted
- As agreed
- As allocated
- As allowed
- As applicable
- As appropriate
- As approved
- As authorized
- As directed
- As indicated
- As necessary
- As needed
- As noted
- As permitted
- As required
- As reviewed
- As revised
- As specified
- As submitted
More to come next week…