A prime example of the challenges a spec writer faces in writing about things that haven’t been drawn yet is specifying site clearing (Section 31 10 00 - SITE CLEARING).
Since site clearing, as a work result, is just the absence of site improvements that formerly occupied the building site, even a pretty decent set of site drawings of the new site improvement construction may not show all of what has to be cleared from the site.
Talk to the project design team, you say. Well, sometimes team members are available to help scope out what’s required to be cleared from the site. But not always. They take vacations or spend hours in high-level do-not-interrupt meetings. Or they may not know much about the existing site, especially if the client isn’t conscientious about keeping multiple design consultants fully informed about project requirements.
So what to do?
Google Earth may be of some assistance. Type in the project address and Google Earth will fly you to your site.
On a recent project, I got some assistance in editing Section 31 10 00 by viewing images of the site on Google Earth. Here’s part of what I found:
- The existing site has trees that are in the footprint of the new building and must be removed. There are no existing trees outside of the new building footprint. So I don’t have to specify tree protection during building construction.
- There are existing sidewalks and asphalt paving which must be removed because they’re in the footprint of the new building.
- Ditto for an existing monument sign and parking lot lighting.
Google Earth isn’t perfect. Buildings, trees, and vehicles are weirdly flattened in the aerial view, and sometimes the aerial view doesn’t agree with the associated street view. But it’s one more tool spec writers can use to determine what to specify.