|What? Ignore the spec?|
I got back, essentially, “Well, they didn’t really follow the spec, but they worked hard to match the existing.”
And I was shocked to find myself writing back:
If they did a nice job, matched existing, and worked well with your team, then whether they followed the spec is (sacrebleu!) perhaps a little less important. But if there's something they ignored or proposed to do differently because it didn't serve the project, I'd like to know.What? A specifier telling you that ignoring a requirement in the spec might be okay? Does that ever happen? Well, it should, and it might happen more often than you think, if you made a habit of asking.
In this case, it’s because the skills of the artisan exceed the basic framework of materials in the spec. The spec in question placed a strong emphasis on the qualifications of the fabricator, requiring a photo portfolio of applicable past projects and giving the architect the right to accept or reject a proposed fabricator based on the work in the portfolio. The team had observed the most important requirement in the spec: qualifying the fabricator. (Go, team!)
Now, if we complete the circle, the expertise of the fabricator can even improve the quality of a future project, by informing the specifier of incorrect or unnecessary requirements. If, in the hands of an expert, a few requirements of the spec were ignored and the project went well anyway, we can fix the spec. Never fear.
Photo: "Fear" from The Expression of Emotions in Man and Animals, London 1872. Charles Darwin (1809-1882).