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Preparing the Written Equipment Specification

William N. Weaver, P.E. and John C. Huang, Ph.D., P.E.

Course Outline

Purchasing equipment is a major portion an engineer’s daily activity in a growing facility. Proper preparation of the documents describing the item to be purchased is critical.

This course provides a basic outline for the preparation of a written equipment specification and an explanation of the various parts of the specification. The material also covers the differences between the two major types of specifications and when to use one or the other.

This course includes a multiple-choice quiz at the end, which is designed to enhance the understanding of the course materials.

Learning Objective

At the conclusion of this material the student will:

Intended Audience

The intended audience is engineers responsible for the purchase of new equipment and the individuals responsible for the review of purchasing documents.

Benefits to Attendee

On completion of the course the student will have increased his / her understanding of the purchasing activity and the critical nature of purchase specifications.

Course Introduction

This course offers an introduction to the preparation of a written specification and the breadth of detail required when ordering equipment.

Course Content

The material contained in this course covers the basic requirements for the preparation of a written specification and a review of a specification’s contents.

The course content is in the following PDF file:

Preparing the Written Equipment Specification

The attachments, sketches and samples are in the following files:

Attachment A

Attachment B

Attachment C

Attachment D

Attachment E

Please click on the above underlined hypertext to view, download or print the document for your study. Because of the large file size, we recommend that you first save the file to your computer by right clicking the mouse and choosing "Save Target As ...", and then open the file in Adobe Acrobat Reader. If you still experience any difficulty in downloading or opening this file, you may need to close some applications or reboot your computer to free up some memory.

Course Summary

Ensuring that the equipment ordered actually matches the need is a critical part of the engineer’s job. The preparation of a complete written specification requires a thorough review of the ordered equipment and its capabilities.

A properly written specification should be an insurance policy offering confidence that the ordered equipment will be what is required and received. It also serves to ensure all affected facility individuals have the opportunity to input to the purchasing activity. When properly prepared this document provides the engineer with legal protection and leverage with the supplier to ensure what he / she has specified is what is actually delivered.

The written specification provides future value when maintenance or replacement of equipment is required. On one piece of paper is the entire specification along with the operating requirements for the equipment.


Once you finish studying the above course content, you need to take a quiz to obtain the PDH credits.

DISCLAIMER: The materials contained in the online course are not intended as a representation or warranty on the part of PDH Center or any other person/organization named herein. The materials are for general information only. They are not a substitute for competent professional advice. Application of this information to a specific project should be reviewed by a registered architect and/or professional engineer/surveyor. Anyone making use of the information set forth herein does so at their own risk and assumes any and all resulting liability arising therefrom.