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CSI MasterFormat: A Guide to Construction Divisions

CSI MasterFormat: A Guide to Construction Divisions

The construction industry in the United States relies heavily on a standardized system for organizing construction documents and specifications.

This system, known as the CSI MasterFormat, is a product of the Construction Specifications Institute (CSI).


What is CSI MasterFormat?

CSI MasterFormat is a framework that categorizes construction information into a standard order. This system is primarily used for organizing project manuals and detailed specifications for construction projects.

CSI MasterFormat tool is used by architects, engineers, developers, general contractors and subcontractors ensuring everyone speaks the same language when it comes to residential, commercial, industrial and public sector construction projects.


The Divisions of CSI MasterFormat

The CSI MasterFormat is divided into various sections commonly known as CSI Divisions. Each division covers a specific area of construction including general requirements to more specific elements like electrical, concrete, masonry or plumbing work.

These divisions ensure a comprehensive approach to construction planning and execution.

Division 02 — Existing Conditions
Division 03 — Concrete
Division 04 — Masonry
Division 05 — Metals
Division 06 — Wood Plastics, and Composites
Division 07 — Thermal and Moisture Protection
Division 08 — Openings
Division 09 — Finishes
Division 10 — Specialties
Division 11 — Equipment
Division 12 — Furnishings
Division 13 — Special Construction
Division 14 — Conveying Equipment
Division 21 — Fire Suppression
Division 22 — Plumbing
Division 23 — Heating Ventilating and Air Conditioning(HVAC)
Division 24 — Reserved For Future Expansion
Division 25 — Integrated Automation
Division 26 — Electrical
Division 27 — Communications
Division 28 — Electronic Safety and Security
Division 31 — Earthwork
Division 32 — Exterior Improvements
Division 33 — Utilities


Explaining CSI MasterFormat 16 Divisions :


Division 00 – Procurement and Contracting Requirements

Procurement is the process of buying supplies and services for construction projects. It’s crucial for construction companies to carefully handle procurement to complete projects efficiently and within budget.

This division includes bid solicitation, contract agreements, and conditions, ensuring that all procurement and contracting aspects are clearly defined and legally binding.


Division 01 – General Requirements

General Requirements specify how organizations and trades involved in a project should operate. This includes submittals, schedules, LEED requirements, payments, permits, safety checks, daily logs, RFIs, meetings, and project documentation.

Division 01 ensures that all administrative and procedural aspects are managed efficiently, providing a structured approach to project management and coordination.


Division 02 – Existing Conditions

This division involves evaluating the site, including demolishing buildings, cleaning up contamination, and assessing land areas that may impact future projects. It covers geophysical investigations, site decontamination and building deconstruction.


Division 03 – Concrete

Concrete covers concrete materials, admixtures, reinforcement, shaping, handling, finishing, and maintenance. It includes detailed specifications for forming, placing, and curing concrete to ensure structural integrity and durability.


Division 04 – Masonry

Masonry involves using single units like brick, stone, and concrete blocks to construct buildings. This division specifies materials and methods for masonry assembly, including mortar, grout, and reinforcement techniques.


Division 05 – Metals

Metals are used in structural steel and various building components like roofs, floors, stairs, and decorative elements. This division includes specifications for metal fabrication, welding, and erection processes.


Division 06 – Wood, Plastics, Composites

Wood, plastics, and composites serve as structural, non-structural, and finish materials in construction, each with unique properties. This division covers carpentry, millwork, and the installation of plastic components.


Division 07 – Thermal and Moisture Protection

This division deals with materials that protect buildings from moisture, thermal issues, air infiltration, and insulation, including roofing and waterproofing. It includes specifications for insulation, vapor barriers, and sealants.


Division 08 – Openings

Openings include windows, doors, glazing systems, and hardware, covering their installation, maintenance, and repair. This division ensures proper fitting and functionality of all building openings.


Division 09 – Finishes

Finishes encompass interior elements like walls, ceilings, floors, and paint, describing their installation and future developments. It includes specifications for plastering, tiling, and specialty coatings.


Division 10 – Specialties

Specialties include bathroom accessories, signs, fire safety equipment, and other essential items for various projects. This division covers a wide range of unique building features that support functionality and safety.


Division 11 – Equipment

Equipment covers everything a building may require, such as parking control, security, offices, and healthcare equipment. It includes detailed specifications for the installation and maintenance of various equipment.


Division 12 – Furnishings

Furnishings are decorative items installed in finished spaces, enhancing aesthetics and functionality. This division includes specifications for furniture, window treatments, and casework.


Division 13 – Special Construction

Special Construction addresses unique building purposes and complex construction specifications. It covers areas like pre-engineered structures, clean rooms, and soundproofing.


Division 14 – Conveying Equipment

Conveying equipment moves materials within buildings, including elevators and conveyor belts. This division includes specifications for the installation and maintenance of these systems.


Division 21 – Fire Suppression

Fire Suppression involves tasks to suppress fires in buildings, covering fire pumps, extinguishing systems, and water storage. This division ensures the design and installation of effective fire protection systems.


Division 22 – Plumbing

This section outlines requirements for valves, plumbing fixtures, drainage systems, and water systems. It includes detailed specifications for the installation and maintenance of plumbing infrastructure.


Division 23 – Heating, Ventilating and Air Conditioning (HVAC)

HVAC covers air conditioning, ventilation, and air quality control systems, including exhaust systems. This division ensures the design and installation of efficient climate control systems.


Division 26 – Electrical

Electrical installation involves systems for generating, controlling, and distributing electrical energy. This division includes specifications for wiring, lighting and power distribution systems.


Division 28 – Electronic Safety and Security

Electronic Safety and Security include components related to security, fire, and life safety systems in buildings. This division covers the installation of alarm systems, surveillance, and access control.


Division 31 – Earthwork/Sitework

Earthwork covers soil manipulation, foundation construction, and tunnel building for construction projects. It includes specifications for excavation, grading and soil stabilization.


Division 32 – Exterior Improvements

This division addresses site improvements outside of buildings, including paving, landscaping, fencing, and retaining walls. It covers specifications for enhancing the exterior environment of construction sites.


Division 33 – Utilities

Utilities encompass mechanical and electrical services, including water, wastewater, electrical, fuel, and drainage systems at a construction site. This division ensures the installation and maintenance of essential utility infrastructure.



The Importance of CSI Division Codes

CSI codes are important for categorizing and finding specific construction related details.

CSI codes help in efficiently managing information throughout the construction projects.


CSI Construction Divisions in Practice

In U.S. construction industry, CSI construction divisions are widely adopted. These divisions helps in clear communication, accurate bidding, comprehensive construction estimating and effective project management.

By standardizing the way construction specifications are written and organized, CSI MasterFormat helps reduce misunderstandings and errors, leading to more efficient and cost-effective projects.



The CSI MasterFormat and its divisions play an important role in the U.S. construction industry. 

By providing a common language and framework, it ensure that construction projects are well-organized and executed effectively. Understanding these CSI construction divisions is essential for anyone involved in the construction process.



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