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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?

The 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. 

This tool is used by architects, engineers, developers, general and sub contractors ensuring everyone speaks the same language when it comes to construction.


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 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

CSI MasterFormat A Guide to Construction Divisions


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.

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 02 – Existing Conditions
Existing Conditions involve evaluating the site, including demolishing buildings, cleaning up contamination, and assessing land areas that may impact future projects.

Division 03 – Concrete
Concrete covers concrete materials, admixtures, reinforcement, shaping, handling, finishing, and maintenance.

Division 04 – Masonry
Masonry involves using single units like brick, stone, and concrete blocks to construct buildings.

Division 05 – Metals
Metals are used in structural steel and various building components like roofs, floors, stairs, and decorative elements.

Division 06 – Wood, Plastics, Composites
Wood, plastics, and composites serve as structural, non-structural, and finish materials in construction, each with unique properties.

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.

Division 08 – Openings
Openings include windows, doors, glazing systems, and hardware, covering their installation, maintenance, and repair.

Division 09 – Finishes
Finishes encompass interior elements like walls, ceilings, floors, and paint, describing their installation and future developments.

Division 10 – Specialties
Specialties include bathroom accessories, signs, fire safety equipment, and other essential items for various projects.

Division 11 – Equipment
Equipment covers everything a building may require, such as parking control, security, offices, and healthcare equipment.

Division 12 – Furnishings
Furnishings are decorative items installed in finished spaces, enhancing aesthetics and functionality.

Division 13 – Special Construction
Special Construction addresses unique building purposes and complex construction specifications.

Division 14 – Conveying Equipment
Conveying equipment moves materials within buildings, including elevators and conveyor belts.

Division 21 – Fire Suppression
Fire Suppression involves tasks to suppress fires in buildings, covering fire pumps, extinguishing systems, and water storage.

Division 22 – Plumbing
This section outlines requirements for valves, plumbing fixtures, drainage systems, and water systems.

Division 23 – Heating, Ventilating, and Air Conditioning (HVAC)
HVAC covers air conditioning, ventilation, and air quality control systems, including exhaust systems.

Division 26 – Electrical
Electrical installation involves systems for generating, controlling, and distributing electrical energy.

Division 28 – Electronic Safety and Security
Electronic Safety and Security include components related to security, fire, and life safety systems in buildings.

Division 31 – Earthwork
Earthwork covers soil manipulation, foundation construction, and tunnel building for construction projects.

Division 32 – Exterior Improvements
This division addresses site improvements outside of buildings, including paving, landscaping, fencing, and retaining walls.

Division 33 – Utilities
Utilities encompass mechanical and electrical services, including water, wastewater, electrical, fuel, and drainage systems at a construction site.



The Importance of CSI Codes

Each section in the CSI MasterFormat is assigned a specific code, known as CSI Codes. These codes are crucial for categorizing and finding specific construction details. 

CSI codes help in efficiently managing and retrieving information throughout the construction process.


CSI Construction Divisions in Practice

In U.S. construction industry, the CSI construction divisions are widely adopted. They facilitate clear communication, accurate bidding, 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 a vital role in the U.S. construction industry. By providing a common language and framework, they ensure that construction projects are well-organized and executed effectively. Understanding these CSI construction divisions is essential for anyone involved in the construction process.


Willaim wright

Construction Estimator | Civil Engineer | Quantity Surveyor
Expert in Construction Management, Scheduling and Estimating

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