DIVISION 17- Overview
An Organizational Model for Technology and Communications Infrastructures

An Overview

Prepared By:
Thomas C. Rauscher
903 Elmgrove Road, Building 5
Rochester, NY 14624
(585) 424-1952, x22

Contents of this Document

Design and Construction Process
Current Model and History
Why Division 17?
Division 17
“T” Series Drawings
New Process
Next Steps


To understand what “Division 17” is , you must first understand:
What is CSI?
That there are already Divisions 1-16.
What is a Performance Specification?
What is the MasterFormatTM, SectionFormatTM and PageFormatTM?
How drawings are used during the construction and operation of a building. Plot & build vs. Computer
Aided Facility Management (CAFM)?
What the relationship is between drawings and specifications?
What is the current status of the Construction Industry and the Technology Industry?

CSI is the Construction Specifications Institute
One of the documents that CSI produces, jointly with CSC - Construction Specifications Canada is the MasterFormatTM.
The MasterFormatTM is a master list of numbers and titles for organizing information about construction requirements, products and activities into a standard sequence. The MasterFormatTM was introduced in 1963 and the current edition is the 1995 edition.
The MasterFormatTM consists of the following:
Front End - Intro, Bid Forms, Conditions, Etc.
Division 1 - General Requirements
Division 2 - Site Construction
Division 3 - Concrete
Division 4 - Masonry
Division 5 - Metals
Division 6 - Woods and Plastics
Division 7 - Thermal and Moisture Protection
Division 8 - Doors and Windows
Division 9 - Finishes
Division 10 - Specialties
Division 11 - Equipment
Division 12 - Furnishings
Division 13 - Special Construction
Division 14 - Conveying Systems
Division 15 - Mechanical
Division 16 - Electrical

Performance Specification

A performance specification is a document that specifies the minimum quality requirements for how a product shall be manufactured and installed.
The CSI SectionFormatTM and PageFormatTM provide standard formats for organizing the sections and individual pages of a specification. The CSI 3 Part format is an industry standard format for organizing specifications. Each section is organized in three parts:
PART 1 - GENERAL (administrative)
PART 2 - PRODUCTS (materials)
PART 3 - EXECUTION (installation)

Sample Specification:

    A. Provide all labor, materials, tools, and equipment required for the complete installation of work         called for in the Contract Documents.
    A. Racks shall meet the following physical specifications:
     1. 19” rack mounting space.
     2. 7 foot high.
    A. All racks shall be anchored to the floor.
    B. Attach top of rack to ladder rack.

Design and Construction Process

Architects use this MasterFormatTM to organize the requirements for a new building or renovation. The architect is typically the lead design professional for a project and also manages the development of the Front End and Division 1 requirements. These sections cover the administrative requirements of a project.
First, a customer identifies a need and hires a lead design professional to establish a project scope and budget. Typically this is an architect, but does not always need to be. The lead design professional then assembles a design team of engineers and consultants who work together to create a schematic design and estimate.
Once the schematic design is reviewed, modified as required and approved, which includes making sure the design can be built within budget, the design team then begins detailed design efforts. The detailed design is typically reviewed at 50% and 90% along with a revised estimate. This review often includes individuals from the facilities Operations and Maintenance group, for a given facility.
The design team prepares the construction documents and the project is put out to bid. Addenda are issued as required to clarify the bid documents. Bids are received and a contract(s) is awarded to the successful bidder(s) and Construction begins.
It is typically at this time when it becomes obvious that technology has not been adequately addressed and now there is no space or money in the budget for the required technology requirements. This results in design changes and change orders to the contracts and disruptions to the construction timelines and plans, All of which are somehow the fault of the “new” technology requirements.
Eventually the project is completed and the contractors turn over the record copy drawings and manuals to the Operations and Maintenance department for the facility. As-built drawings usually arrive 3-6 months later as hard copy prints, if at all. Meanwhile, the technology systems managers wade through what they were given and often need to rework, enhance or otherwise modify the results.
If this process sounds like the technology requirements are not being addressed adequately, this is because they are not being addressed effectively under the current CSI model.
This is illustrated by the fact that technology and communication systems only take up 2 of 317 pages in the current 1995 CSI - Master Format.

Current Model and History

Currently, the construction industry places the Technology and Communications requirements at the tail end of Division 16 - Electrical Requirements.
16700 - Communications
710 Communication Circuits
720 Telephone and Intercommunication Equipment
740 Communication and Data Processing Equipment
770 Cable Transmission and Reception Equipment
780 Broadcast Transmission and Reception Equipment
790 Microwave Transmission and Reception Equipment
16800 - Sound and Video
810 Sound and Video Circuits
820 Sound Reinforcement
830 Broadcast Studio Audio Equipment
840 Broadcast Studio Video Equipment
850 Television Equipment
880 Multimedia Equipment

Why Division 17?

It is easy to see that the Technology and Communications Industry, is not effectively included in the current model.
Additionally, the Technology Industry has historically spoken in system specific Request for Proposals and hand sketches, while, the Construction Industry, has communicated with performance specifications and CAD drawings.
This is why the Technology System(s) requirements end up being addressed late in the construction cycle, by the owner, on a system by system basis. In fact, technology planning often begins when the rest of the project is going out to bid. This results in construction projects that go out to bid with little or no coordination for technology, other than a few outlet boxes, conduit stubs and an occasional note to “ coordinate in field with owner”.

Why? Image
SD=Schematic Design
DD=Detailed Design
CD=Construction Documents
BID=Bidding Process
CA=Construction Administration
CM=Construction Management
CO=Cutover and First Use

  1. First step is to get synchronized with the formal design process.
  2. Second step is to Integrate with the formal design process.
This results in little or no space allocated in the building for Technology or any money in the capital budget for the required Technology Infrastructure and typically not much time left to resolve the issues.


The reasons technology is not part of the current and must now be added go back to the FCC break up of Bell System. The Building Industry Consultants (BICs) and Rural Electric Authority (REA) Practices were the resources Architects
depended on to provide requirements for telephone service inside a building. With the break up of the Bell System, the services that these BIC engineers had traditionally provided became the responsibility of the building owners.
BICSI, a Telecommunications Association, was formed to help address this issue. Also at this time companies like IBM and AT&T offered proprietary solutions. These solutions were then superceded by the EIA/TIA standards and have evolved to the Standards that exist today. However, formal communication with the Architect/Engineer/Consultant (A/E/C) community has typically been limited to a particular system, if at all.

Division 17

It has now become clear that we need to add Telecommunications "T" as the fourth utility to the AMEP process. The key is to establish an effective and comprehensive model that can be used to better plan, build and also manage technology infrastructures in a manner that is consistent with the established design and construction industry. Legislation, Licensing, Wage Rates training, Inspection and new curriculums can also use this model as a basis for defining the scope and breadth of Telecommunications.
Division 17 is the proposed model. It can be used to organize a comprehensive set of performance specifications and series of Technology drawings that effectively organize:
Front End Requirements
17000 General Requirements
17100 Cable Plant
17200 LAN
17300 Voice
17400 Audio/Video
17500 WAN
17600 Architectural, Electrical and Mechanical Systems
17700 Intra Building Communication Systems
17800 Building Automation and Control
17900 Security, Access and Surveillance
Division 17 has been developed to allow it to serve as a comprehensive stand-alone model or as an addition to the existing MasterFormatTM. The reason for the dual approach to developing the model was to address current and near term issues, as well as evolving and future issues.
Because the technology requirements often go out to bid (RFP) after (or in parallel) to the bids for the rest of the construction requirements, the model includes items that may appear to overlap with the MasterFormatTM and other construction requirements.
However, when the model is used in conjunction with a formal design team, sections such as the Front End, 17000, 17130, 17140 and 17600 can be used to communicate technology created requirements with other members of the design team instead of the contractors bidding on the project.
The Division 17 Organizational Model provides the framework for preparing the specifications, but it is not the source. The origin of specifications arose from drawing notes that became too numerous to fit on a drawing and have evolved into the Project Manuals present today. So Technology Consultants need a series of Drawings to clearly communicate quantity and location of the specific products.

“T” Series Drawings

To prepare these drawings, the technology industry must be able to obtain accurate base files (floor plans) to prepare a set of “Technology” Drawings to plan and communicate the technology requirements with clients and other design professionals. The following is a summary of the general types of drawings that should be created:
T0 – Campus or Site Plans - Exterior Pathways and Inter-Building Backbones
T1 – Layout of complete building per floor - Serving Zone Boundaries, Backbone Systems, and        Horizontal Pathways
T2 – Serving Zones Drawings - Drop Locations and Cable ID’s
T3 – Communication Equipment Rooms - Plan Views - Tech and AMEP /Elevations - Racks and Walls        Elevations
T4 – Typical Detail Drawings - Faceplate Labeling, Firestopping, ADA, Safety, DOT, etc...
T5 – Schedules (Cabling and Equipment Spreadsheets) for cutovers
For more information on drawings, layers and setup and procedures see sample drawings.

New Process

The key now is to become part of the established design and construction process. This is not always easy and is often challenged.
The first way is for the customer to include technology requirements in the project scope when selecting an architect or lead design professional.
A second way is to have the “architect” incorporate the Division 17 requirements from the earliest stages of planning through the design and construction stages by including a Technology Engineer or Consultant in the process.
In order for this to happen, Technology Engineers and Consultants must be able to prepare the project requirements including CAD Drawings, Performance Specifications and Estimates based on the proposed Division 17 Organizational model, the existing CSI MasterFormatTM, SectionFormatTM and PageFormatTM documents.
Contractors, Installers and Integrators must learn to interpret and work from CAD Drawings and Performance Specifications based on the proposed Division 17 Organizational model, the existing CSI master format, section format and page format documents. Additionally, technology and telecommunication contractors must learn to work in conjunction with the other trades on a job site and become familiar with and use standard construction management documents such as those in the CSI - Manual of Practice (MOP).

Next Steps

Support Division 17 as it evolves into an industry standard organizational model for Technology Infrastructures.
Use Division 17 as a basis for establishing communication with the existing design industry (A/E/C).
Join BICSI and attend the national conferences to learn more about technology and to network with other individuals from around the country and the world in the telecommunications industry.
Join and participate in your local CSI chapter and help yourself in your local market and give our industry a voice and a face. The burden is on members of the technology industry to learn how the construction industry works and then present ourselves professionally and in a format that is native to the established design and construction industry.
Use Division 17 to create time, space and money on new construction projects.
Download, review and comment on the current draft of the Division 17 Organizational Model.
The document and discussion boards can be found at the Division 17 Web Site located at www.division17.net.
Visit another web site located at www.division17.com for product information organized by the Division 17 model.