FAQ - MasterSpec

How is MasterSpec delivered?

MasterSpec libraries are delivered via an email link to a download page.
What is a “site license“? Where can I install a “site“ license?

A site license is a nonexclusive and nontransferable right (or license) to use MasterSpec solely and exclusively within one organization/firm at the one physical address until the license expires.

You may network MasterSpec so it can be used on other computers within your organization so long as all use is limited to one physical address.
I occasionally work from home; can I use MasterSpec there?

You may make MasterSpec available to individuals who telecommute via a WAN, an Intranet, or other secure electronic means as long as they work for the firm (with the MasterSpec license) at the same physical address.
Do I need to renew my license annually?

Yes. Once you choose not to renew your license, you forfeit the rights to continue using MasterSpec and must return or destroy the system. Your annual renewal fee allows you to continue to receive critical updates that keep your specification system current. Your renewal license also includes upgrades to MasterWorks and continued technical and specification support.
Can I license individual MasterSpec sections?

Anyone can license and download individual sections from the Online Store area of this website. You may click on "Catalog" from the "Buy" dropdown menu or simply search for the section number or title of the section you're interested in.
How do I add another library to my license?

It is best to speak to the product consultant in charge of your account to ensure you get the best value for your license.
What products and services come with a MasterSpec license?

MasterSpec licensed users receive an initial email that includes a link to a download page:

    MasterSpec master specification text in Word
    Supporting Documents
    MasterWorks software
    Updating Instructions

Once users are registered on the ARCOM website, they can access: :

    Supporting documents
    Quick-Start installation guides
    User's guide
    Tables of contents
    Continuing education information
    Updating instructions

Throughout the license period, users will receive several emails with links to new, updated, and revised MasterSpec sections as well as updates to MasterWorks.
Your license also includes:

    Complete access to ARCOM's user-only website which features a variety of support services, information resources, and special discounts
    Free AIA independent study (continuing education) opportunities
    Free technical support via email, livechat, or toll-free line

Can I license MasterSpec as a manufacturer?

MasterSpec content is copyrighted and protected by the AIA. It is intended primarily for use by design professionals in their practice of preparing construction documents. Refer to the Manufacturer FAQs for more information.
What discounts are available?

Discounts are available to members of organizations that endorse MasterSpec or those that ARCOM has a relationship with. Organization discount are either 5% or 10%.

10% discounts offered to members of:


5% discounts offered to members of:


What are the libraries available with MasterSpec?

Architects: Select the Architecture library for all your architectural, site civil, structural, and landscape specification needs or select the library that is customized for your more specific practice. Packages and formats are available for your varied project types and complexities.

    Architecture Library
    Historic Preservation Library
    Interiors Library
    Roofing and Waterproofing Library

Engineers: License the specific library for your building discipline or the Engineering library (at a discounted price) for your multi-discipline engineering projects. Packages and formats are available for your varied project types and complexities.

    Engineering Library
    Mechanical/Electrical Library
    Mechanical Library
    Electrical Library
    Communications Library
    Structural Library

Landscape Architects: Select from the following libraries for landscape or site-civil projects in formats for your varied needs.

    Landscape Architecture Library
    Site Civil Library

For A/E firms and other multi-discipline firms: These libraries suit your projects which cross multiple disciplines and include package discounts. Or use the Small Project A/E library for your smaller, simpler projects.

    Comprehensive Library
    Building Architecture/Engineering Library
    Structural/Civil/Landscape Library
    Small Project A/E Library

How do I choose the best MasterSpec library/version for my firm?

First, determine which of MasterSpec’s 16 libraries matches your firm’s practice area.

Select the package that best fits your typical projects: Basic or Expanded

Select the specification format that best fits your project complexity or contractual requirements:

    Professional + (Professional plus Outline, discounted)
    Premium + (Premium plus Outline, discounted)
    Value (Professional plus Premium, discounted)
    Complete (Professional plus Premium plus Outline, discounted)

The Small Project A/E library may be the best solution for you if your projects are limited in size, scope, and duration (e.g., residential, interior build out, and renovations). Small Project A/E is delivered in only one package and format.

For personal assistance, call an ARCOM’product consultants at 800.424.5080 for help with selecting the most appropriate and cost-effective library for your practice, or complete a Request for Information form.
What is the Small Project A/E library?

MasterSpec Small Project A/E includes abridged specification text in Word developed specifically for projects limited in size, scope, complexity, or duration. The Small Project A/E license includes access to the valuable resource, Supporting Documents, and the MasterWorks specification editing and production software, at no additional cost. Small Project typically offers users the best solution for residential, light commercial, facilities management, and renovation as well as design-build and interior fit-out work.

Like other MasterSpec libraries, Small Project A/E is licensed on an annual basis. Unlike the other MasterSpec libraries, it comes in only one format and one package.
What is the difference between the Professional and Premium format/libraries?

Professional specifications are abridged sections (from the Premium version) for less-complex projects or contractual requirements. These sections cover the same topics as the Premium sections and come with a full complement of Supporting Documents.

Premium specifications feature comprehensive master specification text for complex contractual requirements. These sections are typically used on large commercial, industrial, and government projects, and come with a full complement of Supporting Documents.

Specification Format
Level of Detail
Supporting Documents
Professional    Abridged    Less-complex contractual situations. More commonly used products    Yes
Premium    Comprehensive    Complex projects and contractual situations    Yes
Outline    No Part 3 (Execution)    Design Development phase only.  License as an add on to Professional or Premium.    no
How do the basic and expanded packages differ?

The basic package consists of the most commonly used sections for typical commercial projects and is best used for moderate- to large-scale complex projects and any bidding and contractual situation.

The expanded package consists of the basic package PLUS the supplemental sections, which address more specialized products or are less commonly used. Not all libraries have an expanded package option.
What are Supporting Documents?

MasterSpec Supporting Documents are comprehensive background research information and coordination checklists that accompany each MasterSpec section. Unique to MasterSpec, this one-stop resource for product research/selection and specification preparation includes:

    Summary — Section scope overview
    Evaluations — Testing procedures and the applicable codes, application and implementation suggestions, green building or sustainable design information, references and standards, direct links into the manufacturer and standards organizations
    Drawing and Specification Coordination checklists

Are MasterSpec demos available?

You can set up an online demo by contacting your product consultant at 800.424.5080, or complete an RFI
How often are MasterSpec updates released?

MasterSpec sections are substantively updated on a one- to five-year cycle, depending on the changes that affect the section. Dynamic updates are issued throughout the year as part of the MasterSpec license. Updates notices are emailed to clients three to five times a year. Updates include:

    New sections
    Substantive updates to existing sections (technical updates and section re-writes)
    Dynamic updates to sections can include global updates to MasterSpec for major enhancements, such as: Integrating LEED or sustainable information, implementing new MasterFormat or SectionFormat, updating manufacturer or product information, updating all cross references, and more
    MasterWorks enhancements or upgrades

Does ARCOM support the latest MasterFormat?

Yes. ARCOM supports each updated edition of MasterFormat. As a matter of fact, some MasterFormat updates are brought about by suggestions of specification providers like ARCOM.
Does MasterSpec offer sustainability options within the section text?

MasterSpec has always supported green or sustainable design and was first in incorporating LEED information in the specifications and companion Supporting Documents. In 2014, ARCOM released the MasterWorks (for PC) sustainable design tool for MasterSpec. This online tool allows the specifier to easily access and select LEED v4, LEED 2009, Green Globes, the International Green Construction Code (IgCC), and ASHRAE 189.1 information.
Are payment plans available for my new MasterSpec license? the section text?

No. Full payment is necessary for initial license purchases. Visa, MasterCard, American Express, or company checks are accepted. Payment options may be available for renewal licenses. Contact your license renewal specialist at 800.424.5080 for more information.
Can I license and then be sent an invoice?

Full payment and a signed license agreement are required before we can email the link to access MasterSpec. Purchase orders from government entities are also accepted. You will be billed for your license renewal when your initial license is about to expire.
What kind of training does ARCOM provide?

ARCOM offers the ARCOM SpecAcademy, a continuing education and training program offered to users, which include:

    Getting started webinars, some offer continuing education credit
    Webinars customized for your office
    Workshops held in various cities throughout the U.S.
    Custom training in your office for a fee plus travel expenses
    Technical support is also available at no cost via toll free phone, livechat, or email

For more information, contact ARCOM’s training and continuing education coordinator at 800.424.5080 or via e-mail at training@arcomnet.com.
What continuing education programs does ARCOM offer, and what do they cost?

ARCOM offers licensed users a number of opportunities to earn AIA CES, ACEC RCEP, or SDA CDFA continuing education credit through the ARCOM SpecAcademy program. These opportunities for licensed users include:

    Workshops — Earn up to six AIA LU, RCEP PDH, SDA CDFA credits by attending in-depth, hands-on training provided throughout the year in various cities throughout the U.S.
    Custom Training — Earn AIA LU, RCEP, or SDA CDFA credit via tailored, on-site MasterSpec seminars or workshops developed specifically for a firm.
    Select Webinars – Earn AIA, RCEP, or SDA credit through two different webinars offered to grow the user’s skill with ARCOM’s productivity tools.
    FREE Independent Study Program — Earn AIA credits by reading specification sections and companion Supporting Documents selected from each MasterSpec update. Those wanting AIA credit are required to take and pass a test (80%) to earn credit (one learning unit (LU) per section/test, HSW eligible).

For more information on ARCOM's continuing education program, contact ARCOM’s training and continuing education coordinator at 800.424.5080 or via e-mail at continuinged@arcomnet.com.
What are the benefits for renewing my license each year?

There are many benefits to a continued MasterSpec license. These include:

    Maintaining the right to use copyrighted information
    Continued access to MasterSpec Supporting Documents
    Updates (new and updated sections) throughout your license period
    Free technical and specification support
    Continued access to cloud-based manufacturer and sustainable design information
    Free use of MasterWorks productivity software
    Free continuing education opportunities
    A staff of over 45 focused on providing you the best specification content, software, and resources
    And more…

What happens if I don't renew?

You lose all the benefits listed above and you violate the AIA copyright if you continue to use MasterSpec and any specifications or office masters based on MasterSpec.
Can I pay my renewal invoice online?

 Yes.  To View and Pay Your Invoice:

Go to www.arcomnet.com/masterspec/users and log in.


Click on Account Management.
Click on Renew Licensed Products to view your invoice.





If you or your firm is a member of any of ARCOM’s partner or endorsing organizations, click on Member – Click to add discount and:

  • Enter the Member Name
  • Select the organization from the dropdown menu
  • Enter the Member Number
  • Click on Update





If the information is valid, you will be asked to click on Show Updated Invoice, which will reflect the discounts applied. Please allow a minute to recalculate.


Read the license agreement and click on Accept to continue the renewal process.

Click on Pay Now.



On the "Order Details - Secure Checkout" screen:

  • Enter your credit card and billing information
  • Enter your email address if not listed
  • Click on Submit Payment.

You will receive a confirmation number and an email of your paid invoice.

If you need to make changes, have a multi-site license, or want to license multiple years for additional discounts, please contact an ARCOM license specialist at 800.424.5080.