MasterSpec FAQ's


MasterSpec FAQ's

MasterSpec libraries are delivered via an email link to a download page.

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.

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.

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.

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.

It is best to speak to the product consultant in charge of your account to ensure you get the best value for your 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
  • Forms
  • 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

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.

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:

  • AIA
  • ACEC
  • ANLA
  • ASID
  • CASE
  • IIDA
  • NSPE
  • SDA

5% discounts offered to members of:

  • ASLA
  • ASCE
  • CSI
  • SCIP

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.

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.

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

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.

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
  • Premium
  • 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.

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.

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
Less-complex contractual situations. More commonly used products
Complex projects and contractual situations
No Part 3 (Execution)
Design Development phase only.  License as an add on to Professional or Premium.

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.

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

You can set up an online demo by contacting your product consultant at 800.424.5080 or complete and RFI

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

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.

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.

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.

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.

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

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

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…

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.