What Manufacturers and Raw Material Suppliers of Adhesives and Sealants Need to Know about CSI Formatted Project Specifications

Posted on 5/16/2014 12:54:14 PM By Paul Bertram

Towards the end of my last post, I addressed CSI specifications…

CSI’s MasterFormat is a publication of CSI (The Construction Specifications Institute) and CSC (Construction Specification Canada), it is the accepted industry master list of numbers and titles classified by work results. It is primarily used to organize project manuals and detailed cost information, and to relate drawing notations to specifications.   The project manual is issued by the architect to the contractor for bidding and construction, and includes the conditions of contract, general requirements and technical specifications.

csi, masterformat

MasterFormat – Division 01: General Requirements is the area to instruct general administrative and procedural requirements as they apply to the entire project.  Adding a section on Environmental Protection Procedures to Division 1 offers a forum to state the project’s environmental goals.  This is the main section, often referred as Section 018113 – Sustainable Design Requirements  (but can vary), where special environmental requirements can be identified.  Environmental procedures can address resource efficiency, energy efficiency, "healthy indoor air quality, environmental construction techniques, building component reuse, and construction recycling" (Froeschle, 1999).

MasterFormat’s Division 01: General Requirements is the critical section for adhesive and sealant manufacturers and raw material suppliers to understand. This is where instructions for Green Building, Environmental and Sustainability project specific goals are defined. These may also include:


Product specifications should be coordinated with these requirements in accordance with CSI’s Section Format that provides a uniform standard for arranging specification text in a project manual’s sections using a three-part format.

Many ASC members have CSI formatted specifications for end products that are being updated based on new LEEDv4 and other Green Building performance requirements that go beyond typical adhesives and sealants ASTM standards and other testing compliance requirements.

Within Division 01: General Requirements You may find “Specifier Notes” (see example below):


Green building rating systems, such as LEED™, GreenGlobes, BREEAM, IGCC (international Green Construction Code), may include requirements or credits for low emitting materials that include adhesives and sealants for low-emitting materials ( see example credit below):

LEEDv4 reference:

Low-emitting materials

To reduce concentrations of chemical contaminants that can damage air quality, human health, productivity, and the environment

Emissions and Content Requirements:

General emissions evaluation. Building products must be tested and determined compliant in accordance with California Department of Public Health (CDPH) Standard Method v1.1–2010, using the applicable exposure scenario.

The manufacturer’s or third-party certification must state the exposure scenario used to determine compliance. Claims of compliance for wet-applied products must state the amount applied in mass per surface area.

New with LEEDv4 is Building product disclosure and optimization - material ingredients

leed, usgbc

Disclosure of material ingredients is a current challenge for manufacturers and raw material suppliers because of the complexity of upstream data reporting.

Acceptable material transparency reporting includes:

Manufacturer Inventory
The manufacturer has published complete content inventory for the product using stated reference  guidelines:

A publicly available inventory of all ingredients identified by name and Chemical Abstract Service Registration Number (CASRN). Materials defined as trade secret or intellectual property may withhold the name and/or CASRN but must disclose role, amount and GreenScreen benchmark, as defined in GreenScreen v1.2.

Health Product Declaration (HPD)

HPD, Health Product Declaration

The end use product has a published, complete Health Product Declaration with full disclosure of known hazards in compliance with the Health Product Declaration open Standard.

Cradle to Cradle

cradle to cradle, cradle

The end use product has been certified at the Cradle to Cradle v2 Basic level or Cradle to Cradle v3 Bronze level.

Other USGBC approved programs meeting the material ingredient reporting criteria (TBD).

These “Specifier Notes” are notes to the “building team” to be addressed within Adhesives and Sealants manufacturer’s specifications, where manufacturer’s specifications may include “specifier notes” that coordinate with Project Manual – Division 01: general requirements

End product specifications should include reference to any available “ Green Building/Environmental/Sustainability” reporting criteria  For example, "Submit product Data for Credit IEQ 4.1" Subparagraph as applicable to USGBC LEED-NC, LEED-CI, and LEED-CS; coordinate with requirements for sealants and sealant primers.

”Specifier Nores” may also be found within Manufacturer’s specifications as edit “in/out” reference



Toxicity/IEQ: VOCs may be emitted during the curing process. Open cell polyurethane backer rods are sponge like and may absorb moisture. Performance is comparable for green methods and standard methods.  Sealants reduce air infiltration and moisture penetration. Verify that the proper sealant is specified for the given application. Improper selection can result in reapplication, air infiltration, water damage

SUSTAINABLE DESIGN CONSIDERATIONS:  LEED Credit IEQ 4.1 (low-emitting materials) relates to sealants and adhesives. For LEED-NC, LEEDCI, or LEED-CS, it sets limits on VOC content that must be complied with. Although most elastomeric sealants fall easily within VOC limits, special attention should be paid to solvent-release sealants such as butyl-rubber-based products. Primers must also be considered because they typically have a higher VOC rating than the sealants themselves. LEED for Schools Credit IEQ 4.1 requires adhesives and sealants to comply with the testing and product requirements of the California Department of Public Health's (formerly, the California Department of Health Services') Standard Method for the Testing and

Evaluation of Volatile Organic Chemical Emissions from Indoor Sources Using Environmental Chambers. Exterior sealants are not covered in LEED Credit IEQ 4.1.

SPECIFIER NOTE:  Include the following for LEED PROJECTS (LEED-NC, LEED-CI, or LEED-CS Credit IEQ 4.1):  VOC Content of Interior Sealants: Sealants and sealant primers used inside the weatherproofing system shall comply with the following:  Architectural sealants shall have a VOC content of [250] <Insert value> g/L or less.  Sealants and sealant primers for nonporous substrates shall have a VOC content of [250] <Insert value> g/L or less.  Sealants and sealant primers for nonporous substrates shall have a VOC content of [775] <Insert value> g/L or less.  Include "Low-Emitting Interior Sealants" Paragraph below if required for LEED for Schools Credit IEQ 4.1:  Low-Emitting Interior Sealants: Sealants and sealant primers shall comply with the testing and product requirements of the California Department of Health's (formerly, the California Department of Health Services') "Standard Method for the Testing and Evaluation of Volatile Organic Chemical Emissions from Indoor Sources Using Environmental Chambers."

Green Specification Guidelines, References and Tools


green format

CSI's GreenFormat ™ is a standardized structure for organizing sustainable information elements associated with materials, products, systems and technologies used in the built environment. By using this standardized format, manufacturers can accurately identify key product characteristics and provide designers, constructors, and building operators with information needed to help meet sustainable requirements.

Another credit area under Material transparency is Environmental Product Declarations (EPDs)

Whole Building Design Guide

Whole Building Design Guide, Building, Design

To address the need for a comprehensive guide for procuring green building products and construction/renovation services within the Federal government, EPA has partnered with the Federal Environmental Executive and the Whole Building Design Guide (WBDG) to develop the Federal Green Construction Guide for Specifiers.

Organized according to CSI MasterFormat™, the 70+ sections provide users with multiple, performance-based options, allowing for flexibility in application.

To view or download sections, browse the entire index on the Construction Criteria Base.


scip, specifications consultants, specifications, specifications consultants in independent practice

If you need technical expertise in developing product specifications, or if you want to reach 180 of the most active project specification writers in the US SCIP members are a consideration (

An international technical resource organization which assists design firms, owners, and manufacturers in acquiring professionally written construction specifications from qualified independent and employed specifiers, that advance excellence in preparing construction specifications.


I hope by now that you are getting a clear understanding that the topic of “Material Transparency” and Life Cycle Assessment (Environmental Product Declarations) is going to be found in Project Manuals in Division 01: General Requirements.

ASC is actively engaging members to help them work through this challenging reporting criteria and I encourage you to take advantage of these efforts.

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