General specification

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General specification
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General specification is detailed description of product, article, material, construction, machinery, system or service. It includes information about all types, variations, classes, grades, styles of the item or service, and moreover[1][2]:

  • all materials that are going to be used,
  • detailed specifications (such as size, weight, temperature etc.),
  • the purpose of the product or service (answering question what need does the product or service fulfil?),
  • how it should be used,
  • how it should be destroyed (for example batteries, medicines, chemical substations),
  • performance which is going be achieved with the developed item.

Initially, general specification is prepared by designer or member of design team. Then it is passed to an engineer or an expert who verifies the document and approve it or gives feedback about necessary remarks[3].

Recommendations for writing general specification

There is recommended that all documents, including amendments and additional specifications should be published if product is already existing on market. All documents should be numbered and dated. Many times, general specification of one product is used later on in development of another product [4][5].

There is recommended to avoid misunderstandings and be as clear and technical as possible, therefore words such as suitable, appropriate, conventional, as agreed and theirs alternatives should be avoided in general specification description[6][7].

Example of chapters in general specification

At the beginning, each general specification may have very general information that would help to understand the context of new created design. Below are some chapters used in system specification[8]:

  1. Introduction - describe in general what the document is about,
  2. Who should read these specifications - refers to users and other interested parties,
  3. Foundational standard - describes formal standards that the document is following,
  4. Maintenance responsibility and management - gives information about where to find manual,
  5. Verbs used in normative statements - explains all normative language,

Later on the documents starts to be much more specific about system it describes.


  1. Tricker R., (2014), p. 11
  2. Grady J. O., (2010), p. 304
  3. Grady J. O., (2010), p. 304
  4. Tricker R., (2014), p. 11
  5. Grady J. O., (2010), p. 304
  6. Tricker R., (2014), p. 11
  7. Grady J. O., (2010), p. 304
  8. The Global Language of Business, (2019)


Author: Anna Bodura