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Specs & Selections - Frequently Asked Questions

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This article contains the most commonly asked questions regarding Specs/Selections items.

Click a question or topic to jump to the corresponding answer.

 

What are Specification and Selection items?

On the Specs & Selections page you can create both specification and choice items to cover everything that goes into a project.

Specifications are the basic building blocks of what goes into a project and include things like the type of lumber or concrete being used.  These specification items are part of the contractual agreement with the client to build their home and don’t require the client to make a choice. These items will be automatically selected and locked once they are entered.  

On an Open Book project (or a Fixed Price project with budget tracking turned on), the Original Budget will be visible, but there is no Revised Budget.  On the Budget page, the Original and Revised Budgets will be equal.

On a Fixed Price project, there is no Client Price since this is assumed to be part of the contract price.

By having the specs in your project, you have an easy reference for your team, clients (or prospective clients) and trade partners, but neither you nor your client needs to “make a choice”.

 A Selection or choice item is one that you present to your clients to make a decision.  Depending on how you set up the item, the clients will either enter their own choice (Open-Ended) or choose from among some options you present (Predefined Choice). Unlike Specification items,  Selection items may be cost-impacting as reflected on the Financial Summary page (but they do not have to be).

When a choice is made on a Selection item, this financial impact is reflected in the Revised column on the Budget page.  The Original budget should not change after the original proposal price is set.

Both Specification and Selection items can have files and photos attached to them, can be assigned to change orders, and have areas for comments.

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How do I add a selection item?

There are two ways to add a selection item. To add a selection item just to one project, click the + New option at the top of the Estimate or Specs & Selections page. Choose Selection from the list of options.

If you have selection items that you will reuse from project to project (even if the exact prices or other details may change), you can add them to your Specs & Selections Templates to make your life easier. You can access the template library from your top navigation. Once you have added items to your template, you can copy them over to a project by clicking the + New and choose Copy from Template on the Estimate or Specs & Selections page.

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How do I delete a selection item?

If a selection has no history of a choice being made, you can remove it by clicking the “Delete item” link in the upper right corner of the selection item.  There you will see the option to move any files, photos or comments that are part of the selection item, before it is deleted.

For everyone's protection, and to preserve the paper trail, you cannot delete a selection that has a history of a choice being made.

Instead, you can update the selection to include the Option to Decline and then choose the "I don’t want this selection” choice.

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What is the Change Log?

The Change Log records updates made to your Specs & Selections so you can track the progression of the project scope over time.  This creates a paper trail for you to reference if there are ever any questions about what the previous details of an item was or who has made changes.

From your project's Specs & Selections page, select the View Change Log link to see the specific updates to that item.

The following information is tracked in the Change Log:

  • When the item was created/copied to that project
  • Changes to Specification, Client or Trade Partner information
  • Added or removed files & photos
  • New or updated option descriptions and prices
  • When a choice was made or cleared on the item and by whom

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How do I set up a specification item?

There are two ways to create a specification item on the Specs & Selections:

A) Create your own Specification item.

  1. Click on the New button at the top left of the specs & selections page.
  2. Select Specification from the drop down.
  3. Fill out any relevant information in the specification info, client info and partner info fields.
  4. If you're tracking your budget in CoConstruct, add the relevant costs for the specification item using Add cost line
  5. Click the Add item button at the bottom to save your changes and return you to the main Specs & Selections page.

B) Copy a Specification item from a template.

  1. Click on the New button at the top left of the specs & selections page.
  2. Select Copy from Spec/Selection Template from the drop down.
  3. Select correct template and which Specification items you would like to add to the project. 
  4. Select Copy items to project
  5. To edit the specifications, use the Edit link at the top right of each item.   

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How do I set up a Choice item?

There are two ways to create a Choice item on your Specs & Selections page.

Create your own Choice Item:

  1. Click on the New link at the top left the Specs & Selections page and choose Selection.
  2. Enter the item name and select the category.
  3. Use the Requested By section to enter a deadline for your clients to make the decision by - whether tied to a schedule Milestone or a hard date.
  4. Fill out any necessary information in the specifications, client, and partner information boxes.
  5. If there was any budgeted amount for a standard option or allowance in your original proposal price, enter that information in the Original Budget.  If this choice is something not included in the original proposal, leave this at $0.
  6. Choose either the Predefined or Open-ended selection tab and populate as needed.
  7. Select whether or not you want to give your clients an option to decline a selection item. More info.
  8. If setting up a Predefined Choice, enter the corresponding option descriptions and pricing.  For an Open-Ended choice, you can enter the client price if available or select Show as TBD to update after the selection is made.
  9. Upload any relevant files or photos to the selection using the Add files button.
  10. Click on the Add Item button at the bottom to save and add your choice item to your project.  

 Copy a Choice Item from the Spec/Selection Template.

  1. Click on the New button at the top left of the Specs & Selections page > choose Copy from Spec/Selection Template
  2. Select the Template and then which items you would like to add to the project by checking the boxes next to the items
  3. Click on the Copy items to project button to finalize copying the choice items to the specs & selections.
  4. Use the Edit link at the top right of each item to edit any details or cost information for this specific project.

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How do I change a specification item to a selection item and vice versa?

To change a Selection Item to a Specification Item:

  1. Click Edit for that choice item from the Specs & Selections page. 
  2. Change the Type at the top from Choice to Specification
  3. Update any corresponding information related to the specification.
  4. Click the Update Item button at the bottom to save your changes and return you to the Specs & Selections page.

 Pro tip: When you change a choice item to a specification item, you will lose any information in the allowance, predefined, or open-ended sections. Also, you will not have a Requested By section.

To change a Specification Item to a Selection Item:

  1. Click Edit on the specification item from the Specs & Selections page.
  2. Change the Type from "Specification" to "Choice."
  3. Optional - Choose a "Requested by" date or milestone.
  4. Choose either the Predefined Choices or Open-Ended Choice in the "Options" section and populate the choices as needed.
  5. Click the "Update Item" button at the bottom to save your changes and return you to the Specs & Selections page.

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How can I sort and filter items on the Selection Sheet?

Most of us have heard of Tiffany's and their famous blue jewelry boxes. Well, CoConstruct has a handy gray box on the selections page that might not be as famous, but you'll like what it can do.

Let's say you go to a project's specs & selections, looking for a specific item. How can you find it quickly without having to scroll through every single one?

This is where that gray box on the right side of your specs & selections page comes in to play. It allows you to filter the items by status, group items by category or requested by date, and expand or collapse the selections and categories. You can also select which information to display within the specs & selections so you can have a sit down meeting with your client without showing them all of your financial details.

With a couple of clicks, you can quickly answer questions like:
1. What items are due by Framing, but still aren't decided?
2. What has been picked so far?
3. What electrical decisions are upcoming?
4. What are the specs for this project? 


Your clients also have this sorting feature on their Specs & Selections, although it will be limited to the information they have access to.

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How can I move an item on the Specs & Selections?

To move a specification or selection item, click "Edit" next to the item on the Specs/Selections page.

From there, you can change the item's category and/or name. Once you click "Update Item" at the bottom of the screen it will move the item to its new location.

To control the ordering of items within a category, you can use numbering in front of the item name.  Otherwise, items within the same category will be ordered alphabetically.

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Will upcoming selection items show up on my main page?

Upcoming selection items will not show up on the builders' main page as items requiring attention.  This is to avoid any unnecessary clutter for the builder.  The selection items will show up on the builders' dashboard and project overview page once the deadline is overdue.

Upcoming selections do show prominently on the clients' main dashboard. 

Builders can easily view upcoming selection items across projects using the Spec/Selection Summary from the Reports > Specs/Selections.

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How much information can I put in a spec or selection item's information fields?

You can have up to 5,000 characters in each of the three information fields - Specification Information, Client Information and Trade Partner Information.

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How can I create multiple copies of one selection item for a project?

Some builders may want multiple copies of a selection (such as having a sink selection item for the master bath, one for the powder room, guest bath, etc.) on their project's specs & selections without having to manually retype the information for each one.

Here are a few options for handling this:

  1. In the upper left corner of the Specs & Selections page you can select "New" > "Copy items from Spec/Selection template." It will then allow you to select which item(s) you want to copy and also select how many of each you want using the dropdown list.  Once you have the desired number of copies on your selection sheet, you can change any names or details necessary to create unique selection items by clicking "Edit" on each item.  
  1. Right now it is not possible to create duplicates of an item within your Spec/Selection template. Instead, once you have created a selection item, say for the master bath sink, you can copy and paste its information into a new sink selection using the New > Selection link at the top. That way, you at least don't have to retype that same info multiple times. Then when copying items to new projects, you can pick and choose the selections you need.

Note: Once you have created a project with multiple selections customized for each room/scenario, you can turn that into a new Spec/Selection template to use on future projects.  You'll go to Templates > Specs/Selections and choose the option in the upper left for +New Template > Copy from Existing Project.

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What is “TBD?”

TBD means “To Be Determined.” When setting up a choice item, you may not always know the price of your client's selection. Checking the "Show as TBD" box lets you at least show the selection information to your client, even though the pricing information is not yet available.

In the case of choices that are entered by the client, you will almost always use TBD since, until you see the exact choice of your client, you cannot know what the price will be.

Even if a selection choice is set to "Show as TBD", you can still enter in tentative pricing information or, for projects where you're tracking the budget, build your costs for those lines.

As long as the choice is showing as "TBD", your clients will not see any of the tentative pricing.

But, make sure you come back in and update the option when the pricing is all finalized so that you can show the accurate pricing to your clients and track the accurate costs in your budget.

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What price do I put on a selection item if it is included in the contract?

This may be the case if you are offering the client a cost-neutral selection or if you are giving the option of a base package that you included in the contract.

If you haven't entered an allowance amount, the most common way of handling this is to put a price of $0 for the choice. This does not mean that the item is free to you, but rather that choosing it causes no change to the final price of the home. Any future upgrade options you offer should have prices that reflect just the incremental upcharge to the client.

Another way to handle this is to enter an allowance amount, and then enter the same price for the choice. For example, you may have included a $5,000 appliance package in a home. You could then enter a predefined option of “Standard appliance package” with a price of $5,000. The price and allowance cancel each other out, resulting in no change to the final price of the home. Any future upgrade options you offer should show the full price, from which the allowance will be subtracted.

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What if I just need signoff on a selection?

Sometimes you just need signoff on an item that is standard or had previously been decided prior to using Co-construct on the project. In this case, create a new selection item, ensure that the box for "Client may decline this selection item" is unchecked, and enter a single predefined selection item with an option name such as “Yes” or “Accepted per spec.” When the client goes to make the choice, they will have to click the only option available. This allows you to capture the client’s signoff in the change log.

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What if I need a “yes/no” answer on a selection?

There are times when you need a yes or no answer, such as whether or not the client wants to finish off a bonus room. In this case, in the section for "Option to Decline" check the box for "Client may decline this selection item". Then enter a single predefined option with a name such as “Yes” or “Finish bonus room.” When the client goes to make a choice, they will have the ability to accept that one option or turn it down.

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Will a selection item lock when the deadline passes?

No, selection items do not automatically lock themselves. Because schedules are rarely written in stone, and since you have to go to the selection sheet anyway to get information to place an order, Co-construct waits for you to lock the item when you are ready.

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Why does a selection item say “upcoming?”

It says “upcoming” because a decision needs to be made soon. When it says “upcoming” depends on what kind of “requested by” deadline you have set for the selection item. If you set an absolute date, then it will show as “upcoming” when you are within 14 days of that deadline. If you set a milestone deadline, it will show as “upcoming” when the previous milestone has been marked as complete.

For example, here are the first few milestones a contractor has on one of his projects:

  • Excavation complete
  • Foundation complete
  • Framing complete
  • Rough-in complete

At the beginning of the project, he adds a selection item for a kitchen faucet, which he marks as needing to be decided by “Framing complete.” As the project progresses, he checks off the milestones. When he checks off the “Foundation complete” milestone, the site automatically flags the kitchen faucet selection item as upcoming, since its milestone is the next to be accomplished.

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Why do dates sometimes show on the selection item deadlines?

Dates will show on your selection items for one of two reasons:

  1. You specifically set a date as the deadline for the selection item.
  2. You have picked a milestone as the deadline and you have allowed your clients to see the schedule on this project. The date that shows on the selection item is the end date for the milestone you picked.

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How do I know who made a choice on a selection item?

Any changes to a selection, including making and changing choices, are saved in the change log. Click the “View change log” link on the selection item to see exactly what has been going on.

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