Mn/DOT Standard Specification Rewrite

  • Market Segment: Highway & Bridge
  • Services Provided: Standard Specifications Update and Improvement
  • Client: Minnesota Department of Transportation
  • Location: St. Paul. MN
  • Project Value: N/A

Trauner’s understanding of nationwide best practices in transportation and their experience revising, rewriting, and updating standard specifications also benefited this effort and was instrumental in the development of the Department’s new standard specifications…I would not hesitate in recommending Trauner Consulting Services for a technical writing and revision assignment involving standard specifications or other manuals and technical documents.


- Elizabeth Buckley, Minnesota Department of Transportation

For the Minnesota Department of Transportation (Mn/DOT) Trauner was contracted to develop a style guide specific to Mn/DOT, perform a plain-language rewrite of the entire standard specifications manual, and provide them a print-ready document.  Trauner developed a style guide to ensure a consistent approach to the rewrite and also provide a means for Mn/DOT to continue implementing the rewrite style into the future with new specification sections that are introduced by their design division.

Trauner also updated 16 key sections of Mn/DOT’s General Provisions. A few updated topics include contract changes, dispute resolution, scheduling and time extensions, and compensation for contract revisions.  The sections in the General Provisions that were not part of this update process were rewritten like the technical sections, focusing on a plain language rewrite to the active voice and imperative mood, improving the consistency of the language, reducing ambiguities, and applying a consistent style per the style guide.

Individual tasks performed during this assignment included conducting discussions with representatives from the Department in order to identify poorly performing specification provisions, and compiling  recommendations and submitting them to the representatives for their review before rewriting any provisions.  After receiving direction from the Department on how to proceed with the improvement, Trauner began redrafting the provisions to reflect the Department’s direction and rewriting the entire General Provisions for consistency.  Trauner performed an iterative review of submitted drafts and comments from the Department until we resolved all outstanding issues.