Proprietary Product Specifications

A proprietary product specification is used when a generic description of a desired product or process cannot be easily formulated. It usually contains an “or equivalent” clause to allow for some measure of competition in providing the product. It is generally acknowledged that such a specification severely limits competition which increases cost, it provides very little latitude for innovation and it puts substantial risk on the owner for product performance. Most agencies avoid this type of specification whenever possible. Figure 1 is an example:

Figure 1. This is Section 410.03(a)3c of the 2012 Alabama DOT Standard Specifications for Highway Construction. It is a bit short of a complete proprietary specification, but it does specify acceptable models by name.