The Standard Specifications for Public Works Construction, popularly known as the Greenbook, was originally published in 1967. The 2009 Edition is the 15th edition of this book, which is republished and updated every three years.
The original edition of the Greenbook was the product of almost four years of intensive work by a 400-person task force, which then comprised the Joint Cooperative Committee. The City and County of Los Angeles were major contributors to this effort and these two agencies were the first to adopt the Greenbook. To date, more than 200 different counties, cities, and agencies in the area have also adopted it as their standard for public works construction specifications. Interest in the Greenbook has been worldwide, with copies being studied and acquired by public works officials throughout the United States, Canada, and many countries overseas.
Immediately after publication of the Greenbook, a permanent Joint Committee, comprised of representatives from counties, cities, utility companies, and contractors throughout Southern California, was established in order to carry on the work. The function of this committee is to update and study the provisions of these specifications in order to reflect the constantly changing technology and advanced thinking of the construction industry.
The first 10 editions of the Greenbook were the product of the Joint Cooperative Committee of the Southern California Chapter of the American Public Works Association, and the Southern California Districts of the Associated General Contractors of California.
In December 1995, the Joint Committee formally ceased operations. In January 1996, Public Works Standards, Inc., a mutual benefit corporation, began publishing the Greenbook. The Corporation’s Board of Directors is composed of 9 members – 5 representing the American Public Works Association, and the other 4 from the Associated General Contractors of California, the Southern California Contractors Association, the Engineering Contractors Association, and BNi Publications, Inc. The Board appoints a 25-member Greenbook Committee, which carries on the function and tradition of the original Joint Committee. This committee convenes regularly on each month to consider new changes.
In each of the two years between publication of a new Greenbook edition, the changes which have been researched and approved by the committee during the preceding year, are published in pamphlet form as amendments to the current edition. This program maintains a living document in public works specifications. Stripes in the margin of each new edition point out significant changes in the text adopted since the preceding edition.
The original edition of the Greenbook consisted of three parts: General Provisions, Construction Materials, and Construction Methods. In 1970, 1991, and 1994, Parts 4, 5, and 6 were added to provide specifications for alternate aggregate materials, pipeline system rehabilitation, and modified asphalt products, respectively.
The Greenbook has been designed to help in furthering uniformity of specifications and plans accepted and used by those involved in public works construction and to take such other steps as are designed to promote more competitive bidding by private contractors. The Greenbook does NOT test or approve products. It is the function of public agencies and private project owners that utilize the Greenbook to determine whether products proposed by a contractor satisfy the Greenbook specifications or the Special Provisions. The Greenbook gives all readers specifications that have general applicability to public works projects.