Monday, 20 June 2011

NBS Create - The specification as a rich information model

Last month I blogged about how our new "NBS 2012" specification product allows outline, performance and full specifications to be created.

This month, the article below looks at how the project specification will no longer be simply "words on paper", but it will be made up of objects with pre-authored relationships and constraints that describe the building.

1. Starting with Systems
The screenshot below shows that the project specification is made up of the systems in the job, for example, biofuel supply system, solar heating system, natural ventilation system. This example uses engineering services systems, but it could equally apply to architectural systems such as windows, doors, walls and floors.

Each of these can be opened in the editor to display an outline of the products that make up the system. The screenshot below shows the solar heating system being described in terms of its components such as the heat source, pipelines and insulation. Against each of these NBS have pre-defined the links to the most likely candidate products. For example, against the Thermal insulation component the user may pick from three different types of insulation products.
Alternatively, the user may specify this system in terms of its performance, this was looked at in last months blog post.

In addition to the products that make up the system, at the base of each system outline clause there are pre-authored relationships to clauses describing the execution and completion of the system. For example, what the installation, documentation and servicing requirements of the system are.

2. Products
Moving down the system editor, the products clauses that have been included in the job are defined. The example below shows the definition of a flat plate collector for the solar heating system. This is familiar to users of current NBS.
However, the principle of parent and child relationships is also continued here. The screenshot below shows the relationship between the flat plate collector and its corresponding installation clauses.

The example installation clause is shown below... 
3. Visualising the system
In this example, the project specification now describes the the systems (and the spaces they belong to), their child products and their installation and completion requirements for these. Behind the scenes this is a very rich data model that allows some great functionality that will provide better efficiency and accuracy to the user. This is a rich information model describing the building.
One immediate benefit of this is the ability to visualise the system, to see all of the child items and the relationships. This is shown below. As well as a simple visualiser, this view also works as a navigator to open the clauses in the job and the technical guidance also synchronises.

4. Reports
Over the coming months I will blog about the great functionality that this now allows. But to finish this post off, a screenshot of one of the automatically generated reports is shown. The user has clicked to see a report of all items in the job that the contractor has design duties. The user has clicked on an item that is "contractor's choice" and the software has then jumped to the correct item.
Other types of instant reports include manufacturer products, reference documents and user note reports. The user will also be able to define their own reports and it will be possible to publish these reports.

Further reading...
For all blog articles on NBS 2012 - click the NBS 2012 hyperlink to the right of this page.

To join our Beta Testing Program and help us develop this product, please see:

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