Thursday, 19 March 2020

From the archives - Press articles on NBS from 1974

I got a nice email from Levitt Bernstein's Andy Jobling yesterday, he'd found some of the very first reviews of NBS from the Architects' Journal from back in 1974. Since I started working on developing NBS in 1999 Andy has always been one of those that has been hugely supportive with ideas on our customer groups and also one-to-one sessions. So a big thanks to Andy for sending this through.

Click the scans below to see them at a larger size.

10th July 1974 - Architects' Journal
Some interesting points from the first article:
  • An interesting debate over specification responsibility - architect or quantity surveyor?
  • Drawings, specifications, bills and schedules were not coordinated adequately
  • Controversary on classification :) - SMM or CI/SfB?
  • Computers mentioned - but generally 'architect makes amends to clauses and hands it to a secretary to type the clause in full'
  • Stressing that specification needs to be done by a professional - Modify NBS 'wisely rather than wilfully'.
  • Mentions of names from the past - Tony Allott (Technical Director of NBS Ltd) and Stuart Hendy (FaulknerBrown Architects) - notably FaulknerBrown's are still NBS users nearly 50 years later!
  • Early compters do not reduce the need for sound judgements - but do have the advantage of improving the speed and accuracy.
  • Using NBS on computer for a large job was estimated to have cost £1,000 - but this included a cost of 40p a page to print out!!!
  • Manufacturers should 'produce literature consistent with NBS'
  • Using NBS 'makes the job architect think'
  • 'It takes some initial courage and effort...but after that... its benefits are great' :)

31st July 1974 - Architects' Journal
And then a few weeks later.
  • Reflecting on the initial need for NBS - 'In 1968 the Economic Development Council for Building concluded that the general standard of building specification needed improvement, and that wide use of a national library of specification clauses would increase productivity and facilitate communication between the professions, the contractors and other limbs of the industry.'
  • This review is from two quantity surveyors from BDP. As with FaulknerBrown, BDP have been long-time NBS users.
  • A set of exemplar documentation from real projects had been published and reviewed.
  • A focus on drawing standards, referencing the RIBA Project Manual and the BRE paper 18/73.
  • More confusion between classification systems SMM vs CI/SfB.
  • 'Education an architect towards better specification writing is... fundamental'

A few other 'from the archive' blog posts below for those interested in this sort of thing...

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