Friday, 3 September 2021

Digital Construction Podcasts

If you have 30-45 minutes in your day where you like listening to podcasts then some recommendations below...

Firstly a plug for Nathan Hildebrandt's Digital Transition podcast series. Nathan's just kicked off his second series with a chat with myself looking at digital construction and specification around the world. Nathan has been instrumental in organizing BILT events around the world and his series of podcasts has brought together speakers from North America, Europe and Australia exploring digital construction.

To listen to my conversation with Nathan check out the link below:

To check out the back catalogue that includes some great content see:

The second set of podcasts to point to are those put together by my colleague Paul Swaddle.

The speakers have been hand picked by Paul as he speaks to industry leaders about topics such as information management, education, business strategy, leadership and sustainability. Listen now to these NBS podcasts:

Tuesday, 3 August 2021

NBS - August 2021 Update

 Monthly update below...

Links from everything mentioned in the video below...

- Register now for the NBS Autumn Summit:

- Find out more about Chorus Pro:

- Watch a preview of the new Organization Notes feature:

- Watch our 'on demand' webinars - Chorus Pro intro and our July panel discussions

- Find out more about NBS Source

Saturday, 31 July 2021

Uniclass 2015 to CAWS system and product mappings/relationships spreadsheet

 A few folk on social media have been asking if there are any mappings available between Uniclass 2015 and CAWS.

A spreadsheet with a number of relationships (not necessarily perfect 'mappings') can be downloaded from the link below:

The blog post below describes a bit more where this data comes from and why these sort of relationships will never be one-to-one (unfortunately):

Introduction from the first worksheet in spreadsheet copied and pasted below. A couple of screenshots further down too.

V1.0 - Generated 15th June 2021


1. This set of Uniclass 2015 to CAWS relationships was produced by looping through all of the manufacturer systems and products listed in the NBS Source platform.

2. As manufacturer product listings in NBS Source are positioned against a primary Uniclass 2015 classification and CAWS clauses then it is possible to report on each of these relationships.

3. If a system or product classification does not have a manufacturer listing in NBS Source then no relationship is provided.

For example, there is no Pr_60_60_08_59 Oil-fired steel shell boilers products in NBS Source - so there is no relationship provided for this item.

4. Only systems and products are considered as part of this automated routine - so NBS clause content for preliminaries, system performance, execution or system completion is out of scope.

5. Disclaimer - This spreadsheet is meant as a free download to help inform industry - it should be considered 'beta' and the data should be tested before using. Feedback is welcome.


Use the filters to get to the information you want (nearly 15,000 rows of info!)

Once filtered the relationships can be bettered focused in on

...and to find out more about NBS Source, feel free to have a read through this article:

Friday, 9 July 2021

NBS - July 2021 Update

 July update from myself below...

Useful links below

1. Support around the retirement of our desktop products:

2. Article and webinar looking at Chorus and Source integration:

3. Financial summary export for projects of a more simple nature

4 Keynote export for those that cannot use our plug-ins

5. NBS Chorus case study featuring ADAM Architecture

6. Watch over 50 webinars 'on demand' and sign-up for upcoming events

Friday, 2 July 2021

Export to Keynote for NBS Chorus

Another feature was released in NBS Chorus this week, the ability to export a Keynote file from the specification.

The NBS recommended method of coordinating model and specification information is through our plug-ins for Revit, Archicad and Vectorworks. This allows to design and write specifications in the same workspace, to read the guidance and to 'clash check' the annotations.

However, through our forums, we recognise that not all customers are using versions of design tools that support plug-ins and they would like to simply export the information from the specification into a 'Keynote' style file so they can annotate items in their drawings.

The screenshots below show how this is now possible. Please click the screenshots below to see the images in more detail.

A project specification with different types of window (WNS-001, WNS-002...) 

Export the clause details to a Keynote text file

Annotate the drawings with the correct specification reference

To find out more about NBS Chorus see:

Thursday, 24 June 2021

Financial summary and NBS Chorus small works

When specifying on small works projects where the contract does not support the use of bills of quantities then it can be useful to create a financial summary based on the content of the specification (see article on our website for further reading).

This financial summary can be used for a number of purposes.

  • Prior to tender - to break down any cost estimate to the client
  • Prior to construction - to compare tenders
  • Prior to completion - to assess valuations and as a base of agreeing the price of any variations
Figure one shows how to generate a Financial Summary from NBS Chorus:
(Click the images below for larger versions)

Figure 1 - Generating a Financial Summary from NBS Chorus 

In Figure 2 below, it can be seen that each section in the specification is listed as a row in the exported spreadsheet. The total value at the base of the spreadsheet automatically adds the values of each row.

Figure 2 - The Financial Summary
A second worksheet is also produced with a list of all clauses in the specification. Any of these items can easily be copied across to the main worksheet if costs need broken down at a finer level - for example of plastic and timber windows need priced separately within L10.
Figure 3 - a list of all content

And finally, great to see some positive feedback immediately on social media for this development. The screenshot below shows how Jeremy Foster takes this exported information and copies it straight into his template for managing costs on his small works projects.

Figure 4 - Further manipulation of the spreadsheet in post processing
To read more about NBS for small works please see the links below:

Tuesday, 22 June 2021

Examples of different manufacturer products in NBS Source

NBS Source is our construction product information platform.

Whenever I am demonstrating it, I make sure that I try and show off some good examples to demonstrate the content structures.

Within this blog post, I highlight some examples below. Before I do so though, I thought it would be good to reflect on our user-focus group sessions from 3-4 years ago when we were first developing NBS Source. What did the construction professionals that we listened to tell us they wanted from construction product manufacturers?

Customer research sessions prior to developing NBS Source

Trying to arrange the main requirements into a list of ten things

So below, here are some content examples relating back to our findings of what the industry was asking for. Each example contains a screengrab and a hyperlink to the product itself.

Specification information
Example - Armour Carpet Tile from burmatex -

Note how the specification properties and values have been researched and aligned to the standards in the country of use (in this case BS EN standards for UK). This is aligned to the NBS generic specification template in our NBS Chorus specification platform.

Variant specification information
Example - the Heraklith Boards from Knauf Insulation bv -

Note that the thermal and acoustic characteristics of the boards adjust as the thickness of the board changes.

Third party certification and guidance on application

Example - Glidevale Protect VP400 from BPD Ltd -

Note the prominence of the BM Trada third party certification and the clear guidance on application for the use of the product.

Associated certification

Consistent environmental information
Example - SigDeck 100 from Sigmat -

Note that, in addition to specific information to the particular product type, more general information is also provided around items such as material origin, carbon and reuse of materials.

Permanent links and 'replaced by' information
Example - Armourguard - C2 from HAG -

Note that when a product is no longer available or has had a major revision, then the original web link (permalink) is still maintained. The user may choose to read the information that was published at the time and also click across to view the latest information.

Comparable information
Example - selected hand dryer products from multiple manufacturers - Hand dryers

Note that products from different manufacturers may be compared.

Linked literature to product
Example - VELFAC 200 windows from Velfac -

Note that catalogues, certificates, manuals etc. can all be linked to related products. These links work in both directions. 

From customer-story to product
Example - RS69 flooring from Sherwin Williams -

Case studies may also be linked. So real-life usage of products may be demonstrated.

'Light' digital objects to aid design process
Example - FireMaster A1 from -

Many products also have digital objects to aid the design process. This allows the product to be specified in the NBS specification, but plans, sections, details, visualizations, schedules also to be generated from the 3D modelling environment. In the example below the object is just over 1MB in size but has different options for fittings that can be shown on design details.

...and last, but my no means least, for this content to integrate into the design and specification process - not to just sit on a web platform that is a silo.

Watch the webinar below to see how NBS Chorus and NBS Source work together:

...and check out and bookmark NBS Source now... 

Monday, 14 June 2021

Podcast interview with Richard Waterhouse NBS

I can definitely recommend the latest NBS podcast. My colleague Paul Swaddle does a tremendous job asking the interesting questions and listening to Richard Waterhouse talk about the industry's digital construction journey.

Over my 20+ years at NBS, I've worked really closely with Richard on many projects/developments - so it was really nice to sit back and listen to the interview.

Topics covered...

  1. Golden thread
  2. Sustainability
  3. Transforming a paper publishing business into a SaaS business
  4. 1970 and the need for national building specification
  5. Business leadership
  6. The UK's role in the BIM journey so far
  7. Digital twins

Well worth a listen.

Finishing note: whilst search for the podcast on youtube, the following video popped up. This is from 2014 when we won a double at the CN Awards for restructuring our specification content library and launching our BIM library. Remember videoing this back stage on my mobile phone - a nice record of a landmark in our NBS journey.