Friday 28 May 2010

NBS Plus

Each month the manufacturers information within the NBS specification products continues to grow. I did a post a few months back on the huge amount of technical guidance within NBS, this post focuses on the manufacturers information "NBS Plus".

The main purpose of NBS Plus is to provide manufacturers product specifications against generic NBS clauses. However it is also useful simply as a resource of browseable product information.

There are around 550 manufacturers in NBS Plus with tens of thousands of product specifications.

Fig 1 - 25 new manufacturers have joined NBS Plus in last four months

Fig 2 - A list of manufacturers is displayed

Fig 3 - Overview of manufacturer

Fig 4 - Manufacturer literature and product specifications

Fig 5 - The key purpose of NBS Plus - robust, concise product specs when you need them.

Tuesday 25 May 2010

Annotating ArchiCAD models from NBS

Earlier this year I posted about how the NBS Annotator had been developed to be embedded in other software applications.

Over the last few months Graphisoft UK have been developing a plug-in that makes it possible for the NBS Annotator to work from inside of ArchiCAD.

Graphisoft have prepared a short video demonstrating this plug-in working that is displayed below:
(0.00 Introduction and benefits, 2.00 Overview of NBS Building, 5.50 Annotating the ArchiCAD BIM model)

I also include some screenshots from the movie below.
(This plug-in is not released yet - but stay tuned to this blog for further information.)

Accessing the Annotator directly from the ArchiCAD menu

Prior to issue, updating the annotations where they have been modified in the spec

Monday 24 May 2010

From the Archives - Annotation Manager 1996

With the recent release of the Annotator as part of the NBS Tools it is worth looking back a few years in time.

In 1996, Annotaion Manager from NBS was a plug in for AutoCAD AEC5. NBS provided this and released a library of annotations to accompany each library update of the NBS work sections.

A few screenshots below show this in further detail...
Fig 01 - Spec Man 3

Fig 02 - Picking an annotation from the NBS library

Fig 03 - AutoCAD

Fig 04 - Viewing the guidance and linking to CIS

To go further back in time to 1973 see my earlier blog post. Check out the diagram showing the specification, the drawings and the bill of quants.

Wednesday 19 May 2010

Join the NBS Beta Test Programme

Before NBS software is released to users it is given to our Beta Testers.

For example, the NBS Scheduler 2010-2 release scheduled for August this year is currently being tested by our group of NBS Scheduler Beta Testers. This gives those that participate a chance to support NBS in producing products of the highest standard and also gives a direct line through to the Research and Development Team to influence the direction in which the products are developed.

Recent developments such as the improvements to the publishing in NBS Building, the Annotator and the Cost Tracking tool have all benefited enormously from the early feedback we have received on proposed designs and beta software releases.

If you would like to get involved with the development of our product range by testing beta versions, commenting and giving suggestions on new product designs and prototypes then please contact Seth Okai, the NBS Beta Test Programme Co-ordinator, on 0191 244 5597 or

Tuesday 4 May 2010

NBS Scheduler – 2010 software enhancements

NBS Scheduler is being sent to our Beta Testers this week and the 2010 version has a number of improvements based on customer feedback.

For more information on how to become an NBS Beta Tester for any of our products please see:

Enhancements to NBS Scheduler that will be delivered to all customers in August 2010 include:

1. Better integration with CAD packages
As with NBS Building, NBS Scheduler now comes with the NBS Annotator application. It is also possible to export to keynote format directly from NBS Scheduler as shown in figure 1 below.

Figure 1

2. Improved formatting of the published output for contract preliminaries
One or two customers reported glitches in the contract preliminaries for NBS Scheduler where words did not wrap correctly and in certain situations the status of clauses where not being respected. These issues are being addressed and figure 2 shows better wrapping of the text.

Figure 2

3. An indication of document completeness when publishing
NBS Building is known for its ability to act as a checklist and for the QA measures that warn you if the specification is not yet complete when you publish.

NBS Scheduler now also has the option for the user to be alerted if there are any suspected work items or clauses that are incomplete.

Figure 3

4. The ability to merge PDF documents into a single PDF
The ability to merge PDF documents into a single PDF has been added. This allows you to merge a custom cover page created in MS Word with your prelims, your schedule of work and any appendices such as door schedules into one single PDF.

Figure 4

5. The addition of a spell checker to the prelims module
The spell checking functionality from the schedule of works editor has now been extended to work for the prelims too.

Figure 5