Friday 30 July 2010

Carbon Assessment Tool - Project iCAT

At NBS we are now working on a very interesting project looking at an carbon assessment tool for the construction industry. The following press release went out today...

Press release:
A new industry project codenamed ‘iCAT’ is launched – with the aim of creating an everyday design tool to facilitate carbon assessment.

A new collaborative industry project team led by AEC3 UK is developing the Interoperable Carbon Assessment Toolkit or ‘iCAT’ for embodied carbon calculations, which will enhance the design and life cycle management of zero carbon and low impact buildings.

AEC3 UK is leading an expert academic and industry project team, including: the University of Northumbria, BSRIA, Faithful and Gould, RIBA Enterprises, Autodesk, and the University of Bath. The iCAT project is part-funded by the Technology Strategy Board (TSB).

Focusing on the early, feasibility and pre-design stages, iCAT will enable designers, cost consultants and their clients to minimise life cycle carbon and economic costs though improved decision-making.

iCAT will be available as an interoperable online tool, using data from the University of Bath’s Inventory of Carbon and Energy (ICE) database, along with other carbon embodiment and building modelling data from mainstream design and analysis tools. Mark Bew, Chair of BuildingSMART UK and Director of Scott Wilson, says: “we welcome the development of iCAT, which will exploit the benefits of interoperable design tools. iCAT offers a much-needed integration of carbon assessment data and methodologies to manage building carbon data from cradle to grave”.

Thursday 29 July 2010

NBS Link Plug-in for ArchiCAD Press Release

The NBS Link plug-in for ArchiCAD features on the front of the Graphisoft International website. The press release is below...

Link your NBS project specification information to your ArchiCAD Building Information Model
LONDON, July 27, 2010
GRAPHISOFT today announced that ArchiCAD™, its award-winning architectural design software, can now link directly with NBS specifications. This capability continues the company’s innovation in model-based design collaboration by offering an easy-to-use, yet powerful connection with documents produced with the UK’s industry-standard master specification system.

The connection delivers productivity improvements to architects and other specifiers by providing a quick and easy-to-use method within ArchiCAD for creating links between the information modeled in ArchiCAD and that modeled in NBS. Clause titles and references can be added with a single mouse-click; NBS guidance can be viewed in context to assist decision making; and the specification details can be easily reviewed and revised, with an automated link ensuring the details in the specification and ArchiCAD models remain in sync.

This latest ArchiCAD plug-in from GRAPHISOFT links to specifications written in any of NBS specification systems, including NBS Building, NBS Engineering Services, NBS Landscape and NBS Scheduler.

Building Information Modeling (BIM) has created an unprecedented potential for improving the coordination and quality of design and construction documentation,” said Simon Gilbert, ArchiCAD Product Manager at GRAPHISOFT. “With this connection between ArchiCAD and NBS, architects and designers can be assured that the specification details in their designs are accurate and, perhaps just as important, the effort required to place and maintain specification details has been reduced hugely.”

Dr Stephen Hamil, from the research and development department of NBS, echoed Simon’s comments. “Bringing the information held in project specifications and that held within the CAD model closer, and providing the user the ability to maintain these relationships in this way, is an important development in the evolution of BIM. The road to integrated coordination of project information will be made up of small but significant steps like this, and we are pleased to have supported GRAPHISOFT in the UK to be able to make this innovation available to users of ArchiCAD and NBS.”

Nick Greenwood, of Mouchel Business Services, who has been trialing the new connection, commented, “Marking up the architectural model with specification references is a very important part of preparing high quality construction documentation but it is also very tedious and repetitive work. And, of course, if it’s being done manually from paper specifications it’s easy to make a mistake when transcribing a specification number. This connection makes it really simple and quick to apply specification details to any view or document in the design and it’s really great having such a simple method to check that the details are up to date. This is an enormous time saver for us both in applying the specifications in the first place and ensuring that the correct specification details are on the final documentation.”

A movie showing the scope of NBS Building, how this is connected with ArchiCAD, and how specifications can be reviewed and revised in ArchiCAD, is at

The ArchiCAD to NBS connection is available immediately and can be obtained from Accredited ArchiCAD Centres in the UK and Ireland. These Centres can be located at

About NBS
Since the 1970s, architects have turned to NBS master specification systems to produce technically robust, up-to-date project specifications. NBS also provides tools for project administration, online access to technical and regulatory information, and learning services to keep construction professionals' skills and knowledge current. It is also the official publisher of the Approved Documents to the Building Regulations. Further information, can be found at Further media requests can be made to James Sykes at

GRAPHISOFT® ignited the BIM revolution with ArchiCAD®, the industry first BIM software for architects. GRAPHISOFT continues to lead the industry with innovative solutions such as the revolutionary GRAPHISOFT BIM Server™, the world’s first real-time BIM collaboration environment, and the GRAPHISOFT EcoDesigner™, the world's first fully integrated building energy modeling application. GRAPHISOFT’s innovative solutions have fundamentally changed the way architects around the world design and collaborate.

Friday 23 July 2010

£10,000 for Marie Curie

Picture from the Newcastle Journal below from our charity day to celebrate £10,000 raised for Marie Curie.
The sponsorship efforts throughout the year were in memory of Sameh Shaaban the RIBA Enterprises Director of Learning who passed away in June 2009.

Cake sales, pool nights, Great North Runs, swimathons and a London to Paris Cycle challenge were amongst the events.

Wednesday 21 July 2010

Exporting NBS annotations to Vectorworks Notes Manager format

In the next two or three weeks we'll do an update to the Annotator that will allow users to export to Vectorworks Note Manager format.

It will work in pretty much the same way as the Autodesk and Bentley exports. The screenshots below give an indication of the process.

Fig 1 - Export the annotations from your project specification/schedule of work

Fig 2 - The exported file is a tab separated file that can be amended to suite

Fig 3 - Annotations can then be made off this file within Vectorworks.

Thursday 15 July 2010

NBS Scheduler and manufacturers' information

Over 90% of NBS Building users specify using NBS Plus manufacturer information. A year or two ago the same NBS Plus feature was added to NBS Scheduler. The use of NBS Plus within NBS Scheduler is rising, however, this blog post gives a quick overview of how you can benefit from this if you are not already.

Fig 1 - Note the "NBS Plus" image indicating manufacturer specifications are available

Figure 2 - The relevant manufacturers for the selected work item are displayed

Figure 3 - Browse to find the manufacturer product you want to specify

Figure 4 - Add the product specification with one click and complete it

Thursday 1 July 2010

BSI spells out the case for BIM

At NBS we are members of BuildingSMART a cross-industry alliance dedicated to improving the efficiency and cost-effectiveness of the design, construction and facilities management industries, with an emphasis on information-sharing and BIM. BuildingSMART have recently worked with BSI to release two straight-to-the-point guides to BIM.

These can be downloaded from - the full press release is below.

The British Standards Institution invited BuildingSMART UK – the organisation that promotes BIM-enabled smart working – to produce a straight to the point guide to building information modelling, Constructing the Business Case. The publication sets out the case for BIM adoption and explains the underlying technologies to stimulate uptake in the construction and FM industries. For busy CEOs, a shorter document is also available. Known as the Investors Report, it distils the business case into two pages – enough to enable senior leaders to understand the principles and direct their staff to the longer publication. Both documents are available as a free download at

Cost/benefit reflections and examples of successful implementation show how the industry is moving towards higher levels of collaborative working, emphasising that the moment for BIM adoption is right now. The Nordic countries and the US have forged ahead in adopting these technologies and the UK has some way to go.

Against a background of rising client expectations, the publication can play a valuable role. The ideas behind BIM are simple and powerful. Nick Nisbet, BuildingSMART’s technical co-ordinator, says ‘It can place the implementation of BIM permanently on the agenda of the executive board, as part of an information strategy and the development of core capabilities’.

Very few companies go fully public about their experience of BIM – it is confidential information and benchmarking is less than straightforward where one project may differ from the next. But a number of case studies are available providing cost/benefit information, and these are cited in the publication.

‘The outcome of our collaboration with BSI is a clear and concise document that meets a real need,’ says Chris Groome, BuildingSMART Business Manager. ‘The publication is already meeting with a favourable response. It was sent out for review to the executive membership of Constructing Excellence, one of whom described it as the “best document of its type I’ve seen on the subject of BIM”.’