Friday 27 May 2011

NBS Create – Specification through the project timeline

At NBS we are currently working on our new specification project. We are delighted to announce that previews of this are now available of this now on our beta test server.

Each month now I shall be blogging about features of the new product to try and encourage current NBS users to join our Beta Test program and help us influence developments.  This month my article is on specifying through the project timeline through outline, performance full specifications.

1. Outline specification
The current RIBA Plan of Work does not mention NBS until Stage F, “Action F212: Select from the library of standard specification clauses (NBS recommended)”. With our NBS 2012 product the NBS specification process will start at Stage C.

The project specification will be created by adding systems, such as walls, roofs, windows and doors, from the NBS library. A short description can be added to each system to produce an outline specification. The screenshot below shows a typical outline specification created using NBS 2012.

2. Performance specification
Next Generation NBS is a “wizard-led” specification process, where the specifier adds just the clauses they need at the appropriate time. No longer is the user presented with a long list of clauses as a “checklist”.

The screenshots below shows the “system outline clause”, the drop-down pre-authored NBS options and the expert technical guidance allows the user to specify what they need.

Each system has comprehensive performance content that reference the latest standards and regulations.
The user may write a true system performance specification (for instance for a client on a D&B job).

They can also mix and match system performance content with partially completed product specifications (for instance planning submissions).

3. Full specification
Next Generation NBS can of course be used to create tender specifications and these may be updated throughout the construction phrase to hand over a record specification to the client once the building is complete.

Content from the specification model can be published by system or in traditional work section to assist with procurement and dissemination of the information to sub-contractors.

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

For articles written by members of our technical team on this up and coming product please see NBS Head of Specification Ian Chapman’s recent article and NBS Head of Content Development John Gelder’s recent article.

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


  1. The principle ideas behind the NBS 2012 product begin to open up a whole new way of working for the architectural profession.

    How often is the specification left until the last minute? With the 2012 product the specification will start whilst the project is still in its infancy and develop and grow in sync with the design.

    Being able to specify by 'system' is inherently linked to the way in which BIM (Building Information Modelling) works, providing the designer with the tools to rapidly develop a model/design and a specifcation simultaneously.

    To date the industry has never had such powerful tools at its disposal, offices ignore these advances in technology at their own cost.

  2. I've been eagerly awaiting the arrival of this new way of authoring and managing spec info since I first heard of it; keep at it guys - the beta is a good start but I guess there's a long way to go!

    The full integrating of schedules is a significant inclusion, and strong two-way ties with 3d information (BIM, etc) will really bring it all together. Any chance of also providing linkage with in-house contact databases in the long run - especially for Prelims data?

  3. @Nick - Glad to hear that you believe that having a specificaton based around "systems" and starting this early and developing this steadily through the timeline is the way to go.

    @Rich - Linking the information in the specification model and 3D CAD model to get closer to the BIM-dream is definitely high on our agenda. In terms of the contact information, what we'd like to do here is (1) allow the user to pick this from an practice address book early on, (2) assign the contract roles to the project team members in the prelims and then (3) for this information to flow into the contract administation process. But, you're right, there is a long way to go. But one step at a time.

    Keep on getting on the beta test server and please keep giving us as much detailed feedback as possible on the beta forum. Also, keep on checking out this blog for a little focus on an area each month.