Monday 27 February 2012

Special values in a specification

I received the following email recently from a user of NBS...

I have been writing a schedule and was wondering if it is possible to have drop down boxes automatically filled with the text from a previous box?  For example, “Drawing Reference” – I am often referring to the same drawing and it is a pain to have to write it out again and again.  Likewise “To Architect’s approval”, which I often add into “Product Reference” if I have selected “Contractor’s Choice” under the manufacturer’s name.
Is this something that could be considered?

This is actually something that has been implemented in NBS Create.

Where a decision is to be left to the contractor or where the contractor must submit proposals for architect's approval, special values may be selected from the drop down options. The screenshot below demonstrates this:

This gives consitency of message and is obviously a time saver (rather than typing "Contractor's choice" again and again). Furthermore, it is possible to report against these values. This can be done at any time when writing the specification (as shown below) - or in a PDF report that may be generated or printed.

The second request in the customer email is to be able to reference drawings and documents external to the specification a little more easily. Again, with NBS Create, this is now possible.

Firstly the set of drawings needs to be defined against a job in NBS Create. This shown below:

Once the drawings are defined then they can be linked from any clause insert. This shown below. As with the contractor decisions, these references can then be reported on and published.

We'd intend to continue to improve the functionality here when it comes to coordinating construction documentation. The natural next step with respect to the links between drawings and specification is clearly doing this at an object level in a structured Building Information Model (BIM). This would allow this link to be done once and then reported in the drawings automatically through the CAD BIM software, and referenced in the specification to the relevant plan/section in the specification software.

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