Saturday 5 May 2012

NBS and Graphisoft ArchiCAD linkage enhancements

NBS Create was launched last month with all of the libraries (architectural, structural, landscape and service engineering). The NBS Annotator tool that allows other software applications to communicate with NBS is undergoing final testing now to make it compatible with Create specifications.

The best adaption of the NBS Annotator tool to date has been by Graphisoft UK who commissioned software company Encina to develop the NBS Link tool.

The screenshots below show that this is working really nicely with NBS Create...
Fig 1 - The latest plug-in for ArchiCAD 15 has a new updated user interface
Fig 2 below shows the huge amount of information that is in NBS Create. Clearly many of these systems and products are also in the main BIM. Whereas products such as airbricks, cavity closures, expansion ties and ventilation gratings are not normally "modelled", brickwork, blockwork and insulation generally are.
Fig 2 - NBS Create is arranged around parent "system" objects and child "product" options
Fig 3 below shows the NBS Link tool communicating with the Annotator to link to relevant system and product clauses from the NBS Create specification. It should be noted that execution and other clauses are hidden to make it easier to find what is needed more quickly.
Fig 3 - From within ArchiCAD the NBS Create specification may be used to add labels to your model
As both the main model and the specification model develop, there will be coordination issues. The NBS Link tool helps guide the user through fixing these reporting on any annotations that are no longer correct.
Fig 4 - When the main model and the specification model become un-coordinated - the tool helps synchronise the entire BIM
A big thanks to Simon and Ralph at Graphisoft UK and Encina for their support to date in making this happen. Also thanks to Nick who was the real energy from our Advisory Panel a couple of years back who was showed so much enthusiasm in this idea.

ArchiCAD users who'd like to see this in action may do so at BIM Show Live 2012 where NBS are sponsors.

The original YouTube ArchiCAD-NBS tutorial may be viewed below...


  1. Great video. However, it does not show how does the link between NBS National BIM Library works simultaneously with ArchiCAD and NBS Specification. How simple is to include manufactures product spec? Is there any automatic object identification feature similar to the Revit plug in?

  2. Hi there,

    The ArchiCAD plug-in is still as shown in the video. It doesn't currently have the ability to drag and drop objects into the model or automatically generate outline specifications.

    We will of course chat with Graphisoft to see if any developments of this nature are possible.