Wednesday 15 August 2012

NBS for Autodesk Revit Plug-in Now Live

This article is about using NBS within Revit. There is a similar tool for Graphisoft ArchiCAD and we'd love to help develop one for other BIM products too. Please contact us if you think you can assist us with integrating NBS into more BIM tools.
- Graphisoft ArchiCAD tool
- Contact us

The NBS for Autodesk Revit plug-in is a completely free software tool that helps users of both Revit and NBS specification products to work more efficiently and accurately when generating their design documentation.

To download this free tool please see the website below:

To glance through the key features, please see the blog post below. If any other bloggers would like to re-publish this post on their blogs then please feel free but please link back to this one.

The walk through below looks at a very simple example. Fig 1 shows that there is a specification for a flooring system, panel cubicle, partition wall, doorsets and a type of wash basin assembly.
Fig 1 - A project specification
A very simple Revit model also has instances of these systems as shown in Fig 2. The question that has been asked of NBS since the 1970s is "How do I coordinate the information on the drawings with that in the specification?".

It can be seen that the user has selected to link the Revit model with the equivalent specification model.
Fig 2 - A Revit model
Now that the two "databases" are linked, it is then possible to link the type objects within them. Fig 3 below shows that the user is linking the single leaf door in the Revit model with the Doorset Type A system in the specification.
Fig 3 - Associating a Revit object with a specification object
What the plug-in does is adds values to the two parameters "NBSReference" and "NBSDescription". These are parameters from our shared parameter file. For reference they have the following GUIDs:
PARAM 4300e8b6-63e5-4d7a-98a6-c4efac911f40   NBSReference   TEXT   3   1
PARAM f3b4c178-53c0-41d2-aa02-5e75ba8d7ceb   NBSDescription   TEXT   3   1
Fig 4 - Project unique NBS IDs as parameters
Then it is simply case of tagging the objects in the relevant views. As long as the correct parameters are in the tag objects then they will appear as you add the tag. Fig 5 shows all of the instances in the simple example tagged. Clearly a practice would want to amend this to fit with their preferred way of working.

These parameters can also be used in category and multi-category schedules.
Fig 5 - Quickly tag the objects based on the parameters
At any point the user may click the "View clause" button on the toolbar (as shown above in Fig 5) and they will jump to the correct specification at the context of the associated object. Fig 6 below shows that the user has clicked to view the specification of the wash basin assembly and is reading the installation requirements and looking at the referenced British Standards.
Fig 7 - With a single click view the detailed specification of any of the objects in Revit
Fig 7 shows that other parameters may be added to the tags to give differing amounts of information on different views. This is really useful for fire safety plans or acoustic or security design.
Fig 7 - Have tag variations to display the relevant parameters
The big added advantage of using the toolbar is when information changes in the specification or model. There is functionality that helps with coordinating this information and ensuring no errors creep in. Fig 8 below shows that the titles of the two types of doorset have been modified in the specification. In addition, the wooden flooring system has been removed as it is considered too expensive.
Fig 8 - Objects will become uncoordinated
Fig 9 below shows that by clicking the "Verify Annotations" button the user has quickly generated a report showing which systems have been removed from the specification. It also provides warnings where the titles have been modified. It is then easy to coordinate the information that has changed.
Fig 9 - Verify all annotations are correct prior to issuing any documentation
Fig 10 shows that there is single click access to to access product literature, maintenance and installation guides, CPD material and contact information from over 10,000 manufacturers.
Fig 10 - Browse manufacturer information on
There is also a link into the dedicated Building Information Modelling area of From here over 100 expert articles, many videos, reports and books may be accessed.
Fig 11 - Browse expert articles, reports, books and watch videos at
Finally, the may be searched directly from the toolbar to find the BIM objects that you need on a project. Users can download these and quickly add them to their project or office library.
Fig 12 - Search directly from the Revit toolbar
So hopefully people will agree that this a pretty feature packed first release of the toolbar. At NBS we will continue to develop functionality to link the specification and associated technical guidance and manufacturer information closely into your other design packages. We will continue to work with all of the main BIM providers to ensure that what we develop can be embedded into their software.

1 comment:

  1. Is there an equivalent for NATSPEC to Revit, for Australia? If so can you supply a link?