05 May 2017

“When we last ran this survey in 2013, we knew that the industry was in a period of transition,” said Richard Waterhouse, Chief Executive of NBS.

“Running the survey again after three years, we’ve seen that specifications are evolving along with the industry, towards more collaborative and digital ways of working.”

It’s clear from the survey that specifications continue to be created for a range of reasons, most commonly to set out expectations and performance criteria for a project.

Over 70% of those surveyed said that writing project specifications was part of their day-to-day working life, and there has been an increase in the percentage of people starting specifications earlier.

“As an industry we’re slowly moving towards a lifetime specification and we’ve started to see small, encouraging increases in parties co-owning and co-creating their specifications – but there’s still a long way to go,” continued Richard.

Only a quarter of specifiers are sharing draft specifications with others within their own company and less – 11% – with those outside of their own company. However, this figure is up from 3% in 2013, confirming that collaboration is increasing but it is taking time.

As an industry we’re slowly moving towards a lifetime specification and we’ve started to see small, encouraging increases in parties co-owning and co-creating their specifications

Richard Waterhouse,

Chief Executive, NBS

Six out of 10 specifiers still admit to rushing the specification process and perhaps more disappointing is that 94%, up from 87% in 2013, are still experiencing difficulties when producing or using specifications.

Adrian Malleson, Head of Research, Analysis and Forecasting at NBS, said: “Rushing specifications is a huge risk when you consider the multiple roles of a specification – a risk that could lead to costly mistakes.

“Time and time again, we’re also seeing that substituted specified materials and inaccurate or incomplete technical data are two of the most common problems that specifiers continue to face when it comes to producing or using specifications.”  

However specifications may or may not change in the future, it is clear from the survey that specifiers need and want there to be easy links between the specification itself, legislation and standards, and manufacturers’ product information.

Adrian continued: “At NBS, we offer a number of tools to help specifiers access standards, manufacturers’ product data and other information. Ensuring accurate and up-to-date technical data is becoming increasingly important as the industry continues to adopt BIM – this is something that we are doing here at NBS and will continue to develop and improve.”

Newcastle-based NBS provides technical information, specification and BIM tools to construction industry professionals including architects, engineers and surveyors as well as services for building product manufacturers.

To access the full survey, visit www.theNBS.com/specificationreport2017


For more information, please contact NBS PR Executive Jennifer Scullion on 0191 244 5523 or email Jennifer.Scullion@theNBS.com.

About NBS

NBS, specialist provider of technical information for construction industry professionals, offers essential, innovative products and services, highly valued by those working in architecture, construction, design and engineering.

The premier source of construction-related information, NBS has produced the recognised national standard specification system for the UK for more than 40 years. It provides solutions for a broad range of new build, refurbishment, retrofit, landscaping and domestic projects for construction professionals. Delivered within a powerful software package, NBS’s specification products continue to develop, leading an evolution of the specification and procurement process for buildings in the UK and overseas. NBS also provides solutions for contract administration and project information management.

NBS Create is a ground-breaking new specification tool that ensures all documentation works together intelligently throughout the entire project timeline, from concept stage to completion and beyond, to save time and money. More than 5,000 offices across the UK subscribe to NBS products, including 96 of the top 100 AJ practices.

The award winning NBS National BIM Library is also the primary source of free-to-use Building Information Modelling (BIM) content in the UK. It contains thousands of generic and proprietary BIM objects authored to the trusted NBS standard, all of which are data rich and are integrated with the world leading NBS specification software.