16 October 2019

NBS Chorus and customer-led development

NBS collaboration logos


From the very beginning of the work on NBS Chorus, we have based our product development around the feedback our customers have given us. A recent example of this has been with the development of a new concise publication option.

Some of the NBS Chorus early adopters reported that the specification structure in published form (PDF or Word) did not match the legibility that exists when viewing this same content within the Chorus platform.

In particular, similar systems were spread too far apart in a published document and additionally the cross-reference approach for the clauses within these systems was at times confusing.

Working with specification specialists at the practices AHMM and BDP we have developed an alternative structure for the published output. This is a structure that we hope will be well received by the wider customer base.

Figure 1 below shows that when the specification is published the software now offers two different structures. The first is the traditional Single systems structure where each system type is in its own chapter of the specification. The second is the new, concise, Group systems by code structure that groups all system types with the same code together in the same chapter. With the Single systems structure, if there are ten types of doorsets, there will be a chapter for each of these ten systems. With the Group systems by code structure, all of these systems will be combined within a single chapter. 

Figure 1: Publishing a more concise specification output (click for larger image) 

Figure 2 below shows the Single systems structure to the left and the Group systems by code structure to the right. In this second example all three of the Handrail systems (HDR 01, HDR 02 and HDR 03) are grouped together.

Figure 2: The option of single systems or similar systems grouped together (click for larger image) 

Figure 3 below shows the clauses within the system. To the left, with the Single systems structure, for Handrail System Type HDR 03 there is a large amount of cross referencing. To the right, with the Group systems by code structure these clauses are published within the chapter without the need for extensive cross referencing.

Figure 3: Supporting clauses in the same chapter and reduced cross referencing (click for larger image) 

These simple example specification containing the three types of handrail system may be downloaded below with examples of both structures for comparison.


Download sample specification


On a small specification such as this, the page number count dropped from eight pages to four. When tested on a very large AHMM specification from a commercial project with many types of doorsets, partitions and ceilings the page count dropped from 1,600 to 800 pages.

To illustrate this further, both publishing structures are illustrated in the short video below.




Within Chorus, feedback and suggested features can be provided to NBS using the in-product support area. We encourage users to keep suggesting improvements so that we can make the product as strong as possible.

Thanks are extended to Patrick and Mike who worked with NBS on this development.


More information on NBS Chorus Specifications and Uniclass 2015 
Not only does the new output format hugely reduce the page count it also increases legibility and nicely groups similar systems together for contractors. Getting the specification output in the preferred structure that is desirable to contractors at the click of a button will save hours of post-publication reformatting work, not just for AHMM, but for other NBS Chorus users.

Patrick Crocock, Specification Lead at AHMM

At BDP we work on large and complex buildings that inherently need to be split down into smaller work-packages and clearly linked to our responsibility matrix. This new concise publication option provides us with the ability to issue our specifications in smaller packages and, by grouping similar systems together, it will really improve the readability and clarity of the published output.

Mike Riley, Associate Architect at BDP