KSS is an award-winning AJ100 architecture and design practice with offices in central London and Kent, currently celebrating 30 years since its establishment.

The practice has a strong presence in a variety of sectors, including residential, education, and workplaces. KSS has been using NBS Chorus for over a year now after transitioning from the NBS desktop products. More recently, they have been utilizing the cloud-collaboration features within the platform as part of their work on a major sports stadium project. 

We caught up with Will Ardill, Technical Director at KSS, and DCM3 co-founders Matt Fox and Craig Brown to find out more about the part NBS Chorus has played in the project. 
Figure 1 - Some of the many signature sports projects KSS has worked on

Why NBS Chorus? 

KSS had first started looking into our cloud-based specification platform NBS Chorus in the 2019. Following some initial tests, KSS subscribed to the Pro level of Chorus and the first specification using Chorus was written in the summer of 2020. 

“Chorus has been a vast improvement on NBS Create. We found it to be very intuitive and easy to use – it’s also great to be able to use the power of the cloud to collaborate on projects.” said Will. 

Collaboration on a large-scale 

Due to the size of this particular project and the level of resource that would be required, KSS decided to collaborate with DCM3 to access the consultancy’s advice and specialist experience. With over 15 years’ experience each, Matt, and Craig from DCM3 use their knowledge of specification writing to support architects with their projects by using NBS Chorus to digitise the process. DCM3’s services include using NBS Chorus to help organisations write Masters, review specifications and integrate with building models using design tools such as Autodesk Revit. 

Figure 2 - A section generated from the design model fully coordinated with the NBS Chorus specification

“NBS Chorus has opened up a lot of doors for us,” Matt and Craig said. 

"What sets Chorus apart and one of the main features used on this project was the ability to easily share the specification between organisations and for KSS to take ownership. In practice, this meant that DCM3 could prepare the specification, and then KSS could link it in their model environment, revise the spec if needed, and issue it rather than receive an isolated PDF at the end of the project."

"For architects, engineers and consultants to be able to host, collaborate and share specifications with external parties and the wider design team is a fantastic feature. "

Both KSS and DCM3 cited collaboration as one of the key benefits that NBS Chorus has brought to the sports stadium project, as well as the Style Sheets feature which allows you to create customised templates for specifications and automatically include your own brand and style.

Figure 3 - Example document control sheet within the customer stylesheet developed by KSS
Getting the specification right first time is critical to ensure that what is built meets the design and is delivered within the budget. From experience, DCM3 have said common issues that can go wrong with the specification, such as missing products, mean that costs can rise rapidly from a point where it becomes hard to negotiate.
 
"Years ago, using notes on drawings meant that there were far too many grey areas which would ultimately lead to mistakes happening. Using NBS helps to create a clear and concise digital project record, which reduces the risk of information being missed or misunderstood."

Other benefits of NBS Chorus that have been utilised on this project include the Revisions feature. This feature allows the user to keep track of changes made to specification and compare them against previous versions in the publishing history. KSS and DCM3 said that this allowed them to create an audit trail and keep everything consistent by recording all the publications before uploading to the CDE, get their naming conventions, associated data, and stylesheet correct. 

“This is a really useful feature and also helped with the ‘Golden Thread,’" said Matt and Craig. 

The Specification Notes function, which allows users to record project decisions directly in the specification as it’s developed, also played a key role in the project. 

"Specification notes were the most appropriate and successful way of communicating queries and requesting changes both to DCM3 in the cloud, but also for recording commentary internally within KSS, " said Will. 

“It meant that we got updates to see who had amended which clause and meant that there was a level of traceability," said Matt and Craig." 

Figure 4 - Spec notes in NBS Chorus

Summary 

KSS and DCM3 have benefitted from the level of remote collaboration that NBS Chorus provides to its users via the cloud. While this case study has focussed on a large-scale project, Chorus is the platform of choice for organisations and projects of all shapes and sizes – from small domestic refurbishments to stadium and other large-scale construction projects. 

As part of The Construction Leaders' Summit: Building Better, Will gave a presentation explaining in more detail how KSS uses NBS Chorus on projects. Check out the presentation below. 

Discover more about the benefits of specifying with NBS Chorus