At architectural practice, Maber, speed, and accuracy are the name of the game when crafting specifications. Balancing design and construction for multi-million-pound projects demands precision, expertise, and above all, lightning-fast turnaround.

It’s why Architectural Designer, Nick Greenwood, relies on NBS Chorus - a cutting-edge specification tool and NBS Source a product information platform that gives him instant access to all the building materials and products he needs (and is even being used to foster the industry’s next generation of talent).

Specification synergy

With work ranging from student accommodation to purpose-built residential accommodation and schools, the team at Maber covers a lot of ground. For Nick though, this juggling act wouldn’t be possible without a cloud-accessible platform that connects his team from anywhere in the country. In fact, with up to three people working on a specification at any given time, having complete project oversight is essential – not just to keep teams collaborative, but to allow specifications to progress at pace.

This is because NBS provides users access to a vast range of products from its listed suppliers. Architects can then browse, compare, and discover products and materials to perfectly meet their project requirements. For Nick and his colleagues, this streamlines the entire specification process.

The holistic approach

In an era where product safety certification is becoming non-negotiable in building specs, NBS Source is helping to meet other needs: giving architects speedy access to third-party tested products. Going further, the platform also includes data on tried-and-tested systems as a whole. Having all the information at his fingertips allows Nick to make more informed choices, without losing hours in research and back-and-forth communication with suppliers:

“Increasingly, we’re looking for testing evidence when choosing products for our specifications. Not just how they work individually but as a whole – those suppliers that can offer as much detail as possible are the ones more likely to make it into the final designs. We know that building control wants to see holistic data and that’s driving the choices we make.”

Rising talent

However, NBS does more than just connect architects with suppliers – its platforms are also a useful teaching tool, helping the next generation to write their own specifications. Nick said: “One of the things I love about using NBS Chorus is that it allows Part 1 students to write specifications quickly and easily. If I’m running a project and give a task to a younger member of the team who has less technical experience, Chorus provides a collaborative environment where I can oversee their work.

“It serves as a foundation for understanding and lets them get into the ‘nitty gritty’ of how materials and systems come together.”

Maintaining Standards

Finally, in the fast-moving world of construction legislation, having access to a platform that keeps him abreast of changes in standards and regulation has been worth its weight in gold. As a trusted voice within the industry, architects turn to NBS for further understanding and deep-level learning around complex regulation change. This gives the team at Maber peace of mind and offers a valuable service that helps to keep them industry-compliant.

Yet to be truly fail-safe, architects still rely heavily on construction product manufacturer input, highlighting the important role they play in the specification process. For time-strapped building designers, who are working at speed, having access to the latest product information is essential. Manufacturers that can meet this demand – supplying vital product data in a concise digital format, increase their chances of making it into specifications.

Nick said: “Regulations and standards are changing all the time and whilst Source and Chorus are a lifeline when writing specifications, we rely heavily on manufacturers to keep the information about their products up-to-date. Without it, we’re working in the dark.”

Stick to the plan

Finally, on the usefulness of NBS, Nick and his team not only rely on the platforms to write and research specifications but note its role off-site too.

Nick added: “We’ve had cases where contractors have deviated from the original specification, resulting in error and wasted time and resources, not to mention safety issues. Having a digital copy of the specification tells them all they need to know – it allows both sides to understand exactly what’s going into the build, reducing the likelihood of spec-breaking in the long-term.”

After witnessing the impact, NBS has had on our team, it’s now become embedded in Maber's workflow DNA, driving safer, more precise specifications that reduce both time and costs. It's a tool we can't afford to be without.”

If you'd like to find out more about NBS Chorus, or would like to book a demo, complete the form below: