Article updated: 3 May 2018
It was recently announced that NBS has become the first UK organisation to become an Autodesk Solution Associate. Going forward, this will mean that both organisations will work more closely together to develop the next generation of information and knowledge management solutions. This partnership is the result of a number of years of collaboration and hard work between NBS and Autodesk through the Autodesk Developer Network . In this article, Stephen Hamil, Director of Design and Innovation at NBS, takes a look at some of these developments.
Standardised BIM objects
The free-to-use NBS National BIM Library was launched in May 2013. In an industry with many BIM libraries, the NBS library is unique as it offers:
- Both generic and manufacturer BIM objects to support the project workflow;
- Objects containing standardised information certified to the NBS BIM Object Standard; and
- Objects containing the reference codes allowing easy linkage with NBS specification products.
Since the launch of the library, visitors can now freely download over 500 generic and over 5,000 manufacturer Autodesk Revit objects from over 250 suppliers. This quantity of standardised content easily makes this the largest BIM library serving the UK construction industry.
The screenshots below show objects being dragged and dropped from the National BIM Library into Autodesk Revit and objects being managed and grouped against projects online.
Figure 1.1 – Generic BIM objects being dragged and dropped into Autodesk Revit
Figure 1.2 – Objects being tagged against a specific project
Delivering NBS design guidance within Autodesk Revit
The NBS guidance covers key topics that are considered when designing a building. This guidance is grouped by system types (for example, ceilings or intruder detection) or product types (for example boilers or windows). Within these guidance pages the information is arranged by key topic such as fire performance, acoustic performance, health and safety and sustainability.
It should also be noted that any practice notes that have been added to supplement the NBS guidance will be accessible to each user of the plug-in across an organisation. This allows knowledge within an organisation to be easily shared amongst colleagues at the point of need.
The screenshot below shows the NBS guidance being viewed within the NBS plug-in for Autodesk Revit.
Figure 2.1 – The latest NBS guidance delivered within Autodesk Revit to support design decisions
Coordinating the specification and the model
On BIM projects, the importance of coordinating the design of building fabric with the building services to eliminate clashes is now well understood. In addition to this, it is vital to coordinate the information in the model with the information in the specification.
For projects where NBS specifications are produced, it is possible to link the objects in Autodesk Revit with the related clauses in the NBS specification. The NBS plug-in for Autodesk Revit allows for:
- Easy and accurate annotations;
- The viewing of full specification from the related object; and
- The checking for broken links prior to generating any drawings or schedules from the model.
The screenshots below show the NBS specification being viewed from within Autodesk Revit and also the links between model and specification being checked using the NBS plug-in.
Figure 3.1 – Select an object in Autodesk Revit and view the associated specification
Figure 3.2 – Verify that the objects in Autodesk Revit are coordinated with the NBS specification
Support with creating standardised BIM objects
As part of the NBS National BIM Library process, we have now had experience creating objects for Autodesk Revit for many years.
We recognise that across the world, many other organisations are creating BIM objects and they will (or have) encountered many of the same challenges that we have faced. In recognition of this we have made many of our tools and procedures free to the industry. For those creating objects for use in Autodesk Revit, this is an essential resource to ensure that quality and consistency is achieved.
These free-to-use resources include:
- Project and family templates for Autodesk Revit;
- Our shared parameter file for Autodesk Revit; and
- Our online NBS BIM Object Standard with associated guidance.
These resources may all be downloaded from our BIM tools and guides page as shown in the screenshot below:
Figure 4.1 – The free-to-use NBS BIM tools and guides
You can find out more about how the NBS standard is being used by the global engineering company Mott MacDonald to create their BIM library in our 'Meeting the mandate - The Mott MacDonald story' feature.
The NBS Online Viewer
We have utilised the Autodesk Forge model viewer to help us introduce functionality that allows model and specifications to be uploaded and viewed from the context of a project within the NBS BIM Toolkit.
We’re hoping that this new functionality will be well received by NBS users within their existing BIM workflows.
The video below demonstrates a linked model and specification being uploaded. This allows the rest of the project team to benefit from viewing coordinated information from the context of the 3D model. For example an architect may upload their design and specification to the NBS secure project area. They then can invite their project team members such as the cost consultant, the contractor or the client to view and interrogate this information.
Find out more about the NBS Online Viewer at www.theNBS.com/viewer
In conclusion, a lot of work has taken place over recent years and this has been recognised by NBS becoming the first UK organisation to achieve Autodesk Solution Associate status. We now intend to build on this opportunity and develop the next generation of integrated solutions.