07 December 2021
by

The BIM Toolkit was an Innovate UK-initiated project launched in April 2015 as part of the Level 2 BIM package of tools and standards. Following this initial launch, NBS developed and maintained the platform for over six years, and made it free for users.

In 2022, there will be some changes to the content and functionality within the BIM Toolkit; these changes are explained below.

1. Summary

Uniclass 2015

NBS is committed to maintaining and developing Uniclass as a free-to-use classification. Both NBS Chorus and NBS Source use Uniclass 2015 as their underpinning primary classification system. NBS continues to work with the Government and industry to enhance Uniclass – for more information, please see theNBS.com/uniclass.

Level of definition (LOD) guidance

This LOD guidance will be transferred to the NBS website and simplified. This will continue to be available free of charge, but will not be maintained going forward.

Digital Plan of Work tool

From the end of June 2022, NBS will no longer offer the web version of this tool. All existing projects should be exported to Excel so the data can still be accessed. For future projects, NBS recommends the use of the RIBA Plan of Work Toolbox, which contains the same content and provides a more flexible workflow.

Further details for each of these items are provided below...

2. Uniclass 2015

Uniclass 2015 is the classification system that is cited in the UK versions of both ISO 12006-2 and ISO 19650-2. It is now the primary classification system included within many software platforms used within the construction and asset management industry. Furthermore, it underpins both of the main NBS platforms, Chorus and Source.

At NBS, we are committed to working with the Government and industry in the continued development of Uniclass. Back in 2014, as part of taking on the ownership of Uniclass, we agreed to keep it free to use under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution-NoDerivatives 4.0 International licence.

Uniclass is a key aspect of the Government and Industry Interoperability Group (GIIG), announced in the UK Government’s policy paper Transforming Infrastructure Performance: Roadmap to 2030. At NBS, we are currently working as part of this group to enhance Uniclass, authoring guidance on how it should be used in data transfer schemas such as COBie and IFC. We are also developing an improved web portal for browsing and searching the Uniclass classifications.

Recent webinars can be viewed that demonstrate how government departments such as the Environment Agency and Department for Education have adopted Uniclass as their primary classification system: theNBS.com/events.

With respect to NBS usage, Figures 1 and 2 below demonstrate how Uniclass is used as the primary classification system for specifications and manufacturer product data within both NBS Chorus and NBS Source.

Figure 1 – adding product clauses to a Uniclass 2015 specification in NBS Chorus
Figure 2 – browsing manufacturer products classified using Uniclass 2015in NBS Source

It should be noted that the Uniclass 2015 API will be continued for those interested in software development. This will still deliver the core Uniclass 2015 classifications. We are currently interested in feedback from those currently using this – please send any feedback to uniclass2015@theNBS.com.

3. LOD guidance

The LOD guidance will be repositioned as a freely downloadable resource available from theNBS.com. This will allow any existing projects to still reference the bandings. A summary page will also be authored that outlines the principles from the work developed in 2015, and also provide an update on the appropriateness for more recent developing standards such as BS EN 17412-1:2020.

4. Digital Plan of Work tool

Since the launch of the digital Plan of Work tool, most of the customer feedback has related to the need for further flexibility and functionality. When analysing the majority of these requests, it became apparent that most were ‘Excel-style’ spreadsheet functions such as: a) adding new data fields to each deliverable; b) bulk additions of deliverables; and c) copying and pasting multiple deliverables between stages.

Additional requests focused on access permissions and security.

As a free-to-use tool, it was not possible to implement enough of this functionality to persuade users of its benefits over the flexibility of tools such as Microsoft Excel or Google Sheets.

The result of this assessment is that, from the end of June 2022, NBS will no longer offer the web version of this tool. All existing projects should be exported to Excel to continue to access the data. For future projects, NBS recommends the use of the RIBA Plan of Work Toolbox, which contains the same content and provides a more flexible workflow. Figure 3 below shows the Toolbox with a list of planned deliverables classified by Uniclass 2015.

Figure 3 – browsing manufacturer products classified using Uniclass 2015in NBS Source

With respect to specification planning and development – we intend to introduce planning functionality about the specification development into NBS Chorus. This will allow the project team to view an outline of the specification. Tagged clauses will be viewable using their prefix, suffix and description fields, and will be able to be used to provide clarity on design intent, design responsibilities and the coding to be used in annotations to drawings and schedules.

Useful links: