NBS has been developing and providing specification and information solutions to construction industry professionals for over 40 years. During this time there have been many changes – both to the solutions we provide and to specifications themselves. Similarly, the construction industry has seen many changes and with the approaching deadline for using Building Information Modelling (BIM) in all publicly funded projects, the interest in 'soft landings', and the introduction of the 2013 version of the RIBA Plan of Work, is likely to see many more. At NBS we want to understand what effect these changes are having on specifications and what the industry expects of them in the future.

NBS Specifications Survey 2013In late 2013, NBS carried out a research project to answer these questions. The research considered the RIBA Plan of Work, the briefing process, how people create and use specifications, collaborating when specifying, difficulties experienced when producing or using specifications, and respondents' expectations of specifications in the future. As this is a topic we have looked at before, we were also able to see how attitudes and perceptions have changed, and to share that knowledge with the construction industry.

We are pleased to say the results to all these questions are now available through the NBS Specification Survey 2013 report – thank you to all those who took part in the research. The survey received a positive response, providing a comprehensive picture of specifications in practice. Highlights of the findings include:

  • 82% are now aware of the RIBA Plan of Work
  • Most write or modify their specification at the developed and technical design stages of a project, but a minority now also do this in the early and late stages
  • 59% write their own specification from scratch – up from 39% in 2012
  • 84% expect the specification information they share to be used as part of the tender process / for costing
  • Half (49%) have experienced difficulties with inaccurate or incomplete technical data
  • 75% now agree that in the future specifications will be an integral part of the BIM model – up from 60% in 2011.

The report also features articles from specialists in the industry:

  • Specification: Building the Information Model from Andrew Jobling, Technical Manager / Architect / CDM Co-ordinator, Levitt Bernstein
  • The Lifetime Specification from John Gelder, Head of Content Development and Sustainability, NBS
  • You can also read a students' perspective of the results.

Download the NBS Specification Survey 2013 (.pdf, 0.64Mb) download