The Construction Project Information committee externallink, responsible for the UK standard construction information classification system, published Uniclass2 Beta Classification Tables on Friday 1 March 2013 on the new Labs portal of the UK Government BIM Task Group website externallink. The Uniclass2 Beta Classification Tables are published in a useful search tool as well as in a PDF document. To view the Labs portal you will need to create a username and password.

The content of our new specification tool, NBS Create, is arranged using an earlier version of the Uniclass2 classification system. We have prepared a list of questions you may have about the latest Uniclass2 Beta Classification Tables.

You may also find An introduction to Uniclass2 by NBS Head of Specification, Ian Chapman, useful too.

So what has been published?

On 1 March 2013, CPI published Uniclass2 tables in a searchable application from which the results can be freely downloaded in a variety of formats. This included tables for Complexes, Activities, Spaces, Entities, Elements, Systems and Work Results. This new facility is available on the BIM Task Group website. Not all Uniclass tables have been updated and published.

Why is this different to what we had originally in NBS Create?

NBS Create is the specification and information system of the future and therefore was developed based on the future classification structure. NBS Create was classified using the Work Results table of Uniclass2 which has since been modified following the consultation phase that CPI has been undertaking.

So what classification system is in NBS Create? Is it still Uniclass if it doesn't match what CPI has?

The classification in NBS Create is based on an earlier version of the Work Results table so is not wrong and will be updated. It is still Uniclass2. Uniclass2 is a dynamic classification system that will be added to and amended as missing items and errors are identified.

Does NBS Create comply with new Uniclass2?

NBS Create has not been updated to reflect the latest tables of Uniclass2. NBS Create was developed using the version of Uniclass which was in development with CPI at the time of the NBS Create launch. Since then, Uniclass2 has seen further enhancement and development during the consultation period. When the remaining Uniclass2 tables are published, NBS will review NBS Create and produce a timed development plan by which we will bring NBS Create up to date with Uniclass2.

Does this mean the classification in NBS Create is wrong now?

The classification in NBS Create is based on an earlier version of the Work Results table. It is not wrong but will be updated once the remaining tables are published.

How does the release of new Uniclass2 affect NBS Create?

Currently it does not. Uniclass2 is the classification system for the future of the construction industry. It is what we would like to align NBS Create to for the benefit of those operating in the industry in the interests of consistency and collaborative working. When it is fully published, we will make plans to update NBS Create in line with the latest update of Uniclass2.

How can I change what I am working on now to match CPI?

CPI is the Construction Production Information Committee. There is no requirement to change the way you're working to match CPI. If you are using NBS Create, we would suggest you continue to work as normal and look out for further communications from NBS.

Does the change to Uniclass2 invalidate my documents already produced by NBS Create?

It does not invalidate your documents. You may wish to check which version of Uniclass other members of the design team have used in classifying their information.

I'm half way through a spec in NBS Create – can I change to new Uniclass2?

NBS Create will not see any further development around Uniclass 2 until CPI release a fully published version. Therefore we would advise you continue to work as normal and look out for further communications from CPI on release dates, or from NBS about our plans once this release date has been announced.

How can I update my office masters in NBS Create to adopt new Uniclass2?

This isn't a requirement until Uniclass2 has been published and NBS Create has been updated to reflect it. At the point when Uniclass2 has been published (an activity driven by CPI – their current timescales for this are available on the BIM task group website), and when we develop plans for updating NBS Create to reflect Uniclass2, at that point we would also develop relevant customer communications and support tools which would cover updating office masters and other customer considerations.

What does this mean for docs I already have on site?

Nothing, they can continue to be used. You may wish to check which version of Uniclass other members of the design team have used in classifying their information.

When will NBS Create change to reflect Uniclass2 which CPI now have up on their website?

NBS are currently assessing the work involved in this exercise and will announce the programme when it is agreed. Until the Uniclass2 Products table is launched it will not be possible to complete this exercise.

How will I / you convert my docs once the 'real' Uniclass is out?

When NBS Create is updated inline with the new Uniclass2 tables, we will deliver a range of communications and education activities to assist NBS customers with the change. This will include technical advice and articles as well as support and software tools to help customers adapt the new structure within their project documents. Because of our involvement in its development, we will be best placed to respond quickly and expertly when the final tables are published.

Will NBS Building/ NBS Scheduler/ NBS Domestic Specification be updated to adopt Uniclass2?

It is not our intention to develop these NBS products alongside Uniclass2 during 2013. We will review this decision in 2014.

How does this affect NBS Plus and RIBA Product Selector?

The latest release of Uniclass2 does not include the product tables (which will affect approx 4,000 NBS product clauses and NBS Plus content and Product Selector). At present CPI have not issued a release date for these tables. As soon as we have more information on the release date and the product tables structure and content, we will review NBS Plus and Product Selector accordingly and consider approaches for reviewing and restructuring this content. All our development has input from an Advisory Panel of customers, a Beta Testing Group of customers as well as direction from the various market surveys we undertake.

When will a complete version of Uniclass be released?

CPI have no agreed programme for the development of replacement tables for the whole of Uniclass at present.

Are we expecting more changes – we've only just got this version of Uniclass and it's changed already – should I just wait to come on board until its finished?

Uniclass will always be a dynamic classification system and a programme of work is currently underway to add infrastructure data to the tables so it will never be 'finished' in the sense of an unchanging system, however, in future the project team will agree what version of the classification will be used at an early stage so that all members involved in the process will know what to use.

If you have further questions about Uniclass2 and NBS products please contact us on 0845 456 9594