by Dr Stephen Hamil
NBS Chorus includes the essential features needed to produce high-quality specifications in the cloud. The Chorus Pro level of subscription includes an enhanced set of features which enable complete cloud specification for smarter working. This article looks at these features, and the reasons why Chorus Pro is the right choice for organizations that specify on construction projects.
When we launched Chorus in 2018, we thought that it would take a number of years before it fully replaced our desktop specification products. However, the adoption rates we saw for our modern, cloud-based platform increased at such a level that we managed to transition all customers earlier in 2021.
The ability to work collaboratively in the cloud is something that the construction industry now demands. This has been a trend that has accelerated with the vastly increased levels of working outside of the traditional office environment throughout 2020 and 2021. The customer quotations highlighted in the image below are taken from case studies featured on the NBS website, and demonstrate what users like best about Chorus.
Why Chorus Pro is the right choice
So why is the Chorus Pro version the right choice for practices wanting to improve the quality of specification writing across their organization? The three sections below all examine how Chorus Pro can both (a) reduce the risk of encountering problems on projects through better quality specifications; and (b) improve efficiencies in terms of time spent writing and coordinating specifications through the use of digital technologies.
1. Capturing and sharing office knowledge
Chorus Pro includes three features that all combine to help capture and share best practice across an organization. As Chorus is a cloud platform, any knowledge captured can be viewed by all colleagues across every office, on site or working from home. When you are working on a project, the Specification notes feature allows the reasons behind specification decisions to be captured. In addition, where team members have queries, they can be flagged as specification notes against the relevant clause. For information that is relevant to all projects, the soon to be released Organization notes feature allows knowledge to be authored and maintained against any specification clause for future use. The advantage of positioning this information centrally is that, on all future projects, colleagues can have this knowledge at their fingertips, at the point when they need it.
Additionally, the Masters functionality can be used to build up a maintained library of commonly used master specifications that can be used on new projects to improve quality, and save time on projects. The Masters functionality is demonstrated in the short video below:
NBS Chorus Pro – Masters functionality
2. Greater control when publishing information
Chorus Pro provides greater control when publishing information, both in how the documentation looks and also through the management of this information. Firstly, the Stylesheets feature allows users to produce an office stylesheet so that all specifications published have the same look and feel. This is useful from a brand point of view, keeping company logos and fonts consistent with other published documents. It is also useful from a data point of view, as information such as filenames, status and revision codes can be consistently displayed on cover sheets, and headers and footers.
The Publication history and revisions feature allows for important publications to be recorded and stored within NBS Chorus. This feature is built around the process defined in the BS EN ISO 19650-2 standard. Furthermore, when revisions are made to the specification, these changes are automatically highlighted so that the recipient of the specification can see any new, amended or deleted requirements. The video below shows this publication history feature.
NBS Chorus Pro – Publication history and revisions
3. Better collaboration
Typically, a specification is published as a PDF in its full form. However, with Chorus Pro, Exports of information for different use cases are possible. For example, a summary sheet may be generated, which provides an overview of the systems and products specified. Another example is the submittals report, which lists submissions required such as: (a) specialist subcontractor designs prior to the construction phase in response to a performance specification; or (b) testing or commissioning certification required prior to the handover phase of a project.
Furthermore, the Inviting users feature allows users from external organizations to be invited to contribute on projects. This could mean inviting the client or contractor to comment on the specification in progress, or even inviting another consultant or a manufacturer into a part of the specification to provide assistance with the authoring work. The video below shows how this is possible, and also demonstrates the permissions options in place to control access.
NBS Chorus Pro – Invite users from other organizations
In summary, NBS Chorus is now the single platform to assemble, write and publish specifications for construction projects. Chorus is available in two subscription levels, and the Chorus Pro version provides features that greatly improve the sharing of knowledge, the process around publication of information and also collaboration with the wider team.