19 May 2021

In May 2021, NBS hosted two webinars exploring the leading classification, Uniclass 2015, and how it's used across the industry on a range of construction projects. Following the session, several questions were asked by attendees, and we have provided answers below.

Do you recommend adding classification codes as attributes against information containers in the CDE? The National Annex of ISO19650-2 sets out that 'Classification within information containers should be in accordance with Uniclass 2015 tables'.

Generally, this would be using the PM Project Management table, although you could use more than one table where required. It should be noted that current CDE solution capabilities may limit the application of classification. Still, where CDE solutions support this, it generally would be recommended to include this metadata as part of an approach to effective information management.

Will there be a relationship between the upcoming process table and the existing activity table?

The new Process activities table will reflect all the 'tasks' involved in constructing and managing an asset. Some of the classifications from the existing Activities table will move to the new table. We will be publishing a draft version for comment soon.

Can activities be classified by construction phase?

The current proposal for the Process activities table is to include the section from the existing Activities table in the Ac_05 group, which is arranged by phase or stages. The rest of the table is structured in line with the Systems table. We will be publishing a draft version for comment soon.

Should Uniclass be extended to add a new hazards table?

The proposal for the new Properties and characteristics table includes a section on hazardous material properties.

Can you explain the relationship between the Forms of Information table and the Project Management table?

The Form of Information is about how the information is presented, and the Project Management is about the information content. There is a team from the UK BIM Alliance looking at these tables now, and there is a proposal to rename the Project Management table the Information table.

Is there a scope statement introducing each of the tables?

The structure of the tables is based on ISO 12006-2, which sets out the principles that each table contains one class of information and gives an overview of each class of information. The Uniclass webpage provides access to an article that explains the tables in more details and gives examples.

Should we structure our specifications to Uniclass 2015 going forward because software providers and manufacturers will not support CAWS?

CAWS is Table J Common Arrangement of Works Sections within Uniclass 1997. None of the tables in Uniclass 1997 is maintained. What is essential is that the whole set of project information is coordinated, and there is an overall strategy in terms of classification and information management. The article below investigates the considerations when choosing how to structure specifications on a project: https://www.thenbs.com/knowledge/specifications-and-classification. Furthermore, as seen in the presentation, UK Government departments now require Uniclass 2015 as the classification system to be used on their projects.

Can NBS provide a downloadable mapping table between CAWS and Uniclass 2015?

On an individual product or system level, NBS Source provides this. Further details are available in the blog post-below: http://constructioncode.blogspot.com/2020/12/classification-mapping-uniclass-2015-to.html. Following this request, NBS will look into looping through all of this data and providing it as an Excel download.

Can I download all of Uniclass in one table?

The downloads are provided in individual Excel tables and can be downloaded through the Uniclass web page. We don't have any plans to offer all classifications in a single spreadsheet currently.

How is it possible to get involved in the workstreams for the Government & Industry Interoperability Group?

As the work progresses, there will be several ways that interested parties can help inform the Government & Industry Interoperability Group's (GIIG) work, including various workshops and roundtables. The GIIG has only just been formed, and we will be publicising our engagement with the industry over the coming months.

Should the designer command a greater fee for doing all this work? Is it essentially more work for the design consultants, but the advantage then of being easier downstream for the contractors and facility management?

Designers need to take a view on what is required for each project to put in realistic fee proposals that support the delivery. The requirements for the Gen Zero project were defined before designers were appointed, so all prospective designers had access to the quantum of information that needed to be produced from the very outset. Of course, it is fair to say that assessing this time on an R&D project such as Gen Zero was probably not easy. Still, all organisations tendering for the work had the same information available to put together their fee proposals. We would note that the information shown in the presentation is essentially already required by DfE projects as part of school project delivery through the DfE's Area Data Sheet and COBie requirements. The difference here is that the project aimed to demonstrate how models using open standards could play a part in this delivery process.

What software are you using for maintenance management?

The Environment Agency uses AIMS to manage our assets and record inspections and maintenance that take place on those assets. AIMS is configured from software developed by AMX.

Is there an update on managing the addiction, withdrawal and changing of Uniclass codes against contract baselines?

At NBS we publish the content. Each software package will provide different approaches to handling revisions. Within NBS Chorus, our specification writing platform, we notify specifiers when clauses are updated so the users can decide what to amend on a project-by-project basis. Contracts must consider changes to standards and regulations by putting a date or version number in the contract. If a newer version is to be adopted, this will become an amendment to the project.

Have you found that the development of the "Database Library" to have been a big advantage to allowing for common access to maintenance & engineering?

The Environment Agency's Data Requirements Library is relatively new, so its benefits haven't yet been fully realised, but it has the potential to increase efficiencies in how we manage our assets. By introducing a common language and way of defining our assets, different teams within the Environment Agency (and our contractors and partners) will all refer to things in the same way, breaking down the silo approach, and this will make it easier for us to join up the work that e.g. our maintenance teams do with the work that e.g. our finance and planning teams do. A major upgrade to our internal asset management software will also further embed the DRL data structure within the organisation.

Is the SFG20 mapping tool a free resource?

We are working with BESA to produce a mapping table later this year.

Some mention, explanation and comparison to countries and clients who insist on Omni Class - how NBS can assist in that manner or why not?

It is down to other governments and large clients to do their research and decide their approach. Take a look at this article to read more on this subject: https://www.thenbs.com/knowledge/the-adoption-of-uniclass-2015-in-australia

More information

What is Uniclass2015?

Webinars available to watch on demand: