05 April 2022

Uniclass is published digitally in a set of tables, logically structured to support various classification needs for asset management, infrastructure operations, and built environment lifecycle processes including design, information management, and documentation.

What are the Uniclass tables used for? 

This is a list of the current twelve Uniclass tables: 

Activities (Ac_)

The Activities table classifies the activities that take place in existing assets, or that need to be accommodated within them. Activities can be considered at the level of complexes, entities, or individual spaces/ locations, and at any stage of asset lifecycles to include facility management processes, surveying, operations, maintenance, and information.
Infrastructure activities:

  • Hydrological surveying
  • Flood defending
  • Rail signal controlling

Building activities:  

  • Patient examining
  • Security systems commissioning 
  • Historic building surveying
Activities: Hydrological surveying

Complexes (Co_)

The Complexes table classifies high-level groupings in the built environment and tends to describe a group of entities brought together in one place as a complex, for a particular purpose or multiple activities. For example, a high-speed rail complex is made up of entities like rail corridors, stations, platforms, and maintenance depots. 

Infrastructure complexes:

  • Reservoirs
  • Harbours
  • Road networks

Building complexes: 

  • Hospital complexes
  • Theme parks
  • Astronomical observatory complexes
Complexes: Hospital complex

Entities (En_)

The Entities table classifies individual parts of an asset, like buildings, bridges, or tunnels. Entities are defined as recognizably independent from other parts of a complex, typically contain spaces/ locations, and are operated for a particular purpose. Entities can range in scale, and often many activities are provided for by an entity. BS ISO 12006-2 describes entities as “the basic unit of the built environment”.

Infrastructure entities:

  • Wind turbines
  • Drainage collection pipelines
  • Motorways

Building entities:

  • Visitor centres
  • Data centres
  • Watermills
Entities: Motorways

Spaces/ locations (SL_)

The Spaces/ locations table classifies spaces where activities take place and locations where specific items or equipment can be found, often in linear infrastructure like pipelines, roads, and rail. Spaces and locations tend to be defined by elements around them or by natural features and are typically accommodated within an entity. For example, an asset could contain multiple circulation spaces, such as goods conveyors, escalators, lifts, and stairways which each have a classification code in Uniclass. Many activities can be accommodated in the same space or location.

Infrastructure spaces/ locations:

  • Underground mineshafts
  • Loading docks
  • Railway junctions

Building spaces/ locations:

  • Operating theatres
  • Departure lounges
  • Courtrooms
Spaces/ locations: Departure lounge

Elements/ functions (EF_)

The Elements/ functions table classifies general elements like walls, decks, and roofs, which can be thought of as the main components of buildings, structures, towers or tunnels, and functions, which describe generic services required for asset operation such as piped gas supply, rail and paving heating, or waste collection.

Infrastructure elements/ functions:

  • Pylons
  • Bridge abutments
  • Water extraction and treatment

Building elements/ functions:

  • Membrane structures
  • External stairs
  • Chimneys
Elements/ functions: Bridge abutments

Systems (Ss_)

The Systems table classifies collections of products brought together to operate as systems, in order to provide a common purpose or solution. Systems can vary in complexity, from just a few products working in combination in a space/ location, to vast networks of products working together as a system over large areas. For example, a rail signal system is made up of signals, power cables, data distribution, detection and warning equipment, posts, lighting etc.

Infrastructure systems:

  • Hydroelectric power generation systems
  • Tsunami warning systems
  • Roadway lighting systems

Building systems:

  • Medical oxygen supply systems
  • Industrial stair systems
  • Timber-framed floor systems
Systems: Hydroelectric power generation systems

Products (Pr_)

The Products table classifies individual products used across the built environment, including those assembled to create systems, and objects located as part of asset operation or functions. Products can range in scale from electric doorbells and light switches to weighbridges and wind turbines.

Infrastructure products:

  • Buoys
  • Aeronautical ground lighting
  • Concrete safety barrier panels

Building products:

  • Nurse call patient handsets
  • Clay interlocking tiles
  • Radiator valves
Products: Radiator valves
These seven tables are closely related in a hierarchy, from typically very large parts of the built environment and the activities that need to be accommodated, down to the individual systems and products that form the physical assets around us. 

There are another five classification tables in Uniclass, which can be used to support asset management, information management, and related BIM processes:

Tools and equipment (TE_)

The Tools and equipment table classifies tools and equipment, such as plant machinery, vehicles, tunnel boring machines, formwork, scaffolding, and temporary hoardings across the full-range of built environment for the construction and ongoing maintenance and repair of assets.

Form of information (FI_)

The Form of information table classifies forms of information, often exchanged as part of asset management and construction projects, with codes for contract, quotation, room data sheet, bill of quantities, three-dimensional model, or invoice. The table does not differentiate or include details of the item’s content.

Project management (PM_)

The Project management table classifies requirements, information, and records for asset management and project management across the full lifecycle of the built environment, at all scales. The table provides classifications based on the type and generic content of data to be produced, exchanged, or recorded as part of asset operations and ongoing works. For example, there are codes for flood risk assessment report, gas installation safety certificate, carbon calculation report, defects register, and health and safety file.

The Uniclass PM table is specifically referenced in the UK National Annex of the BS EN ISO 19650 information management standard, for the classification of information containers.

Roles (Ro_)

The Roles table classifies the individual or organizational roles required in asset management and the successful delivery of built environment projects, including codes for built asset security manager, chief information officer, energy manager, traffic consultant, environmental officer, sub-contractor, highways engineer, architect, electrical services engineer etc.

CAD (Zz_)

The Zz_ table supports CAD and modelling content to assist with clear and consistent layer naming in modelling platforms, and managing the various components required in digital drawings, models, and construction outputs. There are codes for classifying section marks, boundaries, drawing symbols, line styles, revision annotations, legends, references etc.

Where does the structure of Uniclass come from? 

The structure and purpose of the tables has been developed in accordance with BS EN ISO 12006-2 , an international standard that sets out a framework for key aspects of built environment classification, showing how tables can be related and used across the full lifecycle of asset management, construction, and engineering. The framework acts as a skeleton structure that Uniclass progresses from.

The classification structure Uniclass is developed and published by NBS. Individuals and organizations regularly provide feedback and NBS evaluate requests for new codes. Proposals for three additional tables are currently in discussion with relevant industry groups, the Uniclass Advisory Board, and the Government & Industry Interoperability Group (GIIG):

  • Process activities – separating asset management and lifecycle process activities such as surveying, access auditing, inspection, demolition, and maintenance tasks from the ongoing activities that are accommodated in spaces/ locations, such as storage, teaching, dancing, food preparational, recreational swimming etc. 
  • Properties and characteristics – in response to feedback from heritage asset management organizations and conservation design teams, this table would provide codes to classify items based on key properties and characteristics for example their age, condition, or historical significance. For example, the classification of a timber beam could vary depending on its period e.g. Medieval, Tudor, Victorian etc., its strength grade, or its deterioration e.g. caused by insect damage.
  • Materials – in response to requests to help facilitate carbon calculations, as well as to classify the composition of products and assets, this table would provide codes for the materials used to form an item, e.g. terracotta, Portland cement, white pine, etc.

We welcome comment and input from all sectors, so if you would like to get in touch, please contact us

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