by Richard McPartland
What is Uniclass 2015?
Uniclass 2015 is a unified classification system for the UK construction industry covering all sectors of the industry.
There are tables for civil and infrastructure projects covering road and rail, power and water.
For the building sector there are tables including codes for university campuses, hospitals, schools, residential and office buildings.
The codes are also there to cover landscape, structure and building services.
There are tables within the classification that cover different classes of information and deal with different scale of information.
Starting at the highest level with a Complex, such as a waste water treatment plant - This covers the facilities for all that you need to cover that type of installation.
Within that complex there are Entities. These are major objects such as a building or a waste water treatment structure (eg. Wastewater treatment entity - En_50_75_40).
A complex can also be described in terms of the spaces it provides for different Activities, for example:
- Car parking - Outdoor - Ac_80_45_14
- Offices - SL_20_15_59
- Toilets - SL_35_80_89
- Kitchens - SL_36_60_56
The Entities include a number of different Systems. For example the waste water treatment entity (EN_50_75_40) includes waste water scum removal systems (Ss_50_75_75_96).
The system for scum removal systems are made up of a number of Products or components including scum scraper boards, pipes and valves (eg. Surface scum scrapers - Pr_60_45_74_85).
You can view, download and search the classification tables on the NBS BIM Toolkit website. If you can't find the code you need we are happy to help via email - uniclass2015@theNBS.com.
How are the tables coded?
At first glance the numbering system can look a little baffling but there is a very strong logic behind it.
Most of the tables have four pairs of characters to describe them. For example, Meeting Rooms (SL_20_15_20). The Systems table and the Products table have five pairs of characters. For example, Staples (Pr_20_29_56_86).
The first two characters are the description of the table themselves:
- Co - Complexes
- En - Entitites
- Ac - Activities
- SL - Spaces/Locations
- EF - Elements/Functions
- Ss - Systems
- Pr - Products
- Zz - CAD
- CA - Construction Aids
- FI - Form of information
- PM - Product Management
After the initial alpha characters there are three or four pairs of numeric characters - ranging from 0 to 99 for each group of objects we're looking at. The first pair of numbers describe the Group of objects. The second pair the Sub-group. For most of the tables the third pair is the actual Object.
In the System and Products tables the groupings are Table, Group, Sub-group, Section and Object.
Having a numeric range up to 99 hopefully allows us to accommodate everything we need to within each of those sectors. At the last level we use a system of coding everything alphabetically - this allows us to add a new code in in an appropriate place rather than just adding it onto the end of a long list.
When you start using the tables you'll find that several are arranged congruently so looking at Complexes, Entities, Spaces/Locations and Activities tables you'll find that the group numbers for different sectors are the same throughout.
- 10 - Preparation and repair
- 20 - Administrative, commercial and protective services
- 25 - Cultural, educational, scientific and information
- 30 - Industrial
- 32 - Water and land management
- 35 - Medical, health, welfare and sanitary
- 40 - Recreational
- 42 - Sport and activity
- 45 - Residential
- 50 - Waste disposal
- 55 - Piped supply
- 60 - Heating, cooling and refrigeration
- 65 - Ventilation and air conditioning
- 70 - Electrical power generation and distribution
- 75 - Communications, security, safety and protection
- 80 - Transport
- 85 - Operation and maintenance
- 90 - Circulation and storage
For example, if you look in the Complexes table for Educational Complexes you'll find them at Co_25_10. If you change the Co character to En you'll find the Entities at En_25_10.
Looking at the Elements Function and Systems table these are arranged in a congruent manner that is different from the initial four tables.
15 - Preparatory
20 - Structural
25 - Wall and barrier
30 - Roof, floor and paving
32 - Damp-proofing, waterproofing and plaster finishing
35 - Stair and ramp
37 - Tunnel, shaft, vessel and tower
40 - Signage, fittings, furnishings and equipment
45 - Flora and fauna
50 - Waste disposal
55 - Piped supply
60 - Heating, cooling and refrigeration
65 - Ventilation and air conditioning
70 - Electrical power and lighting
75 - Communications, security, safety and protection
80 - Transport
85 - Process engineering
90 - Soft facility management
The Products table doesn't match the other tables at all. This is because it is the largest table with a huge number of included objects and some of these are applicable to many different systems so it would not be possible to include the function of each object within the Products table.
For example, copper pipework (Pr_65_52_63_17) can be used in gas supply systems, hot and cold water supply systems and heating systems so inevitably that same type of copper pipe needs to be chosen separately for each of those different functions.
How can I view and download the tables?
You can view, download and search the classification tables on the NBS BIM Toolkit website.
You can search for items by number or by description. For example, if you are looking for pipework you can type in 'pipe' but if you already know that the pipe code is Pr_65_52 you can put that number in.
You can also download the tables individually in Microsoft Excel format. This allows you to search and auto-import the files into another facility. The filtering options within Excel allow you to refine your search.
The main search function on the NBS BIM Toolkit website (at the top of each page with the accompanying text 'Search definitions') has a synonym search attached to it and can give you further analysis of what you are looking for.
What can the classification system be used for?
The classification system can be used to annotate objects in a graphic or model. Classification codes can be added to many different things including catalogues, whole complexes right down to individual products.
With classification codes added items can be drawn into schedules and drawings with their codes and collected together to carry out different types of analysis. For example, different types of meeting rooms can be gathered together allowing the total amount of space allocated to meeting rooms to be assessed.
When are new items added to the tables?
To keep the tables up-to-date and dynamic, items are regularly added on request. Notes detailing every revision are available to accompany the tables themselves for your references.
If you can't find the code you need we are happy to help via email - uniclass2015@theNBS.com.