National Building Specification – The Lowdown

National Building Specification – The Lowdown

04th January 2017

National Building Specification (commonly known as NBS) is a British based system of construction specification used by architects and other building professionals.  NBS was founded in 1973 and is owned by the Royal Institute of British Architects (RIBA) via its’ subsidiary, RIBA Enterprises.  NBS is used by more than 5000 offices to describe the materials, standards and workmanship of a construction project.  Since 1988 the NBS has been structured on the Common Arrangement of Work Sections, a construction industry working convention designed to promote standardisations of, and detailed coordination between, bills of quantities and specifications, part of an industry wide coordinated projects information initiative that is managed by the Construction Project Information Committee.  The Construction Project Information Committee is an advisory group made up of major UK construction industry institutions and provides best practice guidance on the content, form and preparation of construction product information for dissemination throughout the industry.

The Common Arrangement is the authoritative UK classification of work sections for building work for use in arranging project specifications and bills of quantities.  More than 300 work sections are defined in detail in order to provide:

·         Predictability of location of relevant information

·         Good coordination between drawings, specifications and bills of quantities

·         Flexibility to the contractor in dividing the project information into work packages

·         A reduction in discrepancies and oversights between documents.

In 2012, the NBS launched the National BIM Library which features a range of proprietary and generic construction elements suitable for business information modelling and is the fastest growing BIM library in the UK.  The collection of BIM objects ranges from building fabric systems to mechanical and electrical objects, all of which meet the requirements of the internationally recognised NBS BIM Object Standard.  The NBS BIM Object Standard defines the requirements for the information, geometry, behaviour and presentation of BIM objects which provides a reassurance to users of the quality and consistency necessary to facilitate great collaboration across the construction industry, allowing confident and informed decision making.  Here at Safety Fabrications we’re in the middle of a series of articles stressing the need for collaboration in the coming years as we’re likely to see an increase in large projects that require multiple contractors.  We’ve also been giving our readers advice on how to meet the challenges that this type of collaboration requires when working on joint construction projects.

The NBS is committed to providing innovative specification and information solutions to the construction industry with specification products covering building construction, engineering services and even landscape design.  The NBS offers users its BIM Toolkit, an easy method of defining who is doing what and when on Level 2 BIM projects.  This Toolkit is free to use and provides step by step help in defining, managing and validating responsibility for information development and delivery at each stage of the project’s lifecycle.  For new users of the Toolkit, there is plenty of help and support available, including video tutorials and Live Chat option.