Frequently Asked Questions
What is the NBS BIM Toolkit?
The free-to-use NBS BIM Toolkit provides step-by-step help to define, manage and validate responsibility for information development and delivery at each stage of the asset lifecycle. Discover the essentials in our 3 minute video, highlighting the key benefits and features.
How much does the NBS BIM Toolkit cost?
The toolkit is completely free of charge to use.
What has the development involved and how can I get Toolkit updates.
Background to the development of BIM Toolkit and an overview of recent developments are featured in this article. To receive updates (which includes updates to the Uniclass 2015 tables), simply register for NBS BIM Toolkit (you are prompted to do this when you create a project) or sign up for the NBS newsletter.
What content and functionality will be developed in the future?
We are listening to customers and updating this free-to-use resource on a regular basis. For an overview of recent developments, read this article. In addition to updates to the Uniclass 2015 tables to reflect industry demand, content development will include the addition of sample projects and use cases. Users wishing to provide feedback can do so by emailing the BIM Toolkit Product Manager firstname.lastname@example.org. To provide feedback on Uniclass 2015, please email email@example.com
Can you provide more detail on the Level 2 BIM processes, such as creating Employer’s Information Requirements and BIM execution plans?
Is it compulsory to use the NBS BIM Toolkit on BIM Level 2 projects?
Level-2 BIM has been mandated by Government from 2016. As part of the support to the industry in achieving ‘Level-2 BIM’ the Government funded the BIM Toolkit through Innovate UK. Although not compulsory, the two major parts of the Toolkit, the classification system and the ability to create a digital plan of work are a core part of these ‘Level-2 BIM’ Government requirements.
More on this subject can be found in Rob Manning’s article in the BIM Task Group Newsletter 45 that is available at http://www.bimtaskgroup.org/.
Is the NBS BIM Toolkit responsive?
The NBS BIM Toolkit has been designed to provide an optimal viewing experience across a wide range of devices. From desktop computers to tablet and mobile phones, the website will act responsively to give the best experience on the viewport. On a mobile device, the toolkit will operate as read-only, meaning you can search, browse and view existing projects, but not edit or create a new project. To create and manage projects, NBS recommends that you log-on to the NBS BIM Toolkit via a desktop or laptop.
Is Uniclass 2015 the same as Uniclass 2?
The universal classification system ('Uniclass 2015') is an evolution of Uniclass 2 which has been available in draft version since 2011. It is based on the same founding principles of the Uniclass 2 proposals, including being developed with BIM in mind, but has been developed further in the last 3 years, taking into account feedback received from the industry on Uniclass 2 drafts. The main changes include:
- The removal of the work results table. This has the advantage of having a simple classification for each object from its respective class table. So in the Uniclass 2 proposals an object (e.g. clay brick) would have a classification from the work results table and the products table. In Uniclass 2015, it has a classification from a single table.
- A consolidation of items to create more space for infrastructure objects. Having a single unified classification system for both buildings and infrastructure is fundamental to the principles behind Uniclass.
- A consolidation of items to group similar items together. An example of this would be a single classification area for detectors - rather than detectors for fire alarm systems and detectors for other uses being held in different areas.
- A return to a more familiar construction industry language for classification titles. An example of this could be the use of the word “taps” instead of “water supply fittings” Please see the in-depth article into classification in our Technical Support area. This covers the background and strategic approach, the suite of classification tables and the plan in terms of continued development.
What is the impact on the RIBA Plan of Work 2013?
The NBS BIM Toolkit uses the same unified work stages as the RIBA Plan of Work and other industry project-lifecycle initiatives like BSRIA’s Building Guide 6. When the RIBA Plan of Work 2013 was being developed it was done so working closely with the UK Government’s BIM Task Group and tasks around the UK Government Information Exchanges are built into it. Thus the RIBA Plan of Work 2013 and its associated guidance publications have been developed with the UK Government’s requirements in mind. For further information see the RIBA Plan of Work 2013 website and RIBA Plan of Work 2013 publications.
What are the level of definition guidelines and what does LOD and LOI stand for?
These are indicators of what level of detail (LOD) or level of information (LOI) are typically required at a stage of a project. For a specific project an object will be assigned to a role who will have the responsibility for this deliverable to a specific LOD and LOI. Levels of definitions can be varied. For example a repeat client may know that they will use a particular product or system early on in a project. Where this is the case information that is typical of the construction stage may be known as early as the strategy or brief stage. Equally, for certain objects, even at the technical design stage, a project team may choose not to model these to a greater detail than a basic shape. Please read our expert article for details.
What about infrastructure projects?
The scope of the NBS BIM Toolkit includes infrastructure, for example within the library of 5,000+ Levels of Definition. When creating a new template, there are options for geographical and linear infrastructure.
How do I create a new role?
Based upon users feedback, the ability to create Customer Roles has been added. Additional roles, not listed, can be added to the dropdown menu. More information and a ‘how to’ video is available in the Software Support area.
Can individual names be assigned to roles?
Roles will be assigned to organisations rather than individuals. For example, the role of Project Lead would be assigned to ABC Projects and not John Smith (at ABC Projects). A guide to ‘Assigning a role to an organisation’ is available in this Software Support article. If you have specific requirements for collaboration at an individual level we would love to hear your feedback.
How can I verify that the information defined in the NBS BIM Toolkit is delivered?
Please see the in-depth article into Verification in our Technical Support area. During 2016, we will be releasing a simple tool that enables the information defined in BIM Toolkit to be compared with the information delivered in the model via a simple comparison of the COBie information.
I use a modelling tool (such as Revit/ArchiCAD) to generate my drawings what does the NBS BIM Toolkit mean to me?
Currently there is no standard format for a design responsibility matrix in the UK industry. Equally the UK looks to the USA in terms of “level of definition” design guidelines. The NBS BIM Toolkit will standardise both of these for the UK, with content guidelines and functionality being made available free to all of the industry. During the design phase, you can reference the UK LOD guidelines for the design items you are responsible for. Furthermore, objects authored to the NBS BIM Object Standard will be aligned to these guidelines so that concept, generic and manufacturer objects can be downloaded from the NBS National BIM Library to give you further benefits.
Does the process work if the team is not using the same software?
Level-2 BIM is not about software, it’s about information and standard data structures. So to pull this information together, project teams can use any software. The Government does not mandate any software solution. However, with respect to specification, NBS would recommend that each member of the project team uses NBS Create. This will ensure that all specification content is structured to the same format.
I’m a software developer and would like to work with library information and project information from the NBS BIM Toolkit. How can I do this?
In the toolkit, is there just one procurement and appointment for the whole project lifecycle?
The toolkit will not be tied to any specific procurement route or contract.
Can I use the NBS BIM Toolkit for projects that do not start with PAS 1192:2 compliant employer’s information requirements?
Yes, a NBS BIM Toolkit project can be started at any stage. For example, if at Stage 4 a design manager wanted to start a project to manage the technical design deliverables, they could create a new project and start entering data at that point.
How does the NBS National BIM Library help users in terms of providing the information for data exchanges?
Objects on the NBS National BIM Library are authored to the freely-available NBS BIM Object Standard. Where objects are authored to this standard, it gives users the confidence that the key property sets are completed with the specific manufacturer’s content. Find out more...
I appreciate the simplicity of BIM in a new build scenario, but is it required on retrospective properties, e.g. a listed building?
Level 2 BIM will be required on construction projects – whether new build or refurbishment – that are centrally funded.
What is COBie?
For further information on COBie, please see the UK Government’s BIM Task Group website.
Using Uniclass 2015 in BS 1192
BS 1192 sets out the naming of containers and files in section 5.4 and shows where the classification field appears.
BS 1192 paragraph 5.4.3 sets out the fields.
To adopt this for a set of drawings the following shows examples of the inclusion of Uniclass 2015.
For basic ‘elements’ use the EF table. For example:
Walls EF_25_10 Doors and windows EF_25_30 Roofs EF_30_10
For basic ‘functions’ use the EF table
Water supply EF_55_70 Space heating and cooling EF_60_40 Ventilation EF_65_40 Lighting EF_70_80 Safety and protection EF_75_50
For more detailed layers, use the Systems table
Panel partition systems Ss_25_12_65 Window systems Ss_25_30_95 Heating systems Ss_60_40_37 Small power systems Ss_70_30_80
The Levels and location field is used to describe more information about the details, for example whether the detail is about the ground floor – GF, first floor -01, etc.
[Project]-[Suitability]-[Levels and locations]-[Type]-[Role]-[Classification]-[Number]
Where can I find out more about the requirements of Level 2 BIM?Recommended sources of information are:
- The level-2 BIM package expert article from Rob Manning: https://toolkit.thenbs.com/articles/the-level-2-bim-package
- The NBS BIM mini-website: http://www.theNBS.com/BIM
- The UK Government’s Level 2 BIM website: http://www.bim-level2.org
How does BIM apply across Europe?
BIM can be used anywhere in the world including Europe, but it is the UK Government that has mandated the use of Level 2 BIM for the UK by 2016. Other countries have their own local BIM implementation plans.
Will all future projects have to be created using the NBS BIM Toolkit?
The choice to use the NBS BIM Toolkit can be made on a project by project basis just as with any other BIM protocols. The NBS BIM Toolkit forms part of the UK Government’s Level 2 BIM package and will be used on government projects. The Toolkit is free to use and contains classifications and levels of definition templates. It also allows users to create digital plans of work that help create key documents such as employer’s information requirements and design responsibility matrices.
Is it possible to connect to existing product configurators which we develop within our own website?
Yes, you can connect to your own product configurators. Our close tie with xbimviewer from BIM academy means that the Toolkit interfaces with software such as Revit and other BIM packages. This article provides further information.
Can content that has been created by external sources be included?
Yes it can. We have an internal team with architects and other disciplines that manage this data and if there is information that you would like us to include that we haven’t or if there is a template for an object that we haven’t yet published that you would like to submit, please get in touch with us as we would love to include that information. Obviously we follow a particular process when we create that information and it has to align with our standard dictionary and language, but that is easy to achieve. If you want to include that information simply tell us what you think via the link on the website. If you find issues you would like to report you can submit a bug or email us at firstname.lastname@example.org.
How will architects and others know to use the Toolkit? How are you promoting it?
The Toolkit is being widely promoted throughout the industry, and usage and engagement are already high. The Toolkit has the full support of the Government and forms part of their Level 2 BIM package.
Why have the product data templates been introduced?
The following statement was created by Rob Manning of the BIM Task Group and by NBS to describe the purpose of the object templates delivered as part of the NBS BIM Toolkit. Essentially the object definitions are templates that describe the information required by the employer. As a project develops this employer may be the client, the lead designer, the constructor or the operator. Manufacturers should be encouraged to make available their product data in a form that aligns with the templates in order to help their customers, i.e. designers and specifiers, produce their project information. Manufacturers need to look beyond supplying information about their products in catalogues and pdfs and provide their data in a digital form that uses standard terms and structure. The starting point for this should be the product data templates. An overview of the benefits of Product Data Templates as provided in BIM Toolkit is available here.
How do we use the product data templates?
You can complete the product data templates to ensure that your product information meets the requirements of Level 2 BIM. This will enable your customers to select, specify and use your products within the BIM environment. Once you have completed this template you can host it on your own website or distribute it to your customers. As of July 2016, we offer a hosting service via ribaproductselector.com. A step by step guide to using Product Data Templates as provided in BIM Toolkit is available here.
Are product data templates different for all products?
Yes, they vary from product to product. Some properties are common across all products, but many of the properties are specific to that particular product. These properties are grouped to give guidance as to what stage they are most likely to be specified during a construction project.
Who created the product data templates?
Product data template development work has been ongoing for a number of years. There are over 5700 consistently structured templates freely available for use now on the NBS BIM Toolkit. They have been developed based on years of consultation with industry representatives. They are delivered to industry via the government funded NBS BIM Toolkit which is an essential part of the UK’s BIM Level 2 implementation sitting alongside the BIM Level 2 documentation. The BIM Toolkit has a broad range of templates covering buildings and infrastructure that define the minimum product data requirements for Level 2 BIM.
Is there help available to organise my product data or complete the product data templates if we need it?
Technical data sheets in ribaproductselector.com, specifications in NBS Plus or objects in NBS National BIM Library can all be generated from your technical data. Having your technical data in a robust structure such as a product data sheet can help streamline this process. For further information on how to join any of these services and promote your products digitally to thousands of specifiers, please contact our Customer Services team on 0345 200 1056 or by email.
How about products that do not have a template?
Our technical team are working hard to fill any gaps in our template library as required. If you have a product that falls outside of the scope of the existing templates, please contact us so that we can consider creating a suitable product data template.
Are there hosting costs for manufacturers’ content?
Manufacturers can host their catalogues, case studies and similar on ribaproductselector.com and these will be positioned within the relevant parts of the NBS BIM Toolkit. For NBS Plus manufacturers your product specifications are positioned in the relevant parts of the NBS BIM Toolkit. Manufacturers with BIM objects on the NBS Plus or NBS National BIM Library are positioned within in the Toolkit too. To find out more, please contact us by calling our Customer Services team on 0345 200 1056 or by email.
There are costs associated with all of the above and no separate charge for inclusion in the NBS BIM Toolkit providing the customer joins one or more of our services. One of our account managers would be happy to contact you to talk through how you can benefit from these products and the NBS BIM Toolkit.
Is there an opportunity for smaller manufacturers to have their products and services promoted within the NBS BIM Toolkit?
Manufacturers who are part of ribaproductselector.com, NBS Plus or NBS National BIM Library receive promotion within the NBS BIM Toolkit as part of the service. This is available to manufacturers of any size. For further information on how to join any of these services and promote your products digitally to thousands of specifiers please call our Customer Services team on 0345 200 1056 or by email.
What is the impact on my existing products within NBS Plus and the NBS National BIM Library?
Can I ensure that my products are seen within the NBS BIM Toolkit ahead of those of my competitors?
There is no facility to ensure premium placing of products. However, if you subscribe to more NBS services than your competitor (for example to NBS Plus and NBS National BIM Library) you will have greater visibility by project teams who are using the NBS BIM Toolkit than other manufacturers who subscribe to only one service. Connected information is of greater value to designers, so manufacturers that have linked BIM objects, specifications and associated technical literature will receive greater visibility.