It is the middle of football season and all we hear is THE Ohio State, so I could not help myself with the title. Emphasis on THE signifies Ohio State is sitting high up in the Big 10 Conference, and they are the team to watch. They have a powerhouse of players that together produce success. No offense to my Michigan, Penn State, and Rutgers friends.
When the three elements in the title come together in perfect alignment, it creates a powerful synergy. The project team gains the ability to make well-informed decisions regarding system and product selections, ensuring that the project estimate remains both balanced and in line with the owner's budget.
The connection is simple, really. BIM (Revit) objects include a property window. Within that window is a field called Assembly Code (see image below). This field is prepopulated for standard, out-of-the-box Revit families, using UNIFORMAT® designations. UNIFORMAT uses a 5-digit, alphanumeric code. Revit appends the UNIFORMAT code with three more digits to allow for multiple, similar instances of each object.
Estimators invented UNIFORMAT as a consensus format in 1975, at the request of the US General Services Administration (GSA) to improve early project estimates. It is a classification system using functional elements, or systems and assemblies, instead of products and trades used in MASTERFORMAT® for traditional construction specifications.
Why does this distinction matter? UNIFORMAT breaks free from the constraints of the final design solution. It empowers the establishment of functional, performance, and design criteria that pave the way for an optimal final design solution. Design is essentially a problem-solving process, and these criteria serve as the foundation for tackling the design challenges at hand. By setting the boundaries for the ultimate solution, the criteria guide the design process and ensure a successful outcome.
UNIFORMAT allows project descriptions to progress from generic to specific, just as the design progresses through the various Levels of Development (LOD). Say what you know, when you know it. At the start, the question may be, "Do you have exterior walls?" Usually, this is easily answered, even when the types of walls are unknown. So check the box - Exterior Walls, YES. Explore and develop more detail later.
Finally, develop the Spec, not a traditional MASTERFORMAT construction specification, but rather a system and performance description (SPD) based on UNIFORMAT. Standardizing on a single format to arrange data for BIM, Estimate, and Spec allows for better analysis and decision making. Document the criteria in the Spec as the basis for analyzing the design solutions.
Image from Conspectus Cloud UniFormat spec/SPD
Ensure a seamless alignment between the BIM objects, Estimate, and Spec, creating a harmonious connection. Delve into the array of options available for exterior wall systems, providing a comprehensive Spec that facilitates thorough cost analysis, performance evaluation, and design exploration. Will it pass the test? Will it fail? Adapt and reevaluate until you discover the perfect solution for your project. If you have multiple wall systems, embrace the versatility by creating separate BIM objects, Estimate line items, and Spec descriptions for each type. Make an educated decision before delving into the intricacies of system details. Streamline your process and eliminate the need for repetitive work.
UNIFORMAT and MASTERFORMAT are registered trademarks of The Construction Specifications Institute.