08 December 2020

It is common knowledge that many construction product manufacturers obtain orders through the specification route. The view is to get the product in the spec, and get the order at the procurement stage. In an attempt to get into the spec, manufacturers go down many different avenues. These include listing products on product platforms such as NBS Source; they may create digital (BIM) objects, push hard promotions to the art and design community, host a stand at a trade show… the list is almost endless. Some avenues work better than others, but one standout option is when a manufacturer offers to write their part of the spec for the specifier. Manufacturers provide this in a variety of routes. Some manufacturers spend vast amounts of money on developing bespoke specification-writing tools that are front-facing on their website. These often then turn out to be mainly used by their own sales teams and not the actual specifiers. Others may offer a written spec as a word document.

The reason for the lead specifier allowing a manufacturer to write part of a spec is twofold. Firstly, writing the specific part of the spec that involves the manufacturer's products ensures that the manufacturer, as the expert in that field, has direct input – drastically reducing the scope for errors, or obsolete products and systems being specified. Secondly, it saves the specifier a heck of a lot of time in a process where they need to consider thousands of components and systems in a single design. The manufacturer then gains spec. Win-win on both counts!

NBS has been at the core of the building specification process for the past half a century. Founded in 1970 evolving from binders with clause templates to floppy discs in the '80s, CD Rom in the '90s and then downloadable software in the ‘noughties’), NBS is the go-to format for specifications written in the UK – and many around the world.

NBS Chorus – our latest 'cloud-based' specification platform – has been a game changer for specifiers. Firstly, it allows a specification to be written in Uniclass 2015, as recommended by the BS EN ISO 19650 standard for BIM projects. In today's climate, and particularly since the COVID-19 pandemic forced most design offices to work from home, NBS Chorus has been a saviour of their daily routine. This is reflected in the fact use of Chorus has grown rapidly this year with a 600% increase to date when compared to 2019 and record amounts of specifications written and manufacturers’ products specified.

What does 'cloud-based' mean, and why's that a big deal?

Well, first off, there's nothing to download or install on a computer as everything is online; this is what is meant by 'in the cloud'. You visit the NBS Chorus webpage, log in and off you go! No nightmare IT headaches anymore. Being set up in this way also means that it's not locked down to any particular device. Providing that there is an internet connection, you could use Chorus on your PC, a Mac, a tablet, or even your phone! Anywhere, any time: in the office, on the train, in your living room, even in your favourite coffee shop! 24/7.

NBS Chorus and the specifier 

Almost half a million specifiers use NBS. Many of these are architects (including the whole of the AJ100). However, many are also contractors or engineers and from other disciplines, with the likes of AECOM, Atkins and Wilmott Dixon (to name but a few) being NBS users. If it needs to be specified, it is a safe bet that NBS tools have been involved at some stage. NBS Chorus is maintained by a team of 50+ in-house experts, made up of architects, engineers and other industry professionals. The team is continually monitoring the industry, standards and associated implications, ensuring that specification clauses and data are always up-to-date. This solution removes a massive headache for the specifier by ensuring that their backs are covered by a trusted organization.

How NBS Chorus can help you as the manufacturer

One of the unique parts of NBS Chorus is its new innovative collaboration function, which allows the specifier to invite others into the spec to write their specific section: such as a facades specialist in the design firm, a subcontractor, or even you (the manufacturer). The collaboration functionality within Chorus is already proving successful for many manufacturers: Dulux Trade, for example. If you as a manufacturer already provide a spec-writing service, this may not sound that ‘out of the box’. However, there are a few things that you need to consider. Firstly, suppose that you provide part of a specification in Word or PDF format; the specifier then has to manually copy that part into the official specification, which is likely to be in NBS software. This process is monotonous and again increases risk. If the manufacturer has access to Chorus to begin with then their part of the spec can be written in the correct format, and imported (copied and pasted) into the full spec when ready. Secondly, if the manufacturer is invited into Chorus to write the spec directly in that project, it saves even more time and strengthens the relationship with a future project partner! Other clear benefits also lie in the ‘Masters' functionality and execution clauses within NBS Chorus. These functions allow the manufacturer to build set specs where they may, for example, provide systems to specific building types regularly (the healthcare sector or schools, for example). This gives you a set template to use or edit time and time again. Execution clauses then allow you to document how products should be installed or applied, and to the appropriate level of quality and workmanship.

Is there any risk? 

When a manufacturer is invited to write their part of the spec, it's within a controlled 'safe' environment. The primary specifier can control which parts of the full spec someone outside of their organization can see and edit. Also, once the manufacturer has completed their part of the spec, it is still in that safe environment. It only gets imported into the full spec once the primary specifier has checked it and decided that they want to import it. It couldn't be easier

How to get involved 

NBS Source powers NBS Chorus. As a manufacturer, if your materials, products or systems are on NBS Source then they will have already been listed against the correct template clauses for specifiers to use. You as the manufacturer then have the option to also subscribe to NBS Chorus, where your team can then pull your products together into a tailored specification for your clients. It's so simple to use; within a few hours you will be up and running, and NBS' team of experts is always on hand to point you in the right direction. NBS Chorus is available as a subscription service. It provides a very cost-effective and more practical approach to writing specifications than bespoke solutions that still only output to Word or PDF format.


Get your products found and specified on NBS Source
Be part of the spec with NBS Chorus
Improve the efficiency of your sales team
Collaborate with the specifier
Comply with CAWS and Uniclass 2015 (a must for BIM projects)
Avoid costly errors and expensive development through bespoke platforms

To find out more or to arrange a demo, visit our NBS Chorus for Manufacturers page or drop us a line at manufacturers@thenbs.com.