Investing in connectivity


Masterspec chief executive Rolf Huber reviews the importance of connectivity in the construction industry

Poor or incomplete documentation is a real issue for the construction industry. Over the past few years, designers, builders, quantity surveyors and building control authorities have lamented the difficulty when in receipt of poor or incomplete building documentation.

Whether the documents are too big, incomplete or just plain vague, a lack of clarity brings with it the risk of a mismatch between specifications and the drawings.

Resolution of this issue rests with the continued elevation of the standard of information systems and enhanced methods of delivering this information to users, such as designers, builders, product manufacturers and BCAs.


Addressing the issue

Construction Information Limited (CIL) also known as Masterspec, owned by members of the construction industry (New Zealand Institute of Architects, and the Registered Master Builders Association) has addressed this matter head on with its development of NextGen2.

RMBA chief executive David Kelly believes this revolutionary tool is just what the industry needs.

“Accurate and co-ordinated documentation is critical for the construction industry. Masterspec is addressing this need and has come up with a number of innovative solutions, including NextGen2 and MasterKey. The output will benefit not just the designers, but builders, BCAs and many other stakeholders,” Mr Kelly says.

In developing NextGen2, CIL took the opportunity not only to facilitate the refinement of building documentation, but also to dramatically improve the efficiency of the whole process.

Central to the challenge was the fact that each building project demands specific documentation. This includes drawings, detailed specifications and related information on how the design complies with the New Zealand Building Code.

Moreover, any solution must be responsive to ongoing changes to building legislation and building practice.


Next generation software

Two years in the making, CIL’s NextGen2 was launched in 2014, for creating building specifications accessible to all via the use of an Internet browser.

Masterspec chief executive Rolf Huber explains that this new innovation is a complete change to how designers prepare their project specifications.

“Integrated into a design practice, NextGen2 provides a constantly maintained specification base, which specifiers can access through an intuitive interface. This is further partnered with intelligence and guidance to rapidly create a dependable and fully customised project specification,” Mr Huber says.

Projects will also benefit from the related MasterKey software. MasterKey integrates with leading information modelling software such as Revit and ArchiCAD, allowing connectivity of specifications and drawings.

This means designers can be certain that both specifications and drawings are co-ordinated. This saves time and provides peace of mind that all the details are correct.

Designer Michael Vaisigano expresses it well when he says, “NextGen2 is the best thing ever invented. Using this tool is a time saving of 110%.”

Universal Homes compliance manager Trish Merryweather is particularly delighted with NextGen2. “Previously, a full specification took about half-a-day to create. However, with Masterspec NextGen2 we have that down to around an hour-and-a half. That’s a huge saving for us.”

Ms Merryweather explains that even though it was only released last year, “I feel like I’ve been using NextGen2 for years. It makes life so much easier, especially the cloning feature for the volume of specifications that we do here at Universal Homes.”

Another benefit is the confidence Trish has when using the application. “I never get a query on my specifications from the council, and probably one of the reasons for this is that the specifications are nice and tidy and easy to navigate around.”


Key features

The key features of NextGen2 and MasterKey are:

Q & A System: NextGen2 allows users to step through a series of questions to generate a building specification. Later modifications are easily accommodated, and all relevant New Zealand Standards and Building Codes are identified and referenced.

Product Database: NextGen2 incorporates the database, allowing access to full information regarding products used in the specification. This information can be attached to the final document, providing end users with complete clarity as they carry out their work.

Document Management: As specifications are being created, NextGen2 allows contributions from other stakeholders, such as engineers. The system invites users to identify areas within the specification that are complete and those still requiring work.

Risk Management: When creating a building specification, compliance with building codes, New Zealand Standards and industry codes of practice is critical. NextGen2 makes this easy by helping to ensure that everything is up to date.

MasterKey: Ensures connectivity between specifications and drawings, reducing the potential for clashes.

NextGen2 is fully supported, with a team of specification experts ensuring that users can have full confidence in the information at all times. There’s something reassuring in knowing that the project information is up to date.

A cloud-based specification platform is the must-have intelligent tool for creating swift, accurate and co-ordinated building project documentation.

Within the construction industry, connectivity is the key, ensuring clarity of communication between all information sources and industry players. As the industry moves towards a BIM-based future, increasing connectivity is essential.


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