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News & Press: 2018 News Items

Announcing the ASAQS Elemental Class system

08 April 2018  
Posted by: Bert vd Heever
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The ASAQS Elemental classification ver. 1 file is developed for Architects when organizing or tagging elements and objects for construction requirements, products, and activities. This version is the most significant step forward for BIM standardization for construction projects in Africa.

The ASAQS Elemental classification was developed by the BIM Institute in partnership with ASAQS and endorsed by South African Institute for Architects (SAIA).

ASAQS Elemental classification is intended to address specification requirements through the entire phases of construction on a project.

The Numbers and Titles are structured in accordance with the ASAQS Guide to Elemental Cost Estimating 2016 and version 1 is anticipated to grow and expand in the future.

Classification has been used in the construction world for many years, often without the users knowing it.  For example, many architects would recognise that a section element tag called ‘09640’ in their specification dealt with ‘Wooden Floors’. This came from a classification system called Revit Keynote – Metric which comes standard with Revit when tagging elements. This classification structure is useless to any other discipline on a project and cannot be defined for measuring purposes when drafting a Bills of Quantity.

Subsequently, Uniclass 2015 is a globally used BIM classification system derived from this opportunity to classify ‘things’ in different ways, not simply as a system or an object.  Uniclass 2015 was based on the general structure described in ISO 12006, which promoted the use of classification classes, each of which relates to a classification need.  As well as products (or objects), some of the other classes suggested by ISO 12006 are:

Indeed, other classes can be added to a classification system such as ‘system’, which works very well in a construction environment.  Similarly, the ‘standard method of measurement Vol 7 is a classification’ class that would be very helpful to define a range of building elements which will be a major benefit for quantity surveyors and contractors in Africa  be able to group  and price particular construction elements, as an alternative to using the ‘Uniclass 2015’.

Although consultants and contractors have managed well using just a couple of other ‘Work Breakdown Structures’(WBS), Africa have found great benefit in classifying design elements using the Guide to Elemental Cost Estimating 2016. For example, it would be very helpful in a construction environment to use the standard WBS classification structure, allowing estimators and contractors to identify elements based on an industry standard used widely in Africa on construction projects.

In this era of greater digital collaboration it is not enough to know what we are calling things, which classification system we are using.  We must communicate with those we are working with to make sure that the solution suits all of us, and moreover that it is suitable for the whole life of the asset and not just the design, or the construction phase.

It may be that an African classification system is required to satisfy all parties involved in an asset and to make information available throughout its whole life.  This is no simple task, which becomes more complex when the range of assets is considered in both buildings and infrastructure.

It is tempting to try to find solutions to what we do individually, but it is vital that any solution must be suitable for all stages of an asset’s life, for all types of assets and for all those involved in the asset.  Once this has been achieved, the full potential of an African BIM classification can start to be exploited, and tangible benefits demonstrated in the use of information management processes.

The ASAQS Elemental classification ver.1 file can be found by selecting the Resources tab from the menu on the ASAQS website and then clicking on ASAQS Elemental.Class.


Article supplied by Vaughn Harris Executive Director – BIM Institute