Thinking out LOUD! - Long History

Attention: open in a new window. PDFPrintE-mail

Article Index
Thinking out LOUD!
Primary Intent
Long History
'Element' Misunderstood
Use in Heavy and Civil?
Not a WBS!
Think Modular Use
Usage of the term 'level'
Omit Reference ID's
Think 'Planning'
All Pages
UNIFORMAT II has a Long History

The original Uniformat was written in the early 1970s primarily at the instigation of the American Institute of Architects and the United States General Services Administration, to assist both organisations in creating a format and structure within which the setting of realistic cost targets and budgets allowed for continued reasoned control during the design development phases of buildings. Note that at that time Uniformat was directed solely at buildings and related sitework.

One advantage that this pioneering development effort had was that its authors were already practitioners of the art and science of elemental cost planning, cost control and cost analysis and were using this methodology on a daily basis. They could also lay claim to having been formally trained in the technique, which was originally developed by James Nisbet in the United Kingdom. He, at the end of World War II, developed the elemental technique for use by the Department of Education, in response to their dire need to quickly construct new, and refurbish many damaged, schools required as the result of a booming population, and all within a limited budget.  That original work, published in the early 1950’s, was adopted by the Royal Institution of Chartered Surveyors in the early 1960’s and continues in use today by many jurisdictions, throughout the world, for all forms of building construction.

The North American version of this technique differs in some ways from the original (primarily to suit a distinctly different contracting environment) but follows the same basic principle of summarising cost to function, regardless of materials and construction method.

It might also be noted that another cost control technique also grew out of that war time period. Although evidently unconnected in origin the Value Engineering process, developed by Lawrence Miles of the General Electric Company, also seeks to understand, control, and improve cost from a functional point view. These days using UNIFORMAT II as the control hierarchy is an excellent way of setting up cost summaries for work being subjected to a Value Engineering workshop.