Thinking out LOUD! - 'Element' Misunderstood

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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'
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The Term ‘element’ is Easily Misunderstood

Perhaps part of the reason that many may misunderstand the fundamental purpose of UNIFORMAT II is the original, and continuing, use of the term ‘element’.

In UNIFORMAT II this term has a very specific definition that is both narrower and more specific than that found in any general dictionary.

Element, n — in construction planning, design, specification, estimating, and cost analysis, is a significant component part of the whole that performs a specific function, or functions, regardless of design, specification or construction method.

Discussion — While through analysis, or by direct application, construction estimates categorised into elements (functional elements) with allocated costs, may be summarised in an elemental cost summary, or elemental cost analysis; elements (functional elements) also provide a framework for consistent preliminary description, outline and performance specification, through all stages of planning, design, construction, and maintenance.

Per ASTM E 833 - Standard Terminology of Building Economics

This definition, which is common with definitions published by other sources, is the fundamental foundation upon which UNIFORMAT II is built and applied. Understanding it can go a long way to avoiding many of the mistaken applications and misinterpretations of UNIFORMAT II that are often evident.