Thinking out LOUD! - Think Modular Use

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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'
All Pages
Individual UNIFORMAT II Classifications as Modules

The intention within the E06.81 subcommittee of ASTM is to write specific, discrete, elemental classifications that are working tools. Other organisations, and individuals do have a tendency to write an elemental classification(s) as one long list, attempting to include the whole built-environment within the one document. This  may be fine for use in filing construction information, and so in effect they are simply hierarchical  indexing systems. However, these do not typically work well  in the cost management of construction during design, in preliminary description, in condition assessment, or other mathematical and/or text-rich reports. These activities work best with a fixed and consistent format tailored to suit structures of known function, where their commonality will significantly increase their utility and ability to work one with the other (inter-operability).

For want of a better term I’ll use the ‘modular’ figure of speech here. Each constructed entity within any project will be analysed and controlled individually (this is a basic tenet of UNIFORMAT II) as modules that perform specific functions, and that collectively will form the ‘project’ . These discrete constructed entities are basically understood by, and have elemental classifications expressly written for, their prime function. For example, a building is an entity constructed to provide shelter (function), which may be used for various purposes (use). An appropriate elemental classification for a building will, apply to all forms of buildings, no matter their use. It might be worthwhile understanding that whereas the prime function never changes, or rarely so, the use may change several times throughout its life. Indeed many buildings may contain several uses at the outset.

This principle of writing discrete classifications specifically for function versus use will apply to all forms of UNIFORMAT II classification. For example:

- A bridge functions as a link from one point to another over an open space (chasm, river, etc.), But its use may be for road, rail , foot traffic, or carrying pipelines or canals etc., or indeed for a combination of these uses.

- Tunnels also function as links, but differ by being built through a physical impediment be it a hill, mountain, or other obstacle over which it is impractical to construct. Again, tunnels may be used for several purposes, or multiple purposes, and also their use can change through their lifetime. There are numerous examples of railway tunnels becoming road or pedestrian tunnels, and even mushroom farms!