Last edited 04 Sep 2020

Building element

Uniclass is a voluntary classification system for the construction industry that can be used to structure project information, such as building information models. It was created in 1997 by the Construction Project Information committee (CPIC).

According to the Uniclass classifications, ‘elements’ are:

'…multi-trade built objects, made up of several systems, collectively serving a common purpose. They start life as un-designed objects such as ‘external walls’ with performance attributes such as U-values attached, but become steadily more defined as design decisions are made during the project.'

The most recent version of Uniclass, Uniclass 2015, (maintained and updated by the NBS) suggests that:

'Elements are the main components of a structure like a bridge (foundations, piers, deck) or a building (floors, walls and roofs).'

NRM1: Order of cost estimating and cost planning for capital building work, defines an element as:

'...a major part of a group element (e.g. the elements that create group element 3:
Internal finishes are 3.1:Wall finishes, 3.2: Floor finishes, and 3.3: Ceiling finishes).A separate cost target can be established for each element.'

Where, 'group element' means:

'...the main headings used to describe the facets of an elemental cost plan (i.e. Substructure; Superstructure; Internal finishes; Fittings, furnishings and equipment; Services; Complete buildings and building units;Work to existing buildings; External works; Facilitating works; Main contractor’s preliminaries; Main contractor’s overheads and profit; Project/design team fees; Other development/project costs; Risks; and Inflation).'

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