Hydrock – Building services engineering specifications using NBS
Hydrock is an award-winning, multidisciplinary engineering design consultancy working with clients across the UK. With 16 offices and over 500 staff, their work covers various sectors, including acoustics, nuclear, fire, civil & structural and building performance engineering.
Director of Building Performance Engineering, Anuran Wickramasinghe, caught up with us to tell us more about the work Hydrock does for its clients and why the business uses NBS Chorus on its projects.
As a multidisciplinary consultancy, Hydrock work on a wide range of exciting projects, from concept to detailed construction drawings to post-occupancy evaluations. Recent projects have included the new facilities for the English National Ballet, UWE's engineering faculty and Bristol’s inland surfing destination, The Wave.
According to Anuran, the ability to work on projects in the cloud has been one of the most useful features of NBS Chorus. As a cloud-based specification platform, Chorus allows multiple users to work on a specification remotely and on a range of devices, which has been extremely useful for Hydrock given the distance between their offices - and around 90% of their technical staff are currently working from home.
“We’re dispersed all around the country and are working from home so having an online version of the spec is very helpful,” he said.
"Having an online platform makes things much easier for us while working from home because now the engineers can access the specification and share information without overloading our servers"
Before adopting NBS Chorus, Hydrock used desktop product NBS Create, which is due be retired. Anuran highlighted the consistency and standardisation benefits that NBS Chorus’ stylesheets feature provides as one of the significant benefits the business has seen since making the switch.
“One of my main tasks last year was to standardise our specifications and projects, and that is why we decided to use NBS Chorus. NBS's automatic updates to the standards and guidance take away a big slice of our work because we cannot dedicate a team to continually update our standard template. We’re pushing hard on our branding and thanks to the Stylesheets feature; we’ve now got the front page of our documents looking standardised which is great progress.”
“Shortly, we want to utilise the Masters' feature and have one standardised template that we can work on to create our specifications and projects.”
In terms of helping Hydrock create more robust specifications, Anuran says that the prompts and guidance notes provided within Chorus have helped improve decision-making during the specification process. The ability to start specifying early describing system performance before developing a fuller specification defining products and execution requirements is also of benefit.
“The prompts on whether to park or specify something have helped us to progressively develop a robust specification because we can always revisit the specification and make sure that we haven't missed something that could lead to an omission on a project which could be extremely detrimental."
In summary, NBS Chorus is not only helping Hydrock to create more robust and more effective specifications, but it’s also helping to improve collaboration across the business’ different locations and disciplines.
"Having up-to-date information and the template there help us to produce the documents much more efficiently. I don’t like the ‘copy and paste’ style of doing things because you could be working on a residential project and accidentally insert a clause from a healthcare project which happened to be the last specification the engineer worked on. The efficiency comes from being able to use the template as a starting point and not having to write a specification completely from scratch," Anuran said.
“The collaboration aspect of NBS Chorus is the key because it means that the different disciplines can access and work together on the document at the same time."