New U.S. National CAD Standard Now Available

23 Jan, 2008

First update since 2005 includes greater efficiency, updated symbols, and other improvements.

The American Institute of Architects (AIA), Construction Specifications Institute (CSI), and National Institute of Building Sciences (NIBS) today unveiled the United States National CAD Standard (NCS) v4, the first update since 2005.

The latest edition -- designed for owners, architects, engineers, contractors, facilities managers, code officials, manufacturers, and suppliers -- adds the following improvements:

  • Expanded and reorganized CAD Layer Guidelines make it easier to locate layer names, including new telecommunications and electrical discipline layer names.

  • Updated Uniform Drawing System adds new and revised symbols for geotechnology, security, fire suppression, masonry, and plaster and updates and clarifies common drawing practices.

  • Completely rewritten Plotting Guidelines reflect that mapping line widths to color numbers is no longer required.

  • Includes documents in PDF, Excel, and DWG file formats, making it easier to search and integrate the standard into CAD, BIM, costing, and other software.

"CSI and our colleagues at AIA and NIBS are proud to introduce the latest version of the National CAD Standard," said Walter Marlowe, CSI executive director. "NCS v4 will further streamline design, construction, and facility operations communication among all participants in the facility lifecycle. Better communication means fewer errors and lower costs for all disciplines."

"A current, widely used National CAD Standard is an essential part of NIBS' cooperative effort with AIA, CSI, and the buildingSMART Alliance to ensure an open, interoperable information format and communication environment -- including integration into the new National Building Information Model Standard (NBIMS) -- that will serve both the building community and the general public," said NIBS president David A. Harris, FAIA.

The NCS incorporates three important components from the partnering organizations: AIA's CAD Layer Guidelines; Modules 1-8 of CSI's Uniform Drawing System; and NIBS' Introduction, Appendices, and Plotting Guidelines (all maintained and balloted by the NIBS NCS Project Committee). Combining these resources, the NCS prescribes CAD layer names, drawing set organization, drafting, notation, and plotting conventions. It adds an extensive symbols library and thousands of terms and abbreviations.

Over 5,000 workplaces have voluntarily adopted the NCS since its debut in 1999. Many federal agencies require NCS use and many private sector users have adopted it, including auto manufacturers, international shipping companies, national retailers, and financial service providers. The NCS helps building designers, constructors, and operators coordinate their efforts by classifying electronic design data consistently, easing information retrieval. It improves communication among owners and project teams, cuts or eliminates costs of developing and maintaining company-specific standards, and reduces the expense of transferring building data from design applications to facility management applications.

The new standard is available for ordering on the NCS Web site.