Australia’s Lag in Specification Software: Circumnavigating Risk with Technology

Australia’s Lag in Specification Software Circumnavigating Risk with Technology



Specification software is a practice prerequisite in architecture studios around the world—so why is Australia behind the eight ball? 


In the global landscape of architectural and construction firms, specification software is essential for efficiency and risk management. Despite this, Australia finds itself lagging behind its international counterparts in adopting these vital platforms, raising questions about the industry’s competitive edge and risk mitigation strategies. 


Architectural specifications, crafted by architects, engineers, or designers, detail project dimensions, construction and materials, providing essential clarity for contractors’ pricing and project understanding. A robust specification helps manage various construction risks and ensures project success. 


While major industries in Australia, such as finance, insurance and manufacturing, are rapidly embracing technological innovation and digital transformation, the architecture and construction sectors have been slower to adopt these advancements. This hesitancy is likely due to the labour-intensive nature of these fields, the reliance on a localised workforce and the inherent complexity and fragmentation of the industry. 


Countries like the UK, Canada, and New Zealand are leading the global push to digitise specification software. Architecture firms worldwide are shifting from traditional tools to advanced technologies, freeing time for critical tasks. 


Enter ArchifySpec, the comprehensive solution Australia needs. This user-friendly platform enhances collaboration, ensures compliance, and transforms the specification process. By adopting ArchifySpec, Australian firms can match global standards, improve efficiency, and secure their competitive edge in the digital era. 


This innovative tool empowers Australian architecture and construction firms to keep pace with global standards, enhancing their competitive edge and ensuring project success in an increasingly digital world.  

Global specification software at a glance

Global specification software at a glance

NBS Chorus, a cloud-based specification writing software, is experiencing widespread adoption among architects, designers and specifiers in Europe and North America.  


This tool enables real-time collaboration and coordination on design projects, effectively addressing common pain points and delays in architecture studios. 


Launched in early 2019, NBS Chorus was specifically designed for specification authoring, offering significant improvements over outdated and disconnected programs like MS Word or Excel.  


Unlike traditional tools, Chorus offers a purpose-built interface for smarter, more efficient work, seamlessly integrating specifications with BIM models. Utilising Uniclass 2015 standards, the software delivers consistent content tailored for local projects. Its real-time collaboration features empower teams to work together in real-time seamlessly, driving project success with accuracy and confidence. 


By the end of its first year, over 1000 architectural and engineering practices across the UK had adopted NBS Chorus, demonstrating its rapid acceptance and effectiveness in the industry. Currently, over 4000 architectural and engineering practices across the UK use NBS for their specifications.  


NBS Chorus has also been actively expanding its user base in North America, particularly in Canada, notably being endorsed and used by the Royal Architectural Institute of Canada.  


“Construction, long a sleeping giant when it comes to shaking things up, is now providing the next frontier, with a rapid swell of new tech companies waking the sector up to the advantages of digital transformation,” said NBS CEO Russell Haworth.  


“Currently, the industry is one of the least digitised with decades of stagnant productivity growth, but change has been expedited by the Covid pandemic.” 


Across the Tasman, architecture studios are experiencing a surge in efficiency and precision in their design processes thanks to the integration of MasterSpec. 


MasterSpec provides a one-stop platform for construction needs, offering curated standards, live product data, dynamic spec-to-drawing linkage, ongoing education and access to classification systems, all complemented by a technical library. 


MasterSpec also boasts an industry-leading advisory committee who meet six to eight times each year to advise on content and provide updates.  


Currently, over 1,700 design practices in New Zealand rely on MasterSpec to specify approximately $9 billion worth of building projects each year. 


Russell Turner, Chief Executive Officer at Construction Information Limited, MasterSpec’s parent company, stated, “For Masterspec, the challenge is not to find opportunities but in prioritising where we can apply our skills to have the most positive impact.”  


“Integration of authoritative data, not islands of data, has become more important than ever. Using data to close the loop across the construction value chain provides a positive feedback process that can drive continuous improvement.” 


So, why is Australia falling behind the eight ball in this critical aspect of construction management? 

The answer likely lies in a combination of factors including lack of awareness, concerns about implementation costs and potential steep learning curves as well. However, the risks associated with maintaining the status quo are significant. 


Until recently, Australian architecture practices seeking digitisation, modernisation and productivity enhancements had limited options. Platforms like NATSPEC, a national not-for-profit organisation, and Programa, offering workflow software for interior designers and brands, have been the limited choices. However, despite their utility, these options might not fully address the evolving needs of the industry or offer the comprehensive solutions required for seamless specification management. 


Without modern specification software, Australian studios remaining resistant to change face increased potential for errors, delays and disputes, generating unnecessary and avoidable risk for both the project and practice. 


To circumnavigate these risks, Australian firms must recognise the value proposition of specification software and invest in the necessary resources to integrate these platforms into their workflows.  


Australian architecture studios that embrace technology with savvy foresight, like their international counterparts, will discover heightened levels of efficiency, profitability and growth. This proactive approach not only strengthens competitiveness and enhances brand reputation but also leads to the sustainable and successful delivery of projects. 


A comprehensive solution emerges Down Under 

ArchifySpec, Australia’s first complete specification software addresses a myriad of challenges facing the construction industry, from ensuring content consistency to bridging the specifications-drawings gap and reshaping how construction specifications are conceived and managed. 


The dedicated team at ArchifySpec, based in Australia, has spared no effort in crafting the nation’s premier specification management platform. Through in-depth market research to identify and address key stakeholder challenges, the ArchifySpec team has launched a robust new system that sets new standards in specification writing. 


This highly intuitive software, ArchifySpec, is revolutionising the way architecture firms operate in Australia, where keeping up with standards and codes is notoriously challenging. Seamlessly integrating into existing workflows, ArchifySpec not only ensures effortless compliance but also saves architects’ valuable time. Its robust features, including regular alignment with Australia’s National Classification System, guarantee precise and clear specifications. 


How ArchifySpec outshines its competitors: 

Up-to-date compliance integration 

Ensures all documentation adheres to the latest Australian standards and building codes, streamlining regulatory compliance.


Seamless synchronisation 

Automatically synchronises information across project drawings, material schedules, and specifications, reducing errors and enhancing consistency.


Comprehensive project templates 

Utilises an internal product library, leveraging the latest feature updates for efficient project management.


Workflow tracking and management 

Facilitates the setting and tracking of workflows, ensuring project milestones are met and enhancing team productivity.


Enhanced collaboration 

Elevates the design team’s capability to work efficiently and collaboratively, fostering better communication and project outcomes. 


The platform’s integration with Archify’s extensive product library complete with technical specification data streamlines sourcing, eliminating the need for endless browser tabs and hours of product research.  


Beyond simplifying mundane tasks, ArchifySpec promotes enhanced collaboration and communication among team members, consultants, suppliers and clients by directly tackling the modern workflow challenges. The software empowers teams, improving practices and boosting job satisfaction, ultimately positioning firms for greater success in today’s ever-evolving architectural landscape.  


“It’s clear that Australia’s architectural community has been in need of a comprehensive solution that provides faster, smarter and safer specification documentation,” Natasha Leyte, Group Sales Manager at Archify, said. 


“ArchifySpec provides a direct solution to the challenges and inefficiencies faced by todays-built environment professionals.” 


Ready to take your studio to the next level? Connect with one of our team members today. 

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