Thinking out LOUD! - Abstraction

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Article Index
Thinking out LOUD!
Introduction
Primary Intent
Long History
'Element' Misunderstood
Use in Heavy and Civil?
Not a WBS!
Think Modular Use
Abstraction
Usage of the term 'level'
Omit Reference ID's
Think 'Planning'
All Pages
Isolating Special Needs with UNIFORMAT II

The basic rules for applying UNIFORMAT II state that each constructed entity, being discrete, shall be analysed individually regardless of its end use. However, as noted earlier such discrete entities, while having one overall function, may include several uses.

For this reason it is not infrequent that the costs and budgets set for each use are required to be separated (abstracted), or at least identified, one from the other. In large part this need is the result of specific funding and profitability needs. Appropriate analysis can allow clients to control expenditure towards specific end uses, i.e. cost centres, or users, to meet their financial goals. Quite often these specific uses are funded separately, and so must be budgeted and controlled separately.

When consistently using the fixed hierarchy inherent in an appropriate UNIFORMAT II elemental classification it is relatively simple to prepare these abstracts for as many costings (or descriptions) as are required. These, when aggregated together, will represent the appropriate whole constructed entity for which a typical general construction contract will be let.

It is valuable to recognise that, to a trained eye, any elemental cost analysis will be seen as a ’picture’ of the work envisaged. So where ‘abstract’ analyses are provided the inclusion, or exclusion, of text or cost against specific elements, will give a clear indication of overall content or scope, and its magnitude. A simple example will be a ‘base building’ abstract accompanied by a ‘fit-up’ abstract which, when aggregated together, will represent an overall project. It will be readily apparent just where the money and effort is being spent, and for what purpose. In recent times it has, unfortunately, often become necessary to spend additional resources on ‘hardening’ facilities that may be prone to outside threat or risk, so an ‘abstract’ elemental analysis may well be prepared to isolate that need. Another example may be identifying work included for ‘beautifying’ or ‘visually improving’ otherwise ugly or uninteresting entities. So long as the same common fixed elemental hierarchy is used in these ‘special needs’ abstracts, the work can be easily be both exposed and aggregated within the whole.