"The United States National CAD Standard (NCS) streamlines and simplifies the exchange of building design and construction data from project development throughout the life of a facility. It coordinates the efforts of the entire industry by classifying electronic building design data consistently allowing streamlined communication among owners and design and construction project teams. Use of the NCS can reduce costs and produce greater efficiency in the design and construction process."
- National Institute of Building Sciences
It is possible to configure a Vectorworks file to be 100% in compliance with the latest (v5) National CAD Standard, however we do not provide 100% NCS configuration automatically. This is up to the user to decide upon, control and enforce.
The NCS is a cost-subscribed standard distributed by the National Institute of Building Sciences. We do not distribute any parts of the NCS directly so as not to be in conflict with this revenue stream for NIBS, which we support wholeheartedly through its BuildingSMART division. All the following remarks apply to version 5 of the National CAD Standard.
The NCS is an open-ended set of guidelines, the main components being:
1. The "CAD Layer Guidelines" naming standards for assignable drawing attribute divisions (layers in AutoCAD, classes in Vectorworks);
2. The Uniform Drawing Standard, which comprises a collection of practice guidelines for
- Drawing and sheet organization
- Drafting conventions
- Terms and Abbreviations
- Code compliance tables and diagrams
3. Plotting guidelines (not applicable to Vectorworks as it is a "WYSIWYG" and not a color-table driven graphical system)
Item 1, the "CAD Layer Guidelines," are coordinated with Vectorworks' internal standard classing system in Vectorworks' "Standard Naming" feature. However, our collection of "Standard Names" is much smaller than the NCS broad list of standard layer names, which are intended to cover most eventualities and to be user-extensible to a project of any complexity. The user can extend their class list as required by the individual project. Vectorworks' maximum class name length is in excess of 60 characters, much greater that the 18- or 19-character limit needed by NCS:
Vectorworks does not restrict the user's creation of class names to NCS standards as (a) this is antithetical to Vectorworks' design-usability philosophy and (b) the NCS is an extensible standard, so no comprehensive list of acceptable class names could be created in any case.
Item 2.2, Schedules: Our default Door, Window, and Room Finish schedules are generally in compliance with the NCS (our default schedules are somewhat more comprehensive, reflecting the broad information contained in our objects). The NCS Schedule guidelines in any case only "suggest examples of potential content of schedules" and do not provide an exhaustive or restrictive standard in this case.
Lastly, Item 2.5: the graphical symbols and conventions: As far as we have been able to determine, all of our standard graphical elements (dimensions, callouts, drawing labels, north arrows, title blocks, section line and detail markers, etc.) have at least one option that is compliant with the latest version of the NCS. Again, we do not enforce this, we only allow it. We have also successfully tested an import of all the NCS standard symbols to verify that they can all be imported into Vectorworks:
However, as mentioned earlier, we do not distribute this symbol library as we feel this might be in conflict with the NCS revenue-stream of BuildingSMART and NIBS, whom we support.
Edited by JimW