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CSI Standards and Crosswalk®: Upgrading Access to Construction Standards

By Hugh Seaton posted 12-01-2021 10:29 AM


Setting the standard

Across the building lifecycle, industry standards support the work of architects, engineers, contractors, and facility managers. Standards are the backbone of an organized and safe building project – setting baseline performance and safety levels or providing classifications by which to structure and communicate project data.

Utilizing classification standards such as MasterFormat®, UniFormat®, and OmniClass® is at the core of any building project. But communicating data between standards or updating from older versions can be a challenge, particularly when teams only have access to standards through printed copies, PDFs, or lengthy spreadsheets. As building projects grow in complexity, and technology evolves to support new construction needs, standards implementation has remained static – until now.

That’s why CSI created the industry solution Crosswalk®

A Rosetta stone for construction standards, Crosswalk is a digital tool for process optimization. With Crosswalk, project teams can instantly trans-classify data across standards with best-in-class “crosswalks” between essential standards such as MasterFormat, OmniClass, UniFormat, and ASTM E1557 or “UniFormat II.”  Offered as a completely digital solution, Crosswalk integrates directly into software – allowing teams to access standards directly where they’re needed most.  

What’s a “crosswalk”?

“Crosswalk” is a term that’s been used in the construction industry for years – referring to the translation of a specification from one standard to another, or the connection between a classification in one standard, such as MasterFormat, to an equivalent classification in another standard, such as UniFormat. When CSI developed Crosswalk, we created a standardized set of “crosswalks” between the standards that CSI has maintained for decades – including MasterFormat, UniFormat, and OmniClass – as well as previous versions such as MasterFormat 1995. Now, teams can rely on the Crosswalk tool for best-in-class translations between standards – as well other capabilities of a digital tool, such as enhanced search options and the most up-to-date versions available of each standard.  Delivered as an Application Programming Interface (API), Crosswalk is a flexible, adaptable tool designed to integrate seamlessly into the software and project systems you already use. 

What’s an API – and how does it help me? 

An Application Programming Interface (API) operates behind-the-scenes of your software and project workflows. The Crosswalk API connects to a library of essential industry standards and “crosswalks” so that you can easily pull in industry standards to search, organize, classify, or trans-classify project data. APIs offer the most flexible way to provide and access data – instead of learning to navigate a whole new project platform, an API is a layer of information connected to your current technology. An IT team or developer will onboard the API into your software, and you will use your software or system the way you normally do – and access the API when you need it. Accessing the API’s data is referred to as a “call.”

The flexibility of an API makes it the ideal solution for a wide range of applications in the AEC community, and adaptable to the vast array of construction technology solutions on the market.  Crosswalk is designed to scale to any team size and was built with interoperability in mind. 

What problems does Crosswalk solve?

A growing number of software solutions are integrating Crosswalk to incorporate industry standards in end user products. For general contractors, Crosswalk is a helpful tool for updating past project data and implementing industry standards within internal systems, to ensure consistent deliverables across national networks. Teams ranging from design, preconstruction, bidding, estimating, quantity takeoffs, BIM, and accounting use classification systems built on MasterFormat, UniFormat, and OmniClass – and Crosswalk is a vital tool for structuring, updating, or re-classifying cost codes, specifications, quantities, building products, and operational data.

The Crosswalk API replaces homegrown solutions for “crosswalking” data between standards with a best-in-class and consistent solution, and creates an integrated approach to digitizing processes and data workflows. Crosswalk replaces PDFs, spreadsheets, and paper with an all-digital solution for implementing standards, replacing time-consuming manual entry, and reducing risk of costly errors.

How do I learn more?

To learn more about CSI standards, visit .

To learn more about Crosswalk, visit or contact