UniFormat™, a publication of CSI and CSC, is a method of arranging construction information based on functional elements, or parts of a facility characterized by their functions, without regard to the materials and methods used to accomplish them. These elements are often referred to as systems or assemblies.
UniFormat is often seen in performance specifications and preliminary project descriptions (PPD). Its most notable use is as a format for estimators to present cost estimates during the schematic design phase. UniFormat breaks a facility into systems and assemblies that perform a predominating function, such as substructure, shell, interiors, and services, without defining the technical solutions to provide these functions. This allows the facility to be priced at the elemental level, allowing design alternatives to be better evaluated, and allows facility performance to be established at the system level as the project design is being refined.
UniFormat's approach to organizing data is also important to the continued development of building information modeling (BIM) software, as its system organization allows objects to be placed before their properties have been further defined. When revision is complete, this version of UniFormat will be used as the basis for Table 21 – Elements of OmniClass. OmniClass, MasterFormat, and UniFormat are three of the foundation classification systems available to structure the construction data attached to a model.