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ASTM E1557-09(2020)e1

Standard Classification for Building Elements and Related Sitework—UNIFORMAT II

Standard Classification for Building Elements and Related Sitework—UNIFORMAT II E1557-09R20E01 ASTM|E1557-09R20E01|en-US Standard Classification for Building Elements and Related Sitework—UNIFORMAT II Standard new BOS Vol. 04.11 Committee E06
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Significance and Use

4.1 This classification defines building elements as major components common to most buildings. The classification is the common thread linking activities and participants in a building project from initial planning through operations, maintenance, and disposal.

4.2 The users of UNIFORMAT II include owners, developers, facilities programmers, cost planners, estimators, schedulers, architects and engineers, specification writers, operating and maintenance staff, manufacturers, and educators.

4.3 Use this classification when doing the following:5

4.3.1 Structuring costs on an elemental basis for economic evaluations (Practices E917, E964, E1057, E1074, E1121, and E1804) early in the design process. Using UNIFORMAT II helps reduce the cost of early analysis and contributes to substantial design and operational savings before decisions have been made that limit options for potential savings.

4.3.2 Estimating and controlling costs during planning, design, and construction. Use UNIFORMAT II to prepare budgets and to establish elemental cost plans before design begins. The project manager uses these to control project cost, time, and quality, and to set design-to-cost targets. See Appendix X2 for an example of a UNIFORMAT II building elemental design cost estimate.

4.3.3 Conducting value engineering workshops. Use UNIFORMAT II as a checklist to ensure that alternatives for all elements of significant cost in the building project are analyzed in the creativity phase of the job plan. Also, use the elemental cost data to expedite the development of cost models for building systems.

4.3.4 Developing initial project master schedules. Since projects are built element by element, UNIFORMAT II is an appropriate basis for preparing construction schedules at the start of the design process.

4.3.5 Performing risk analyses. Simulation is one technique (Practice E1369) for developing probability distributions of building costs when evaluating the economic risk in undertaking a building project. Use individual elements and group elements in UNIFORMAT II for developing probability distributions of elemental costs. From these distributions, build up probability distributions of total project costs to establish acceptable project contingencies or to serve as inputs to an economic analysis. (See Practice E1185 for guidance as to what economic method to use.)

4.3.6 Structuring cost manuals and recording construction, operating, and maintenance costs in a database. Having a manual or database in an elemental format helps you perform economic analysis early in the design stage and at reasonable cost.

FIG. 1 Possible Framework of the Built Environment

 Possible Framework of the Built Environment Possible Framework of the Built Environment

4.3.7 Structuring preliminary project descriptions during the conceptual design phase. It facilitates the description of the scope of the project for the client in a clear, concise, and logical sequence; it provides the basis for the preparation of more detailed elemental estimates during the early concept and preliminary design phases, and it enhances communications among designers and other building professionals by providing a clear statement of the designer’s intent. See Appendix X3 for a sample preliminary project description (PPD) based on UNIFORMAT II.

4.3.8 Coding and referencing standard details in computer-aided design systems. This allows an architect, for example, to reference an exterior wall assembly according to UNIFORMAT II element designations and build up a database of standard details structured according to the classification.

4.4 UNIFORMAT II, as described in this classification, includes sitework normally related to buildings but does not apply to major civil works. It is also unsuitable for process applications or for preparing trade estimates.


1.1 This classification establishes a classification of building elements and related sitework. Elements, as defined here, are major components common to most buildings. Elements usually perform a given function, regardless of the design specification, construction method, or materials used. The classification serves as a consistent reference for analysis, evaluation, and monitoring during the feasibility, planning, and design stages of buildings. Using UNIFORMAT II ensures consistency in the economic evaluation of buildings projects over time and from project to project. It also enhances reporting at all stages in construction—from feasibility and planning through the preparation of working documents, construction, maintenance, rehabilitation, and disposal.

1.2 This classification applies to buildings and related site work. It excludes specialized process equipment related to a building’s functional use but does include furnishings and equipment.

1.3 The classification incorporates three hierarchical levels described as Levels 1, 2, and 3. Appendix X1 presents a more detailed suggested Level 4 classification of sub-elements.

1.4 UNIFORMAT II is an elemental format similar to the original UNIFORMAT2 elemental classification. UNIFORMAT II differs from the original UNIFORMAT, however, in that it takes into consideration a broader range of building types and has been updated to categorize building elements as they are in current building practice.

1.5 The values stated in inch-pound units are to be regarded as standard. No other units of measurement are included in this standard.

1.6 This international standard was developed in accordance with internationally recognized principles on standardization established in the Decision on Principles for the Development of International Standards, Guides and Recommendations issued by the World Trade Organization Technical Barriers to Trade (TBT) Committee.

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Book of Standards Volume: 04.11
Developed by Subcommittee: E06.81
Pages: 45
DOI: 10.1520/E1557-09R20E01
ICS Code: 91.060.01