New Version Of U.S National Cad Standard Now Available

The American Institute of Architects (AIA), Construction Specifications Institute (CSI), and National Institute of Building Sciences (NIBS) recently unveiled

The American Institute of Architects (AIA), Construction Specifications Institute (CSI), and National Institute of Building Sciences (NIBS) recently unveiled the United States National CAD Standard (NCS) Version 4.0. The first update to the Standard since 2005, the latest edition is designed for owners, architects, engineers, contractors, facility managers, code officials, manufacturers, and suppliers. Its improvements to Version 3.1 include:

  • Expanded and reorganized CAD Layer Guidelines facilitate locating layer names, including new telecommunications and electrical discipline layer names.
  • Updated Uniform Drawing System adds new and revised symbols for geotech, security, fire suppression, masonry, plaster and updates and clarifies common drawing practices.
  • Completely rewritten Plotting Guidelines reflect that line widths are no longer required to be mapped to color numbers.
  • Documents in PDF, Excel, and .dwg file formats facilitate searching and integrating the standard into CAD, BIM, costing, and other software.

According to AIA, CSI and NIBS officials, a wide range of industry stakeholders stands to benefit from NCS Version 4.0: facility managers will realize consistent appearance of drawing sets for all projects, reducing errors and change orders; designers will spend less time creating and maintaining in-house office standards; contractors will see a consistent detail reference system; code officials will note the predictable location of regulatory information in the drawing set and on specific individual sheets; and, manufacturers and suppliers will save time on price quotes and submittal review and approval.

NCS incorporates three components from the partnering organizations: AIA’s CAD Layer Guidelines; Modules 1-8 of CSI’s Uniform Drawing System; and, NIBS’ Introduction, Appendices, and Plotting Guidelines (all maintained and balloted by the NIBS NCS Project Committee). Combining these resources, the NCS prescribes CAD layer names, drawing set organization, drafting, notation, and plotting conventions. It adds an extensive symbols library and thousands of terms and abbreviations.

Affirms CSI Executive Director Walter Marlowe, NCS Version 4.0 will further streamline design, construction, and facility operations communication among all participants in the facility lifecycle. Better communication means fewer errors and lower costs for all disciplines.

A current, widely used National CAD Standard is an essential part of NIBS’ cooperative effort with AIA, CSI, and the buildingSMART Alliance to ensure an open, interoperable information format and communication environment Û including integration into the new National Building Information Model Standard, adds NIBS President David Harris, FAIA. NCS Version 4.0 can be ordered at