CodeBook software developed by ex-HLM Architects associate
Peter Mann in the early nineties, is now in use across many
UK healthcare architecture practices.
The Codebook software is available to be purchased through
Project Blueprint with full training and support. Customers
can purchase Codebook through Blueprint in one of two
Buy multiple licenses as a once off purchase with an
on-going small annual maintenance payment, and/or
rent licenses for a period of time for large projects at a
small fixed monthly fee.
It is in essence a customized CAD (computer-aided design)
tool for healthcare, with the capacity to quickly assemble
very complex rooms down to 1:50 equipment layouts in a
sophisticated way, linking them to NHS equipment codes.
However, Peter Mann believes that while architects have
willingly adopted CodeBook to solve many of the problems of
complicated designs, clients could also usefully employ it
in various ways.
Its two key features are:
1. the ability for another member of a large design team to
easily pick up someone else’s CAD drawing and continue
working on it,
2. the way that equipment and fittings are visually coded
and costed according to up-to-date standard NHS codings, so
that commissioning may be efficiently integrated with
The system’s management of designs allows quality standards
to be consolidated during a project’s development, and can
be accessed from any terminal in use by the design team.
Crucially, the system avoids the problem of duplication
previously encountered by multiple users editing the same
CodeBook is designed to be compatible with current briefing
packages, and offers a systematized way of importing data
produced by such packages and synchronizing this with the
CAD model as the design is developed. The software will then
allow the monitoring of the design against the brief.
“At the design stage of a project the building is fluid as
the designer juggles the brief’s requirements to rationalize
sometimes conflicting requirements,” says Peter Mann. “With
CodeBook used throughout the process, the architect can
analyze, both graphically and with equipment schedules, the
extent to which the design is fulfilling the brief.
”As the design progresses, an in-depth store of information
on the project is built up, compatible with the NHS’
existing Activity Data Base, which can be changed as codes,
prices or the equipment itself changes. CodeBook provides
the full breadth of data used by the design team from the
brief to the as-built,” says Peter Mann. This comprehensive
information, fully coded, should be invaluable to those
managing the building once complete.
Key features of the system are as follows:
•Thematic views – in the program, complex data is viewed in
different colors according to database values. For example,
a drawing can be colored and labelled to show space standard
achievements or functional relationships.
•Drawings show the positions of all furniture and equipment;
other features include mounting heights, annotated drawing
frames, detailed schedules and reflected ceiling plans
.•Equipment Library – CodeBook includes a template graphical
library of 4,000 items of equipment and furniture.
Associated data such as group, description, required
services etc. is available.
•Equipment layouts can be built rapidly from a library of
graphical components. They can be grouped as standard
•The Project Explorer’s hierarchical visual structuring of
the database provides a clear view of the project
•Reports, for example budget cost analyses, are produced
stored in an industry standard database, which can be linked
to external data sources.
•The Room Editor allows users to follow templates or
override them, and change all rooms designed to a particular
template if desired.
Peter Mann told HD that the system is “now the standard for
health architects,” but added that it is also in use in a
couple of trusts – Royal Victoria in Belfast for example.
The need for architects to design schemes fast is clearly
one incentive for such a system. “You are given a very short
period of time to do layouts in PFI schemes – architects
have to be efficient,” says Peter Mann. He even asserts that
the system “helps architects be a valuable part of PFI
consortia.” Modeling of whole campuses is also possible, as
has been shown in the US.
Many of the usual Cad tools such as rotating rooms or
flattening them are useable with the system, which is
compatible with the AutoCAD, MicroStation and MicroGDS CAD
systems. The system has been used in the design of 10 major
UK projects, including the £106m South Tees PFI scheme, and
a handful in the US. One lasting benefit to trusts is that
‘best practice’ achieved on a project can be stored and
retained to be used easily for future schemes, and not lost,
as is often the case: