Element Categorisation Update

In our 2024 June (version 5.31.0) software release, we’re introducing some big changes for element categorisation in eTool. We’re not only updating our Building categorisations to align with the new RICS WLCA PS 2nd Edition, we will also be adding infrastructure specific categorisations for Infrastructure projects. The categorisation standard for infrastructure will be based on the ICMS 3rd edition categorisation groupings for civil engineering works. For the full list please refer to the Element Categorisation Table below.

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Changes in eTool

In order to accommodate these new categorisations in eTool, there have been a number of changes in how eTool behaves and how users can specify which type of categorisation to use for their LCA.

Structure Level

In the structure level of your project, you can now select from 3 different categorisations: the original RICS NRM, the new RICS WLCA 2E or ICMS3 for infrastructure.

The ICMS3 categorisation looks like the below for Infrastructure.


For templates, you can specify categorisation standard in the ‘Details’ tab of in the library. For existing templates, if you change the categorisation standard, all existing inputs will be automatically mapped to the most relevant corresponding category in the new standard.

In the example below, we demonstrate the changes in the categories from one standard to the other. The test template is External Works – 500mm Compacted Limestone (30 yrs).

For categorisation standard RICS WLCA 2E (2023), existing inputs are mapped as Roads, paths, pavings, surfaces under External Work category.

When changing to categorisation standard ICMS3 Infrastructure, existing inputs are mapped as Pavements under Structure category.

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Element Categorisation Table

RICS NRM (original categorisation) RICS WLCA PS 2E (New)
ICMS3 (New – for Infrastructure)
Code Name Code Name Code Name
0 Facilitating works 0.1 Treatment and demolition works; Facilitating works 01 Demolition, site preparation and formation
0.1 Toxic/hazardous/contaminated material treatment 0.1.1 Toxic/contaminated material treatment; Demolition works 01.010 Site survey and ground investigation
0.1.1 Toxic/hazardous material removal 0.1.2 Facilitating works 01.020 Environmental treatment
0.1.2 Contaminated land Toxic/contaminated material treatment 01.050 Demolition of existing structures and support to adjacent structures
0.1.3 Eradication of plant growth Demolition works 01.060
Site surface clearance (clearing, grubbing, topsoil stripping, tree felling, minor earthwork, removal)
0.2 Major demolition works Temporary supports 01.080
General site formation and slope treatment (including embankments/cuttings)
0.2.1 Demolition works Facade retention 01.090 Temporary surface drainage and dewatering
0.2.2 Soft strip works Specialist groundworks 01.110
Temporary protection, diversion & relocation of and connection to public utilities
0.3 Temporary support to adjacent structures Temporary diversion works 01.640 Excavation (of soft silt, peat, sands, gravels, clay, rock, etc.)
0.3.1 Temporary support to adjacent structures Extraordinary site investigations 01.650 Dredging (of soft silt, peat, sands, gravels, clay, rock, etc.)
0.4 Specialist groundworks Site preparation works 01.660 Special disposal and treatment of contaminated materials
0.4.1 Site dewatering and pumping 1 Sub-structure 01.670
Reclamation or filling (with imported rock, concrete, or other hard materials)
0.4.2 Soil stabilisation measures 1.1 Foundations and piling 02 Substructure
0.4.3 Ground gas venting measures 1.2 Basement retaining walls and lowest slab 02.010 Embankments/cuttings
0.5 Temporary diversion works 1.2.1 Lowest slab 02.020
Excavation, disposal and lateral supports (specifically to receive any substructure construction but excluding general site formation and slope treatment)
0.5.1 Temporary diversion works 1.2.2 Suspended slabs 02.025 Geotextile or other geomembranes
0.6 Extraordinary site investigation 1.2.3 Basement retaining walls 02.030 Trenching/common trenches
0.6.1 Archaeological investigation 2 Super structure 02.040 Drilling/boring
0.6.2 Reptile/wildlife mitigation measures 2.1 Frame 02.050 Piling/anchoring
0.6.3 Other extraordinary site investigation 2.1.1 Frame (vertical) – columns/ structural walls & braces 02.060 Structural backfill/ground remediation
1 Substructure 2.1.2 Frame (Horizontal) – beams, joists & braces 02.070 Earth-retaining structures
1.1 Substructure 2.2 Upper floors 02.080 Abutments/wing walls
1.1.1 Standard foundations 2.2.1 Upper floor and roof – structural slabs 02.090 Pile caps/footings/bases
1.1.2 Specialist foundations 2.2.2 Upper floor and roof – non-structural slabs 02.100 Sub-base to pavements and rail track structures
1.1.3 Lowest floor construction 2.3 Roof 02.110 Bases to supports for tanks, pipes, well heads, etc.
1.1.4 Basement excavation 2.4 Stairs, ramps and safety guarding 02.120 Beds and surrounds to underground pipes
1.1.5 Basement retaining walls 2.4.1 Stairs 02.600
Pile retaining walls (combi walls/H-pile walls/secant piled walls/sheet piled walls/gravity quay walls/relieving structures/pile supported structures/special types)
1.1.3 Insulation 2.4.2 Ramps 02.610 Diaphragm walls
2 Superstructure 2.4.3 Safety and access ladders, chutes, slides and guarding 02.620 Quays/docks/wharfs/moorings/piers/dry dock structure foundations
2.1 Frame 2.5 External envelope including roof finishes 02.630 Marine anchor systems
2.1.1 Frame 2.5.1 External – opaque envelope 02.640 Mooring dolphins
2.2 Upper floors 2.5.2 External – full height glazing systems 02.650 Breakwaters (Cores/primary armour/secondary armour)
2.2.1 Floors 2.5.3 External – roof finishes/coverings 02.660 Rock revetments/gabions
2.2.1 Insulation 2.5.4 External – safety systems 02.670 Cofferdams
2.2.2 Balconies 2.6 Windows and ext doors 02.680 Bank protection
2.2.3 Drainage to balconies 2.6.1 Windows – vertical 03 Structure
2.3 Roof 2.6.2 Windows – roof or horizontal 03.010 Piers and towers
2.3.1 Roof structure 2.6.3 External doors 03.020 Suspension system
2.3.2 Roof coverings 2.7 Internal walls 03.030 Decks
2.3.3 Specialist roof systems 2.7.1 Internal walls -solid 03.040 Bearings
2.3.5 Rooflights, skylights and openings 2.7.2 Internal walls – non-structural glazed walls, windows and vision panels 03.050 Tunnel/shaft lining
2.3 Insulation 2.8 Internal doors 03.060 Roads/track bases
2.3.4 Roof drainage 3 Finishes 03.070 Pavements
2.3.6 Roof features 3.1 Wall finishes 03.080 Service roads and approaches
2.4 Stairs and ramps 3.2 Floor finishes 03.090 Parapets/edge treatment
2.4.1 Stair/ramp structures 3.2.1 Raised access floor or specialist sprung floors 03.100 Main structures
2.4.2 Stair/ramp finishes 3.2.2 Non-structural screed 03.105 Service stations and houses for district utility services
2.4.3 Stair/ramp balustrades and handrails 3.2.3 Floor finishes 03.110 Tanks, rigs, storage containers, etc.
2.4.4 Ladders/chutes/slides 3.3 Ceiling finishes 03.120 Supports for tanks, pipes, etc.
2.5 External walls 4 FF&E 03.130 Civil pipework
2.5.1 External enclosing walls above ground level 4.1 General FF&E 03.140 Valves and fittings
2.5.2 External enclosing walls below ground level 4.2 Kitchen equipment 03.600 Seawalls
2.5.3 Solar/rain screening 4.3 Special equipment 03.610 Lake and river lining
2.5.4 External soffits 4.4 Loose FF&E 03.620 Prefabricated marine structures – off-site fabrication
2.5.5 Subsidiary walls, balustrades and proprietary balconies 4.5 IT 03.650 Slipways/gangways/linkways
2.5.6 Façade access/cleaning systems 4.6 Audio and visual 03.660 Dock and lock gates
2.6 Windows and external doors 5.1 Public Health 03.670 Pontoons
2.6.1 External windows 5.1.1 Sanitaryware 03.680 Coastal protection systems
2.6.2 External doors 5.1.2 Cold water systems 03.690
Deck/surface structures (ground bearing or suspended concrete slabs)
2.6.1 Security and Fly Screens Cold water systems 03.700 Locks and guidance structures
2.7 Internal walls and partitions Cold water storage 03.710 Revetments
2.7.1 Walls and partitions 5.1.3 Drainage and rainwater 03.720 Flood defences
2.7.1 Insulation Surface water/rainwater/foul water drainage 03.730 Navigational aids
2.7.2 Balustrades and handrails Water reuse systems 03.740 Dry docks structures
2.7.3 Moveable room dividers 5.2 Heating, Ventilation and Cooling (HVAC) 03.750 Weirs
2.7.4 Cubicles 5.2.1 Space heating and hot water 03.760 Aqueducts
2.8 Internal doors Heat & Hot water generation equipment 04 Non-structural works
2.8.1 Internal doors Heat & hot water distribution, control, ancillaries, emitters, exchangers/ terminal units 04.010 Non-structural removal and alterations
3 Internal finishes Heat storage equipment 04.020 Non-structural construction
3.1 Wall finishes 5.2.2 Dedicated cooling installations (If the system does both heating and cooling, include it in heating) 04.030 Running surface
3.1.1 Wall finishes Cooling generation equipment 04.040 Signage, markings, etc.
3.1.1 Cornices & Shadowlines Cooling emitter, exchangers/ terminal units, ancillaries and control, distribution, storage 04.050 Gantries, etc.
3.1.1 Paint – Walls 5.2.3 Air movement 05 Services & equipment
3.1.1 Wet Area Walls 5.2.4 Ventilation air terminals, ductwork and ancillaries, control dampers, attenuation, fire safety related to ventilation equipment 05.005 District heating, ventilating and cooling systems
3.2 Floor finishes Air terminals 05.010 Mechanical systems
3.2.1 Finishes to floors Ductwork & ancilleries 05.020 Lighting systems
3.2.1 Wet Area Floors Control dampers, attenuation and fIre safety related to ventilation equipment 05.040 Low-voltage power supply
3.2.2 Raised access floors 5.3 Electrical installations 05.050 Cables/cable trays
3.3 Ceiling finishes 5.3.1 Lighting 05.060 Other electrical services
3.3.1 Finishes to ceilings Internal lighting 05.070
Control systems and instrumentation (signalling systems, telecommunications systems)
3.3.2 False ceilings External lighting (building mounted) 05.080 Pipe racks / supports (localised)
3.3.3 Demountable suspended ceilings Emergency lighting 05.090 Water supply
4 Fittings, furnishings and equipment Other lighting 05.100 Refuse and waste disposal systems
4.1 Fittings, furnishings and equipment 5.3.2 Electrical services for power, communications, security, IT and fire detection 05.110 Fire services
4.1.1 General fittings, furnishings and equipment Electrical power 05.115 Gas services
4.1.2 Domestic kitchen fittings and equipment ELV/ Communications/Security 05.120 Movement systems: lifts/elevators/conveyors
4.1.3 Special purpose fittings, furnishings and equipment IT & Data 05.600 Boat lifts
4.1.4 Signs/notices BMS 05.610 Cranes/rigs/rails
4.1.5 Works of art Electricity back up generation 05.620 Under water/sea service pipe installation
4.1.6 Non-mechanical and non-electrical equipment Fire detection & alarm 05.630 Under water/sea electrical/data cabling
4.1.7 Internal planting 5.4 On site renewable energy generation 06 Surface and underground drainage
4.1.8 Bird and vermin control 5.4.1 On site renewable energy generation 06.010 Surface water drainage
5 Services equipment Renewable energy – electrical generation onsite and building mounted 06.020 Storm water drainage
5.1 Sanitary installations Renewable energy – storage onsite 06.030 Foul and waste water drainage
5.1.1 Sanitary appliances 5.5 Systems including Life safety; Fuel installations; Lift and conveyor installations; Services equipment; Disposal installations; Specialist installations; Builders work in connection with services 06.040 Pumping systems
5.1.2 Sanitary ancillaries 5.5.1 Life safety 07 External and ancillary works
5.2 Services equipment Sprinkler system 07.010 Site enclosures and divisions
5.2.1 Services equipment Fire fighting systems 07.020 Ancillary structures
5.3 Disposal installations Lightning protection/earth bonding 07.030 Roads and paving (not amounting to a separate project)
5.3.1 Foul drainage above ground 5.5.2 Fuel installations 07.040 Landscaping (hard and soft)
5.3.2 Chemical, toxic and industrial liquid waste disposal 5.5.3 Lift and conveyor installations 08 Preliminaries | Constructors’ site overheads (temporary works)
5.3.3 Refuse disposal Lift, stair lift, lifting platform 08.020
Temporary access roads and storage areas, traffic management and diversion
5.4 Water installations Escalators and moving walkways 08.025 Temporary concrete batching yard, precast concrete casting yard
5.4.1 Mains water supply 5.5.4 Specialised and communal waste disposal 08.030 Temporary site fencing and securities
5.4.2 Cold water distribution 5.5.5 Specialist installations & maintenance 08.045
Bespoke plant and equipment – specifically fabricated for the project) e.g. Tunnel Boring Machines (TBMs), ships/barges/vessels, floating cranes, dredgers and drill rigs, cofferdams, caissons, etc.)
5.4.3 Hot water distribution 5.5.6 Builders work in connection with services 08.055 Workpeople living accommodation
5.4.4 Local hot water distribution 6 Pre-fabricated buildings and units 08.060 Other temporary facilities and services
5.4.4 Steam and condensate distribution 7 Works to existing buildings 12 Production and loose furniture, fittings and equipment
5.5 Heat source 7.1 Alterations 12.020
Fixed production, process and operating furniture, fittings and equipment installed before completion
5.5.1 Heat source 7.2 Repairs to existing; Cleaning existing surfaces; General Renovation works    
5.6 Space heating and air conditioning 7.3 Damp-proof courses/fungus and beetle eradication    
5.6.1 Central heating 8.1 Roads, paths, pavings, surfaces; Fencing, railings, walls; External fixtures    
5.6.2 Local heating 8.1.1 Roads, paths, pavings, surfaces    
5.6.3 Central cooling 8.1.2 Fencing, railings, walls    
5.6.4 Local cooling 8.1.3 External fixtures    
5.6.5 Central heating and cooling 8.2 Soft landscape, planting, irrigation    
5.6.6 Local heating and cooling 8.3 External drainage; External services; Minor building works    
5.6.7 Central air conditioning 8.3.1 External drainage    
5.6.8 Local air conditioning 8.3.2 External services    
5.7 Ventilation systems 8.3.3 Minor building works, ancillary    
5.7.1 Central ventilation 99 Undefined    
5.7.2 Local and special ventilation        
5.7.3 Smoke extract/control        
5.8 Electrical installations        
5.8.1 Electric mains and sub-mains distribution        
5.8.2 Power installations        
5.8.3 Lighting installations        
5.8.4 Specialist lighting installations        
5.8.5 Local electricity generation systems        
5.8.6 Earthing and bonding systems        
5.9 Fuel installations        
5.9.1 Fuel storage        
5.9.1 Fuel distribution systems        
5.1 Lift and conveyor installations        
5.10.1 Lifts and enclosed hoists        
5.10.2 Escalators        
5.10.3 Moving pavements        
5.10.4 Powered stairlifts        
5.10.5 Conveyors        
5.10.6 Dock levellers and scissor lifts        
5.10.7 Cranes and unenclosed hoists        
5.10.8 Car lifts, car stacking systems, turntables and the like        
5.10.9 Document handling systems        
5.10.10 Other lift and conveyor installations        
5.11 Fire and lightning protection        
5.11.1 Fire-fighting systems        
5.11.2 Fire suppression systems        
5.11.3 Lightning protection        
5.12 Communication, security and control systems        
5.12.1 Communication systems        
5.12.2 Security systems        
5.12.3 Central control/building management systems        
5.13 Specialist installations        
5.13.1 Specialist piped supply installations        
5.13.2 Specialist refrigeration systems        
5.13.3 Specialist mechanical installations        
5.13.4 Specialist electrical/electronic installations        
5.13.5 Water features        
5.14 Builder’s Work in Connection (BWIC) with Services        
5.14.1 BWIC with services        
6 Prefabricated buildings and building units        
6.1 Prefabricated buildings and building units        
6.1.1 Complete buildings        
6.1.2 Building units        
6.1.3 Pods        
7 Work to existing building        
7.1 Minor demolitions and alterations        
7.1.1 Minor Demolitions and Alterations        
7.2 Repairs to existing services        
7.2.1 Repairs to existing services        
7.3 Damp proof course/fungus and beetle eradication        
7.3.1 Damp Proof Course/Fungus and Beetle Eradication        
7.4 Façade Retention        
7.4.1 Façade Retention        
7.5 Cleaning Existing Surfaces        
7.5.1 Cleaning Existing Surfaces        
7.6 Renovation work        
7.6.1 Renovation Work        
8 External works        
8.1 Site preparation works        
8.1.1 Site clearance        
8.1.2 Preparatory groundworks        
8.2 Roads, paths and pavings        
8.2.1 Roads, paths and pavings        
8.2.2 Special surfacings and pavings        
8.3 Soft landscaping, planting and irrigation systems        
8.3.1 Seeding and turfing        
8.3.2 External planting        
8.3.3 Irrigation systems        
8.4 Fencing, railings and walls        
8.4.1 Fencing and railings        
8.4.2 Walls and screens        
8.4.3 Retaining walls        
8.4.4 Barriers and guardrails        
8.5 External fixtures        
8.5.1 Site/street furniture and equipment        
8.5.2 Ornamental features        
8.6 External drainage        
8.6.1 Surface water and foul water drainage        
8.6.2 Ancillary drainage systems        
8.6.3 External chemical, toxic and industrial liquid waste drainage        
8.6.4 Land drainage        
8.7 External services        
8.7.1 Water mains supply        
8.7.10 Local/district heating installations        
8.7.11 BWIC with external services        
8.7.2 Electricity mains supply        
8.7.3 External transformation devices        
8.7.4 Electricity distribution to external plant and equipment        
8.7.5 Gas mains supply        
8.7.6 Telecommunications and other communication system connections        
8.7.7 External fuel storage and piped distribution systems        
8.7.8 External security systems        
8.7.9 External/street lighting systems        
8.8 Minor building works and ancillary buildings        
8.8.1 Minor building works        
8.8.2 Ancillary buildings and structures        
8.8.3 Underpinning to external site boundary walls        
11 Project/design team        
11.6 Sales and Marketing        
11.1 Consultants        
11.4 Planning & Approvals        
11.2 Main contractor’s pre-construction design        
11.5 Project Management        
11.3 Main contractor’s design        
99 Undefined        

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