Describe a building using GEM Building Taxonomy Tester (TaxT)

GEM Taxonomy Tester (TaxT) is a computer application developed by GEM researcher Vitor Silva (Portugal). TaxT enables a user to record information about a building or a building typology. TaxT generates a taxonomy string (shorthand description) corresponding to the information entered by the user. In addition, TaxT enables the user to generate a report in PDF format which summarizes attribute values (s)he has chosen as representative of the building typology.  The report may also include a photo of the building typology, and a text box where comments can be entered.  The short building typology reports that are generated as part of the testing process will be reviewed and, if appropriate, posted up on the WHE website, expanding the database of world housing construction types.
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What attributes are used in TaxT?

TaxT enables a user to record information about a building or a building typology using 13 attributes of the GEM Building Taxonomy V2.0. The attributes have been divided into the following four groups, which are shown as separate tabs on the TaxT screen:

  1. Structural system (attributes: Direction; Material of the Lateral Load-Resisting System; and Lateral Load-Resisting System);
  2. Building information (attributes: Height; Date of Construction or Retrofit; and Occupancy);
  3. Exterior attributes (attributes: Building Position within a Block; Shape of the Building Plan; Structural Irregularity; and Exterior Walls),
  4. Roof/floor/foundation (attributes: Roof; Floor; and Foundation).

Watch the GEM Building Taxonomy Attribute Walkthrough video to  become familiar with the attributes used in the Building Taxonomy or explore the online glossary. This video will also assist you in using the TaxT tool to create a building typology report of your own.

Download: (Mac users click here).


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If you have any questions regarding the GEM Building Taxonomy please email (