Hackitt urges materials producers to digitise faster

23 February 2020

Dame Judith Hackitt (pictured above), chair of the Transition Board to establish the new Building Safety Regulator, has told construction materials manufacturers they must make greater efforts to digitise their standards and processes.

Speaking at the NBS Construction Product Leaders’ Summit in Birmingham, Hackitt said: “Product testing, marketing, labelling and approval processes are flawed, unreliable and behind the times.”

She made it clear that forthcoming regulation will directly impact the construction product materials supply chain. Manufacturers will have to provide data and performance accreditation, use standardised systems and take a more collaborative approach, including adopting a transparent attitude to data sharing.

She added that digital will be the norm, so the sector can expect to see less substitution, and “value engineering” will move from being about cost reduction to focus on quality. Product stewardship will lie at the heart of this new approach. “This is a once-in-a-generation opportunity to leave the race to the bottom behind and change industry practice for good.”

This is a once-in-a-generation opportunity to leave the race to the bottom behind and change industry practice for good.– Dame Judith Hackitt

Richard Waterhouse, CEO of NBS, commented: “It is clear manufacturers, specifiers and construction firms must act now and get their houses in order, otherwise they will not be able to do business. Very soon, digital will be as essential to a build as bricks and mortar are today.”

He added: “Digital drives up standards, reduces mistakes and saves costs. Information is key at every step of the way and this starts with the materials manufacturers and their product information. There’s a move to consistency and a more structured approach, and manufacturers must seize this opportunity. That way, specifiers can make better decisions based on up-to-date, verifiable product information.”

Also at the event, NBS previewed NBS Source, a digital platform embedding standardised construction product information, using data from thousands of manufacturers, in the places specifiers need, across the project timeline. It aims to help manufacturers meet the drive for high-quality digital product data, and support specifiers in making the right choices for their projects.