Hackitt urges materials producers to digitise faster

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.

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  1. Whilst it is good that the manufacturers are digitising the content is often unusable. They tend to be over modelled and bloated with a lot of unwanted information. They do not seem to have a grasp of the Level of Detail. With this it kills the models with large file sizes. More needs to be done to address this.

  2. Agreeing with what Andrew is saying. The situation is the same in certain parts of Asia which is where I am based. Manufacturers here intentionally go for the flash rather than the leanest level of details because 1. They want to beat the competition by adding the extra layer of glaze to their products 2. The culture here expects things to look nice, and people will dismiss something if it is ugly no matter how useful it is.
    That said, I think the UK is more sensible in this sense with regards to point 2, maybe a note out of the minimalistic design sense of the Scandinavian countries will be useful?

  3. Digitizing doesn’t need to mean models, what happened to good old fashioned Product Data Templates

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