New methodology paves the way for standardised construction product information sharing

Image: 125333972 © Philip Openshaw |
A methodology for standardised construction product information sharing has been launched by the Construction Innovation Hub (CIH) and Construction Products Association (CPA).

The methodology, part of the LEXiCON project, covers the creation and ongoing management of human-readable and machine-interpretable product data templates (PDTs).

By creating a consistent approach across the building industry, LEXiCON will make it easier for people to upload, categorise and compare data between products, according to the CIH and CPA.

The methodology publication follows consultation with the industry last year.

LEXiCON’s next phase is to showcase a proof-of-concept demonstration of how software can support industry development and distribution of PDTs.

Other next steps for LEXiCON are:

  • the development and maintenance of industry engagement to ensure a consensus approach;
  • to review the complex standards and ontologies landscape to determine a best fit approach to support the digital creation and management of product data;
  • to define the required processes for creation and management of relevant authorities (RAs); and
  • to develop a supporting product templating application to facilitate RA processes.

Meeting Construction Playbook targets

CIH programme director Keith Waller said: “The government’s Construction Playbook has called for the sector to harmonise, rationalise and digitise to improve its safety, sustainability and productivity. Meanwhile, as the construction industry moves towards platform and digital design and planning solutions, there is a clear need for standardised approaches to ensure product information is accessible, auditable and traceable. LEXiCON can help achieve this.

“We need an industry founded upon clear, accurate data that is collected consistently by everyone. This will also make it easier for building owners and occupiers to trace back the products and materials used within the built environment.”

“As the construction industry moves towards platform and digital design and planning solutions, there is a clear need for standardised approaches.”

Keith Waller, Construction Innovation Hub

The long-term ambition is to use machine learning and AI to help specifiers and designers select products that meet their requirements quickly and accurately. As well as reducing errors, software could highlight any potential cost and carbon savings that might otherwise have been missed.

“LEXiCON will support environmental and cost-saving innovation at the design stage, improve traditional processes of product selection to reduce defects down the line and help to improve building safety and accountability throughout a building’s life cycle,” Waller added. “We look forward to engaging with industry as we begin phase two to ensure the outputs of the project maximise benefits for the wider construction sector.”

Responding to the Building Safety Act

In the report’s foreword, Dame Judith Hackitt urges the entire construction products industry and those others working in the built environment to “embrace and contribute to the consensus processes necessary to create trustworthy and reliable digital structured product information”.

CPA CEO Peter Caplehorn added: “With the Building Safety Act having recently achieved Royal Assent, we are ever more conscious of the necessity for consensus-driven, informed, structured product information being made available and accessible in digital form. Whether that be for buildings or the many other assets that make up the built environment, LEXiCON represents the vehicle that can link up construction products to the supply chain to achieve a more productive, effective and safer industry.”

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