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Plan for plain language guide to product data

7 September 2020

Construction product manufacturers’ feedback is being sought on plans to publish a 'Plain Language Guide to Product Data for Manufacturers' in the UK and Europe later this year.

The Institution of Engineering and Technology, UK BIM Alliance and Construction Products Europe are partners in the guide, which sets out why digital data is important and how manufacturers can benefit by taking simple low-cost steps.

With construction product data under the microscope following the Hackitt Review, "structured product data has many benefits," said Paul Surin, associate partner at IBM and a member of the project's editorial team. "By structuring data and taking advantage of the new standards, manufacturers can start treating their information as an asset, monetise their data, save considerably on marketing costs and reduce risk."

Patricia Massey, standards and regulations manager of electrical equipment supplier Electrium, explained: "The Grenfell tragedy has showed our industry that knowing where your products are is essential to public safety, but it also protects manufacturers.

"The new Building Safety Bill requires building owners to certify their buildings are safe, and that requires knowing what is in them. Manufacturers will need to conform to the market need for standardised, traceable product information soon, if only to protect their business interests."

Blane Judd, chair of IET's Built Environment Panel, said: "One of our goals is to support the digitalisation of the built environment sector. This still has a long way to go, and a better understanding and management of product data will make a significant contribution to this journey. Delivering built as designed buildings that will perform better and are safer can be a reality. I am pleased to see the culmination of a lot of effort in the launch of the plain language guide. We are excited at the prospect of new, fresh, open conversations on the topic of product data."

Su Butcher, director of communications consultancy Just Practising, is the fourth member of the editorial team.

To provide feedback, construction product manufacturers should go to: https://communities.theiet.org/blogs/948/6981

The IET is hosting a Zoom call at 11am on Friday 11 September to discuss the importance of suppliers digitising their data: https://zoom.us/meeting/register/tJMqdO2pqjovGNPaZe0-PVQjTebrULq3eVTk

The plain language guide is not connected to the LEXiCON project, the initiative to harmonise data across product types, which is currently being led by the Construction Products Association and the Construction Innovation Hub.

Image: Getty Images

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