After six months of consultation and discussion the UK BIM Alliance has published a report on the current situation with regard to digitising product information – a key step to enabling the construction and infrastructure industries adopt digital ways of working. The report is entitled “A Fresh Way Forward for Product Data: State of the Nation”.
Product information – the information about products, assemblies and systems within our buildings and assets – is a key component of the information we need to digitise in order to gain the benefits of truly collaborative and efficient Building Information Modelling (BIM). Products make up a major part of the information we share, and to gain genuine efficiencies we need to ensure we share it in an effective way that reduces waste and risk.
As chair of the working group I can report that it has been a difficult but rewarding journey. Working with a dedicated team from across our industry and talking to so many people with different perspectives has been enlightening and inspiring, but it hasn’t been easy. Some people weren’t willing to talk to us, but most were keen to share what their experiences have been and how they feel constructive change might come.
The report doesn’t pull any punches – we were briefed to provide a frank description of the key challenges facing the industry and we have.
Key Findings include:
- There is no universally agreed definition of structured product data and a lack of understanding of the importance of consistently structured information about products;
- There is no commonly agreed standard for digital product data in the UK or in Europe, and there won’t be before the end of 2020 at the earliest;
- The way in which product information moves through the construction supply chain creates complexity, waste and risk;
- The LEXiCON initiative to implement a unified methodology for Product Data Templates appears to have stalled, whilst Europe has moved on apace;
- Current hosting arrangements for product data are significantly flawed and do not produce a ‘single source of truth’. They also pose considerable waste, cost and risk problems for manufacturers; and
- The current approach to asset information security is in its infancy and more work needs to be done to ensure it is fit for purpose.
The report includes recommendations in each of these areas, together with the recommendation for an independent Product Data Steering Committee to provide leadership, guidance and improved communications as the situation changes in the coming years.
Image: Slide by the BRE presented at LondonBuild Conference 2018 showing how different hosting libraries represent the acoustic ratings of windows. Photograph: John Adam on Twitter
Download the Report
What happens Next?
The Alliance is keen for as many members of the industry who deal with product information to read the report and provide their feedback as both individuals and organisations.
You can provide your feedback an email address firstname.lastname@example.org. The Alliance also have a dedicated channel in their Slack workspace to which anyone in industry is welcome to join the conversation. Join the workspace here: bit.ly/joinUKBIMAslack and look for the #proj-productdata channel to join in. The Alliance are collecting feedback up until 21st December 2018.
We hope you’ll share this document with as many people as possible; please think about who you know should read it. We’re also keen for people to review the document and share your thoughts with others. Do let me know if you have any questions.
This article was originally published on Linkedin