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Safety and performance first

Lee Jones, Head of Manufacturer Solutions at NBS explores some of the findings from the Construction Products Association (CPA) report in this series of quick reads.

In Q3 2019, NBS, in conjunction with the CPA, conducted a survey of construction professionals to better understand the requirements for Construction Product Information in projects. Over 500 of those asked replied, including a mix of specifiers and manufacturers.

All specifiers noted that they require product data sheets (PDS) in order to correctly specify a product on a project. Similarly, almost all also noted that they also require spec clauses and graphical data or CAD. BIM content was also noted as being required by 63% of respondents (CPA report page 12), a figure which closely matches the NBS National BIM report findings of 2019, which found that 69% of specifiers require BIM content.

In a world where we are seeing ever more scrutiny over product performance and decision-making, particularly following high-profile tragedies in the built environment in recent years, these findings come as no surprise. 

One interesting result of the survey is that manufacturers generally ranked price higher than specifiers did as being an important decision factor to achieving specification. Similarly, sustainability criteria such as thermal performance were ranked higher by specifiers as a ‘make-or-break’ decision factor than by manufacturers (CPA report page 11). 

The government’s 2025 construction strategy set a sustainability target of a 50% reduction in emissions, which is a goal that the industry is clearly working towards through the use of sustainable design and correct specification of a building’s thermal performance by the majority of specifiers. Life-cycle analysis and performance simulations are much easier to conduct through the use of BIM, and structured product data is fundamental to the above functioning efficiently. Looking at these statistics from a manufacturer’s point of view, having clear, structured product data relating to performance and certification will no doubt help improve the potential for specification.
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