NCC introduces a new
data management process

to enable paperless, efficient flow of data in internal systems and streamline exchange of information with suppliers

NCC is one of the leading constructions and property development companies in the Nordic region,
with sales of nearly SEK 57 billion and 17,000 employees.

‘Together with Cobuilder we share a belief that employing openBIM standards in all processes is the right way forward towards working with Integrated Virtual Design and Construction (VDC) or Building Information Modeling (BIM).

By introducing this new data management process, we are able to meet the requirements of the building developers and can already report improvements in forecasting and cost estimation. ’

Egil Berg, Digital Business Development Manager
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Business Need

To meet an increasing demand from building developers, NCC wished to implement a paperless workflow related to the specification and selection of building elements to be used in internal processes and in the procurement process.


The use of different words and definitions within the industry, different data structure and language in systems makes it time-consuming to secure that data are correct and difficult to get computers to talk to each other in an efficient way.


NCC teamed up with Cobuilder to create standardized data for several Construction Element with the use of Data Templates (DTs). It gave an opportunity to implement a common data structure and technical language that allow seamless exchange of information used for different purposes, at the correct time by different actors.

The procurement workflow was established and tested with suppliers using Data Templates.

Cobuilder helped NCC use IFC as a neutral, non-proprietary data format to exchange and share information. The next step is to establish the link between NCC’s and the manufacturers’ databases by developing a methodology where IFC transports data defined and maintained within a data dictionary based on ISO 12006-3 (IFD) together with properties and Data Templates according to the newly published standards EN ISO 23386 and EN ISO 23387.

The pilot project

For this project, Cobuilder develops a brand new software prototype for NCC to trial.

The prototype named ‘Specify’ incorporates all existing and coming standards relevant for the management of data semantic concepts within the construction sector. It allows clients and contractors to use Data Template structures to create data requirements and manage them across roles, stages and levels of information.

The following paperless workflow was executed through the Specify prototype:

  • NCC could set rules for what data is needed for a building element, so that the architects could be precise when adding the particular building element to a project.
  • The architect could enter some specification values and then assign the need for more accurate specification to the manufacturer.
  • The window manufacturer could suggest options, also based on their expertise about the product, again within the same data structure.
  • Finally, the architect was able to take an informed decision and specify a construction product or material and return that to the contractor to keep in their database.


By introducing this new data management process, NCC has come a long way in achieving the goal of a paperless and more efficient procurement workflow.

Through using Data Templates to provide the structure and language for digital data exchanges between the different actors, NCC was able to maintain the ‘golden thread’ of information and draw benefits from the way data was handled digitally and in a standardised manner throughout the internal process.

Due to the common structure for information exchange, NCC was able to enrich their Construction Elements Database (CEDB) and store all data for the purposes of historical analysis.

The approach allowed for potential database integrations with strategic partners to achieve further automation.


Cobuilder would like to express our gratitude to our forward-thinking partners NCC who have continuously provided their feedback and ‘know-how’ to help us develop solutions that are fit for the needs of the industry.