Norwegian Home Builders’ Association is asking all members to request machine-readable product data from their suppliers

In a letter sent out on November 4, the Norwegian Home Builders’ Association asks all their member companies to request machine-readable product information in the form of Product Data Sheets (PDS). This is a huge leap forward towards the establishment of digital supply chains. We want to thank Per Jæger, CEO of the Norwegian Home Builders’ Association, for allowing us to publish his insightful letter in English.

digital twin

Per Jæger, CEO of Norwegian Home Builder’s Association

Construction product suppliers must provide machine-readable product data by 2022

The Norwegian Home Builders’ Association requests its members to require all construction products suppliers to start providing machine-readable product data by the end of 2022. The request covers all construction products, including piping, electric and ventilation products, paints etc.

Digitisation requires machine-readable product information
To digitise the construction sector, we must start using machine-readable product information. Today, construction product information is largely contained in paper documents or PDF files. There are some databases, but the information stored in them is generally entered manually and is based on hard copy data on paper or in PDF format. Information becomes therefore difficult to update and manage. In many cases, complete data on how properties are measured or calculated is not available. As a result, we are often faced with the risk of comparing apples and pears, especially when a property, which is seemingly the same, is measured or calculated in different ways.

Machine-readable Product Data Templates (PDTs) and Product Data Sheets (PDSs) in brief
Standards Norway has initiated the process of developing standardised data templates for machine-readable product information – Product Data Templates (PDTs). After entering property values or data about a product into the PDT, we get a Product Data Sheet (PDS) that is machine-readable.

Data Templates are developed for the Norwegian market. This work is led by the SN/K 374 “Data Templates for products and systems in building and construction” committee. Data Templates ensure an understanding between all actors in the supply chain on what information shall be provided and what the basis for property values shall be. All information is machine-readable and can be utilised in the digital construction process by feeding it into building information models (BIM).

All product properties are clearly defined, with reference to a method of measurement or calculation. All properties are also labelled with a unique machine-readable identifier GUID (Globally Unique Identifier). GUIDs are retrieved from the buildingSMART Data Dictionary (bSDD).

Each group of products gets its own Data Template. The template contains all properties relevant for this group of products. Whenever construction products manufacturers specify the product’s properties, they shall use the Data Template for the respective group of products and enter all requisite information about the product.

Data Templates, which are being developed, shall in the first place, provide information about the properties required under the harmonised EU standards. Those properties must be declared in order to be able to CE-mark the products and distribute them legally. In addition, the Data Templates shall provide information about the products’ environmental impact in accordance with the EPD standard NS-EN 15804. This information is of utmost importance for calculating the amount of greenhouse gases emitted by construction products and buildings. At a later stage, the Data Templates will be enriched with additional information, among others with market requirements (ETIM data).

PDTs and PDSs are the digital building blocks we need to digitise the construction industry. It is crucial that construction products manufacturers provide machine-readable product information. Per today, more than 300 draft data templates are available. These Data Templates shall undergo quality assessment by the SN/K 374 committee and shall be published as Norwegian PDTs. As a whole, those PDTs will cover all major groups of construction products on the Norwegian market.

Now it is up to the construction industry to start utilising Data Templates. The Norwegian Home Builders’ Association asks its members to request that all construction products suppliers start providing machine-readable product data (PDSs) by the end of 2022.  

It is important to underline that construction products manufacturers are the ones who own and are responsible for the information provided in product data sheets (PDSs).

Best regards,

on behalf of Norwegian Home Builder’s Association
Per Jæger

‘Data Templates are not the next ‘big thing’ pushed by a software provider. They are simply the best-known means to transform data management within the construction industry. It has always been our mission to help construction industry actors help each other and the fact that the Norwegian Home Builders’ Association is taking the standardization road is a big win for the whole industry’ – comments Lars Fredenlund, CEO of Cobuilder.

We will continue the follow up on the uptake of Data Templates in Norway. Stay tuned.