For its user, a data template (DT) is a common data structure describing the characteristics (called ‘properties’) of a construction object, and its physical qualities, according to a credible source of information – be it a standard or regulation.
On the other hand, for any software, the data template structure is a set of concepts that are connected to each other with different relationships. By establishing the connectedness between concepts through unique pieces of code, a specific logic for machines is set. This allows us to create a common technological language, which helps any software convey meaning consistently regardless of the language used in a particular country.
There are several technical terms that we need to explain further when we talk about the methodology behind data templates. Those are construction objects, properties, attributes and groups of properties.
What is a construction object?
One of the major, and mandatory, prerequisites to define and create a data template is to have a construction object which to associate the data template with.
The construction object identifies the object-of-interest in a construction process which the data template describes further. This could be a window, exterior door, expanded polystyrene (EPS) insulation, masonry wall and many more.
What is a property, attribute and groups of properties?
One can think of a product property as the smallest building block defining a product for digital use.
Properties are characteristics that describe a construction object. In order to create a property, it is a must to define its attributes. Attributes can be the property’s ‘measure’, ‘value’, ‘unit’, i.e. they are the property’s “metadata” that define what physical quantity the property measures and the unit it is expressed in.
Defining unique properties with different attributes is a very important step that enables software to compare values. For instance, to compare the percentage of water absorption of two products.
Last but not least, groups of properties are simply collections that allow users to group properties based on a certain criterion and then easily re-use and re-distribute them.
You can read more about properties, attributes and the principles of connecting them that are established by the standard EN ISO 23386, in our summary article.