What is a PDT?2018-07-25T11:07:20+00:00


Advancing the industry through standards.

The lack of an international standard applying to structuring manufacturers’ data and making it machine-readable has been a major issue, preventing organisations from bringing forward their digitisation initiatives. The Product Data Template methodology was created in order to address this problem and is now being further developed by standardisation bodies such as CEN as ISO.

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What is a PDT?
What is a Product Type?
Who develops the methodology for creating PDTs?
How is a PDT useful for manufacturers?
What is the added value of a goBIM Product Data Template?


A Product Data Template is a common data structure defining the ‘properties’ (essential and non-essential product characteristics e.g. fire rating and colour) that describe any type of product in a way that can be traced to a credible source. Such credible sources are product standards declaring the performance characteristics of products and the methods they should be tested against. There is a specific hierarchy of credible data sources taken into account in the PDT structure. Legal data sources such as European Harmonised standards are with greater priority than national standards which have greater priority than industry and user recognized requirements (like BREEAM, COBie). This is how Product Data Templates are created to serve as a common framework for anyone to use in order to manage construction product related data. Product Data Templates are especially useful for manufacturers who can populate them with the most up-to-date and accurate information about their products. Once complete, this populated template is called a Product Data Sheet (PDS).

PDT Product DataTemplate


A specific Product Data Template can only be a common data structure for a specific set of similar products. This set of similar products is what we call a ‘Product Type’.

When a manufacturer digitises their data through Cobuilder’s PDT-based tool goBIM, they can use the Product Type defined by our R&D experts to load the relevant properties for their product. This template carries all standard-based, national and legislative requirements in its structure so that the system will notify the manufacturer if there are missing documents such as the Declaration of Performance in case the PT is covered by the CPR (Construction Product Regulation).


International standardisation bodies CEN and ISO are developing a series of standards to cover the methodology for creating Product Data Templates. As these standards are planned to be officially published by the beginning of 2019, Cobuilder currently develops Product Data Templates based on a general European construction industry consensus and the draft standards currently in development by the CEN technical committee 442, Work group 4 looking at product dictionaries and templates:

  • Building information modelling and other digital processes used in construction – Methodology to describe, author and maintain properties in interconnected dictionaries;
  • Product data templates based on CEN/CENELEC standards in an open European data dictionary – Part 1: General structure of a product data template and how to relate it to Industry Foundation Classes (IFC);
  • Product data templates based on CEN/CENELEC standards in an open European Data Dictionary – Part 2: Framework for product data templates based on harmonised technical specifications under the Construction Products Regulation (CPR), and how to relate the product data templates to Industry Foundation Classes (IFC).


The lack of an international standard applying to structuring manufacturers’ data and making it machine-readable has been a major issue, preventing organisations from bringing forward their digitisation initiatives. This is why this problem has been addressed by the leading European and international standardisation bodies such as CEN and ISO. Essentially, the purpose of Product Data Templates is to make sure that product data requesters (e.g. asset owners, architects, specifiers, contractors, facility managers) and product data providers (manufacturers, distributors) exchange product information based on the same structures and using the same digital language. Standardisation of the terms and definitions used throughout projects ensures seamless communication between different software systems and solutions, the participation in a BIM-supported design, construction, and operation process. It also enables all project stakeholders to define their information needs and check for the accuracy of the information and against their predefined requirements at any stage of the asset’s life cycle. Therfore, some of the most important benefits of PDTs for manufacturers are:

  • Better data management within the manufacturer’s organisation;
  • Better quality of the data, a single source of truth;
  • Added value to all tangible products by adding a standardised digital dimension to the augmented product;
  • Strong positioning as an industry digitisation leader;
  • Allowing previously siloed manufacturer’s data to enter different digital channels.
For further information we suggest that you read our previous article on that topic here.


  • All Product Data Templates Cobuilder develops are in conjunction with CEN 442 WG4 – The EU BIM standards group for product dictionaries and templates;
  • All Product Data Templates developed by cobuilder are used as the basis for different BIM collaboration services. They are implemented in software and bring tangible benefits to the user;
  • Product Data Templates developed by cobuilder are in alignment with the evolution of the Smart CE marking initiative;
  • All Cobuilder PDTs are based on a Common European technical language in a Data Dictionary based on EN ISO 12006-3;
  • Through intricate mapping to the common sharing format IFC, all data digitised through Cobuilder PDTs can be attributed directly to COBie and hence to different BIM ‘Models’