NBS on the future of construction product information

NBS on the future of construction product information

NBS has launched NBS Source, a cloud-based platform for construction product information that helps specifiers make more informed product decisions for their projects. For manufacturers, it is said to be a powerful tool to present accurate product information to customers.

With new building safety regulation expected later this year, NBS Source is launching at the ideal time for the industry. Soon, new regulation will have a direct impact on construction product manufacturers, and how legally they will be required to present product information. They will be expected to provide more detailed data, use standardised systems and adopt a transparent attitude to data sharing.

Beyond this, specifiers, contractors and clients will be required to keep detailed, robust records throughout a project’s entire duration. As a result, the industry’s attitude to the culture of ‘spec breaking’ is likely to dramatically change.

This new direction was highlighted at the NBS Construction Product Leaders’ Summit in February, where Dame Judith Hackitt, Chair of the Transition Board to establish the new Building Safety Regulator, called on construction product manufacturers to refresh their standards and processes, moving towards digital solutions. She said, “Product testing, marketing, labelling and approval processes are flawed, unreliable and behind the times.”

NBS Source will accelerate decision making for specifiers and provide manufacturers with peace-of-mind their product data is being presented correctly. Manufacturers will have to provide consistent properties and values, as well as performance criteria and show third-party certification for their products.

The platform is underpinned by a powerful product search engine that uses ‘natural language processing’ to comb through thousands of product lines from building product and materials manufacturers, allowing specifiers to make highly targeted searches to find exactly the right options for their project needs.

At launch, Source includes all the information previously available in RIBA Product Selector, the NBS BIM library and NBS plus – over 22,000 products in total. NBS will be working with thousands of manufacturers to populate the library with new structured product data which will be compiled in a standardised format, making it easy for specifiers to compare products and make accurate, informed choices at any stage of a project.

If specifiers have queries, they can invite the manufacturer to collaborate on the specification, thus speeding up the process and improving accuracy.

Richard Waterhouse, NBS says: “The industry knows regulation is coming and we’ve been given a clear direction on what needs doing. Digital lies at the heart of this new approach, especially around information management and record keeping.

“This starts with construction product manufacturers providing up-to-date, verifiable product information. That way, specifiers will be able to make better, more informed choices. Source will take the hassle out of doing this and it’s what the industry has been crying out for.”

He adds, “The ability for specifiers and manufacturers to collaborate directly is a seismic shift and this is a wonderful illustration of collaboration in action.”

Robin Cordy, Marketing Director, NBS, says, “Construction is undergoing a seismic shift based upon two key things: increased connectivity and better quality data. The industry is utterly fragmented and it is too hard to reach many of the different constituencies. Source will offer specifiers better quality information, so they can quickly find, compare and choose products. Manufacturers will benefit as their products will be correctly chosen.”

Commenting on NBS Source, Colin Sinclair at Aqualisa says, “The idea of bringing it all together under one platform, actually making it easier for our products to be searched, seen and understood, is a gamechanger.”

He adds, “We’re pleased to be on board with NBS already”.

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