LEXiCON: Creating trustworthy and reliable digital construction product information

296
construction product information

The LEXiCON project, developed by the Construction Innovation Hub in partnership with the Construction Products Association, has taken a significant step towards a common approach to construction product information

The government’s Construction Playbook has called on the industry to harmonise, rationalise and digitise in order to improve safety, sustainability and productivity. Yet construction remains a network of sectors that all communicate in different ways across many subjects. The products sector is affected by this fragmentation and, despite several previous efforts at harmonisation, information is still displayed and consumed in diverse and unconnected ways. To realise the benefits of digitisation, product data needs to be integrated, coordinated and made machine-readable.

LEXiCON project – standardising construction product information

The LEXiCON project was conceived in 2016, with the current phase beginning in 2019 led by the Construction Innovation Hub in partnership with the Construction Products Association. It seeks to standardise construction product information and support manufacturers in sharing their product information freely across the industry.

A new report published in May detailed the first phase of the project, which sets out a methodology for the creation and ongoing management of Product Data Templates. By creating a consistent approach across the building industry, LEXiCON aims to make it easier for people to upload, categorise and compare data between products.

The project is funded by the UK Research & Innovation’s Industrial Strategy Challenge Fund and has support from across industry.

In the foreword to the report, Dame Judith Hackitt commended the LEXiCON project for its work, which aims to address two of the key points set out in her Independent Review of Building Regulations & Fire Safety: the need for improved information so that the right products are used in the right applications; and greater traceability, with records maintained for product tracing and system assurance.

“Everybody deserves to feel secure in the knowledge that the buildings in which they live, work and play have been built safely and to the appropriate standards. Provision of trusted digital information on the products and systems that have been used is an essential part of providing the Golden Thread, which is key to rebuilding confidence and trust in the sector,” Dame Judith said.

“Those who are ready and willing to collaborate and promote a joined-up approach to product information deserve to be recognised to differentiate them from competitors who are reluctant to change. The challenge now is for product trade associations and manufacturers to begin their journeys to be part of LEXiCON.”

Construction Innovation Hub programme director Keith Waller said: “The government’s Construction Playbook has called for the sector to harmonise, rationalise and digitise to improve its safety, sustainability and productivity. Meanwhile, as the construction industry moves towards platform and digital design and planning solutions, there is a clear need for standardised approaches to ensure product information is accessible, auditable and traceable. LEXiCON can help achieve this.

“We need an industry founded upon clear, accurate data that is collected consistently by everyone. This will also make it easier for building owners and occupiers to trace back the products and materials used within the built environment.”

How can software support development and distribution of construction product information?

LEXiCON’s next phase is to showcase a proof-of-concept demonstration of how software can support industry development and distribution of Product Data Templates.

The proposed Product Data Templates will be designed so that they are machine-readable. The long-term ambition is to utilise Machine Learning and AI to help specifiers and designers select products which meet their requirements quickly and accurately. As well as reducing errors, software could highlight any potential cost and carbon savings that might otherwise have been missed.

“The potential impact of LEXiCON cuts through a broad cross-section of the industry,” Waller said.

“It will support environmental and cost-saving innovation at the design stage, improve traditional processes of product selection to reduce defects down the line and help to improve building safety and accountability throughout a building’s lifecycle. We look forward to engaging with industry as we begin phase two to ensure the outputs of the project maximise benefits for the wider construction sector.”

Peter Caplehorn, chief executive of the CPA, added: “With the Building Safety Act having recently achieved royal assent, we are ever-more conscious of the necessity for consensus-driven, informed structured product information being made available and accessible in digital form. Whether that be for buildings or the many other assets that make up the built environment, LEXiCON represents the vehicle that can link up construction products to the supply chain to achieve a more productive, effective and safer industry.”

LEXiCON complements the Code for Construction Product Information and BSI Identify.

 

Keith Waller

Director

Construction Innovation Hub

Twitter

Linkedin

Youtube

 

Peter Caplehorn

Chief executive

Construction Products Association

Tel: +44 (0)20 7323 3770

Twitter

Linkedin

Youtube

LEAVE A REPLY

Please enter your comment!
Please enter your name here