The initiative by CPA, BIM4M2, CIBSE and NBS to align their work on product data templates is a welcome move. Manufacturers already have lots of product information and want to be able to organise it in a form that will satisfy the needs of Level 2 BIM. In this article Ian Chapman explains how easy it is for manufacturers to prepare the data they need, safe in the knowledge that this data is at the heart of the Government’s Level 2 BIM requirements.
What are product data templates?
A product data template is simply a form that contains standardised headings against which manufacturers’ product information is placed. There is a different template for each type of product.
Why are product data templates so important?
Product data templates are important as they provide a framework for manufacturers to supply product information for use with Level 2 BIM projects. Presenting product information in a standardised way offers many benefits to the supply chain. Imagine how difficult it would be to search online for a car without being able to compare its fuel efficiency and other characteristics. For construction products this is what we currently expect designers and specifiers to do. With standardised product data templates designers will be able to select, compare and analyse product data in a more accurate and efficient way than ever before. Contractors can use this information to aid procurement and creation of the as-built model, and clients and building owners can use this information to operate and maintain their buildings more effectively. The availability of product data in a structured form means that it can be checked and validated by clients, designers and contractors. With everyone more informed by this process better decisions will be made.
Where to find product data templates?
Product data template development work has been ongoing for a number of years. The NBS BIM Toolkit has a broad range of templates covering buildings and infrastructure that define the minimum product data requirements for Level 2 BIM. In addition the work led by CIBSE and BIM4M2 created extended templates that include greater depth covering aspects of a product’s lifecycle and operational performance. As part of the joint initiative between CPA, BIM4M2, CIBSE and NBS these organisations have agreed to align their processes, approach and terminology, which will enable consistent and transparent development of full peer reviewed product data templates.
The current CIBSE extended templates may be found at http://www.cibse.org/knowledge/bim-building-information-modelling/product-data-templates
There are currently over 5000 product data templates freely available on the NBS BIM Toolkit website covering the minimum level 2 BIM requirements and finding them is easy at https://toolkit.thenbs.com
- Step 1 List the product types that you sell.
- Step 2 Register with the NBS BIM Toolkit.
This is free and takes just a few seconds.
- Step 3 Search for your product and select it.
- Step 4 Click on the Level of Information tab and download the Manufacturer Product Data Template.
How to use a product data template?
Once you’ve downloaded your product data template it should be completed with your product information to create a product data sheet. A product data sheet is simply the name given to the template once it has been completed with your specific product information. To complete the template, list your products one by one and add your product information to the spreadsheet. If you get stuck, just get in touch via firstname.lastname@example.org, we’re here to help.
What’s the future for product data templates?
The product data templates available on the NBS BIM Toolkit represent the minimum product information that is needed for Level 2 BIM projects. These templates will be maintained and developed to include feedback from the industry and align with the work of BIM4M2 and CIBSE. The templates will evolve to support the needs of our digital construction industry and to ensure they continue to align with the requirements of relevant European and international standards as well as mapping to open data exchange standards, such as COBie and IFC.
Beyond product data templates
Product data templates enable the preparation of data that represents the minimum information required for level 2 BIM projects, but information in this form is not as useful to designers and specifiers as BIM objects, or structured product specifications such as NBS Plus. For more information on how we can help manufacturers get the most out of BIM view www.riba-insight.com or contact us at email@example.com
Director of the NBS
National BIM Library
Tel: 0345 456 9594