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Industry to lead new BIM Product Data Template (PDT) initiative

A joint initiative between the Construction Products Association (CPA), BIM4M2, the Chartered Institution of Building Services Engineers (CIBSE) and NBS has been formed to provide consistent product data parameters and templates to enable manufacturers to prepare their product information in readiness for the Government’s April 2016 BIM mandate.

With April 2016 and the Government’s Level 2 BIM requirement looming large on the horizon, there is a real and urgent need for accurate, accessible and consistent digital product information. The manufacturer community needs a single and unified approach to product data, using a common language. Manufacturers already have the required information, but a simple and industry-wide approach to product data parameters and templates has until now been a challenge.

Through this initiative, building and infrastructure manufacturers will have free and ready access to product data parameters and templates that are relevant to their products and have been developed through a defined consensus process. By using these templates manufacturers will be able to supply product information in a form that aligns with the UK’s Level 2 BIM requirements. Each template defines the minimum information about a product that is required for UK Government BIM projects.

Mark Bew MBE, Chairman of the BIM Task Group, said: “When the BIM Task Group identified the client data requirements which are now provided in the BIM Toolkit we were looking for other communities to work together to provide their own common data requirements.  This initiative from the products and manufacturing sector signals an important collaboration from industry which will add significant value and clarity.” 

The benefit of this initiative to the supply chain is significant. The availability of product data in a structured form equips designers with the information they need to create project information models reliably and accurately. It will lead to the provision of higher quality project data that can be checked and validated by clients, designers and contractors. The successful electronic validation of BIM data relies upon this initiative considerably.

Product data template development work has been ongoing for a number of years and this initiative aligns the work of BIM4M2, NBS and CIBSE to create a unified basis for product data parameters and templates. 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 to expand on the breadth already freely available in the NBS BIM Toolkit, which currently stands at over 5,000.

These templates currently identify the minimum product data requirements for Level 2 BIM and will be extended to include the greater depth of all aspects of a product’s lifecycle and operational performance, building on the work already completed by CIBSE, BIM4M2 and others. Extended templates already developed by CIBSE may be found on the CIBSE Knowledge Portal. Common product data parameters will also enable easier development of further templates going forward.

Peter Caplehorn, Deputy Chief Executive & Policy Director of the Construction Products Association, said: “The CPA welcomes this move forward.  We are at a point where clarity and ease of use of product data is vital for everyone to make progress.  We are very pleased to be part of the initiative and will be encouraging all manufacturers to take part.” 

Through this joint initiative all templates will be maintained and developed to support the evolving needs of a digital construction industry and to ensure product parameters align with the requirements of relevant European and international standards as well as mapping to open data exchange standards, such as COBie and IFC.

The templates and common product data parameters will be made available on both the CPA and NBS BIM Toolkit websites as well as the existing CIBSE website. The current product data templates defining the minimum information for Level 2 BIM can be found at and further information can be obtained directly from NBS, CPA, CIBSE and BIM4M2.

The initiative will engage with other industry groups, including the wider BIM4 Communities and trade associations to ensure industry product data requirements continue to be supported.