BSI Identify means all round good business for manufacturers
Author: Ross Matthews, Head of Sales at BSI Identify
BSI Identify is the national standards body’s latest innovation to inspire excellence and improve building best practice. The ingenious service uses digital identifier technology to allow specifiers and installers universal access to proven, accurate, resilient product data. So, how does BSI Identify work, and why should manufacturers adopt this system which is destined to transform the construction industry?
Due to the tragic events of the past few years, change is fast accelerating in the construction industry. However, since BSI Identify went into development, there appears to be a growing disconnect throughout the specification chain. This is resulting in mistakes and a decrease in building delivery standards due to the huge amount of data that exists through the design, specification and installation project phases. BSI Identify is a solution to this issue by improving construction efficiencies and safety.
How BSI Identify works
BSI Identify provides unambiguous, persistent information for the entire supply chain. For manufacturers registered with our service, it means specifiers, contractors, consultants or architects having any-time access to their product’s current and most relevant data.
In development since 2015, BSI Identify provides manufacturers with a Universal Persistent Identification Number (UPIN). This is designed to contain a range of basic information which once allocated to a product, allows installers, specifiers and the like immediate access to details such as accreditations, data sheets or user guides via a mobile phone or laptop.
The UPIN can be associated with a product in a number of ways. A common practice when ‘tagging’ a product involves providing clients with a QR code embedded with a UPIN. Another option is via a digital link, which can be added to a library/BIM object at the specification stage. This also ensures it can be used within any digital handover documentation, thus conforming to the golden thread ethos, if the property owner or Facilities Manager has access to the appropriate UPINs. This being the case, it guarantees they can always obtain the most recent information during a building’s lifecycle. Furthermore, in situations where a product within the building’s envelope cannot be seen, BSI Identify’s digital element is capable of working alongside Radio Frequency Identification (RFI) and Near Field Communication (NFC) technology to enhance the recognition process. A UPIN also acts as a URL, which directs users to relevant information on BSI Identify’s product page.
A product’s ID can vary as it journeys through the supply chain and around the country, as merchants will sometimes provide a different marking depending on the region that is stocking it. Therefore, the creation of a UPIN can be likened to the minting process – it provides a product with what we refer to as an ‘umbrella ID’ that specifiers and on-site contractors can be assured provides the most up-to-date data on a particular product, regardless of its history.
Even if a product is no longer being manufactured, the Identify system’s Digital Object Identifier (DOI) capability ensures the product’s data will endure. This, of course, has huge implications in terms of improving building safety by ensuring products are suitably selected, utilised and traced.
Why BSI Identify adoption matters to manufacturers
With Identify, BSI provides and stores the technology, the manufacturer manages the product information. Therefore, via the UPIN, manufacturers can update their product’s data when necessary, ensuring supply chain users can make decisions based on the very latest information. This capability provides greater assurance for manufacturers that their products are being used and maintained correctly. Additionally, the improved traceability Identify offers increases the likelihood of a manufacturer’s product being made specification-safe. This is due to the identification process helping alleviate the practice of specified products being swapped out for cheaper alternatives.
Ultimately, market forces will be the reason a significant proportion of manufacturers will adopt data identifier technology. The change is coming. Dame Judith Hackitt called for the creation of a ‘golden thread’ of asset information to improve product traceability in her post-Brexit ‘Independent Review of Building Regulations and Fire Safety’ report. Whilst from my experience, it appears an increasing number of tier-one housebuilders are heading towards insisting manufacturers have a product identity system in place before committing to using their products. Therefore, businesses that are late adapters to the technology face losing out financially in the months and years to come.
It would be encouraging to think that owners of manufacturing firms across the UK would be persuaded to commit to a digital identification system because quite simply, it’s the right thing to do. The creation of a better, more sustainable built environment will contribute to the health, safety and wellbeing of future generations. We can facilitate this by embracing smarter practices inspired by the superb technology now available to us. Therefore, implementing data identifier processes could be seen as a matter of principle, which although amounts to a huge commitment, it’s a move that will benefit the construction supply chain, building occupiers and our ambitions for a less-polluted planet. For manufacturers, investing in BSI Identify means good business all round.
For more information about BSI Identify click here.