Competitive edge to be gained by early adopters of building product ID
Author: Ross Matthews, Head of Sales at BSI Identify
The word ‘change’ is frequently applied to construction, particularly in terms of the industry needing to adapt to smarter more sustainable ways of working and create safer, more energy-efficient buildings. But is the sector ready or even willing to embrace the opportunities that come its way thanks to advances in building technology? Since BSI’s creation of Identify, a service that provides a consistent approach to the identification of construction products, it’s become apparent that there is a real disconnect throughout the building supply chain in relation to a crucial aspect of the construction process: specification. It’s an issue that can be overcome with the provision of unambiguous, persistent product information, which is BSI Identify’s primary asset. The system not only supports the industry as it continues to digitise and address critical safety issues, the additional clarity it brings to the origin and composition of materials that make-up buildings is designed to improve the connective function of the entire supply chain.
Get ahead of the curve
BSI Identify is an enabler to Dame Judith Hackitt’s requirement for the creation of a consistent labelling and traceability system pertaining to a building’s assets, thus providing a clear accountability trail to reduce risk and improve safety. Early adopters of the system will be ahead of the curve in more ways than one. Product traceability is a reputational enhancer, providing manufacturers with a USP and differentiation from competitors. It also aligns adopters to best practice and sends a message to specifiers that here is a manufacturer that is as focused on building quality and standards, as it is profit margins. Such characteristics are essential to instilling trust in a building product provider, an outcome that will go a long way to establishing them as an industry ‘go-to’ for solutions containing data that is digitally hallmarked and easily accessed.
As building practices evolve with improved technology, so the opportunity arises for manufacturers to introduce smarter working practices that are more time and cost effective. Again, product ID capability can facilitate such an achievement. Its use in reducing the expense and working hours devoted to driving and generating specifications is one example of how the digital traceability system can refine traditional processes.
The promotion of new building products to the marketplace involves a myriad of supporting literature, not to mention vital approvals from industry certification bodies. However, as many a manufacturer will testify, these credentials are no guarantee of specification, even if the solution itself boasts a best in-class performance and is ideal for the project involved. This is due to more and more developers and contractors requiring a basic level of product ID in order to safeguard their building and ultimately, their reputation. In some respects, it could be said that early adopters of product traceability are able to shortcut the marketing process, with the system giving them a distinct advantage in the eyes of potential specifiers.
There is no doubt that product ID will become a must-have attribute for manufacturers. Greater transparency will feature as a part of ever-tighter regulations to improve building safety, with specifiers demanding solutions that are as reliable as they are traceable. The change is coming and amongst the many benefits it begets, product ID should ensure fewer hiding places for builders who continue to swap-out or de-specify products for cheaper, lower-quality alternatives. Therefore, through product traceability, it’s anticipated a safer, better-built environment will emerge.