LEXiCON seeks to find a common language for construction projects so that it is easy to compare and categorise information. This will be supported by the use of machine-readable Product Data Templates (PDTs), as part of an effort to drive efficiencies in product selection.
Working in partnership with the Construction Products Association (CPA), the Hub has expanded on the work earlier in the year which outlined the principles of the LEXiCON methodology. The Phase 2 report explains how individuals, organisations and Relevant Authorities can register on the platform and what their information requirements would be.
This includes how users can create and edit Product Data Templates, alongside guidance on bringing the right groups of people together to collaborate and ensure that product information is accurate, relevant and up to date.
The purpose of the LEXiCON project is to develop a standardised industry approach towards the creation and management of product data. This will be achieved by creating an industry consensus around consistent processes and common terms for a data dictionary. This in turn could be compiled to make Product Data Templates (PDTs) that would be openly available for industry to use. The anticipated benefits are expected to include:
The LEXiCON project was initiated by Construction Products Association (CPA) in 2016, and BRE responded to an invitation to deliver part of the work. When the Construction Innovation Hub was launched in November 2018, BRE, as a core partner of the Hub, was awarded funding to further develop LEXiCON in support of the Hub’s wider programme ambitions. These included transforming the sector through digital ways of working and modern methods of construction, via better information management to support CDBB’s Information Management Framework.
This phase of the LEXiCON project facilitated a partnership between the Hub and the CPA, working in close collaboration with key industry stakeholders and experts, and built on the groundwork that had already taken place. The funding provided by the Hub enabled industry to develop processes for RAs and wider LEXiCON procedures and concepts alongside supporting technologies, laying the foundations for what could one day be a free-to-use industry-wide application for the collaborative formation of product data templates.
The ultimate goal for LEXiCON is to have templates and properties that have undergone the LEXiCON process with its consensus framework at its heart. The Hub Programme have developed a proof of concept system that demonstrates how the features required going beyond the requirements of a data dictionary (ISO 23386 ISO 23387, ISO 12006-3).
The landscape for data dictionaries has changed since The Hub embarked on its agenda of transforming construction. Back in 2019, ISO 23386 and 23387 were still being drafted. PAS 14191 was in progress and there was not a consistent approach in place.
The project set out to address this via industry engagement, research into best practice, and the development and demonstration of a tool-based solution.
For LEXiCON there have been two main outputs:
Phase 1 – The LEXiCON Methodology: Creating Relevant Authorities and Achieving Consensus provides an overall outline for the process, organisational structure and terms
Phase 2 – [LEXiCON Phase 2 – Summary Report] provides a more detailed view of specific procedures and roles covering the key concepts of registration and content creation workflows and statuses.
Following detailed analysis of PDTs that are already available within the industry, it was clear to see that ISO 23386 offers a new level of consistency.
However, ISO 23386 does not explain ‘how’ and ‘why’ content is produced. In practice, when various independent actors with differing perspectives develop information requirements (in the form of properties), the quality of the definitions can vary significantly. The result is that different data dictionaries are being developed for different audiences and consumers.
Capturing the ‘how’ and ‘why’ about the definitions being produced is a crucial element in understanding the data template content and derived Product Data Sheets, bringing both consistency and applicability to all the relevant audiences. It is only in this way can we properly compare like for like, an essential part of understanding the products used within buildings and their expected performance.
The LEXiCON process provides opportunities for the supply chain to be engaged at every stage in the PDT development and management process, leading to consistency and consensus.
The industries within the built environment will be best placed to identify the appropriate body to become a Relevant Authority, and what their remit should be. LEXiCON’s place is to ensure that the prospective Relevant Authority can be acknowledged as the appropriate representative voice for their industry and that they can deliver the consensus processes.
The definition of a RA is described in The LEXiCON Methodology: Creating Relevant Authorities and Achieving Consensus 3.12 & 8
The criteria required to achieve RA status is described in [The LEXiCON Methodology: Creating Relevant Authorities and Achieving Consensus, Section 8.1].
In the case where two or more prospective or existing RA’s have remits that overlap, they will be required to develop agreement between themselves.
The process of resolving questions around remit is identified in [The LEXiCON Methodology: Creating Relevant Authorities and Achieving Consensus Section 5.2].
Over the term of the project within the Hub, this question has been asked and articulated in different ways.
The truth is that no one person can be an ‘expert’ when it comes to providing the information necessary for creating a PDT that is useful to all audiences. LEXiCON recommends a more efficient approach to managing and sharing information about products in an industry agreed and standardised way. It will also help manufacturers streamline their information exchange with many parties utilising a single source of information in a variety of applications – facilitating greater interoperability.