Trusted linked data
Materials passports can provide transparency about a product’s complete life cycle
In order to make the transition to a more efficient, interlinked and circular construction industry, it’s necessary to move away from generic product data and embrace the availability of data for product instances.
This starts with the product or component’s manufacture – what might be termed its ‘birth certificate’. Rather than data about the generic product range it came from, the available information needs to make clear the specific configuration and performance characteristics.
How and when was it made? What was the environmental impact of its manufacture, and is there an EPD available? How was the product put together, and how was it installed on the finished building? And, as we discussed above, how can it be taken apart again?
This information is useful because it reflects the specific component rather than the generic product range, and is the starting point for the creation of a digital twin.
The next stage is to make use of available technologies and capture in-use data using sensors. This could be measuring the thermal transmittance of a component to see if and how its performance changes over time, to understanding the degradation of a cladding panel’s coating due to UV exposure.
Tata Steel has undertaken several proof-of-concepts and is currently working on a full product identification platform to allow for tracing throughout the life cycle. The aim is to generate a complete materials passport based on trusted data that is linked across the complete supply chain - from production and manufacture, through installation, use and maintenance, to the end of the design life and the potential for reuse or recycling.