A game-changer for the construction industry

Published on September 13, 2023

Countries and construction companies in Europe will be able to take substantial leaps towards standards-based management of their data with the launch of a European data dictionary.

In recent years, more and more European countries are starting their own initiatives for developing national data dictionaries for construction. A lot of them are powered by Define, the software solution managed by the construction industry, which is now launching one of its biggest assets to date: The European data dictionary. This will allow countries and companies to adopt a common digital language based on standards throughout the industry, ensuring interoperability and repeatability.

Lars Chr Fredenlund
Lars Chr FredenlundCEO of Cobuilder

“One of the goals of the European data dictionary is to unify a diverse, yet strongly interconnected market. A dedicated workgroup of industry actors in Define are taking part in the consensus-based governance of the European data dictionary, with more experts planning to join and bring knowledge and expertise in building a stronger foundation,” Lars Fredenlund says, CEO of Cobuilder, the Norwegian software provider that develops and maintains the Define platform on behalf of the industry.

Benefits of a common approach

Having a common European data dictionary, based on the technical language provided by the CEN-CENELEC standards, would both spare the efforts of deploying a new data dictionary for each country from scratch, but also ensure that they follow the same data structure, regardless of the logic, philosophy and technology each country aims to pursue. Also, similar to the national data dictionaries, the European data dictionary can be helpful to the smaller businesses who can’t afford to develop and maintain their own.

Another benefit comes from the ongoing revision of the Construction Products Regulation, which aims to establish Construction Digital Product Passports as a common digital documentation for all construction products on the European market.

“The revision also pushes for further digitalisation of the construction sector, particularly in areas such as Building Information Modelling (BIM), building logbooks, digital passports and registries. This is a serious indicator that the industry more than ever needs a common European data dictionary to power all upcoming changes,” Fredenlund says.

How it works in practice

The Define platform supports the interconnection of separate data dictionaries. With the European data dictionary, there will be an established hierarchy where it sits on top and holds all common European definitions and shares them across the countries’ National data dictionaries. The hierarchy goes further down with the National data dictionaries sharing both European and National definitions to companies who have set up their own Define data dictionaries. This ensures that all companies, regardless of country of origin, can work into a single common data framework, providing interoperability and a ready-to-use resource when setting up their data dictionaries.

The European data dictionary is set to include not only new data templates, but over time provide access to new classification schemas, sources of data and Level of Information Need use cases, which is yet another step towards implementing a standardized data structure where data is interoperable, shared and reused everywhere. The European data dictionary is available here where industry actors could find more information about Define and data dictionaries.