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Digital Object Identifiers (DOI) G#7314

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Digital Object Identifiers (DOI)


Digital Object Identifiers (DOI)

Collaborative R&D Project (Innovate UK) Digital Object Identifiers

The Construction Products Association (CPA), British Standards Institution (BSI) and RIBA Enterprises (NBS), will be inviting professionals from throughout the construction industry to participate in a major research project looking at the feasibility and usefulness of a Digital Object Identifier (DOI) for building products. We would like to invite you, or a representative from your company, to participate.

Part-funded by Innovate UK, the research will firstly establish how a common identification system for construction products could benefit the industry, and define what additional information may be usefully held with a DOI. If shown to be beneficial to the industry, the later stages will build on this initial work to create a pilot system.

The project brings together the specific skills of the three organisations involved to utilise and build on the success of a scheme that is common across other sectors. The DOI system provides an infrastructure for the registration and use of persistent, interoperable identifiers – called DOIs – via digital networks. The DOI Foundation was launched in 1998 and over 114 million DOI names have been registered to date across many sectors.

The first stage of the planned two-year research project, will involve in-depth consultation with construction industry professionals including contractors and consultants as well as building product manufacturers via a series of interviews.


With the growth of BIM and digitisation of the construction industry it is important that specifiers, contractors and others selecting products, can do so quickly, efficiently and accurately. In the digital world, making sure that there is no room for error is essential.

A DOI identifies a construction product. It is a tag that is unique and persistent; it will always be linked to that product.


Identifiers are registered with the Registration Agency. Each product can then be identified, specified and included in project data through its identifier. Each identifier will have data associated with it, so the identifier makes available core product information.


The project at this stage is setting out to establish the appetite and practicality for such a system for construction products. It has worked very successfully in other industries such as music, but are there issues that will stop that outcome happening in construction? Are there any key features that need to be built in? And can any potential value added areas be identified?

Research request 

The CPA wish to consult widely with manufacturers; initially, through a series of telephone interviews early in 2016. It is important that we identify the appropriate person in each organisation with the right balance of skills. Someone with an understanding of product placement within projects, the process of specification and the benefits of clear, straightforward information.

There is a need to have a balance of companies taking part; light side, heavy side, large and small. Therefore, some adjustment in those asked to take part may happen, to ensure there is a balanced pool of representation. A summary of results would be shared with everyone taking part.

Programme of initial activities:

  • December 2015 
    Product manufacturers’ expression of interest to CPA.
  • January 14th 2016 
    A breakfast briefing session to further describe the concept and details about the project to take place in central London.
  • February – March 2016
    Representatives identified and telephone interviews or face to face undertaken
  • April – June 2016  
    Follow up with full range of construction representatives in discussion sessions.

© GBE NGS ASWS BrianMurphy
aka BrianSpecMan
24th November 2015 – 24th June 2016

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