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GBE Product Definition (Collaborate)

GBE Product Definition (Collaborate)

For the purpose of GBE PASS or GBE HERACEY™, defining the content of a GBE Product Page and addressing manufacturers wanting an assessment for the whole product range under the cost of one assessment and GBE’s need to document the differences in properties, performance and applications; we need to Define what a Product is.

A Product is dependant upon the recipe.

  • A family of products is probably made of the same recipe, but is available in various size formats, so PASS assesses them as one, but any special recipe is not part of the same family and assessed separately.
  • A recipe that changes over time, needs to be assessed on the extremes of the recipe variations, not the annual averages.
  • A Product that is made in multiple locations to the same recipe could be considered a family but its transport makes a difference to overall impacts and mains energy and manufacturing processes may be different.
  • Natural variation in aggregate content, that are used as exposed aggregates may make a product attractive and appealing to specifiers across the UK.
  • Then a commitment by the manufacturer not to offer the products to projects a long distance away would be considered favourably.
  • A product is also dependent upon the application, if there is a set of solid kerbstones that comply with British Standard for kerbstones they will be assessed as a family.
  • If the Kerb stone departs from the BS and is hollow and fulfils a special role e.g. Drainage it would be assessed as separate product, but a hollow drop kerb will be assessed as part of a family of hollow kerbs.

If the material is the predominantly the same is it treated as one assessment?

  • The recipe may be the same but it’s many application may be radically different and need to be assessed against different criteria
  • If a material is predominantly the same we need to understand the differences and where they occur
  • External applications may introduce a water repellent that may enhance one of its performance criteria but may also affect another performance criteria of the product
  • Fire and rot treatments may enhance its performance but will probably also affect the greenness of the product
  • Internal partition and floor acoustic insulation are subject to very different conditions to external walls and roof thermal/acoustic insulation but may be very similar materials and may or may not have all the required properties

Please explain how the scoring system works

  • The process is to define ‘normal’ in each product group.
  • We then judge the product and the information about it against ‘normal’.
  • In the case of concrete products we would regard OPC and virgin aggregates as normal, but when cement substitution and recycled aggregates are commonplace then we would attempt to discover what % are normal by contacting numerous manufacturers or seeking manufacturer association guidance.
  • Then we judge is it better and are it worse than normal?
  • Then we make a judgement.

Can we see the scoring system?

  • There is a sample report that can be forwarded.
  • It is based on our reaction to the information about the product, application, its materials and any data or claims in promotional material using 40+ years of Construction Industry experience, 33 years of specification writing and 17 years of environmental specialism.
  • There is a 400 criteria list which inevitably influence ‘GBE PASS’ assessment.
  • We do not wish to enter into weighting and normalisation associated with LCA so GBE’s simple scoring is seen as unsophisticated by comparison in the presence of people’s awareness of LCA processes.
  • Previously we have scored products in a simple way.
  • There is a list of issues/criteria
  • Does the issue apply? Yes or No
  • Does the product address the issue? Yes or No
  • Exceptionally there is a scale from Yes to No, where there are numerous potential responses.
  • The list inevitably grows every time we do any assessment.
  • Whilst this process could easily turned back into a score, we no longer score products.
  • Because LCA minded people inevitably criticise it.

What would a machine made brick that looks like a hand made brick be compared with?

  • Comparison would be with what it is an alternative to.
  • A hand made brick and a machine made brick.
  • The introduction of machine to replicate a hand made brick removes the labour element that gives some control over costs of labour, which allows it to become economically sustainable company,
  • But from a social perspective this is a step in the wrong direction.
  • Hand made bricks must therefore be seen as a socially sustainable material/product.
  • The introduction of machinery to do a task otherwise carried out by humans introduces considerably higher initial impacts making the machinery,
  • And then the energy and potentially the carbon consumption making the brick is increased long term, environmentally this too is a step in the wrong direction.
  • A machine made brick cannot therefore be seen as environmentally preferable to a hand made brick.
  • A machine made brick mimicking a hand made brick cannot therefore be seen as environmentally preferable to a hand made brick.
  • The improvement in brick production efficiency may help to reduce the energy and carbon of that brick production,
  • But if this improvement fails to improve beyond the impact of making a brick that does not pretend to be a hand made this is commendable but it remains a retrograde step.
  • Reducing energy consumption is an improvement but changing fuel to reduce Carbon Dioxide would be better still.
  • Calling a brick ‘eco…’ when it is only about ‘energy-saving’ is misleading, in the realms of Greenwash.

© GBE NGS ASWS Brian Murphy aka BrianSpecMan
31st October 2012 – 14th January 2017

GBE Product Definition (Collaborate)


© GBE NGS ASWS Brian Murphy aka BrianSpecMan
16th November 2016 – 14th January 2017

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