BCIS launches Cost and Carbon Materials Database

The Building Cost Information Service (BCIS) has launched its Cost and Carbon Materials Database to help the construction sector make better informed decisions for their budgets and the environment.

The Database will enable members of the industry to consider if they need to pay more for building materials with lower embodied carbon values and give professionals the ability to compare up to four product options side by side, alongside a 12-month inflation forecast on those costs.

It will also enable the tracking of changes in cost and carbon values as the project progresses.

Furthermore, with some materials being assigned a representative environmental product declaration (EPD) where one is available, BCIS has addressed inconsistencies due to different units of measure used in the EPD by providing the calculation and converted carbon value to use.

This enables users to properly evaluate the attributes of each material as well as logistical considerations such as size and weight and the practicalities of transporting materials onto site.

The Database includes the costs of a growing list of more than 9,200 common building, civil engineering and specialist engineering material resources with UK average merchant prices.

BCIS has added that the new database is fully compliant with the RICS whole life carbon assessment standard.

James Fiske, CEO of BCIS, said: “I’m very proud that we can offer this new service to the industry. It’s the only database of its kind available and will be an essential tool in helping the built environment’s drive towards net zero.

“Having led on the development of the Built Environment Carbon Database (BECD), a free industry repository for the sharing of product and project carbon data, it really struck us how inconsistent the data can be.

“It’s all well and good saying that construction firms should be calculating and reporting on embodied carbon, because we know we have a mountain to climb in terms of reducing emissions from the built environment, but the practicalities of those calculations and trying to sift through the data to find what you need is far from straightforward.”

Fiske added: “When it comes to actually being able to make informed decisions, so you can properly assess the monetary and environmental costs of using one material or product over another, you can be tripped at the first hurdle because the units of measure for what you’re comparing aren’t even the same.

“The Cost and Carbon Materials Database is our first step to making those decisions much easier. As well as looking up current costs, which will be updated monthly, we also provide percentages for past inflation and a 12-month forecast, so you can see the bigger picture.”

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