Home » BCIS launches cost and carbon materials database

BCIS launches cost and carbon materials database

by Mark Cantrell
SNC-Lavalin launches building decarbonisation tool

The Building Cost Information Service (BCIS) has launched what it says is a first-of-its-kind Cost & Carbon Materials Database.

It’s claimed the database will help the built environment sector make better informed decisions for their budgets and the environment. It is fully compliant with the RICS whole life carbon assessment standard.

BCIS says the Cost & Carbon Materials 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.

It also outlines the effects of inflation, past and forecast, on the cost of those materials, and includes detailed carbon credentials for a representative material, where available.

James Fiske, BCIS’ chief executive, 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.”

As Fiske indicated, BCIS sees the database as a “natural progression” of providing both cost and carbon data to the industry, to bring them together in a consistent, easy-to-understand and simple-to-use format. Doing so empowers cost professionals to make more informed choices, the organisation says, whether they are at the estimating, procuring, benchmarking or auditing stage.

It claims the database will enable the industry to consider if they need to pay more for building materials with lower embodied carbon values. It will also give professionals the ability to compare multiple product options side by side, alongside a 12-month inflation forecast on those costs, which could influence decisions.

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

Crucially, materials have been assigned a representative environmental product declaration where one is available. Where there is an inconsistency because different units of measure have been used in the EPD, BCIS provides the calculation and converted carbon value to use.

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 & 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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