Introducing the Discoverable Construction Knowledge schema

In February this year we set off on a mission to develop a standard for construction knowledge on behalf of the Construction Knowledge Task Group (CKTG).

The CKTG comprises the largest publishers and professional bodies in the UK built environment sector and they all share the same challenge: not enough construction practitioners are accessing the knowledge resources they develop and publish. The result is continuing low productivity, a failure to learn from the mistakes of others and poor adoption of new ideas and innovation.

On exploring the problem through a survey in 2018, they found the root of the problem is that construction practitioners don’t even know that there’s knowledge available to be accessed.

During our kick off workshop we explored the problem further and defined a vision that practitioners shouldn’t need to go looking for the latest knowledge, instead the content should be served or signposted directly from the digital tools they’re working with. In order for this to be possible, we need to know three things about the practitioner; their role, what they’re working on and the specific activity.

The resulting standard is a metadata schema so that anyone who publishes knowledge can describe their resources in a consistent way that can be recognised and understood by search engines and indexing systems.

We settled on a definition of Construction Knowledge as “a resource that is published to help construction practitioners do their job”.

This responds to a missing piece in the digital transformation of the construction industry. Whilst there has been much work to digitise construction processes, project information and product data; this is a new infrastructure to support the digitisation of knowledge.

The standard builds on, and reuses, much of the well established Dublin Core Metadata Initiative, but includes additional properties specific to construction and recommendations for the use of standardised classification schema.

The Discoverable Construction Knowledge schema comprises around 30 core and defined properties and is supported by a new classification scheme for construction knowledge.

The core fields include:

  • Title
  • Where it can be accessed
  • Publisher
  • Description
  • Type (uses the DCK Types)
  • Subject (uses Uniclass 2015 or Thema)
  • Audience (uses Uniclass roles)

There are also fields to describe people, groups, organisations and projects based on the FOAF scheme.

The scheme can be used with any format but we recommend using the html meta tags or JSON-LD for content published online; we’re building a reference implementation using these formats and they are widely supported by search engines.

Version 1 will be published in the next month or so. The entire project is documented on Barbal’s StandardsRepo platform and a draft can be accessed here: https://app.standardsrepo.com/CKTG/MakingConstructionKnowledgeDiscoverable/wiki

From July we will be working with the CKTG members to support adoption, build reference tools and stimulate development of plugins and tools that leverage the schema.

If you would like to be involved with the project please complete this form and we will get in touch: https://airtable.com/shr6wmyJm6egblRgn.

We are grateful that funding for this project was made available by Lloyds Register Foundation via the ODI.

Co-founder and CEO at Barbal.co — helping experts to reach consensus faster.