The Journey to the New BHMA CPD
By Michael Tierney, Standards Director
The transfer of over 13,000 certified product listings from self-prepared PDFs to a digital, searchable database has been completed. We now have a state-of-the-art BHMA Certified Products Directory (CPD) for manufacturers to list and for professionals to find certified builders hardware.
You may be wondering about the beginning of this project and how it all got started. To fully explain how we got here, we need think way back to when BHMA recognized there should be a process for manufacturers to attest that their careful design and production meet the respective BHMA Standards for their products. Understanding this need was the genesis of the Certified Product Directory (CPD), and BHMA’s commitment to innovation that has led us to this current iteration.
The original CPD program went into effect well over 20 years ago when subcommittee meetings held by conference calls were a novelty, web conferences were unheard of and minutes and drafts had just started being distributed by email instead of snail mail from BHMA’s New York City headquarters.
It took a few years during the late 90’s to define the rules, format and pricing of the new CPD. In the beginning, a single lab was selected for each standard’s listings --the Operational Manual would later be changed to allow both Intertek and UL for all standards-- and the first version had three or four “separate programs” based on standard sections or groupings. Eventually, the Licensing Agreement and Operational Manual was completed, the administrative fees were simplified, the programs were combined and guidance on how to format the PDFs was provided. The program began to take off, and the annual printed directory swelled.
The first few years led to increased scrutiny of the standards and their test methods and measurements, and we navigated lots of questions from and provided guidance to the test labs. As time went by and search engines began to roar, the next iteration featured the creation of searchable PDF pages to provide a more convenient method for verifying certified products. While the listings multiplied, technology advanced, and expectations rose, BHMA saw a new challenge in how to modernize this database, which led us to start the process of creating a fully digital, searchable CPD.
For close to three years, teams of BHMA staff and member companies met constantly to dissect type numbers into database slots and uncover any questions or loose ends in product descriptions – issues hidden in the analog world but not viable in the digital one. These efforts have resulted in a database for every aspect of the standards and manufacturer information necessary to portray product certification.
Have we really completed our long and complicated mission, or are there more surprises ahead? As with any recently completed project, “adjustments” can be expected. Better yet, since BHMA is always looking at ways to enhance the user engagement, this new CPD platform is designed to allow for such updates and improvements. So, it will continue to grow in its usefulness and its comprehensiveness to support the needs of architects, facility managers, BHMA CPD participants and others in the hardware world.