Developing a Health Product Declaration (HPD) should be a priority during the COVID-19 Pandemic. Building product manufacturers that have not already developed HPDs for their major product lines should seriously consider investing into development during this crisis. There are multiple reasons to develop an HPD during the pandemic and we will explore the most significant reasons for doing so.
Competition Is Fierce
According to Dodge Data & Analytics research, U.S. commercial and multifamily construction starts plunged 22% during the first six months of 2020 compared to the same time frame in 2019. The impacts of the pandemic have been felt throughout the construction industry and delayed or halted many projects. Local economies have been negatively affected. Although funding for new projects is available, many developers are not eager to start new projects until they see how the pandemic pans out in early 2021.
Building product manufacturers are facing unprecedented challenges not seen since the 2007-2008 financial crisis. Social distancing, working remote, lunch and learn presentations being banned at most AEC firms, and lower revenue streams have put intense pressure on many manufacturers. How can building product manufacturers increase their specification opportunities in such an inhospitable climate?
Building product manufacturers need to differentiate themselves from their competition by the benefits they offer. Manufacturers that check more boxes for specifiers are more than likely to be selected for a project. HPDs offer product manufacturers an avenue to set themselves apart from their competitors. In the current climate, your product is not likely to be considered for a LEED v4.1 project unless it has an HPD.
Downtime Provides Opportunities For Manufacturers
Smart companies will use the downtime during the COVID-19 crisis to invest in the infrastructure of their company, train their employees, and complete internal projects that may have been sitting on the sidelines. During this downtime, there are ample opportunities for manufacturers to maximize this time to train their staff. Companies can train their employees to obtain credentials like LEED AP, LEED Green Associate, and WELL accreditation.
In addition, smart manufacturers will catch-up on developing product documentation they may have set aside. HPDs are required by most AEC firms working on LEED projects and the pandemic provides the perfect time to tackle such a project. There are several resources available for manufacturers to learn about HPDs including HPD How-To videos and AIA and LEED online courses. Astute manufacturers will develop HPDs if they have not already done so.
Plan For The Future: LEED v4.1 Launch
There has been no specific date for the launch of LEED v4.1 or the LEED v4.1 certification exam. However, most new LEED projects being built are being designed and constructed under the new LEED v4.1 rating system. Wise manufacturers will be prepared for the launch of LEED v4.1 and have the proper specification documentation such as HPDs, EPDs, and VOC testing documentation.
LEED v4.1 offers building product manufacturers more opportunities to contribute points and participate on LEED projects. As an added bonus, verified HPDs will count more in the newest ratings system. Verification isn’t mandatory but provides another competitive advantage for the clever manufacturer wanting to gain more market share. Manufacturers that have no HPDs are likely to be at a severe disadvantage in 2021. The specification process is getting more cutthroat and those that refuse to provide the proper specification tools will fail.
Learn About Your Product, You Don’t Know Everything
One of the most interesting aspects of developing an HPD is learning about your product. Unless a manufacturer makes a very simple product using only four or five ingredients, most products are comprised of multiple ingredients. Company veterans are often surprised to find out their product is made of more chemicals and components than they previously believed upon the completion of an HPD.
Safety Data Sheets (SDS) often don’t provide the full content inventory of a product. They are designed for first responders, not to provide a comprehensive chemical inventory of a product. HPDs provide a standardized way of reporting the material contents of building products, and the health effects associated with these materials. HPDs provide manufacturers a top to bottom lesson about their supply chain, optimization potential, and possible cost-savings. Smart manufacturers will develop HPDs to maximize every opportunity to get their product specified and learn everything about their product.
The HPD Open Standard creates a platform for building owners, product manufacturers, specifiers, designers, and occupants to partner to transform the materials economy based on human and ecological health. The COVID-19 pandemic provides opportunities for the wise manufacturer. ▪