PATH - A Public Private Partnership for Advancing Housing Technology

XML Standards for Automating the Home Building Supply Chain


The home building process requires rapid, accurate communication of complex technical information among developers, builders, trade contractors, regulatory agencies, distributors and many other participants. The speed and accuracy of transfer of this information are critical factors in building affordable, high quality homes.

As identified in the PATH Technology Roadmap: Information Technology to Accelerate and Streamline the Homebuilding Process (PDF, 395 KB), development of a common language to allow participants in the building process to communicate electronically over the Internet is key to effecting rapid, accurate transactions. Development of Extensible Markup Language (XML) based business documents has been identified as a first, critical step in this direction.

In 2001, the lumber products industry, under the leadership of ProDealer Exchange (PDX), considered the development of these documents sufficiently important that they formed an ad hoc working group to initiate development of a standard. Since its inception and through 2002, the group has, with assistance from the NAHB Research Center, under PATH funding, made exceptional progress in developing an XML standard for the lumber supply chain.

The rapid and successful development of XML standards for the lumber supply chain serves as a sound foundation for implementing a strategy of incrementally evolving the standard to include other vertical sectors - such as millwork, fenestration, appliances, plumbing, HVAC - with the aim of becoming a single, unified communication standard for the home building industry.

The development of XML-based business documents has focused, and will continue to focus, on the further development of the business document standards including the Order Requisition, Purchase Order, Change Order, Order Confirmation, Advance Ship Notice and Remittance Advice. It will also aim at involving other vertical supply chains belonging to the home building framework, besides the Lumber supply chain.


Two separate XML models-Business and Products, were created for developing schemas representing product attributes and business messages. Purchase Order specific definitions were added to the business model and softwood lumber product attributes were added to the Products model for creating the Purchase Order schema. A similar approach was used for developing the North American OSB attributes and the Invoice schema.

A Lumber Working Group is Active

Existing XML-based business message standards have been reviewed.

A comparative analysis has been performed.

XML models for business and product schemas have been developed.

Purchase Order and Invoice schemas have been created.

Schemas are available that describe generic XML-based standards for the Purchase Order and Invoice documents. These are .xsd files that can be viewed using a web browser or any text editor.

Download the .xsd files (ZIP, 45 KB)

These files can also be viewed individually below.

Main Files:



Supporting Files:








Future Plans

Content updated on 9/1/2005

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