Saint Gobain British Gypsum System Selector

Saint Gobain British Gypsum System Selector

All case studies

How we helped British Gypsum move their offline White Book catalogue online using Sitecore and build a learning hub

1000 +


System specifications downloaded each month



High value, high quality leads are produced

Learning Hub Success


It has over 170 Lecturers and 700 Students 



Has been great from customers

British Gypsum

British Gypsum (part of the Saint-Gobain Group), is the UK’s leading manufacturer of interior lining systems.

A high profile brand with over 100 years experience in plaster, plasterboard and ceiling solutions, with a multitude of high-performance market leading products and systems.

British Gypsum are pushing industry boundaries through an ambitious innovation programme, driven by customers, to deliver meaningful benefits.

We have worked with British Gypsum since 2011.

The customer no longer needs to go to various places on the website to collate information to compare the performance of system specifications. Having chosen the specifications required through performance filtering, all documents are made available to the user. This also saves the Technical Advice Centre time by not having to deal with repeat calls for additional files

Paul French, Market Manager - Commercial, British Gypsum 

The Challenge

British Gypsum wanted to use Sitecore to better interact with their users online.

British Gypsum previously used Alterian, a page based CMS. It was not possible to achieve their digital goals by staying on Alterian.

Sitecore was adopted for a number of websites by three companies within Saint-Gobain UK, including British Gypsum, due to the data storage possibilities.

Saint-Gobain's Sitecore build shares extensive content (such as products, courses and locations) between all their brand sites, making it easier to manage centrally.

The sales team had an excel spreadsheet on their laptops for face to face client meetings. This was maintained by one person (point of failure) and was time consuming.

Bringing the data into Sitecore would empower users and liberate the sales team from time consuming tasks.

Our challenge was to provide a set of tools and resources using Sitecore to achieve this including:

  • Move from standard information websites to using Sitecore as the central data repository, transforming the online experience such as The White Book System Selector which contains complex and detailed system specification data including CAD drawings, BIM files, and test reports.
  • To allow different stakeholders to use British Gypsum digital solutions transforming the work practices of specifiers, architects, lecturers and students. Allowing them access / download to up to date product and specification information in an instant and intuitive way.
  • To transform the working practices and efficiency of British Gypsum sales staff and technical advice teams.
  • To educate and inspire students and foster a relationship with the British Gypsum brand, leading to lifetime customers.

This was a large digital transformation project.

The System Selector is the only delivery mechanism for revit BIM files, dwg CAD files, and NBS specifications from British Gypsum, previously managed through British Gypsum’s technical advice centre during working hours. The System Selector offers ‘out of hours’ access to technical information, allowing users to access the information when they need it. In the first six months over 20% of system specification downloads occurred outside normal office hours.

John Roper, Project Team Leader, British Gypsum 

The Approach

We had to work out the best way to use Sitecore to simplify using the 'White Book' online and introduce a learning hub for Britsh Gypsum

We decided to build British Gypsum a White Book System Selector. 

Scalability was important so we paid particular attention to the information architecture (IA). The volume stored in the system will effectively triple in the next phase of the project with zero impact on performance. Sitecore’s tree-based architecture and indexing were important to this. We could scale 100x larger and it would have no impact on performance. 

We added a dynamic performance approach. This means: 

  • The user will never get zero results from the system selector. An appropriate fully tested warranted system specification will always be suggested.
  • It is designed to cross sell/ up sell systems to customers based on their chosen performance criteria. Systems that they previously may not have been be aware of, thus changing user behavior compared to the printed White Book.
  • Customers can access massive amounts of very complex data with unprecedented speed and ease.
  • Flexibility in how to choose a system - System specifications can be selected based on performance requirements or via product that is available on a construction.
  • The ability to inform users who have chosen certain specifications of changes i.e. traceability.
  • The ability to download details of chosen specifications from the website for offline use and discussion (all system specifications can be downloaded into Excel).

We used Sitecore’s connector to InDesign, which can dynamically generate InDesign pages.

British Gypsum can make significant savings by automating much of the work involved in creating the physical White Book. A designer still needs to prepare the final layout, but the heavy lifting of pre-publishing is completed by the system.

Planned next stages of the White Book System Selector are already being worked on, and will include the ability to dynamically generate customized documents and store for future reference.

For British Gypsum's Learning Hub we built them a gated section in Sitecore. The Learning Hub is a new area on the main corporate website aimed at lecturers, students and apprentices, as well as Saint-Gobain's internal trainers. By giving them exclusive content and advice and capturing their details, British Gypsum are able to segment and track as they try to build a customer for life.

It's affiliated with colleges throughout the UK. It's designed to train the future generation of building trade professionals and gives students access to an entire community of experts, lecturers, and other students to ask questions, and discuss problems. There is a wealth of frequently updated reading material and video tutorials to help them with their studies.

Project timeline

  • British Gypsum Discovery

    A critical phase. This was a complicated project. We were attempting an industry first

  • British Gypsum design

    Suitably armed our talented design team produced wire-frames and a fully interactive prototype

  • British Gypsum Build

    A tough ask. we had to build the site to handle vast quantities of data whilst minimising the impact on performance

  • British Gypsum UAT

    Rigorous. There were four cycles of feedback and reworks

  • Go Live

    This is it. All the preparation and work pays off. We go live and create a little bit of industry history

Summary and next steps

Sitecore has been elevated from being a peripheral business system (CMS) at British Gypsum to the heart of their business operations

British Gypsum's project team included the Commercial Sector Manager, the Major Customer & Project Team Leader, and the Online Marketing Manager - a cross-functional team that ensured delivery of the correct solution.

It has created a Sitecore instance that multiple websites across the group can all work from.

It has brought a simplified approach for complex industry needs regarding building estimation and pricing, enabling business efficiency savings for both the customer and British Gypsum.

Decommissioning previously used offline spreadsheets used by Sales teams has transformed their working practices as well as introduced consistency across the business. Their roles have changed from answering general (and often non productive) inquiries to empowered and informed Sales teams following up hot leads.

Created interactive digital and video content to engage students and customers in a new way that will increase brand loyalty and lead to life long relationships.

  • Business

    Sitecore at the heart of the business

  • Simplified

    Simplified approach for complex needs

  • Team

    Cross functional team

  • Data_Based

    Database for multiple websites


David Robinson

Online Marketing Manager, British Gypsum

I believe that we have taken a publication that is relied on by professionals throughout the construction industry, for many of the largest building projects, and delivered an online solution that takes it to the next level in usability, and gives genuine insight into how our systems are specified.

David Robinson Online Marketing Manager, British Gypsum

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