Building Safety.

Over the past few months the BRAC golden thread working group have worked closely with MHCLG and HSE to develop and agree the definition and principles, posted by CIBSE at the link below. They will be formally published by government during the passage of the Building Safety Bill.

The definitions and principles are to be read in the context of the proposed Building Safety Bill and the scope of the proposed legislation.

The document starts with a general definition;

The golden thread will hold the information that those responsible for the building require to identify, understand, manage and mitigate building safety risks in order to prevent or reduce the severity of the consequences of fire spread or structural collapse throughout the lifecycle of the building. The information stored in the golden thread will be reviewed and managed so that the information retained at all times achieves this purpose.

The Annex to the document sets out a number of principles. Principle 4 states;

Single point of truth: the golden thread will bring all information together in a single place (potentially a Common Data Environment) meaning there is always a ‘single point of truth’. It will record changes (i.e. updates to information/plans), including the reason for change, evaluation of change, date of change, and the decision-making process. This will reduce the duplication of information (email updates and multiple documents) and help drive improved accountability, responsibility and a new working culture.

The principles also require that information is accurate and trusted and has been verified.

It is also clear that it is not all information about a building that must meet these requirements the principles state;

Relevant / Proportionate: preserving the golden thread does not mean everything about a building and its history needs to be kept and updated from inception to disposal. The objective of the golden thread is building safety and therefore if information is no longer relevant to building safety it does not need to be kept. The golden thread, the changes to it and processes related to it must be reviewed periodically to ensure that the information comprising it remains relevant and useful.

This limitation of purpose will impact on the extent to which the industry can align its working practices. The principles reflect this but nevertheless suggest there will need to be a broader culture change.

Culture change: the golden thread will support culture change within the industry as it will require increased competence and capability, different working practices, updated processes and a focus on information management and control. The golden thread should be considered an enabler for better and more collaborative working.

I am always a bit wary about the use of the word “collaborative” in such a context. 

The Government recently released guidance on the requirements for the planning gateway one that are intended to take effect on 1 August 2021 (subject to parliamentary scrutiny) and the Government is expected to release similar guidance on gateway two (pre-construction phase) and gateway three (completion / final certificate phase).

Whilst there will be an obligation to record structural and fire safety information and changes to such information once the building is in occupation, most of the “golden thread” will be produced during the design / construction phase. All indications are that those involved in the current planning / pre-construction / construction phases of HRRB’s will have additional obligations as a result of the Draft Bill.

” Collaboration” in this context is being driven more than supported. To date we have seen that aligning information transfer and ensuring that process is followed is still a huge challenge for the industry. To make such a culture change will require significant re-structuring of current commercial habits.

The full document can be found at the link below.