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Last month’s CM webinar with Autodesk looked at how software
and data can help construction meet the requirements of the looming building
safety legislation. Will Mann was the chair.
Time is running out for construction organisations which
keep poor digital asset records. That was one of the key messages from a recent
webinar organised by CM and BIM+, in association with Autodesk.
Panellists discussed how better use of digital models and
data management could help the industry meet the requirements of the looming
Building Safety Bill, including Dame Judith Hackitt’s ‘golden thread’ of
In April, the government gave its response to the
consultation on Hackitt’s independent review of Building Regulations and fire
safety, and Anne-Marie Friel, partner – infrastructure at Pinsent Masons, spoke
first about the legal and regulatory implications.
“The single most important feature of this new system is
that the building safety regulator will be overseen by the Health & Safety
Executive (HSE),” she said. “This will drive real cultural change. And it makes
a lot of sense – moving away from complex approved documents and towards
goal-setting legislation which leaves duty-holders free to innovate and develop
technical solutions within an overarching framework of accountability.”
“There are existing standards which detail information management processes – PAS 1192 and the more recent ISO 19650 – so you don’t have to reinvent the wheel. Many in the industry are already using these standards.
Lee Mullin, Autodesk
And Friel noted the enforcement differences likely under the
HSE umbrella: “As Dame Judith says, ‘get it wrong – and it won’t be just a
minor rap across the knuckles anymore’.”
The Building Safety Bill will cover new and existing
residential properties – over six storeys or 18m – but Friel thought it likely
to be extended to other multi-occupied buildings where people sleep.
She also highlighted that the new approval gateways system
is tied closely to the ‘golden thread’.
“Gateway one is before planning is granted. At gateway two,
approval must be obtained before construction can start on site – and it’s at
this stage that a 3D digital model of the building as planned, including what
products will be used, must be submitted,” she explained.
“Any deviation from that model will require the principal
contractor to consult with the client and designer. The regulator most approve
any major changes, so it is much harder to deviate from the original plan. This
will make value engineering much more difficult.
Watch the webinar in full
“At gateway three, client, contractor and designer will have
to certify compliance with Building Regulations and the handover of the golden
Friel pointed out that major refurbishments will also
trigger the gateway process at stage two. “For older buildings with little
documentation, it will be difficult to supply the golden thread information,”
she said. “We recommend an intrusive survey to support the gateway information
Next, the challenge of identifying digital solutions to meet
the golden thread requirements was discussed by Lee Mullin, construction
technical specialist at Autodesk.
“With traditional execution of construction projects,
process inefficiencies cause ‘data dropouts’ through concept, design, construct
and operate,” he said.
“Since Grenfell, we’ve been seeing a lot of housing
landlords running surveys to understand what has been built and create digital
records. That information is often contained in CAD plans, spreadsheets or
databases. What we recommend, to collect all this data together, is to create a
full building information model.”
“For older buildings with little documentation, it will be
difficult to supply the golden thread information. We recommend an intrusive
survey to support the gateway information requirements.”
Anne-Marie Friel, Pinsent Masons
When deciding what data to collect, Mullin recommends asking
three key questions: “Firstly, who is using the data? Profile all individuals,
from senior execs to surveyors on the ground and maintenance workers, who will
need access to the data.
“Secondly, what data are you collecting? Consider regulatory
requirements and information needed about products from suppliers. This is
where BIM is powerful, as more detail can be added through the design and
construction process, for example, about fire ratings.
“Thirdly, how will you maintain that data? Because there
will be changes to those assets, for example boiler upgrades, and this
information will have to be updated.”
Mullin believes the process is as important as the
technology used. “There are existing standards which detail information
management processes – PAS 1192 and the more recent ISO 19650 – so you
don’t have to reinvent the wheel,” he said. “Many in the industry are already
using these standards.
“Also think about the people and the culture across a project – that will impact on how you can deliver this golden thread.”
The third presenter was Clarion Housing’s fire safety
projects director Dan Hollas. Clarion is the UK’s largest housing association
and its fire safety team has been carrying out laser scans of its high-rise
blocks to create digital models with Autodesk’s Revit and ReCap. (See CM,
“The aim is a 3D model with tagged asset data. There are benefits in terms of compliance, fire safety and a better understanding of our assets which can inform asset management strategy and make us more responsive to tenant needs.”
Dan Hollas, Clarion
“The aim is a 3D model with tagged asset data to improve our
management of our stock,” explained Hollas. “There are benefits in terms of
compliance, fire safety and a better understanding of our assets which can
inform our asset management strategy and make us more responsive to tenant
The challenge for Clarion is effectively linking the asset
data to the digital model. The housing group is running a ‘proof of concept’ on
a 10-storey building, with two providers, creating point clouds – from laser
scans – of the block and archetypes of the flats inside, plus data for all fire
safety equipment only.
“The providers will then supply us with a 3D model, with
assets tagged, and a system linking tags within the model to asset data. Plus
we want functionality that allows us to access all this asset data and run the
reports we require,” Hollas said.
Once this is achieved, Clarion plans to roll the system out across all its high-risk residential buildings.
Questions from attendees
Hamish Henderson-Begg: Will the new handover be the end of soft landings?
Anne-Marie Friel: It is hard to predict all the detailed
cultural changes that will happen in response to the new regulations. However,
it feels inevitable that, for in-scope buildings, the regulatory framework for
gateway three, will become the primary focus for all stakeholders and replace
Andy Burrows: How was the internal mapping done [on Clarion’s projects]?
Dan Hollas: We went into two archetype flats and put the
scanner in two places in each. We found tenants were helpful and quite
interested in what we were doing. One challenge was data protection – the
scanners were so good they picked up everything in the flat, including photos
on the walls.
Alan Glennon: When a subcontractor does not have any BIM software, is quoting for a project designed in BIM possible?
Lee Mullin: Yes, and we have worked with many subcontractors
who have worked within a BIM project. If they are contributing towards the
design, BIM will allow them to reduce risk by coordinating with other disciplines.