BIM4Housing Advisory Working Group Meeting-20220511

BIM4Housing Advisory Working Group Meeting-20220511

GEORGE clarifies what he wants to happen at DCW, which is to define what information is needed by each of the different stakeholder groups to ensure that 1) the element they are particularly interested in will perform when it needs to perform and 2) how is it possible to ensure that’s recorded in a digital form that therefore can provide the evidence that it’s been considered. This is important because e.g. fire door manufacturers realise it’s important to have a record of where their doors have been installed (and how).

They are working on this in isolation away from the rest of the BIM process, therefore it will be difficult to tie in their software with the detail of the dry lining and dampers etc. This is not trying to stop people using any other application, it’s more to ensure we’re actually locating it. The information and form must be accessible.

GEORGE checks with the group his assumption (re the risk of spread of smoke scenario) that the smoke control system shouldn’t really be needed if the compartment works. There is some uncertainty about this (from Jarek). Given the complications with all the fire doors GEORGE suggests restricting the perspective by saying ‘the fire door we are talking about is the entrance door to the flat.

PAUL WHITE states there are various other issues because there are maybe cross corridor doors because a lot of this is to do with the length of escape routes. If you were to move a door you might increase the length of an escape route and that’s not allowed - there’s a lot of 3 dimensional stuff going on here.’ He seems to agree with George’s idea that it’s possible to focus on a specific door and get all the required information about it.

DEBBIE asks if it would be possible to do some design compliance checks, to define what should be in the compliance check, this would be helpful and a practical way of implementing it. GEORGE feels that maybe the document Paul Mcsolley has been working on maybe goes into too much detail (considering the amount of time left before DCW next week).

JAREK shows a graphic design he made. There is an image of a door set within a corridor. He has made comments on his graphic design about what things may be needed. He can share it and people can add comments.

JAREK WITYK via chat:

What I need to know about the fire Door – Electrical Perspective

  1. Is there vision panel – it impacts the qty of emergency luminaires
  2. Position of door jamb – should be avoided at high level above ceiling
    1. Perhaps good practice would be to add requirement for provision of
      clearance; zone as part of door design set – something we could do clash
      detection against
  3. Is there door opening mechanism
  4. Is door hold open required
  5. Is door access required

JIM CREAK comments on Jarek’s graphic, making a correction: over any externally illuminated sign they all need to have emergency lighting over them. A lot of people believe photoluminescence needs emergency lighting over it - they don’t. They can effectively work without emergency lighting. PAUL WHITE says that the services above the ceiling (like shown in Jarek’s graphic design) could include lots of different stuff (depending on what type of door it is) - Jarek has ably fitted it all in, giving everything more space than is usually the case.

GEORGE is concerned, regarding the workshop, about information: what information does the developer need? What information does Balfour Beatty need to ensure that they’ve got the digital record that they need to evidence the job’s been done properly? It’s about how the individual assets types work to provide that compartmentation. He thinks perhaps they have to move away from Paul Mcsolley’s focus on the fire shaft because maybe it’s broadening the discussion too wide.

JIM and MATT think JAREK’s suggestion to include a clearance zone above the door as part of the door design package that could be used to avoid clashes with services above.

GEORGE shows on screen a distillation of the individual sheets/documents already done (smoke dampers, doors etc). He has copied all that information on to a spreadsheet so it’s possible to look across the different asset types - fire doors, smoke dampers, dry-lining, penetration seals, detector, AOV. Included on the spreadsheet are the items that came out of the roundtable sessions. It lists things that go wrong and the information about those things that need to be collected. George is looking at each of the properties and looking at who should be providing that information. He thinks this is useful for the asset types that are part of the exercise as then they can allocate some responsibility against those things. The group approves of his idea…

PAUL WHITE reiterates a point he’s made in previous sessions about space availability. Space has to be allocated directly at the beginning, otherwise problems develop. This 3 dimensional problem is critical from the start. MATT TAYLOR shows a photo which illustrates the point that PAUL made. GEORGE says the spatial coordination needs to be done by Gateway 1 and then the detailed element needs to be done by Gateway 2.

CALLUM KERR says that if spatial coordination is done early and get the tested details available early and the tradesmen follow those details a lot of the issues go away. He thinks George’s approach can be simplified and there is too much detail in the forum at times.

GEORGE says that some of the information gathered is business critical and therefore needs to be digital because it needs to be certain that it's there. He cites Matt Taylor’s ‘weight of the door’ example from a previous session to illustrate this. The only people who can answer as to which properties are critical is (people like Jim and Matt).

JIM CREAK considers that risks are currently very heavy on zero risk and wonders how to build in a proportionality to actually move forward and make it a valuable tool rather than getting bogged down in conversation about it. MATT TAYLOR says there is limited opportunity of advice in the risk (assessment) process. Spatial coordination has to be considered earlier on in the process e.g. almost all the high-rise residential projects he works on there is insufficient space for the ceiling construction underneath the services to meet the ceiling height, due to service obstruction.

GEORGE asks the group what information to developers/designers/contractors etc need to know about the elements that go to make up compartments that will mitigate risks? He shows the spreadsheet on screen once again. Would some of the information come in declarations of performance? And also commissioning certificates? Or also data sheets? If so, it needs to be ensured that the declaration of performance is obtained from someone. What are the essential characteristics of an e.g. AOV? Can the information be obtained in a machine readable form so that we can automatically test to see if it’s been provided? We’re trying to move away from a document based culture…

STEVE ALDRIDGE says that a fire risk assessor goes in to assess the risk in the already occupied building. You should do a desktop study on that building before you go in there of how that building has been designed, what’s been put into it, what standards has it been designed to. That’s really difficult information to get hold of. How are we going to continue to manage that building to the specification it’s been designed to?

BEX GIBSON says the information she would need from her side (client based building safety) is the fire safety and structural information. Fire strategy and changes should be addressed in the gateways. STEVE says that on new builds now the information is easier to get hold of but collating it all together and to make a judgement a readily available document (or, even better, data) would be helpful. BEX GIBSON mentions a problem with the interface between the different materials in the building.

CALLUM KERR refers to the ‘lessons learned’ area on George’s black box site and how he thinks spatial consideration should be added there. His ‘lessons learned’ database sees each lesson assigned to a subject matter expert who has to do something meaningful with each lesson. In terms of data ‘sometimes we don’t know what we need to know’ and this is an opportunity to drive the data capture across the industry. Regarding competence and compliance, he looks at compliance at every stage. Many times the commission certificates are caveated, they couldn’t get access to something, so was it ever done? There’s always information that’s missing.

DEBBIE says there are new competence frameworks being developed and this group needs to influence this. Spatial coordination is an issue here.

JIM CREAK thinks risk assessors will seek assurance from others if records are incomplete.

GEORGE shows his spreadsheet again. He asks Matt if he could look at the information on dry lining and go through the items and it could be issued ahead of the meeting so there is something to focus on. Matt can do this. Pau White will go through the smoke dampers and AOVs. PAUL OAKLEY thinks the first thing to do is to look at the list of actors/parties and then the racey approach to those.

GEORGE says maybe they could put information into an individual spreadsheet for fire doors with four boxes and write (for example) the AOV: this would come from the manufacturer, this from the installer. PAUL WHITE says to have a separate line per item with the four boxes after it. Debbie says this is a good idea.

GEORGE talks about the ‘work being done with the BRE and the Templater which allows us to take information and create standardised data templates for capturing information which is currently being used to compile manufacturers’ product information, but also other data sets. There is an R&D project taking the building regulations and turning them into a digital format - a big step forward. Parts L and M are already done and also part B (for schools). That work is being added to the Templater so it should be possible to see some of that by the end of May, therefore some of the building regs will be machine readable.’

DEBBIE says another related project is the Value Toolkit encouraging value based decision making across projects and programs. Its used in the public sector in terms of procurement processes. She says if a special session across the groups is organised the best person to invite is Robert isles from CIHS who’s responsible for beta testing it.

GEORGE will issue the spreadsheet to everyone. He asks if Paul Mcsolley’s example of the protected staircase will maybe take them down the wrong track next week? George thinks it will. Paul’s paper is about the issue of different services being put through a protected staircase. PAUL WHITE says ‘it depends if we’re looking at the route of the smoke (or something else). ‘The scenario is the fire is likely to start in the apartment and not the common areas. The persons lets a little bit of smoke out of the apartment, hopefully shuts the door behind them. Nobody else knows that there is a fire. They leave, the little bit of smoke that gets into the corridor triggers the smoke control system. Then, the fire brigade comes up and if any other smoke escapes its extracted either naturally or mechanically through the shafts or there is a stairwell pressurisation and it blows it into another shaft or out of a window. It comes down to what you want to talk about.’

PAUL WHITE’s suggestion to George is to have those drawings of a useable size with him and maybe also Jarek’s examples (in A3 or A2). If somebody doesn’t know what a system is you can show the larger drawing of the system.

GEORGE says they will get the Whatsapp group going in order to exchange things over the next few days and people can make suggestions there.


Roy Buckingham

We are happy to assist with the forum at DCW, apologies for the delay in sending my follow-up to the meeting.

As you could probably tell both Pat and I are passionate about ensuring escape compliance is achieved in buildings which in my opinion is actually equally as important as the compartmentation.

My colleague has provided a copy of one of the documents I was going to provide and I have provided the other that I had written.

Issues that I see are.

  • Too often there is no coordination between the M&E design and the Fire doors/door hardware specification. This means that when access control is applied to the project there is often issues arising with incompatibility of hardware to be installed on the fire doors (lack of fire test evidence to support the electric locking defined) and of clashes between the hardware defined in the access control spec v the general door hardware specified in the ironmongery package.
  • Too often the installation of access control as part of the security strategy for the building is decided on or added late in the project and this has a profound impact on the fire & escape strategy of the building. This causes delays and conflict and often for the end client to have to compromise on their requirements to satisfy either security or safety. An escape door does NOT have to fail unlocked in order to provide escape. An electric lock solution that is performance tested to provide an escape function to EN 179 or EN 1125 can provide for a fail locked door that provides an escape egress, easily and safely via the manual operation of a lever handle, push pad or exit device (exactly what App Doc B states an escape door should provide – single operation to unlock and open)
  • Lack of understanding of current escape regulations and best practice. I am regularly astounded by the lack of knowledge of escape regulations and how to achieve safe and secure doors that will provide for escape. Architects, consultants, contractors, and end clients appear to have limited knowledge and the fact the industry seems to focus on just talking about fire doors and fire compartmentation fuels this ignorance. App Doc B clearly defines the need to provide for escape yet this is often a lower priority than ensuring test evidence exists for the hardware and the doorset. Building control regularly signs off on non-compliant solutions fitted to escape doors. For example - I have visited a number of hotels where I have found general electric strikes fitted to the doors leading from the escape stairs. These are linked to the fire alarm and intended to fail unlocked when the fire alarm activates, however as they are not designed for escape doors and do not release under any side load these would not release to allow escape if there was any side pressure applied by either a damaged seal jamming in the door, a stone in the threshold or someone already pulling on the door before operating the green BGU. Completely unsuitable for the application and has not tested to provide an escape function. Under current best practice, regulations, and standards any electric strike would have to be tested and certified for use on an escape door in accordance with EN 179, EN 1125 or EN 13637 to be suitable. 95% (Appx Estimate) of electric strikes in the market are not tested to these standards and are NOT suitable for use on escape doors.
  • With regards to magnetic locks, one of the most commonly installed electric locking solutions available, there is a misconception that an escape door fitted with a magnet is a safe door. However a typical UK green breakglass, fire alarm interface, and magnetic lock system solution cannot be tested against any performance standard to prove its suitability for use as an escape solution. Each project installation is likely to consist of a different mix of manufacturer’s components and be interfaced and connected differently to any other project (and sometimes to other similar doors on the same project) and is, therefore, a bespoke system with no proven durability of the ability to release. Therefore the ‘escape system’ is of unproven performance and completely reliant on the quality of hardware used, the competence of the designer and installer, and the interpretation of the requirements defined by the designer to achieve safe functionality. We now have a performance standard that specifically covers this application (EN 13637) yet the construction industry and wider security industry completely ignore this in favor of the unproven solution, despite numerous publicly available documents which will refer to the EN standard.
  • With regards to the action asset types that you identified I firmly believe that equally as important would be to ensure escape compliance for the project. Getting people out of a building is a primary requirement in most applications, even in high-rise multi-occupancy buildings and in particular where an EACIE is installed to alert occupants to the need to escape. To achieve this safely requires reliable operation of appropriate hardware, which is correctly installed and designed for the purpose of providing escape egress.

I will review the defined requirements detailed in your email, detailed below for reference and I will respond with a formal reply in direct response to these points separately. I will try and get this to you before the meeting.

I would like you to provide your suggestions for what information/evidence the different stakeholder groups – development, design, construction, manufacturing and operations – might need to collect to execute their responsibilities to ensure nothing goes wrong and then, if it does, how the risk is mitigated.

Looking at this through the prism of evidence and therefore what needs to form the Digital Record for the Golden thread.

I will be attending the forum discussion and I have registered for a seat at the event.

I look forward to meeting in person and participating in the debate.

Neil Hughes

Great to speak with a likeminded person this AM and hopefully we can assist in your endeavours regarding Emergency/Panic Escape and Fire door Hardware compliance.

Our usual message is based around EN179 and EN1125 (2013) and the CPR for escape plus EN1634 for tested and certified product for Fire Doors.

However, there is also a 3rd standard BS EN13637 ( see below)

I’ve also attached details of our CPDs which we run regularly online and face to face if clients can get enough numbers together.

Pat also regularly runs the full day foundations course which can be found here Foundations Course | ABLOY for Trust

BS EN 179 emergency escape doors are applied to areas of a public building that are non-public areas with trained staff, such as a University Lecture building for example.

BS EN 1125 Panic escape doors are applied in public areas or assemblies. Assemblies are when we have too many people or are unfamiliar with the building. If a building changes its use at different times for example a school building is rented to a local Judo club on the evenings it will not have trained staff and becomes a public building.

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BS EN13637 Electrically Controlled Exit Systems for use on Escape Routes

We now have a third Escape standard !

This covers any door which is Electrically Locked that has to be Electrically unlocked to allow escape.

Key Points:

It is not new – Published in 2015

This will eventually become a Harmonised standard (hEN)

CE Marking will be Mandatory under CPR

Performance test applies to the WHOLE System

(System Comprises of Initiating Element, Blocking Element & Controlling Element)

Introduces Concept of Blocked or Delayed Egress and also has additional criteria that must be met.