BIM4Housing: GET YOUR QUESTIONS TO LEVELLING UP COMMITTEE MEMBERS

BIM4Housing: GET YOUR QUESTIONS TO LEVELLING UP COMMITTEE MEMBERS

GEORGE …get a coordinated industry response to all of the requirements. So, that’s me.

HOWARD HALL I’m a director and head of the safety management of Tetra Tech, formerly WYG, encompassing in the UK Horley, RPS, Coffey and NDY. So, with some property consultancy going from greenfield through to managed estates. I look after what we call the insurance governance, the CDM and the overview of the fire safety and the compliance services. I’ve been talking to George now for a couple of years about the integration of BIM software and the ability to demonstrate assurance and governance for the Building Safety Act. I may come across as a slight cynic, but I think I’ll be in good hands here on the basis of the lack of secondary legislation and guidance, I find quite astounding.

I’m ex-enforcement 1min 21secs, then I saw the bright side and went into commercial back in the early 90s. So, I like the law, but at the moment I’m struggling with trying to understand how we are as an industry supposed to advise clients and also achieve the safety that we all want. So hopefully, I think my purpose is to try and give you the commercial tilt, but also the way we’re approaching it as a business and our interpretation of what we believe the law is to date.

DAVE WILLIAMS I’m from Origin Housing. I come from an IT and business change background about 2 1/2 years ago was asked to lead and program manage the building is safe for future program at Origin. Since then I’ve been involved in looking at all aspects of complying with both Fire Safety Act and the Building Safety Act and tying all of the disparate work streams together across the entire business. So not only is it just focused on everything being done by the building safety team, but that all areas of the business from development through to housing services through to asset management through to compliance, property maintenance, all understand that they have a role to play in managing the processes involved around the two Acts, but also in making sure that the data is available, accurate and timely. So, that’s my role here.

CHRIS WATERMAN I’m a primary teacher from the late 60s. I got involved in fire safety after Grenfell looking at personal emergency evacuation plans. I then tracked the draft Building Safety Bill and produced a plain guide to that to help the politicians. I updated that for the Bill and in the Summer I produced my plain guide to the Building Safety Act. No interpretation of it, but my unique selling point is I suppose I’m an expert in Parliamentary process and legislation having been in the Commons and the Lords for some 25 years. And so I attempt to justify the ways of God i.e. the MPs and Peers, to man. I also, I’ll take off my high-vis vest in a minute, but I think it’s the people who wear high-vis vests with their boots on the ground and frequently up to their ankles in mud where we really need to communicate with them as well as the CEOs and other glitterati on this call.

RICHARD Just a couple of housekeeping points. Use the chat, please, we’re recording this meeting and we produce a highpoints document afterwards which will be sent to all of you, and that will include comments made in the chat. Secondly, we’re going to start momentarily going through these questions. We’ve had a lot of response from a number of people, I see Jarek there with some excellent other questions, which will all be pulled together with what we come out with today into a document which will be published and pushed forward to the DLUHC committee and to the HSE. After the second or third question we’re going to have an intermission where there will be audience involvement, George will be running a series of polls.

Question 1, now this is for DLUHC, as the transition arrangements for new building control requirements are being implemented, some of our colleagues have experienced challenges in engaging with local authority planners and Building Control who have concerns about their current competence to deal with high-risk buildings, particularly on buildings that are being remediated. This is delaying progress on these schemes. Where the Regulator outsources the gateway review to approved Building Control inspectors is there a potential conflict of interest that could lead to an application being refused or delayed because more paid investigatory work is required? That’s quite an interesting one, I think there’s two parts there. Dave, do you want to step in and give us your view on that?

DAVE WILLIAMS Yeah, funnily enough I had a very similar conversation yesterday around the fact that, particularly when submitting safety case reports the way that the safety case reports going to be charged is based on a set fee plus an hourly rate. Now, there is an argument there that there is a potential conflict of interest from those people if they then have to outsource some of the building safety case report work to external people, that there is a conflict of interest in the number of hours they’re likely to want to charge as opposed to the actual work involved. So, you thought of your hands were a bit tired? tied? 9mins 17secs as far as the cost of external people doing work on applications, not only in planning but also when it comes to safety case reports, and I think that is a concern across the business. We all know that there aren’t enough qualified people out there for all of this work that is likely to come forward, so there is a risk that they’ll be a small pool of people making potentially quite a lot of money because of this new regime.

CHRIS WATERMAN The problem, and I’m quite used to reading some of the stuff that’s coming out, there is a huge shortage, and I’m working with Jarek on this, of diagrams. If we saw exactly what the process was in a nice infographic, and who was involved, at least we could all be talking off the same song-sheet. And the huge confusion, and it’s not just to do with this particular issue which is a really knotty one, but it’s how do we put simple questions, or rather clear questions, to get clear answers. And I’ll talk about diagrams on and off throughout the morning.

HOWARD HALL It’s interesting to note that the Building Safety Regulator HSE put a tender out six months ago looking for additional resource subcontracted to actually assist in the assessment of safety case reports. So, they’re trying to be proactive during this transition period. If anyone attended any of the HSE weekly briefings that they did up until October, very interesting in the sense it gave you access to their thinking, but also a lot of people left with the opinion that it’s still a work in progress. There are clear transitional arrangements supposedly n place where if you’ve got foundations in place it remains in the local authority, if not it goes to the Building Safety Regulator. Our concern is that there isn’t the competence in the Building Safety Regulator at the moment to actually assess, it’s a new assessment scheme for the safety case and there is always the fear of fees for intervention at £128 an hour to actually assess, review or intervene.

So from that point of view the advice we’re trying to suggest to people is that you need to look at what competent in-house resource you’ve got to demonstrate the structure and the fire safety. If it also means that you look at additional AI (Approved Inspectors) or Building Control regulation resource, it may be useful if you’re the size of a business that can accommodate that. If not, you’ve got to be extremely careful. There is a PAS document that came out in July last year which gives you some indication for the PD role, so there is some information out there. The key thing now is to assess quite clearly how comfortable you are with whatever you’re going to submit, and in the absence of any guidance I think the impression is going to be a case of suck and see and its going to be a learning curve for the next 3, 6, 12 months, while the BSR get themselves in a position where they can provide further guidance. I don’t necessarily like the situation, but that’s the situation we’re in at the moment.

CHRIS WATERMAN Have you got the number of the PAS at your fingertips?

HOWARD HALL I’ll put it in the chat anyway, but it came out last year and this is the other thing I wanted to mention. Obviously there has been a revision last week to the building regulations, so there is now a new Principle Designer role called Principle Designer Building Regulations. So, the Principle Designer under CDM 2015 looking at the health & safety significant risks. There is now a requirement for the PD to also look at the building regulation compliance level of any designs and as-builts that have achieved for gateway 2 and gateway 3 and that’s based on the PAs document that came out in July last year. There was a consultation document, most people commented that they didn’t think it was feasible, but it has actually just been implemented.

I can talk about that later if people wish, but there is information there, the key thing is just map exactly what you do, do like a gap analysis, in old words, of where your capability is and where you need to outsource. But then you need to be extremely careful on the demonstrable competence of whoever you’re using and the problem here is that because there is no strict guidance or templates then if you’re not careful it could be an open chequebook. That’s a concern that we have as a consultancy as well, because we like to be transparent with costing. There’s a couple of other documents i’ve got which I’ll send over to George and Richard so they can sort you out after this meeting.

DEBBIE Just picking up on Howard’s point (and I put it in the chat) we have got AI capability now that can profile competency, can take the PAS standards and make them machine-readable and aid gap analysis, that’s possible now. What we have is a group of people leading a lot of these competency working groups and an industry competence committee that seem to have no desire to encourage technology to play in this space. It’s a big problem, so I’m happy to do a session, it would be much more sensible if this was done collectively, rather than each organisation picking this off for themselves. But right from the beginning I went to Graham Watts and said there is AI available now to deal with all of these competence standards. And now it doesn’t matter if you’re at the installer level it’s even worse because everyone is building a new competence framework on another competence framework, so more and more noise and chaos into the system. It’s absolutely crazy.

GEORGE I’d be interested, we’ve got a couple of designers and architects who I imagine will be considering the new PDBR (Principle Designer Building Regulation) role. Joe Stott, is it something that AHR are considering?

JOE STOTT Yeah, I think we’re looking into it. Interestingly I think maybe it’s more our building surveying team who are looking into this kind of work, but it’s all up in the air at the moment.

GEORGE I’ve spoken to a couple of architects who’re taking this role on and one of the things that they’re building into their process is, because clearly they’ve got competence in terms of the architecture side of things, but there’s obviously other things like structure and building services and the like and therefore that needs to be considered. S what they’re doing is working out how they can verify that information. I’m talking to a lot of people to try and understand this particular question as to what the building control person is going to be doing because the impact on gateways and the impact on landlords being able to continue for the building to be occupied are severe. And I agree that we need to have something clearer and more explicit, that it’s not a checklist but it’s something we can maybe have some pre-prepared solutions for that allow people to navigate through this.

So what sort of scenarios and what sort of things are people going to be asked about, because then it means that people can be prepared because, for example, if we consider O&Ms, the handover information that’s required under Regulation 38 is really important stuff. It’s not just fire that’s important from the health & safety point of view, but if we just zone in on Regulation 38 that’s something that could be quite easily checked. And if we then drill into one subset of that, like fire doors, we’re finding that the quality of information that is actually being gathered, even though all of the briefings and explanations have been done over the last couple of years, we’re still finding no records of who installed things on brand new buildings. So installation and inspection information just hasn’t been collected, or if it’s been collected it’s not easily available.

So, I think we need to have some mechanism whereby the landlord can check to make sure that they’ve got the information that’s needed before they embark on having somebody review it, otherwise as Howard was saying earlier it could be an open chequebook. And obviously overwhelm whoever is doing the checking.

ANA MATIC I wanted to answer George’s question about architects delivering PD BSA role. We are ready to start delivering and we’re starting to work on a couple of projects, it’s early days yet. And in terms of competence we can’t claim to be able to judge competence on matters that involve engineering, so we’re teaming up with engineering companies to be able to deliver that. So, when it comes to MEP and structures and anything else that’s very specific for that project, we will have to bring somebody on board who can then work with us to deliver that.

HOWARD HALL If I could just add to that, there’s been a couple of recent briefings over this and it included Rickes, RIBA and the main professional bodies including representatives from HSE BSR, and it was quite clear that they’re expecting the organisation or individual who is classed as the lead designer on any project, bearing in mind that PDBR applies to all building projects, not just the high-risk, to actually take responsibility and accountability for this PDBR. In other words, confirming that the plans, designs, revisions as-built are in accordance with all relevant legislation in the ‘building regulations’.

So the professional bodies are currently creating registers for competent PDBR delivery, so one of the competence checks that individuals can do is they need to make sure that when they’re appointing lead designers, whether it’s a lead architect or a lead designer if you’re doing MEP, civils, others, electrical IT, any lead designer needs to be on their professional bodies register for the PDBR. So there are some checks and in the next couple of weeks I’ll provide some more briefing documents through to this group that we’re doing internally.

CHRIS WATERMAN If I could respond to Ana, I’m glad that you’ve found a silver bullet, but you’ve obviously come up with a process where you are engaging the people you need to support you in delivering. Is there a diagram of that process that you’ve gone through and would you be prepared to share it? Because the big issue, Ana, and I’ve been taken to task and I’ve taken to task some of the really big companies where in one instance they had mapped every bit of the Building Safety Act in terms of changes that needed to be made to their contracts. I said would you share it, and there was a deafening silence. And the problem is that this major company, they’ve got a whole team that done that, how does an SME or a medium size company go through that same process?

PAULA CHANDLER I was just wanting to touch on the point of lead design because that’s something that’s very close to my heart. We're finding inconsistencies across our dealings with consultants about what the true understanding of the role of a lead designer is, and we're even struggling to get our consultants, our lead designers who have signed up, got the fees for the lead designer role as well as the architectural services, to actually come to the table and coordinate the deliverables of the other consultants. So, there’s a gap here, I think. First of all are we fully aware of what the role of the lead designer is in old money, and are we fully aware of what the role of the lead designer is going to be moving forward in the context of now this Principle Designer Building Regulation outfit.

I’m particularly interested in Ana’s view as well because it’s really encouraging to hear that they are taking this seriously and we get the shutters come down from many an architect who doesn’t want to take on that risk.

HOWARD HALL One of the practical steps that can be done is that the Principle Designer under CDM is supposed to coordinate the health & safety risks of the design process and as-builts with the design risk register. And should be created at the different RIBA stages and updated. So, one easy solution to an extent so you can try and demonstrate compliance is that you add building reg compliance to your design risk Register so you can then track against the individual disciplines. Now obviously what the new legislation is implying is that that should be the lead designer role, but in the absence of a lead designer or the lead architect understanding, appreciating or delivering if you add it to your design risk register you then ask all of the design team and all those people contributing to the design and the revisions in RIBA 5 to confirm that those are in accordance with the relevant legislation and specifically building regulations.

What you’re trying to do with the client, because obviously the default for this legislation like CDM is that if you don’t appoint in writing then the client will take the default responsibility is demonstrate that you, as a client, have actually asked individuals and they’ve confirmed that it’s compliant. So there is the mechanism in place, but whether that’s a self-verification or it’s a valid statement is down to the individual to make, but you as a client at least have actually asked the question and can demonstrate that you sought competent response.

TINA MISTRY Regarding 86441, I know the implementation of 86441 is helping us in our delivery of the Building Safety Act, is anybody else looking at the same process? It’s not totally out there, but we’re making it work for retrospective work.

GEORGE Certainly we’re incorporating 86441 in what we’re doing.

TINA MISTRY I think it’s also helped us to define the role of the Principle Contract Designer, so from contract administrator down to the Principle Designer, the clerks of works, down to the main contractor, subcontractor and the full process mapping of who’s taking responsibility of even checking the most simplest thing. So for example when a sprinkler tank is installed in we’re asking everyone to create a blueprint of how that work is going to be conducted, who’s checking at what point, the methodology of how it’s going to be checked in terms of whether it’s photographic evidence or date and stamped. Which is working it through in terms of what we think is best, it’s good to see if anybody else is doing anything similar.

RICHARD OK, please reply to Tina, put it in the chat and we can include that. We need to move on to question 2. This is a question for DLUHC, as part of the new ADB changes we’d like more clarity on the specific purpose of the new second staircase. In the absence of any other technical guidance there are varying interpretations and design solutions emerging on new schemes. This continues to keep a project at risk of non-approval until reviewed by both Building Control and LFB later in the design process, potentially adding costs and delays. Likewise, when do existing buildings trigger two staircases? If there are redevelopment works ongoing and application is made for a building warrant, for example, is there a risk that an existing building triggers a two staircase requirement? Chris, can we expect any further guidance on that?

CHRIS WATERMAN I’m not sure, and there’s huge debate still about whether a second staircase is the best solution and we appear to be outliers globally on not having a second staircase. But will the further detailed guidance only emerge when the Building Safety Regulator decides to approve, or not, a building.

RICHARD So the guidance is by default, you’re saying.

CHRIS WATERMAN Well, this is the problem that our system is built on not doing something and then somebody, either a regulator or the court, deciding it’s got to be done. And that’s a very painful process and not the best way of going about it. I cannot see DLUHC issuing any detailed guidance.

RICHARD OK, that’s a takeaway. Any other member of the panel got something to say on that?

DAVE WILLIAMS No, not really, other than it’s a very valid question and one that needs answering. It definitely needs some guidance because it has an effect on builds that are already in progress, ones that are in the pipeline. It does have an effect on the profitability of buildings if you take some space that you were looking to use for residential units to put it in a second staircase. So, it has huge implications and really we should be expecting to get guidance rather than just you’ll do it. So it’s a valid question, I don’t think anyone here has probably got an answer to it.

RICHARD No, and from what Chris says we’re not going to get that guidance.

CHRIS WATERMAN Just to say that we are 12 months off a general election and I think that as we all saw yesterday the government has other priorities.

RICHARD Lets throw that out to the floor, has anybody else got any comments on that? Do you think it’s a valid question? Do you think it needs qualifying or adding to?

DAVID JONES Second staircase is fine, it’s specific, it’s all about means of escape, it’s not a grand entrance and exit place like the main staircase, it’s a secondary means of escape (usually downwards). So possibly could the definition of what is required, we all know what’s required, it’s competent people have got to actually design buildings competently so they’re going to perform to specification. At the moment we’re seeing some horrendous situations with the uncovering that fire breaks, fire barriers, smoke barriers and all this have probably been omitted, haven’t been put in the right places.

So we cannot now rely on the integrity of the containment of fire so we have to have escape route from buildings. So rather than second staircase, it takes me way back to many decades ago, we always used to in local authority when I was dealing with schemes, secondary means of escape. And that will incorporate staircase, but it also will incorporate some of the modern means of escape: the tubes, the nets and all of these sort of things. So it opens up a whole area of research and i think BIM4Housing as a group could explore this.

CHRIS WATERMAN I think the second staircase was an outstanding political soundbite. I’m not sure if it’s any more than that.

GEORGE I spotted something 3 or 4 weeks ago on Linkedin where a designer had come up with an innovative type of staircase that carried both ways.

DAVID JONES Yes, I looked at it, it was great. It’s like a Rubik’s cube, a staircase worked together in the same space, quite clever.

RICHARD So there is stuff out there, it just needs exploring and putting forward to the right people.

BEX GIBSON From a retrospective perspective I don’t believe, because that’s what I deal with is existing HRBs, it’s not something we’re considering because it’s for new buildings, so I don’t have a lot to say about second staircases.

ANDY CUNNINGHAM There is a fantastic example of an entwined staircore that’s in Barnet Homes and it’s called Upper Fosters. It’s an amazing piece of cicil engineering or building construction, it entwines itself, wraps around itself, so you don’t lose any square footage on the shaft. It’s a great example and it proves that it can be built quite easily and simply and it creates two protective route for two hours with concrete construction. It works absolutely well and it’s already been built, in 1968 I believe, so it’s been there for many years and still protecting people to this day. So maybe that’s a model that can be quite easily adopted and moved into the market place very simply, if we’re going to go down the fire design engineering rout for twin staircores.

BEX GIBSON I do remember the reason why this was brought up, there’s a certain level of redevelopment that’s required on the HRBs and it’s whether under Building Control or the new regulations there is any trigger on the work that is undertaken in the HRB that would require a second staircase to be considered as part of that. It’s not overly clear, but there is a building control element to it so I’m just asking that.

RICHARD I think we’re saying the question is certainly valid. Let’s move on to question 3. The guidance for safety case reports states it should be updated when improvement work is carried out to manage building safety risks. Incomplete or incorrect information about safety critical systems and assets present a significant risk and should be included in the safety case report. As we understand it there’s general acceptance that existing HSFs and their supporting O&Ms are poor is no defence and the responsible person needs to state how they will address major short comings. Initially in their latest fire and risk assessment for that building and in as-built records. Give that this will be a progressive improvement, just as the physical replacement of cladding or fire doors should lead to an updated safety case report, should improvements to the existing key building information about safety critical assets also trigger and updated report?

GEORGE This is really speaking to the fact that the safety case report is an output from a safety management system that needs to be a live active system that is constantly being refreshed as risks and mitigations of risks are carried out. Now what this is doing is identifying, in the amendments that came through in August there is a requirement for the landlord to confirm that they’ve got all the relevant information about fire safety assets. And invariably, quite frankly, they don’t and they have to identify what they’re doing to correct that and it’s no longer acceptable that health & safety files or O&Ms are poor. So, what this is basically saying is if somebody is improving the information maybe about compartmentation then that should generate an updated safety case report. It’s a matter of looking at things, not just from the point of physical improvements to the building but improvements to the digital building.

HOWARD HALL My only comment would be whereas the health& safety file and completion of a project is as-is and here is what you need to review and manage as significant risks. The safety case report should just be seen as a live document as to how you are managing those risks. You’re making an assumption that the building you’ve been given is compliant and safe and the safety case report you submit for occupation will highlight the variances of resident occupation and behaviour. And then really if your management systems, resident engagement, mandatory reporting if need be just needs to be a live document and most people are viewing it as a live document. So there are criteria where you need to update and you need to report, but it should just be what’s your management system for managing adverse behaviour and/or structure or fire safety issues within the building as an ongoing on the assumption that what you have is sound and acceptable.

CHRIS WATERMAN I would agree with that, it needs to be a live document, but there needs to be a way of recording the amendments to it because anyone coming to an amended document, unless they can clearly see the amendments they’re going to have to start from scratch.

HOWARD HALL If you take any management system, if you’ve got any sort of ISO or whatever system you want to operate you’ll always have a bibliography at the front where you will log all of your changes. And the beauty of the safety management system that you’ll have in place a safety case report is that you’re just going to be logging the incidents that you believe are significant or have materially effected the safe occupation of that building. And as long as you keep that log going, as long as they can see a remediation or a planned action towards that remediation that’s your demonstrable governance that you need to provide back to the BSR should they believe it’s mandatory reporting or it’s an incident or a complaint from residents. So to me there is nothing different from any other management system that you operate where you keep an active log.

RICHARD Let’s throw this out to the floor, has anybody else got some comments on this?

MATT HODGES-LONG I’m just going to pick up on what’s just been said. I don’t really think this is a question, it’s written in the legislation what you need to do. This is a material change then that would fee through from mandatory occurrence reporting or complaints into a revision of the safety case in terms of mitigations and then that would lead to an updated report. What isn’t clear at the moment is what level of update to the safety case report tiggers effectively formal notification to the Regulator. So if I change somebody’s telephone number is that material, it’s a bit like mandatory occurrence reporting, there’s a clearer view now on what is a mandatory occurrence.

What is a reportable update to the safety case that requires formal notification to the Regulator, because I think at the moment it’s worded very vaguely around almost an everything kind of wording, but I don’t think that’s going to be practical. So that would be the clarification I would want, is it a time-based update? Is it a materiality-based update to the Regulator? What do they want to see from the PAP would be my question.

DAVE WILLIAMS Just on this, to delineate between the safety case report and the safety case, the safety case report is a snapshot, the safety case is the live management of that building. So therefore when you submit that safety case report, as part of that you have to show that you’ve got a safety management system in place to manage ongoing risks in that building, otherwise you won’t get your certificate. So basically they’re looking for a safety management system and they do say you can use the HSE model which is Plan. Do, Check, Act which is a cyclical review all the time of changes to that building, management of that building. And that would include things like an updated fire risk assessment etc, ongoing maintenance and servicing, all of that follows that cyclical path.

They do say that you can use other options like 9997 or ISO4501, but the idea is that you have to have a safety management system, we’re not talking an IT system we’re talking a business system of managing the risks to that building. What they are saying is it should be proportionate, it should be managing maintenance, inspection and testing, it should be measuring and checking on management of change and it should also be performance monitoring as part of that safety management system. So the idea is that in theory you send your snapshot which is the safety case report which then evidences that you’re managing that building and that you’re going to be managing that building safely on an ongoing basis.

And therefore in theory a safety case report doesn’t need to be resubmitted or re-changed for that five years unless you’re then doing something which is a major change to that building which of course would then go through Building Control etc and then you would need, post a major change to that building, an updated safety case report supplied. And then the mandatory occurrence reporting, I’ve been spending quite a bit of time on this, but when you read the guidance it is about something like an incident that’s occurred which…the basic guidance on mandatory occurrence reporting is out there, it’s probably not massively publicly available yet, but I’ve seen it and it will explain the differences there and what is an MOR and what isn’t.

DAVID SHARP The last person talking pretty well hit it on the nail. It’s very similar to anything that’s maybe possibly regarded as special premises, like some of the nuclear facilities, defence facilities, where we carry out an assessment, prepare reports and the building is signed off for occupation in use by a specific authority. I think we could get maybe a little bit thinking this is new stuff, but this type of governance has been around for a long time. I think it’s an education thing because we have gone through it after the Callum? 51mins 27secs Report for the oil & gas industry, we went though a lot of it with the nuclear regulator and the defence regulators with various facilities. So this is going to take some time, this is not an immediate, yeah, we’ve got a solution to this whether the Regulator or government thinks so, this will take time because it’s a big education thing.

RICHARD Absolutely, but by recognising that the issue exists and putting it forward to the right people hopefully that will accelerate that. We’re going to now do the audience participation round.

GEORGE Some of you have already been involved in this exercise, we had a session earlier in the year looking at what we need to perhaps consider in terms of questions. So for example how do we prevent incorrect design, selection and installation of fire safety products? We held some workshops at Digital Construction Week at Excel in the summer and then following on from that we brought together information that we’d collected from a decent group of experts to come up with some suggestions as to how we might overcome those things. So what we want to do, we produced the quite rich inputs that we’ve had from the various different people, but what we’re now trying to do is finally peer group assess those so that we can feed those into the Regulator as well.

So the questions that we came up with was first of all what’s on the screen at the moment. We then looked at how do we ensure the continuity and relationship of asset safety information through the asset lifetime. How do we ensure that the building safety data is live? And also how do we ensure that the problems with incomplete building services design doesn’t impact on construction. Over the next few weeks we’d like to set up one meeting for each of these questions and we’d like to see if the group here have got any interest in either learning from what other people have said about these things or contributing their ideas.

RICHARD The question is would you like to get involved with seeing what other people have already come up with or contributing to the answer to that question. It’s a yes or no answer, if you click one of those. The next question: How do we ensure continuity and relationship of safety information throughout asset lifetime? Are you interested in getting involved with that? Yes or no. Next question: How do we ensure that the building safety data is live, not simply an outdated snapshot in time? Just click on the screen, yes or no. The last one is how do we ensure that the incomplete building services design does not impact construction? If you want to get involved in that click yes, if you don’t click no.

GEORGE Part of this is the challenge of building services being done in work stage 5 and having therefore an impact on compartmentation and fire walls.

RICHARD OK, we’re on question 4 which is a question for the HSE and BSR again. Is there any further guidance available in determining who the principal accountable person should be? Sometimes this is clear, but for very complex lease arrangements this can be challenging, especially where the organisation responsible for the maintenance of the external envelope and structure is not willing or competent to take on this role even though they carry the liability. Likewise, given the impact of changes to Building Control and to new Duty Holder roles, especially overall responsibility of the client/developer/landlord/owner, Principal Designer and Principal Contractor roles, is there further guidance available? Well, it sounds like available, no. Chris, is it correct that there isn’t further guidance available?

CHRIS WATERMAN Yeah, I’m not aware of it, but again a suggestion. I’ve taken off my hi-vis vest so I’m now operating as an air head rather than a feet on the ground, but if somebody was to put a flowchart of what they think the existing situation is and send that to the BSR and the HSE to say is this correct, that would then, to some extent, paint them into a corner. They would have to either agree that the diagram was correct, in which case we’d all know, or they’d have to disagree with it, in which case they’d have to come up with something that was the case. So somebody can say this is what e think is happening according to what we know so far from you. Is this correct?

HOWARD HALL The problem you’re going to have is, because we pushed the HSE on when they had the open FAQ sessions on this and their default position is that principal accountable person and accountable person are clearly defined and therefore the key responsibility is the person who is in ownership or is in control of the building has a default of the accountable person unless they demonstrate that it’s been delegated based on lease or duty. So from that point of view I doubt they’ll actually be more definitive on the basis that you’d have a logic tree that would have so many thousands of questions based on different scenarios of leasehold and FM or third-party appointments.

The key thing there is to push the owner, if it’s a leasehold, into the point of being the default principal accountable person with tenancy having accountable persons. If you’ve then got third-party maintenance that’s still reporting to the owner, and that’s their default at the moment as it’s stated. it’s not written, it’s only a verbal confirmation, they’ve been very careful on these FAQs not to put anything in writing. So from that point of view I think it’s a dialogue that needs to be had with the owner of the building and then the individual tenants. The tenants need to take accountability for the accountable person of their own demise and then the communal parts need to be that of the owner. And that’s their standpoint at the moment, I don’t know if that helps or muddies the water further.

CHRIS WATERMAN I just think then if somebody was to write down what they said verbally and send it to them and say is this correct, did you say this, that would be progress. And secondly I think the decision tree wouldn’t be an oak, it will be a little bit of a sapling to get the essentials out.

DAVID SHARP Just to follow up on that, my experience of the Regulator or various Regulators would be that their default position would be that you need as an owner to have a system in place that manages the requirement of the legislation. It’s worth a try sending something to them, but past scars say that they’ll bounce the question straight back onto the owners.

DAVE WILLIAMS I sat in a BSR meeting last week where they said that basically the one with responsibility for the structure and the exterior of the building, if there's more than one AP, becomes the principle accountable person. They did say should you get down to the point, and our organisation has been through this with one of our buildings where we had to get the legals involved. The recourse should you not agree on who is going to take the responsibility as principal accountable person, there is a tribunal which can decide, and I think there’s been one case so far that has gone to the tribunal. How you go down that path, I’m not sure, but that’s what I was told in that meeting.

MATT HODGES-LONG I just put something in the chat that this question should largely have been resolved by the 30th of September because that was the date for all of the buildings to be registered that were in occupation. So anybody that hasn't been through that process yet with an occupied building is actually committing an offence. So it seems like a good question to clarify, but one that should have been clarified in the past, not the future. I don’t know how many buildings, because the BSR haven’t confirmed how many have actually made it all the way through from that initial go on to the portal and start saying I’ve got a building through to the end of the registration process. So I think that would be for the committee to tease out the structure of the 12,182 buildings that have been identified as to what stage they’re at and how many people are committing an offence for either not getting to the end of that process or not even registering their building in the first place, what’s the delta. But arguments over who the PAP is should have happened a long time ago, not now.

GEORGE I think there’s a lot of things that should have happened a long time ago, isn’t there, Matt?

MATT HODGES-LONG Yeah, but it was clear, it was clearly unclear but it was clear there was a problem to solve because everybody knew they had to get registered by the 30th of September, albeit that was late to roll out people knew the registration questions they were going to have to answer, not the KBI questions. So, I’m not sure it’s a live question now, unless everyone is sitting here and saying I’ve got lots of applications stuck because I can’t work out who the PAP is and I need clearer guidance.

GEORGE Are there any landlords on the call that maybe are struggling with that at the moment? These are questions, Matt, that have come out from the working groups, so it’s clear that some of our community aren’t clear on that. Which as you say it’s probably not more guidance that’s needed, it’s probably just collectively helping us understand that.

DAVID JONES I have a second home down on the South Coast, it happens to be a 6-storey block with a penthouse so it became an HRB when the legislation came in. Why is it important? I’m just a leasehold shareholder, but when I went to an AGM a while ago, they heard that I was a chartered surveyor and they said would you become our Director. I said no, sod off for a couple of years, but it was a holiday home for the family. I’ve now ended up a few years ago as the Director of the management company that owns the freehold of the block. A few weeks ago I got a notice to say the managing agents had made me the responsible person for an HRB, so not only am I an institute director within the thing, but I’m also experiencing now being the responsible person.

The government have written to me and said you are the named person. We’ve done the registration properly, everything is happening, and we’re preparing the safety case now with consultants, chartered surveyors that I’ve known for a long time. I could have done it myself I suppose, but I thought there might a convergence of responsibilities there, so I’ve left it to somebody else. But it’s all happening quite well and I’m very pleased that we don't have any flammable cladding on there, it’s a brick-built concrete building built in the 60s on the South Coast. Matt Hodges-Long, we used that as an example to look at a model for HRBs and digitising all of that.

So hopefully we’ll be updating on that, Matt, we’ve gone through a few managing agents since then, so there’s been a bit of a problem there. So collecting all of the information and putting it all together, that will be quite useful going forward to meeting all the dates and deadlines. I shudder to think what’s going to happen to those that haven’t even registered and those that are going to have defective safety cases when April comes around, it’s going to be money spinning fines.

RICHARD Let’s hear from any HA/LAs on the call, how are you managing? Silence. Question 5: The definition of ‘higher risk’ buildings is different for the construction phase to the operational phase. This creates complexity with the golden thread information gathered during the construction phase as it’s not always relevant to the operational phase leading to more complex document and data structures. It is too early to tell how challenging this might be. However, has this issue been considered as part of the definition process?

CHRIS WATERMAN I don’t know, but which information gathered during the construction phase is not relevant to the operational phase. Now if it is less then you’ve got the golden thread for the construction phase and can you not then identify what is not always relevant to the operational phase?

GEORGE The work that we did on the Golden Thread Initiative and we are continuing to do is picking up on some of this. I’ve not looked at this question, but thinking about it, in answer to your question, Chris, there’s a lot of design information and specification information that is collected during the construction phase which from an operational point of view, although it’s useful, it’s not something that you’d typically be keeping up-to-date and using because it may be a performance specification that has been already interpreted and delivered as part of a solution. And therefore it’s the information on the solution rather than from the original specification that is really a critical part of that part of the golden thread.

HOWARD HALL The key thing here is that whilst you’ve got the health & safety file completed at the end of the project on handover to the client, I think the guidance to most people now should be try and ensure that the safety file actually includes the key Building Safety Act elements of the fire and structural safety element. So that if there’s any significant risks that have been identified as part of the as-builts as opposed to the submitted and approved designs then those need to be captured because they’ll have operational requirements. If during construction on the as-builts then it is purely as per design, then it’s purely down to the operational controls which is down to the O&M manuals which should be included.

So there needs to be probably far greater scrutiny of the health & safety file that’s produced at the end of the construction phase for the client to ensure that any significant risk with regard to safe occupation and the key criteria that the safety case is looking for, so fire and structural integrity, are actually identified so that they can flow into your safety case report and your operational management. So, the mechanisms are there, it’s purely changing the mindset of those who often see the safety files as purely a document process and the safety file should only be the as-builts that lead to the operational O&Ms so it can be safe occupation in use.

So, I don’t see too much trouble, if it’s digitised, great, there is no trouble at all, if not and if it’s the typical sort of digital file but it’s the paper copy equivalent then it’s just a case of noting them down and this is where the PDBR and the PD under the CDM regs needs to sort of concentrate on what the significant risks are and any impact on safe occupational use.

GEORGE That brings me to one thing that our smoke control and ventilation experts fed into us just this morning. That is as part of the safety management system at Howard? 1hr 16mins 02 secs then the elements that are…as I say the smoke assets and the ventilation assets, they need to be included in that process because those are the things that are probably going to be modified and changed over the period of the life of the building.

HOWARD HALL Most people are using like a gap analysis tool just to check either existing building or new build against the key criteria for the safety case report and as long as that then becomes almost the new agenda for the health & safety file reporting or a separate section I think that’s the easy way of demonstrating governance and effective transfer from what is the design delivery into occupation. So if you are a PAP I’d be looking for some form of statement and confirmation of the key safety case elements of structure, integrity and fire to allow me to arrange and devise my management system that relates to what I’m inheriting. And obviously the significant risk should be pulled across anyway as part of the normal process. So it’s really just amending what we have in place as a procedure but giving it specifically a reference to what the safety case report needs to state and then the ongoing safety case management system needs to demonstrate.

MATT HODGES-LONG Just a quick one to say the question clearly says the definition of higher-risk buildings is different for construction and operation. On that point I'm struggling to understand what that difference is that's being referred to. All I'm thinking of without the legislation in front of me is whether, with the inclusion of things like hospitals and barracks etc that are excluded from Part 4, but is there another difference that I’m missing?

RICHARD This came out of our development group, actually.

MATT HODGES-LONG I’ll put my hands up, I don’t understand the question for that reason.

TINA MISTRY I think I agree with Matt, the question is not very clear. I think when we refer to high-risk, if we look at some of the subset secondary legislation coming through they’re already referring back to 11, 18 metres and below. That question doesn’t quite make sense.

RICHARD I take your point, we’’l throw that back to the development group. I’ll close it there. The first four questions I think we’re in agreement are necessary and with a little tweaking…

CHRIS WATERMAN Can I have the penultimate word. Infographics, infographics and infographics. I am absolutely bemused, and I’ve got an English degree and writing is my drug and if I can’t understand what’s coming out of government how on earth can the average person.

RICHARD Absolutely, I totally agree with you.

GEORGE So, if we can perhaps as a community pull something together that you can maybe refine, Chris, then we can feed it back.

RICHARD So, we’ve got four questions that we’re happy with and a fifth that we need to relook at which is good work for the afternoon. Hopefully we’ll be seeing a load of you in December for those four meetings, failing that happy Thanksgiving Day and have good three months until we’ve got our next major even which will be in February. Prior to that starting in January we’ll have our regular working group meetings which we’ll keep you all informed of and hopefully you can come along. Thank you very much for attending.

CHAT

David Sharp

Building safety case. are we clear with what is a safety case and the content of the report

Jon Griffiths

One of my biggest concerns is the cost to the industry of delays arising from delays arising from the Building Safety Regulator approval process. This is going to claims from Developers against the BSR?

David Sharp 

Info graphic is a great idea, we have come across the same in defence and nuclear...

Jon Griffiths

I think the charge scheme for the BSR is £144/hr plus any costs of any relevant authorities of third parties. https://www.hse.gov.uk/building-safety/charging-scheme.htm

Debbie

Howard, there is workable AI to aid competency profiling and matching

Rene Van Zwijndrecht

EPR has been preparing for this role and Dieter has been involved in this guide. I could reach out and get him to talk to this?

Hall, Howard

PAS 8671:2022 - PD Specification

Ana Matic

Thank you Chris

We don't have a diagram yet - but I'd love to develop one. Will share once available.

WATERMAN, Chris

Is BIM - or anyone - able to create a library of docs similar to the RIBA publication.

Process mapping! Great.

Muzvimwe, Mac

Hall, Howard do you have a link to where I can get more info on "PDBR" please?

Rene Van Zwijndrecht

There is talk on Fire escape lifts attended a BSI talk on this yesterday. EN81-76

British Standards Institution - Project (bsigroup.com)

Paul Sheedy

And is 2 staircases for a 62 floors acceptable - with 13,000 occupants?

Ben Blackwood

The "Scissor Stair" is not well supported from LFB as compromise to one stair compromises both

Simon Collery

PDBR information linked to here: https://informsurveying.co.uk/insight/building-regulations-update-new-principal-designer-role-from-1-october-2023/

Ana Matic

Answering Bex's question - change of use probably.

Jarek Wityk

Second Staircase  - We have combined sufficient knowledge for the solution of the staircase (many good options); clarity is needed for the trigger when it is required and why. Then we can match engineering solutions to the particular scenario/problem.   Its more of a Legal Requirement trigger/compliance issue.

Matt Hodges-Long  

I have something to say

Jarek Wityk

Incomplete or incorrect information – who is responsible for accepting the information provided – The process should include checking if the information is correct and what the process is if it's not correct.

David Rowson

The design of single staircase residential high rise buildings is sound.  The design has been in place for decades and has worked-as has the stay put policy. The quality of build, refurbishment and maintenance is the issue.  I do not foresee the addition of a staircase unless change of use or the addition of floors.  Unless of course your Building Safety Case report requires it and then I might want to review such a document.

Often the required second means of escape mentioned earlier could have enabled a resident different routes to the same single staircase.

Bex Gibson

A BSC Report should always be up to date as the day it is created.

The Building Safety Case is the living body of information

Simon Collery

I think it's the BSC that needs to be up to date, the Report is a snapshot.

Ana Matic

Sufficient maintenance and update of the Safety Management System brings the big question of skill and competence.

Debbie

Ana we can profile the 'process' and determine competency requirements

Rene Van Zwijndrecht

We have a project where sections of the estate are being worked on and others are existing and occupied. So, the Report is a mix of constant changes and its status. I think you should be able to show the current state even if there are no updates when new updates will be completed. Agree on the snapshot report. (apologies no Mic)

Liam Wheatley

Just returning to the previous question around second staircases, if the majority of hrb's have a stay put policy in place. Does this reaction from the Gov to design in second staircases into new builds contradict itself, the idea of additional evacuation routes when the normality of evacuation is to stay within a compartmented area.

Matt Hodges-Long 

Don't forget the ongoing requirement to update Key Building Information within 28 days if it changes. Still awaiting confirmation from BSR as to when and how they will be offering the technology to make this happen.

Simon Collery

Mandatory Occurrence Reporting overlaps with RIDDOR, so it's not as mysterious as it seems.

David Rowson

Unfortunately, residents do not abide by the stay put policy and when there is a fire there is a 'free for all' to get out.  This massively complicates firefighting operations when the fire service and residents are utilising the same stair.

Ron Burns

Self-preservation will always override rules an regulations. With that in mind the Rules and regulations should be structured around providing safety when humans react in their self-preservation mode. When we see a lion we run. people will not stay put in a fire.

Jarek Wityk

this is not what happened during Grenfell Tower fire, unfortunately far too many people were told to stay put, and they listened to the advice, and it turns out they had much more chance of surviving if they didn’t.

Simon Collery

All occurrences and incidents should be recorded by the authority, some are mandatory, some voluntary, some to be reported through MORS and RIDDOR.

WATERMAN, Chris

Can we use an existing wheel? and transfer some of the learning from other industries?

Dave Williams

MOR also covers incidents that could have implications for significant loss of life or injury

Simon Collery

I think what makes them mandatory is their implications or injury or loss of life, RIDDOR can be for diseases and the like, but they may need to be reported through both.

Jarek Wityk

I add to the ‘stay put’ policy which was a major factor in the outcomes of the Grenfell Tower fire. One of the problems was for emergency services to communicate and assess the progress of the fire, which impacted the understanding of risk. What I am saying is the policy must be linked to:

  1. Design of cause and effect of building services
  2. ending up with a response in emergency cause and effect

Dave Williams

Reporting a mandatory occurrence - GOV.UK (www.gov.uk)

David Sharp

Who will hold the licence/approval for the occupation and operation of the building/asset.... CEO/MD?

WATERMAN, Chris

Has Grenfell  undermined 'stay put'?

Simon Collery

According to Peter Apps Grenfell has undermined 'stay put'.

Matt Hodges-Long 

Q4 should be largely moot as majority of blocks needed to be registered by 30th September and identifying the PAP was required for this. Key question is what happened to Building Safety Director consultation/duty holder role for RTM blocks

Rene Van Zwijndrecht

Debbie

Accountability is a dimension of competency as well.

Ben Blackwood

I represent a Landlord of 132 buildings.  We only had one building where this was an issue, but it was resolved quite easily.  I would be surprised if anyone is still struggling with who is the PAP

Mike

They were told to stay put by the remote telephone answering advice centre, who could not see the state of the fire development.

Simon Collery

Local authorities are going to be the 'legal person', so the role of PAP is fulfilled by the Housing function of the authority.

Matt Hodges-Long

@DavidJones, I think you have been ill advised. The PAP does not have to be a natural person as this should be your RTM company, you are likely to be a named contact.

Please remind the differences of HRB definition

Debbie

Hasn't Wales just published a new definition of HRB?

Simon Collery

11 metres or over for some legislation, 18 metres or 7 or more floors for BSA.

Fire and building legislation uses the 11 metre criterion.

AFAIK.

Rene Van Zwijndrecht

only a few fire trucks that can reach 18 meters in London. soon will be 11 meters

Mike

Needs to be an assurance, with clear statements, that the building specification and design has been faithfully followed, or, if not then where main changes have been made that can affect safety.

Simon Collery

Rene Van Zwijndrecht thanks, that's good to hear, a single set of criteria would be very helpful.

Paul Sheedy

The safety file has to be digitalisation. 5 weeks ago, on the 39th floor of my building there was a power cut, all fire evacuation lights went off. All 4 fire doors were locked. The batteries had last been changed 12 years ago. We have huge issues. My biggest issue is the building had no idea who or how many people were even on the floor. Flying blind sums up the issues the situation

Matt Hodges-Long 

Not good

Rene Van Zwijndrecht

don't think there is a difference purely the wip vs stage or decision milestone info

(2) External Fire Spread and the 18m Rule - is it time to change? | LinkedIn