Contractors are wrestling with serious challenges around quality of workmanship, in a cost-driven business environment, where low margins are the expected norm. The Hackitt requirement of creating the golden thread that connects the original specification to products that were recommended, and then what was actually installed, means that there is a need to deliver very efficiently- to avoid additional costs impacting on commercial viability. And this is all before we look into quantifying- and reducing- carbon footprint.

One of the key areas that the Construction Group tackles is to resolve the general reluctance to discuss and implement BIM within the industry, specifically within the construction phase.

Better Information Management, through design and during construction, which will allow for fewer defects, better quality, more efficient programs, and more sustainable and environmentally friendly ways of working, is clearly the way to go.

Q & A with Construction Group Leaders.

  1. What are the specific problems your group is setting out to resolve?

    We would like to resolve the general reluctance to discuss and implement BIM within the industry, specifically within the construction phase. BIM can be widely used in the field, although there are many contractors and more so housebuilders that have not yet adopted these new technologies

  2. What will be achieved by the resolution of each specific problem?

    Better information management through design and during construction which will allow for fewer defects, better quality, more efficient programs and more sustainable and environmentally friendly ways of working. Going from paper based solutions to digital for example, will save heaps of paper throughout the construction industry. Safer construction sites will be achieved by the use of BIM 4D and clearer more accurate drawings and data will be able to be accessed by all disciplines, remotely.

  3. What process will you employ to find resolutions?

    We are happy to continue research and development as well as push through the workstreams to produce resolutions and outcomes.

  4. How will you test each solution?

    Go out to other industry professionals to gain feedback and look to implement within our own companies. We could also test by showing other BIM4H groups and workstreams to gain feedback

  5. What specific methods will you employ to communicate resolutions to all stakeholders (Incl. BIM implementers, industry, customers, legislators & policy makers)?

    We are hoping for our work to be uploaded to the BIM4H website for all construction professionals to gain access to. In addition we would be happy to push outputs out to other working groups within the industry

  6. What KPIs will you use to measure the success of your a) your solutions and b) the effectiveness and reach of your communications?

    We would see what feedback we are receiving and then check the pros and cons given of each. Should this not be effective, and we do not receive much feedback, we would look to push through other channels and contact other professionals within the industry to help drive our ambitions in demonstrating work produced and discussed.

Construction Group Status

Chaired By: Paul McSoley

Date HighpointActionsAttendees

Pre-DCW Roundtable Input-20220505

GEORGE says that at the roundtables at DCW they will provide workshop participants with an A4 sheet of paper for each of the stages and they can write (inspired by the conversation) what are the key things that they think they need as a developer or installer etc. Secondly, to look at what do people do to those assets to prevent them from working? Examples: fire door being painted over (internally) which compromises fire safety, and also installing a new carpet which means the door won’t open properly, consequently having to trim the door on the base (causing a fire protection problem). Additionally, installation of broadband penetrating firewalls etc., people putting condoms over smoke detectors so they can smoke in the flat.

Having identified these experiences and recognising that a particular mitigation treatment has been compromised therefore there would be a great reliance on the smoke control system working.

PAUL WHITE adds that there’s also the issue of the doors used in the smoke control system not being fire door sets.

GEORGE states another issue is the escape process itself: how do people get out of the building? There can be a situation where a fire risk assessor doesn’t check an escape door because it is not classified as a ‘fire door’, meaning that people wouldn’t be able to get out (if the escape door is not functioning properly).

GEORGE says that the purpose of this session is to see from a construction group perspective what information the construction team will be looking for to ensure mitigating the risk of the spread of smoke and also to digitally record that it's been done. Paul Mcsolley has created a floor plan where he’s running the scenarios and George plans to have a drawing for each of the tables for reference and then they can write down any information that’s needed, Assa Abloy, the fire door manufacturers, will be attending the roundtable.

RICHARD FREER says the purpose of this is to partly showcase what Bim4housing is doing (maybe getting more members and publicity) and also to promulgate the risk-based approach to issues. The outputs (via A4 pages) are less important than the visibility. The group needs to define as much as possible in this meeting so it is ‘pre-done’ for the actual roundtable.

PAUL WHITE shows a diagram on screen (Paul Mcsolley’s floor plan???). It is a typical plan with regard to compartmentation and smoke control. There is a colour coded key relating to duration of time. There is different levels of compartmentation - between the flats its slightly less. The main escape route (which is the stairs) is 120 minutes, with some 90 minute construction inside it. If there is a fire the AOV will open to draw smoke out of the stair lobby. There will be a digital record of the compartmentation. You can check if holes have been drilled in the wrong place. Is the AOV the proper product? Is it the proper lift? Have the doors been modified? Do they meet the original design specifications? etc These are the things to be looked at for the digital record.

RICHARD FREER asks whether the clear guidance for these to be checked is actually followed. PAUL WHITE says it is not. It is guidance, not mandatory. PAUL says it's likely that a smoke control system has not been checked in 10 years. He’s found bikes and prams in smoke control shafts. Having a digital record is the first part (of dealing with all this).

CHRISTINE MILLING says that it may be able for each of the tables to print out what the purpose of the groups are…because otherwise, with the short sessions, it may be difficult ‘not to go down rabbit holes’. RICHARD agrees, saying it needs to be very tightly controlled.

ALASTAIR BROCKETT says the people who usually do procurement for local authorities/housing associations have never really been up to speed on fire requirements. Their first priority is budget management (because the budget is so limited). Because of procurement agreements they may buy products that are not adequate for the purpose. Do the fitters know how to adjust it etc.? In terms of records, fire risk assessments should be done every year.

You can asset tag anything you want (with QR codes), even fire doors. When it's scanned it calls up a photograph of the original installation.

RICHARD asks ALISTAIR ‘in terms of the construction group, what information do you think you need to supply? ALISTAIR says that depends on the particular asset. It’s about granular information (as Richard says). MARTIN ADIE thinks it’s a development from what you get at contract handover or hand over from the designers. If that’s been done properly you’re halfway there,. And you have to understand the maintenance regime that’s gonna be required going forward. If you own the building, you need to know how to look after it.

RICHARD says that what keeps coming up is the change management side of things: as soon as you change something, changing something totally changes the dynamic.

JERRY COLLINS believes that any operatives that are engaged in carrying out any work in a communal area should be fully briefed, competent, and possibly certified to work in an area including fire doors. RICHARD says this issue of 3rd party certification often comes up at roundtables.

PAUL WHITE agrees with ALISTAIR that all the fire stopping needs to be recorded the fire dampers need to be recorded, and the components of the smoke control system. If a specialist inspects these they will have an app (similar to what Alistair described) with pictures from multiple viewpoints/damaged/open & closed - there could be up to 9 photographs for a fire damper. The key thing with the fire risk assessment/any other reports is ‘these are the actions you’ve got to do’. The amount of time it takes for anyone to take action is up to them, it’s their decision as its their risk assessment.

MARTIN ADIE is hoping to attend the roundtables in person. PAUL WHITE, as a mechanical engineer, is here to help make sure that the right data is captured and not leaving anything out. ‘The program of putting it right is going to be a long, painful and expensive road.’

JAN STEPHENS asks what exactly will happen at the roundtables. PAUL WHITE says they’ll look at it from the different workstreams, to have a look at the diagram and everyone will work through that and see what information they would need in a BIM system to allow them to address the specific points of each part of it from the point of view of design/operations etc. That gives an idea to the BIM people to know what information they have to capture. It’s a discussion group.

Richard Freer - Icefire Portfolio

Jiss Philip Mukkadan - BIM4Housing

Paul White - Ventilation Fire Smoke

George Stevenson - ActivePlan

Mike Richardson - PRP

Harshul Singh - UCL

Christine Milling - L&Q

Martin Adie - Balfour Beatty

Jan Stephens - Hill Group

Jerry Collins - Richmond and Wandsworth

Alastair Brockett - Hilti



GEORGE highlights the fact that there is cross disciplinary engagement in each of the working groups. Underneath the working groups are the work streams which tackle individual tasks. He then gives information about the activities of the various working groups.

RICHARD gives information about the BIM4Housing website. He shows the construction group subsite. After every meeting the leaders of the group will get the video/transcript/high points of the meeting which they can send out to attendees/non-attendees with any action points put on it. Engagement with the website is encouraged.

RICHARD shows the BIM4housing Black Box site which includes 6 sections. The ‘lessons learned’ section provides solutions to problems (photos included). The ‘publications’ section includes all the reports that have been produced, available for download and comments can be made.

GEORGE shows information about the potential implications on developers and constructors of the Defective Premises Act. He says the group needs to work on satisfying the needs of the new regulator, to develop and provide structured digital information. This information needs to be ‘intelligent’ and machine readable, as opposed to PDFs which have to be interpreted by people (with potential mistakes). Of particular importance is the moving away from specifications being performance specifications after work stage 4 to having to be prescriptive.

For the construction group, Gateway 2 is the critical gateway in the golden thread for the regulator requirements. A handover certificate will not be given unless it can be proved to the regulator that the building is going to be safe. At gateway 2/work stage 4 they will expect the design to be complete. The process taken (which has been published on the website) has been to look at things from a risk perspective.

Within BIM4housing there are the duty holders (working in housing associations and local authorities) who have the legal liability to make sure that buildings are safe. Also, the Tier 1 contractors who want to try and address ways they can help their supply chain supply them with better quality information.

Different people have got different ways of looking at information and what we are then doing is bringing that together into the BRE Templater. We are standardising the way product information is being created so that we can use it in all sorts of different ways.

‘On the 19th May we’ve been asked by BIM alliance to run five round tables to track a particular risk (spread of smoke through different asset types)’. GEORGE wants to prepare for this over the next few weeks.

MARC BRADFIELD talks from a Tier 1 contractor perspective about completing stage 4 design (the end of the process) ready to be submitted at gateway 2 is so far removed from what most people are used to doing: the majority of schemes have a heavy overlap between stages 4 and 5. He’s worried about the design program being squashed down at the front end.

GEORGE points out that the UK BIM alliance guidance is problematic (despite being good work) as it’s too high level and no one has the time to go through it and understand it.

ANDY MULLINS: ‘nowhere have I about any opportunity for us to have early engagement with the building control body that the building safety regulator may appoint (or as a body itself) prior to gateway 2. It’s a huge risk to have a fully completed design without any engagement prior to gateway 2. There’s going to have to be a softening of these government restrictions (because construction delays cost money).’ He says the staged approach the government hints at is useful.

GEORGE: ‘we’re becoming a regulated industry and the impact of that regulation is huge. The regulator will be reluctant to sign off (on a project) without good quality information. We’ve applied information management to a traditional process (this has to change).

PAUL McSOLEY: ‘we have to understand as a group all the questions we should ask ourselves before we give it to them. We tend to rely on someone else to give us advice (e.g., the manufacturer).’

PAUL CONNOLLY shows the Building Safety Landscape Group.

ANDY MULLINS, in response to Paul Connolly’s slide the Building Safety Landscape Group) makes a point about how things should not be overcomplicated. He compares the complexity with the mere 4 regulation changes that were instigated after the sinking of the Titanic.

PAUL McSOLEY says they’ll have to change how they procure because you can’t keep postponing it until it’s too late (and you’re at the fitting stage). (You have to apply) early engagement of products.’

GEORGE asks if there are any ‘data geeks’ who would like to get involved with the Templater tool and if so they can be included in the work being done on that in the design group. CHRISTINE volunteered.

ASIF will sit on one of the tables at the Digital Construction Week.

GEORGE: ‘we’re approaching things is a point of view of what’s the risk? What are the mitigations that might alleviate that risk? And also, looking at what is a system. A system might just be compartmentation, but a system could be the whole building. We want to get to a situation where the interrelationship between elements can be simulated so that we can ring the changes and use that to show the regulator that we’re delivering a safe building’.

RICHARD will send out an invitation for a couple of weeks' time on a Thursday morning. the work stream on change management needs a couple of representatives from each working group. Paul McSoley and Jan volunteer. Paul is taking over as co-leader of the construction group.

PAUL McSOLEY is going to work on rearranging the purpose groups, follow them through the different tasks, so that there is a better flow.

Richard Freer -Icefire Portfolio

Maxine Beadle -Willmottdixon

Asif Mirza -Berkeley

Jiss Philip Mukkadan -BIM4Housing

Marc Bradfield -Bouygues

Paul Connolly -Mace Group

George Stevenson -ActivePlan

Jerry Collins -Richmond and Wandsworth

Paul McSoley -Macegroup

Andy Gordon -Metropolitan Thames Valley

Paul White -Ventilation Fire Smoke

Jan Stephens -Hill Group

Andy Mullins -Hill Group

Chris Hall -Siderise

Christine Milling -L&Q

Lysa Nicely -Origin Housing

Christopher Ogbogu -Redbridge

Andrw Scott -C-Tec

Paul White -Enfield Council

Sharon McClure -Avesta

  • George: how do we compare one product with another product? Testing regimes are different for each standard. And what is each product tested against?
    [Tom Cannon, hill construction, left working group, so George is leading this session]

  • BIM4HOUSING six working groups. Development, design, construction, manufacturing, advisory, operations. Construction working group not all constructors but various relevant specialties to combine knowledge.

  • Idea of individual groups is to focus on a particular topic and then they can relate across the board. Each group meets once a quarter.

  • WORKSTREAMS work intensively, take instructions from working groups and do things eg on SUSTAINABILITY or ACCESSIBILITY, then workstream is closed.

  • WORKSTREAMS: Data, MMC, Fire Safety.

  • DATA STANDARDISATION WORKSTREAM WORKED WITH MIM4HA, BRE and others, machine readable data critical (we cannot rely on people only) we make sense of different standards by working with BRE who have a free resource called Templater so we can gather together all the information /attributes and provide it to product manufacturers who can then describe their products in a standardized way.

  • SUSTAINABILITY WORKSTREAM GROUP report being produced by Cambridge University academic (phD). Purpose: to understand what community was doing in terms of sustainability – using a questionnaire presenting roles, type of project, what relative importance of sustainability in your work etc. Then fed back to Cambridge University to create final report.

  • Will merge this with new group: ZEROCONSTRUCT. Purpose: members of wider BIM community will also contribute.

  • MMC GROUP engaged with design working group to look at various aspects from an MMC perspective to be delivered through better practice. (38 mins)

  • Also Supply Chain Sustainability offers free training material.

  • Liability on Developers and Contractors increasing to 30 years. Responsibilities for defective premises act seem to be changing, we are trying to tackle this.

  • BUILDING SAFETY BILL we need to be looking at structured digital data, we need to have in machine readable way so non-COBie attributes can be tested.

  • FIRE SAFETY WORKING GROUP questionnaire with all information re data to inform a safety case. Working with 360’ photos and Specifications. Purpose: What information will be needed to clear gateway 2 then gateway 3?

  • Change management – are products that are being supplied are actually satisfying the performance requirements. Therefore, when something does get changed it will be picked up, so that procurement goes smoothly: what gets ordered is what gets delivered. So there is a correct record of what is installed. All registered by experts in each field.

  • Purpose: all stakeholders can see the same data but see only info that is relevant to them.

  • MASTER RISK LIBRARY, a standardized data catalogue- it is part of the fire safety group. One can go into each asset and can create more managed data.
    (End of George ~46:23)

  • Term (data scientists): ONTOLOGY something being used in a different context. E.g. if you have one type of product has to be used differently in different environment.


  • Martin: Golden Thread Tier 1 IQ group have done 3 meetings sharing experience/ understanding/ knowledge, now about to split into 3 workstreams, will now drill into exercises/tasks.

  • Mark: conversations about data and understanding it. Link between earlier stages and the gateways. How many people have validated stage 4 before moving on construction stage 5? In Dec 2023 we’re gonna have to be working with gateway 2 and gateway 3.

  • George: it’s important to have sustainability/accessibility information at, for example, work stage 3 even though you will not have the serial number until work stage 6. The Templater enables you to do this, to know which actor should do what action at which time.

  • Mike: important that constructors get the info they need to actually build the buildings. How much data is really useful and how much data gets in the way?

  • Asif: going round and round in circles with pre-construction element. (1:02)

  • Martin: we have a responsibility towards clients, who are not responsible for knowing – we are- the experts.

  • All data needs to be machine-readable. Danger: the fragmented data problem. A following-through process from start to finish. That s the purpose of BIM4Housing

  • Responsibility Matrix: knowing who is responsible for what data. A common way to access risk.

  • All the data standards are made by private companies, competing entities. How do we unify these? There are 800 standards in building regulations. George wants to identify what are the 3 things we need to know about for e.g. a fire door if we want to buy it/inspect it /install it etc. How can we take this complex set of knowledge and make it consumable?

  • TEMPLATER: BRE have made videos re what it's about. If you have a smoke detector it appears in different Uniclass tables but you have to know where to choose from. So based on what you want to do e.g. maintenance you go to the relevant one.

Fionn O'BRIEN -Bouygues

Nick Leach -Sir Robert McAlpine

John Locko -L&Q

Asif Mirza -Berkeley

Mac Muzvimwe -Arcadis

Andy Scott -C-Tec

Charles Morriss -Kingspan

Chris Hobbs -Graitec

Mike Smith -Bailey Partnerships

Dwayne Florant -L&Q

Bex Gibson -Livewest

Sue Wilbraham -Metropolitan Thames Valley

Sharon McClure -Avesta Group

Lysa Nicely -Origin Housing

George Stevenson -ActivePlan

Richard Freer -Icefire Portfolio

Marc Bradfield -Bouygues

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