PAUL McSOLEY (shares screen). Hopefully you got something out of Digital Construction Week, cause I did a little presentation which I'll bring up after we've gone through this actually, just to give you a bit of train of thought of where some of the other stuff's kind of heading. It was how do we prevent incorrect design, selection and installation of fire safety products.

RICHARD Just for me to be clear, basically over much discussion and the pre-DCW meetings everything was distilled down to four questions and each table answered a question. But also there was a lot of input prior to that, an online survey that people were filling out, so that has all been distilled into this document

PAUL McSOLEY The first question was how do we present it and this was the output from those questions, so how do we prevent incorrect design, installation and the rest of it. The output from that table was competent individuals should be trained for their specific roles to ensure planning and delivery of design and maintenance work. Maintenance personnel should also be involved in the planning process to handle unforeseen events. The right people with necessary competencies should be involved at the right time throughout the integrated part of the programme, procurement and construction. Strong quality assurance process, contractual agreements should be balanced cost and quality, supported by robust emergency response plans. It's always interesting you get at the table what sort of viewpoints that you get. A regulator should prevent companies from using uncertified products by providing clear guidance and compatible options. That’s gonna be an interesting one.

Thorough risk assessment, seeking advice with fresh tools, ensuring trained staff following codes of practise are essential for selection instead of fire safety products, so it's a bit more about competency there as well. Key measures for the fire safety, including employing competent designers, consulting with experts and authorities, using qualified contractors including quality assurance and asset management tools. Bloody hell, they’ve got 22 outputs! Jiss, go back to the beginning slides, that one there, how do we prevent incorrect design, selection and installation of firer safety products. One of the things with this is do we think, as a construction group, that the designers, as in the architects, the building services engineers and the fire engineers, actually understand the fire safety properties of products in the first instance? That’s the question.

STEPHEN COPPIN No, not all of them, by any change, without a fire engineer supporting them.

PAUL McSOLEY But even the fire engineer, do you think they understand all of the product classifications? The 54 items for a smoke control system they need to classify for products. The answer is probably no. Crack on a bit, Jiss, and we’ll look at the other questions that are there. How de we ensure continuity and relationship of asset safety information throughout the asset lifetime? I think the questions looking at the first is that do we actually probably understand all the asset information for each product? Because when you look at it you see that things like 8644 is talking about REI and you go that’s structure, what about EI, what about dampers, it’s ERV HO, C10000, ES. So it’s all different information that goes with those assets.

If you go onto the group for this one here, Jiss. Assets should be entered early into the common data environment or asset management tool, linking data/RFI to the assets using a unique identifier. Understand the information needs of the end users. Implement the golden thread principles ensuring suitable business systems and processes and clarifying ownership and responsibility around AI. You go, well, if you look at the golden thread for any selection of piece of equipment it’s building risk, space risk, how it’s supposed to operate. how it’s classified, what wall it goes in and how you install it before you even get to the quality insured to the installation part of it. So all those bits actually aren’t available in BIM, this is the point we were making on the day and at the last meeting with George. All the information that you need for doing golden thread and BIM doesn’t kind of exist in templaters anyway, so it’s not all kind of there, there is only certain smaller bits that are available.

STEPHEN COPPIN Yeah, project information requirements need to be set up and they need to link with exchange information requirements that go into what you’ve said here, the asset. There’s three things together there.

PAUL McSOLEY Just to answer Claire’s question, Richard, this has gone in the blackbox, hasn’t it? If it’s not in there I’m sure George will put it in the blackbox.

RICHARD Yeah, absolutely.

PAUL McSOLEY What I’m trying to do with this is do a bit of arbitration around actually when you look at it and say the questions that are asked and peoples’ viewpoints is that because these subjects are actually quite complicated. Fire stopping with pipework bears no relationship to fire stopping with dampers or smoke control systems because they’re just not the same thing. One is going through multiple rooms and is carrying waste water or domestic water or whatever, and you’ve got join material, insulation types and one is a device in a wall like a damper where the ducts break off of it. So, you’ve got one here: Increase company control over installations, improve inspections and audits of subcontractors, and avoid price-based contracts for fire doors. Create a centralised system accessible to relevant staff, assign responsibility for data management, and conduct regular reviews to keep information up to date. I think all this stuff is relevant.

When you go back to the original question: How do we ensure continuity and relationship of asset safety information throughout asset lifetime? My question always to everyone is do we understand all the key asset information for the product. At the moment I think the answer is we probably don’t. We only know an E-rating and an I-rating, possibly, we don’t know all the other characteristics of those products fully yet as an industry, we’re not there. Fire engineers aren’t there, because they don’t deal with product standards, they deal with risk and space and hose lengths and the rest of it. Not taking anything away from them, product standards are quite complicated. Architects don’t understand pipework, they’re not trained on materiality and pipework ad joining methods and how you insulate it. If you don’t understand that you can’t really pick a system for seals on a wall. Then you’ve got building services engineers, no disrespect to them as well, they’re not always in control of the type of material that gets used either and actually the extent to that system because sometimes it’s under CDP around some of the complicated subjects like smoke control and certain aspects like fire dampers.

RICHARD Something that has been consistent throughout is at every level, getting experts or specialists involved a stage earlier. It seems to be everybody’s answers on the table and beforehand, at each stage get people from the next stage involved at the stage earlier.

PAUL McSOLEY One of the things I was talking with George about at the last meeting is that if you take any example, a fire door is an example most people relate to, before you consider that part B element of the door which is the risk either side of it, because one side could be protected and the other side might not be a protected space which means you’ve got low leakage for S-ratings and things and resistance periods that are required, you’ve actually got to think what is the door there to do. Is it there for security, or is it there as a compartment door or is its function of security and fire secondary. And actually is there any requirement for it to have pull forces on it, is there something you need to do for DVA because if you’re going to buy a door and you’ve got all these other componentry to go in it like security, sheer locks, mag locks, mortise locks, whatever you’re putting into it and you’ve got power devices, you’re not going to get the part B right if those bits aren’t right in the first instance.

And the same kind of conundrum exists with things like fire dampers is that if you’ve got protected spaces you’ve got low leakage requirements, you’ve got motorised fire dampers, not just general fire dampers with a curtain on them. And these things can have an effect because it’s about air flow volumes through them getting restricted by opposed blades sort of MFDs, whereas if it’s a fully open curtain damper you’ve got full airflow. On our table the other day we talked about when you look at all this asset information through an assets life time, the first thing is actually what is it there to do because the fire seal around the pipe or even the sealant and resistant…of the doors is a function of that product to do another function in its space. If you get that bit wrong, then you get the other bit wrong as well.

Go back to the answers to this, Jiss, before I move onto the next one. Ensure the digital record starts at the design stage, we’d all agree with that. But again, if you’re going to start with the design stage we’ve got to make sure we know what it is we’re recording at the design stage, the function of the product, how it’s supposed to operate, then the stuff around supporting construction, the fire side of it. Allow continuous monitoring and comparison of past and current inspections or modifications, totally agree. Provide a digital platform for uploading and tracking asset safety information throughout its life cycle, including inspections and maintenance. I think if you look at all this stuff around digital records it’s no good taking a picture of something on site and going that door is installed perfectly as it’s been specified and the rest of it it’s actually been specified incorrectly with everything else and it’s actually the wrong function for the space risk it’s doing, because all you’ve done is recording that it’s a perfectly good door in the wrong location.

If you go onto the next question, Jiss. How do we ensure that building safety data is live - not an outdated snapshot in time? Scott Brownrigg and Ana Matic were on the table. Let’s look at some of the output from it. A robust change management process should be followed throughout the entire project. Change management, to be frank, if you’re getting Fire Safety Act and change management, general change management on jobs isn’t necessarily done very well anyway because when you look at changing of componentry around being adequate for the function it’s supposed to be working against you can sometimes find that the dreaded word of E? 14mins 26secs comes in and change management going from A to B, but actually the A was never right in the first place. Hopefully you go to a B that’s right, but if you don’t your going to a thing that’s wrong anyway, more wrong than the first one So, the change management process needs to be robust and to have the right level of competency and input to get it right.

Design a comprehensive soft landing approach including defining information scope, ownership, and processes for updating and managing information. If you looked at soft landings in relation to energy it’s about how yo think the energy was going to be when you purchased the building, so, how many kilowatt hours you’re doing per metre squared. The reality after is managing that difference between the two, because it’s a combination of how you occupy the building. This one here has got to be actually how you portray the information for the function it’s supposed to have been performing to actually then what are you going to do going forward to maintain it and actually understanding. I’ll show you some of the slides we had on the day from the process side of things, actually can you get in from a soft landings point of view to actually maintain things like the product seals and the product kit, like cleaning for access on dampers and maybe getting in risers to check mechanisms on doors. Can you get in the riser and actually put a door in to get inside the plant risers running up the building so you can check all the firs seals every year.

Improve assessments by implementing site enforcement, utilising technology like sensors, and creating an online portal for easy access. Regularly inspect assets through contractors or onsite caretakers and utilise technology like sensors to identify and report issues. Not to sure how that kind of works, but I get the train of thought. Ensure skilled resources are available to manage both physical and digital assets. That’s an interesting point because if you don’t know the products it’s very hard to understand that actually you’ve got the right asset information in the first place. Adequately manage buildings with technical professionals and ensure continuity of knowledge. Conduct regular audits to ensure compliance. I’m not going to read them all out, but you can kind of get the gist of the output from that table. If you go to the next question for me, Jiss.

How do we ensure that the incomplete Building Services Design does not impact construction? This is the table that I was on. If you go to the outputs on this. The design of a building should be complete before construction to avoid mistakes and uninformed decisions. Design changes should be minimal to prevent budget overspends. Rethinking procurement processes can help ensure a smoother transition from design to construction. It’s what you said earlier, Richard, everyone says the same thing, you need that specialist help early on in the process which is no different to what was said in the David Mosley report on procurement. Utilising 3D modelling, conducting gap analyses, detailed construction planning and engaging stakeholders timely can enhance the construction process. Again, 3D modelling can, but the risk with 3D modelling is that you’ve got to model the actual functionality of the whole product, all the seals that go with it and the wall, and how the wall works to get it right…3D modelling isn’t as simple as the pipes touching the walls, there is a bit more to it.

Fire safety regulations should be simplified and standardised to improve and prevent confusion in construction sites. That, i totally agree with because when you look at how complicated it is to get one damper or one door in one wall, it’s not a five minute process. Key steps to prevent design issues from impacting construction include identifying missing information, regular communication, site inspection, and maintaining detailed records. Construction should be halted until design issues are resolved and involving competent professionals and industry experts can enhance issue resolution. Procurement issues are significant risks that need to be addressed in the construction industry. Again, same thing around procurement, necessary tools and resources. Lack of coordination between building and M&E designs can lead to compromises and potential dangers. That’s probably the big one because all the products in one wall, the wall must be correct t house all of those products as a system not just you put a wall in, you’ve got to make the products work with it, because that never happens, unfortunately.

Information flow is critical, do we pass information between the relevant people at the right time to actually understand the decisions that need to be made, like a RACI format to get to the right decision that you require, because there’s different knowledge holders. The complexity of providing information is often underestimated. One of the points I made on the day is that when you look at the information that’s required for one door and one location, it isn’t just FD30, FD60, it’s a bit more than that. It’s more complicated because the function, the security and the DDA requirements as well. There’s a tendency to overvalue the market at later stages of the project process, while undervaluing the importance of information and products in the early stages. That’s a brilliant point, as well.

(shares screen). I want to share one of the things we did on the day. The questions we asked on the day, the responses were really good and I think when that report is formulated, Richard, we’ll have a good chomp through all of it because George did a diagram originally around the gateway points, which is at the top. When should gateway 1 be, when should gateway 2 be and where should gateway 3 be, because when you look at how the regulator’s going to operate, and we’ve all got different knowledge around what the regulator is apparently doing, what their view on the gateway stages are. One of the big things is they’re going to allow phased approaches for handing information over, which to me is probably one of the biggest risks because ho are you going to coordinate all these products together into a system approach is where the breakdown occurs. It’s always been about knowledge holders.

One of the big things George goes on about is building fire safety types and space risks because one of the things when you go through it and start investigating is that a store room in a hospital can have a different classification of space risk to a storage unit in a commercial office. And a commercial office with different stuff in the store room can have a different classification to another commercial office with a store room. It’s all about getting space risk right. You’ve got to be honest with ourselves, fire engineers do have a knowledge of space risk, but if the information isn’t handed to them to actually identify what the contents of that space risk is you’ll never see it. So, what these points in the bottom are is about how you get space risk identified, how you look at the system. So, the fire system safety, operational type, static, transient, dynamic.

Things like doors are a transient fire protection device because they open, they shut, they could be powered, people walk through them, they can open both ways. So, you can’t look at it the same as like a fire damper or a wall, a pipe collar or a glass screen, because it’s a completely static passive fire protection device. It’s not performing a function other than to prevent part B going through it. Obviously, you can see through glass, and dampers do airflow as their primary function. If that bits wrong the part B bit is wrong anyway. So, you’ve got to have a way of identifying how those systems operate. Smoke control is dynamic, takes smoke out of an area, takes ? 24mins 38secs rooms out of the top of a building. When you look at how you classify those products, the classification numbers are all different. A lot of doors are 476 tested still, if it was E then the classification number bears no reference to what a damper does, a duct does, a pipe does, it’s all completely different. Those numbers are completely different, depending on the products that are chosen to meet the safety case of the space. So, you have to break all these products out individually.

As I said at the start, fire engineers don’t know all these products, they’re all complicated in their own right. You get into building services engineers as well, they don’t really understand all of them either. That all ends up being CDP, same as the doors do, the dampers do, the fire resistant ducts do - you can see where I’m going with this. They’re not experts, the people who supply the systems, on the safety risk of the space because they’re relying on the fire engineer to give the safety risk of the space. It’s a big loop going around and somehow you’ve got to get to a point where you kind of nail it. When you look at Descriptive (QA) it does involve the wall types as well because unfortunately the wall is still a product in its own right, the same as a damper is, and it’s still got to be classified to suit that makes all the products that go through it all. So you might need some that need block work, some that need drywall, but the architect’s driven drywall onto the job for the structural design, but actually you need to put a block work or a brick work wall in.

These are the things that you kind of see, but it’s coming too late down the line. To be a bit controversial, I’m not sure bringing the supply chain in fixes all of it just yet, unless you get the data in the right order, because the people that supply these kind of products don’t do fire risk of space. So, this is the disconnect between those five points that we’ve got to try and bring back together. When you look at this diagram, there was two things I was trying to represent with George at the time, was that the asset information around all of these requires templaters because it’s bloody complicated and it’s a bit more than 8644 or EIR. You’ve got classification on these of pressure, of resilience, motorised C10000, you’ve got al the drop rods, everything else that goes with it has still got a number that goes with it for how you the template for how that safety information goes with these products, it’s all completely different. Then you’ve got to be able to install it as well, get access both sides, clean it.

So, that is a summation of how you get the quality assurance, and if you’ve not done that before you go into gateway 1 you don’t know how it fits, you don’t know how to access it, you don’t know if you’ve got risers that are big enough. These ere the common things, Paul, you’ll see it on site with steel beams across compartment lines, they’ve drawn everything going through the steel beams and you go you are going below them, mate, you ain’t going through them because it’s different test standards. It’s trying ti get a mechanism to drive all of this out and actually have the BIM data eventually that can support it, but I think we’re a bit off yet, getting those templaters done, because you need cross-industry agreement on it. But you look at things like digital records, that’s a summation of all of this. Once you know what the product is that you’re using to match that, if you go to a manufacturer and you give them all the information around that they’ll go this is the product you want to meet that, then you’ve got a known installation prescriptive of how you install it.

Then you’ve got quality parameters and workmanship, you benchmark it, you can do installation then you can do a record of actually how it’s installed against those products. That’s what we were talking about on the day as well, about how you get to that point, but without this at this stage you can’t guarantee the fit works, if it’s the right product and the appropriate space risk has been picked up…The change management process is that if you do something that effects this once you’ve set it to work the you’ve got to be in this world of a major change, there’s no other way you can look at it. If you change that classification number that’s got to be major because the ripple effect is huge. Once you’ve set this around the culmination of the products you’ve got to look at the ripple from every single product. So, if I just display this in a different order.

If you set the wall to be brick and block at 140 mil thick around all of these products that go in it and then you go and change something, you’ve got to go back and reassess all of this. Each one against what you’ve changed, because unfortunately you might find this affects the product that you’ve used from the other product types in that wall type. You mainly see it from drywall to brick, not the other way, but doors can be a bit of a nuance because doors have to be tested in both substrates whereas dampers go from that to that, ducts from that to that, pipework goes from that to that. Flues, you’ve got to do both, curtains, you’ve got to do both, busbars, you can go from that to that. So, there’s always different rule sets around it all, so, this is the nuance of what we’re kind of seeing.

We shared this on the day as well, we’ll make sure it gets sent out. It was to get a method of helping people and a common process strain to make things easier to spot about how you handle that information about risk class. If you look at dampers in their inherency…We’ve said we need a code of practice to get people to handle this information because as a construction group and a construction industry I’ve got a bit of sympathy for architects, building services engineers, fire engineers and suppliers and contractors. We’ve had another big contractor that’s gone bust recently, it’s just like the endless revolving churn of big building contractors that are going under and it’s all going to be in relation to getting wrong products in wrong walls and refitting out and fighting legal cases over it.

So, we’ve got to get to a point where the top understands what they’re doing and how they get there, the bottom understands how to verify the accuracy of what they’ve been asked to install, and the likes of the big contractors in the middle have got a mechanism to help that information get passed around. Because I don’t think there’s one key knowledge holder for any subject because every subject is going to intertwine at the supporting construction it kind of meets at, so you’ve got to have a method of doing it. There’s 7 types of frame types for dampers and you’ve got to have a way of installing them. You need access, somebody has got to do the seal both sides, you’ve got breakaway joints. It’s all different.

This one’s not yet, but I’ll show you this one as well because it makes it a bit easier to see. if you take things like smoke control systems, or even fire resistant ducts, you’ve not got a fire damper at each wall, you’ve got something that transients through the whole area of the building. So, you might have s system here which could be a kitchen extract, it’s one hour, so you do a one hour detail of that wall, but this room’s got a two hour protected space. That detail on the outside…it’s the type A we’ve got to protect against in here is going to trump the type AB test there. That’s going to be a different thickness of insulation to that room. The wall’s got to be the same as the two hour wall that’s been used for testing all the way through.

We’re trying to pick an easy way to do it, but the big problem with all of these things that we’ve got is when you start looking at things like smoke control dampers, that’s basically the BIM information you need for one smoke control damper and a wall. Not just the EI, S, you’ve got to look at what value of what do you want, what period do you want, is it manual intervention, is it manual intervention only without any sort of switching, which is basically controlled intervention. Is it vertical, is it horizontal, is it in the wall, what’s the wall thickness and the floor thickness, is it duct-mounted, what pressure is it tested at, is it inside to outside both directions, is it C300, 1000, what blade types has it got, is it single.

You’ve got to get all of this stuff recorded because it has an effect on the life safety critical nature of the product. You can’t take an opposed blade out and change it with a single blade, then you’ve screwed your golden thread already. See how complicated in kind of is. Me and George spoke at length about this, the bottom line is that you try and get all this stuff in a templater for BIM, someone has got to pay and get all of this language into a machine-readable way where we can agree it, because even the cause and effect of it is important because some are going to cause and effect open and some are gonna cause and effect closed and you’ve got to record it at each location what its function was originally.

And this is important because it’s about authority of control, it’s about how you control airflow rates from digital signals. It’s not just as simple as EIR and the rest of it, if you look at the BIM coordinated sheet in its fullest, it’s probably really mind-blowing.

ANDREW HOLLEY What comes across to me, not looking at it on a technical point of view particularly, is that at the moment we’re looking at products the way they’re currently designed, but perhaps because we know it’s complicated maybe they’ll be a case where product design will change to allow more flexibility so that less errors are going to occur, rather than trying to get this very complicated version in and making sure it’s right because it has to be very specific and how much more it will drive change in design so that it makes our life easier when you’re trying to pick something.

PAUL McSOLEY I think, Andrew, it’s a big point because you’re working for Tower Hamlets Community Housing. I think from your point of view the hard bit is that if you’re looking after a community asset like housing estates and you look at BIM, you’re probably 3 or 4 years away before all of this stuff gets sucked int to such a way you’ve got assets that you can look at and pull out and go, actually, just give me one of these to replace that.

ANDREW HOLLEY We do simplify it. What tends to happen is a builder who is going, blimey, it’s complicated to build a high-rise now, all right then, we won’t build a high-rise, let’s build 2 low-rises. We make it simpler because it’s achievable rather than going let’s make it complicated, so let’s take all of that complicated stuff out and put a simple thing in. So, there are ways around it, rather than trying to say how are we going to manage all of this data, it’s easy, don’t have all the date because we have simpler stuff, because everyone is happy with it. Like, oh, how are we going to manage the different fixing methods for this type of cladding on the wall, f we have to change the fixing screws are we sure, or, just don’t put the cladding on and we simplify it that way.

PAUL McSOLLEY The only thing this rule set doesn’t apply to is cladding. I’ve got think about the best way to display, I’ve got Siderise on in the background trying to give me a bit of help on how to display it. But for any product that penetrates an internal wall, the same kind of process applies. It doesn’t matter how tall or small you go this problem isn’t going to go away because when you look at risk categories of space, look from residential, you’ve got either push-pull systems in corridors or you might have natural ventilation systems for smoke control in corridors, but there’s still a product range that comes with it under smoke control which is a product range you cannot avoid. You’re right, a lot of the builders go it’s getting more complicated because we might need two staircases rather than one, oh, you say shrink them down then. If you’ve got 1 staircase or 2, if you’ve got an ill-designed smoke control system it wouldn’t matter if you had 3. I’m not sure it’s going to make anything safer by having 2 staircases if the other things around it are wrong.

I totally agree, Andrew, how we give that information, at you’re level you won’t be interested in this, you just want to see a sheet that says this is all the key attributes to that product that was installed and if I want to replace it, I just want one of them to replace that. That’s the bit we’re trying to get to where you have a technical sheet that says give me that number for that location, that’s all I want. And the wall type is this, and it’s been recorded because you’ve got it done by summation, just supply it to me. Because otherwise you can’t do the net part of it. We display this because when you look at the top we’ve got to get this kind of bit to work better and some of that, early contractor engagement I think from DCW is really important, but I think it’s only going to work if we give the right platform for those specialists that get brought in to look at it and go how do we display the data in the first instance of what you want to see and do we know all the attributes and the risk classes of the spaces, can you give it to me, and then everyone is talking in the same language. At the moment, not everybody is talking in the same language, that’s part of the issue that I’m seeing. The education between all the different disciplines isn’t completely aligned.

ANDREW HOLLEY And also it’s very hard for anyone, you speak to a builder and they hardly understand what a fire alarm is or how a damper is, everyone is specialist in their area and relies on other specialists to fill in the gaps. An architect designed the building and says Mr. Fred, can you tell us what I need to put in here, or i want to put a thing in here, can you tell me what is the best product and then they say you want to fit one of these. But what you said about it being phased, I don’t think it is phased, I think as much as possible everything needs to be designed very much upfront so that the regulator can check that everyone’s the bit of their own kit works with everyone else’s bit of kit, which is what you’ve been saying. And so that the changes don’t change too late and then it’s too late to do anything about it because the wall has already been built and it’s the wrong type of wall. So, the idea is to get it all done upfront and check that everyone else is happy with everything else, that no one is interfering with someone else’s kit, which is what you’re pointing out here. And it has to be done with everyone in the room, almost, saying yeah, if I change this it’ll be fine I think the problem is is trying to expect everyone to understand everything just is never going to happen.

PAUL McSOLEY No, it’s not, and that’s why I think simple diagrammatics make it a bit easier for people to visualise. No disrespect to the regulators, when we did some of the original consultations they were talking about the skill and building control and we said, I’m not being funny, the guys I used to do it with, Mike Smith, Stuart Sanford, John Cromwell, they were getting on in the late 90s/early 2000s. We’re now in 2024, but that skill gaps huge, so the knowledge probably isn’t there around all of these product changes which essentially kicked in with CPR 2013. The two entrapments I’ve always seen is that you design a structural building, you put all the steel beams closer to the compartment lines because it’s easier for drift, torsion and shear, but actually it doesn’t work for compartmentation, it’s inherently flawed because nothing can go through it. If you don’t pick that up at the design stage, because the designer doesn’t understand products, and the regulator goes we’ve seen enough information on your structure at gateway 2 and your piling, you’ve missed the boat already, it’s game over because you’re then stuck. The bit you’re trying to prevent, and so am I, is actually missing the point on that part there.

The other thing is around things like horizontal compartmentation because…this is credit to Tower Hamlets building control at the time, we used to talk about the scenario with risers running through buildings in the vertical plane and forgetting that you’ve got to put temporary ones in there as you go through which is a bit of a minefield. If you go from a below ground risk or a different user risk and the riser is connected up the building the problem is you have two people at the riser at one time and you’ve just breached the whole compartmentation. So we always used to go through those scenarios to make sure that the horizontals are in the right place, that’s something that doesn’t tend to go on and you end up people put riser safe systems in when they should be compartmented and because they’ve not realised they’re compartmented to get all the stuff in it the riser is 50% too small because all the seals need certain spaces to get them in.

I think those kind of entrapments are still going to exist, but that’s the thing we see at the moment anyway, so i’m not sure that’s gonna get picked up by a regulator because no one is picking it up at the moment because of all the complications of it. I’m not sure the regulator is going to understand all of this just yet, it’s gonna take them a period of time to catch up as well. We need to help educate everyone, top, middle and bottom of this as well. My biggest concern was the reliance on BIM to pick up all of it, it’s probably wrong, because to get the templaters right is a bit of time off because we’ve got to agree the ontology of each subject to get it into a templater.

ALAISTAIR BROCKETT I think it’s clear but bamboozled by the quantity of this information that’s gonna have to be put together on this, I don’t think everybody fully understands.

PAUL McSOLEY No, I’ve had conversations about this saying you’re all heading for digital records, but it’s no good of having a record of what’s installed if you don’t know it was appropriate to put it in the first place for the combination of all the components and the wall being ample in its own state, not sliced up like a Swiss cheese.

PAUL WANG Thanks Paul, that was a really good presentation. Quite mind-boggling listening to you and going through it I was struck by the complexity of the whole subject. It’s a thing that I deal with day in and day out, a lot of aspects of the stuff you covered in your presentation. I think I saw some of the points in response to those questions were about the complexity of the whole current system. There are efforts at the moment to get around it, get some solution to that which are all admirable, commendable and probably the right thing because that’s the direction of building construction and technology and regulation and requirements. It’s unavoidable that it’s gonna go down that route where we’re gonna just have an accumulation of data of all sorts that’s going to be required, that is probably eventually how it’s going to be resolved. But you kind of reminded me how complex the whole topic is because I’m from an architectural background and then I’ve gone into BIM and construction for the past 10 years.

I remember a few years back when I was still in architecture when the building control organisation regarding fire, it was getting complicated already at the time (10 or 15 years ago) and they were changing their approach to the fire regs part B related to be a more wholistic approach because there were so many little regulations regarding escape routes, fire compartmentisation, sprinkler systems, smoke extraction systems, escape route materials, a lot of the stuff that you mentioned. They were saying that it was better to have a wholistic strategy for fire rather than just that’s your built form, how are you going to make it fire safe. There’s a start from thinking about a sensible approach, a strategic level of design. I think that’s something to be looked at seriously with the history of the past 15-20 years, that really does need to be considered, as well as the stuff that George has been doing with the golden thread and the development of technology.

All of these things will contribute to the solution, but as you’ve brought up looking at it holistically sounds like a great idea, this is talking about not just fire stopping. The rules around those things are changing all the time anyway, but like you mentioned fire doors, windows, openings, materials, floor junctions, walls interfaces, materials of all sorts, it’s complicated. It’s going to be a tricky one to navigate. From my perspective, we’re struggling - when it’s already a struggle just to get a schedule of all the passive fire stopping on a project, I’m at the moment having to go through 5000 lines of data for our fire stops. To achieve a holistic good quality piece of information that’s going to be of use years down the line as the assets in operation, it’s almost like the holy grail. We’re very early on in that challenge.

Just to add to that, the number of specialists involved is only increasing. It’s not in any way simplifying or becoming more straightforward, it’s becoming harder and more complex. So, it’s not only with the MEP designers, subcontractors, specialists, we’ve got separate specialists in ventilation, electrics, security, smoke detection, as well as structures architects, specialist designers, interiors etc. These have all got to coordinate and contribute to this process, I don’t see how they can avoid it.

PAUL McSOLEY No, you can’t. Paul, you’re absolutely spot on. First of all, I did a process for how I think designers should behave, like a code M, we’ve got to a point about how you handle information. It doesn’t say how to make it right, but how you should behave around passive fire. Then I did the process around dampers to reflect it, and that kind of works. The I did some stuff on pipework, because I wanted to just verify pipework from what I know from the test standards because I always suspected pipework would be harder than fire dampers and every was like, no, it won’t be. I’ll lay it bear quickly because I think when you look at things like fire doors and the rest of it we all think they’re going to be the most complicated ones. (shares screen). When you look at pipework, that’s the same material all the way through that wall both sides for the whole connection through there, that’ll be a CC connection, tested CC, closed-closed. If I’ve got a joint within 500 for that wall that’s classed as UC, but the joint if it’s not welded, not metal flanged, if it’s crimped, push fit, it’s classed as UC. You’ve got to test it with one end open, the other end closed.

If you’ve got a change of material from, say, steel to plastics, that’s probably a UC connection as well. The you’ve got to look at the fact that do you have an insulation on these pipes for thermal connectivity issues like LTHW or chilled or rainwater because if you have that seal then needs to be continuously sustained. What I’m saying is when you start looking at the number you need to classify pipework against it’s actually that, not is it combustible, non-combustible on a period of time, resistance period. It’s a bit more complicated than just that number because the supports, the fixings, the access is still from both sides. And everyone goes, oh, you can do it from one side and you go how do you maintain the vapour seal, how do you prove it the other side, how do you record it, how do you get in there to do it. I haven’t verified this yet with external peers, but the problem is we’re boxing ourselves into a corner on jobs rather than going I’m sorry, I simply cannot make that work, not just from an installation point of view but for future maintenance, for checking seals for access.

I’ve seen stuff go in risers like ventilation where you’ve got fire dampers and they go, no, you’ve got to access into it after and they go there is not enough space to verify the seal and install it under the breakaway joints and actually I can’t get in there in the future to maintain stuff. It’s not right, it’s wrong. These kind of diagrams help people have that fight, this is what’s kind of been missing from all of these different subjects. If you look at the system as a whole what variants have you got in it because you’ve got UC, CU, CC, UU, it’s all them other things that come into it, all the different types of insulation you can have depending on whether you’re continuous, insulated or locally continuous, it doesn’t go through the wall, or whether it’s locally sustained. What is it that’s appropriate to the function of the pipe originally, part B comes later. It’s just looking at it in a slightly different way. We all suspected it’s complicated and the answer is that it is, but as Andrew says, doing what you’re doing you need it delivered in a certain way for the future and if I’m doing what I’m doing I need a way to control the band, conduct it.

And if you do it with BIM you’ve got your work cut out because they’re all interested in clashes, but you try and identify a clash in a rule set because the bottom like is you can’t have rule sets around pipework because depending on the CL, the CI, the jointing type and the rest of it, and the size of the pipe and the bore thickness comes into it as well, it just effects the rule set. It’s got to be specific to the condition for which you’re doing. So, if you’re doing builders work for this kind of stuff the worsts thing you can do is put it all on the same schedule, you’ve got to have individual ones for product standards, then yu get the risk category of space and how you put that thing to practice, then you can compare it against the walls. Because if the mix it all up, jumble it all up, you don’t know the wood for the trees.

STEPHEN COPPIN It’s all valid points and basically it’s got to have a strong lead designer on the project to be engaged by the client early, we’ve been on about this for 10s fo years now, rather than be led by individuals who wear a badge that focus on just cost and programme, and then say, well, you’ve got the design team, it’s their bag, they’re gonna get on with it within a certain price. That’s got to all change with this traditional approach that we’re being subjected against on massive developments in London, it’s got to change radically. The client needs to engage the team earlier, as we’ve all been saying, with the right specialisms and they need to, as you’ve raised many times and we all know this term RACI: who’s responsible, who’s accountable, who needs to consult, who needs to be thought through before we crack on. And it’s breaking those elements down, mechanical, electrical, fire, the building products, let alone we’ve not mentioned to do with this is the structural aspect, they are the key things that need to be broken down into workstreams and having what we call swimming lanes across.

So, it needs to be directed in an order that you guys, who are absolutely spot on with your technical knowledge, can contribute to make this effective on every project we’re employed on. As you’ve been saying it’s about design upfront, the design phase, they’ve turned rightly the terminology from CDM, not pre-construction, they’ve stated design phase. And the design phase should be early, and unfortunately the regulator doesn’t understand the industry and what you guys and everyone is trying to do out there. So, there is a lot of education required with clients about their procurement and also bringing in who’s going to manage their asset. You’ve got this accountable person for high-risk buildings that’s got to conjure up the safety case report out of nowhere, more or less, when they should be involved with this because they’re going to inherit everything and admit seem to have missed the plot on that.

So, very much I think bespoke systems and processes by being involved early and helping write the contract, because unless it’s in the contract it’s firefighting. That’s from what I’ve seen so fa and experienced where the solutions are required going forward to make this happen in reality.

PAUL McSOLEY I know we haven’t run this one for a while fully, but I think there’s been so much going on in everyone’s agenda at the moment with the regulator, I think we will start running these in a bit more of a constructive manner. Because I sit on other things, I’ve got information I need to try and get out to you on how things are displayed. I think if you look at those diagrams, how they’re displayed, it makes it a bit easier to interpret what you’re looking at. I think Clare put a comment on there earlier basically it’s mind-boggling for me, as with Andrew, as the end user client will be looking for the output, but it’s important to have an informed overview of how the golden thread can be held together. There is a way to hold the golden thread for how you get to selection, but I’m saying you can’t do it in BIM at the moment. At the moment I’m doing it in Excel, hence the reason I have individual schedules for builders work.

ANDREW HOLLEY Here’s a thing, it’s complicated, no one’s mentioned it yet, but with the growing thing of AI maybe at some point we can get all this complication managed in 3D with AI trying to point us in the right direction. Completely off the chart yet, but when things get very complicated either you’re going to make it simple or you’re gonna have a system that understands complications.

RICHARD Yeah, I think that’s a really good point and I think it’s heading in that direction very quickly. We’ve only seen a fraction of what’s actually going on, it’s the tip of the iceberg. The very nature of the beast is that it happens quickly because it learns. If it doesn’t learn itself then it isn’t AI.

ANDREW HOLLEY Yeah, quite. How you can keep that control and double check it’s coming up with the answers that’s right.

RICHARD That’s fine until there’s a glitch.

ANDREW HOLLEY Yeah, and then you go who is actually responsible and who wrote it, because the AI isn’t really responsible, it’s just giving an opinion. If it’s wrong everyone just trusts it, it must be right. But then we’ve all done Google searches and come up with a completely wrong thing and going, no, you’ve missed the point completely. But if it came up with a solution in a drawing you may be able to then read that drawing and go, yes, I understand it. The thing is I find, I work with a lot of builders, with maintenance people who are specialist in what they do, apparently, and I’m constantly catching them out, and that’s basic stuff. How is really complicated stuff…I can’t get a builder who’s built loads of properties before to put the right fire system in, sometimes, and that’s really basic, then we’re talking about really complicated stuff. They don’t know, they just get their mate Fred who puts fire alarms in, and he doesn’t half know. So, you can’t just write a sheet and go, oh, everyone will follow this, it’s not going to happen.

RICHARD I’ve long said if you want to get anything done properly, it doesn’t matter who it is you’re dealing with, it could be a government department, it could be in a shop, it could be anywhere, you have got to have a knowledge of the other persons job because otherwise you haven’t got a cat’s chance in hell. Because you’ve got to know the right questions to ask, and if you haven’t got a bit of knowledge about what they’re doing and how they do it, you’re not going to ask the right questions. It shouldn’t be like that, but it is and what you’re saying is a prime example of that.

ANDREW HOLLEY You have to challenge them with the right questions, you’re right.

RICHARD This is where AI could maybe be good because it’s very good at pulling in massive amounts of data from disparate adjacent areas and putting it together and making sense of it. So it could be with construction, all the complications we’ve been talking about with Paul just now, that it does actually work quite well.

ANDREW HOLLEY Yeah, it would be interesting, but you need somebody who knows that area to sort of put the data into AI.

JAN STEPHENS The only thing I was gonna add is that the HSE are actually running weekly workshops on Q&A for building safety, which if you want to talk to them directly is a very good avenue. I can give you the woman’s email, I think they're trying to get as many people involved as possible.

RICHARD Put it in the chat, that would be very good, we’ll put it on our Linkedin.

ANDREW HOLLEY I’m literally writing a building safety case now, so any guidance is always good.

JAN STEPHENS On the government consultation documents…there was something called design & build statement. That’s definitely going to change in terms of the name of it. The only other thing `I did want to mention is someone says it’s not in the BIM, so it’s just a 3D model. But BIM isn’t a 3D model.

RICHARD Absolutely, for a couple of years at BIM4housing we’ve been very much emphasising it’s not building information modelling, it’s better information management. In case you haven’t seen, we’ve got 12 roundtable events at the tail end of June to look at all our fire critical asset guidance. We published it a couple of years ago, we’re now reviewing it in line with the fire safety and building safety Acts. Jiss, put a link to the tick box form in the chat, if any of you want to come along to any of those tick a box and we’ll send you out invitations for whichever ones you want to do.



Clare Williams

Yes, it is mind boggling - For me, as with Andrew, as an 'end user' / client, I will be looking for the output, but it is important to have an informed overview of how the Golden Thread can be held together.

Paul White

As a relative layman it’s fascinating to see the boundaries and challenges being explored by the frontline experts on the sheer complexities you’re faced with so that at least there might be solutions found somehow in time of how best to treat all this to maintain the golden thread. Blimey! Much obliged and all the best.

Jan Stephens

Worth getting involved with these Q&A sessions, this was the email we received:

Dear All,

The Gateways and Building Control team at HSE would like to invite you to a Q&A session to introduce Gateways 2 and 3. The Q&A session will take place on Tuesday 30th May 09:30 – 10:20am via Microsoft Teams (see link below). Following a short intro from Colin Blatchford (HSE policy lead for Gateways and Building Control), there will be time to ask questions.

Please note, this will be the first of a series of Q&A sessions over the coming weeks and we ask that you please stick to the topic. The team cannot answer questions on PGO, pre-application advice or go into any technical detail at this stage. Future topics will be released shortly, and you can also suggest any to us that you would like us to consider.

Feel free to forward onto others that you think would benefit.

Kind regards

Jenny Hagan

Policy Advisor for Gateways & Building Control

Building Safety Programme

Building Safety and Construction Division

Health and Safety Executive, Redgrave Court, Bootle, L20 7HS

(: 07786 500356 *: