BIM4Housing Construction Working Group Meeting
ANDREW HOLLEY At this stage, maybe this week or two, they're less likely to be digging in and chasing those people because they’re making a start. So from our feedback from us as a housing association, we've had a guy from the HSE come round to us. He wanted to have a look on site, he wanted to see a few things. Two things really, firstly to see where we were and how we were moving, and also I believe for them to gauge how well what they’re doing was being received. They were sending things out, but did we did we understand it. And part of the process, why we said to them, yeah, come along talk to us was because we knew that if we were engaging with them and showing them how far we've come and what we were doing and how proactive we were, they were less likely to hassle us in the future. Because basically they go, we’re making friends, we're not in any conflict with you. We’re doing well, they’ll go great. Yeah, as you say, you've got a few things in folders already, you’re making works happening on site.
We’re changing cladding, we've done one building we’re moving on to a next, it’s happening. And if I was the HSE I'd go THCH, don’t need to worry about them, they’ve got it in hand, let’s concentrate our efforts on those that are going, no, you don't need to do this, or I'll do it next year or we haven't got the budget. They're the people they're gonna hassle. So in one sense, yeah, those people who are making an effort they’re not going to be hassling. They’re going are you on track, are you doing what you’re expected to do. Good, move on, we’ll concentrate on other people. However, at the same time, while we're doing stuff, one of my colleagues in a different housing association had produced quite a good safety case. They've gone right through to actually producing a safety cases and had sent them in three or four times, and a bit like the old fashioned planning process, in the same sort of way, but building safety. You send something in, they tell you it's wrong, won't tell you how to fix it, but just tell you it's wrong, might give you some guidance into which direction it is and send it back, and then they'd make those changes and then they'd send it in again and then they go, no, that's still not quite what we meant. And then send them out and then send them in again.
So on one side of things, you've got, yeah, you're doing fine, and on the other side of things they were going, no, that’s not good enough, that’s not good enough, because they wouldn’t give guidance. You ask these people to come and say can you tell us how to do it, they’re not going to tell us, they’re going to say you come up with the design, it has to be suitable for your building, we’ll tell you what’s wrong with it but we won’t necessarily tell you how to do it. And yes they are after…t the same time they want people vaguely in the right direction, but when you’re doing the final delivery they are expecting…and, of course, they’re learning. So, I’m sure what’s happening is stuff is coming in from one housing association and they go, oh, there’s 10 things on there that we never thought about those. And then someone else will send something else in and they’ll go, oh, look at what this bloke has talked about, we never thought about that, we’d better tell these people to do it too. That goes back, and meanwhile there’s more information coming in and they're picking the best of them all and going, oh no, you haven’t done this. So, until we all learn from each other there’s always going to be something better to be done.
But, the biggest thing is BIM, I think it’s because people use the word digital, basically everything is digital nowadays. All the digital means now is not on paper. That’s all they mean is just don’t send me pieces of paper. The only places you’re going to get pieces of paper is in your SIB box on site, apart from that it’s digital. So, digital could just mean a pile of PDFs, in theory. So, when you're talking about info to the fire brigade, for the Fire Safety Act, for instance, they just want PDF’s, because literally they're gonna be reading them on the screen as if it's a piece of paper. So, that's them done. Whereas the building safety case, it depends on the building, doesn't it? And some buildings will need more formal complication. And if you can deliver it in a way that's clear and understandable, and we have a requirement to make it easily to be understandable and in theory we should be able to share this with residents to say, look, this is how you're building works, and it's understandable to them without too much detail.
The front picture of it should be nice and clear and easy, but the HSE will go prove that bit, prove that bit, and that's where the underlying information needs to be explained in detail to prove why you've got that headline thing that we are safe because. And they say, well, tell us about the because and well, we're doing this, well, how do you know that's right? And where is it and who's got the qualifications and who’s said that, yeah, that fire stopping device is actually in the right wall. It's no good having a lovely device if the wall’s no good or if it's not suitable for the wall or there's holes round it. Who signed that off, and is it right. And that’s where your detail comes in. And I think they don’t want to restrict anyone’s method, so they won’t say you must do it this way, because someone will go but I’ve got this brilliant idea, and you’re telling me I can’t use it! Because they want to allow us to come up with our own ideas that work for us.
CHRIS HALL I think when you’re doing new build a lot of it will be, bearing in mind there’s layer upon layer of information. If you’re building from scratch the method, and you remember this, George, we had about interoperability. In other words, from a manufacturers point of view we don’t want to have to produce data in many, many different formats for many, many different people. We want to be able to have a piece of data that can be used my many users. I think to some degree the storage and recording of the building safety case and the golden thread will be dictated by the contractors and how they require you to present them with the information that they deem is necessary. And BIM is going to be a good way of doing that. I have to say a lot of the emphasis in the building safety regulator from housing associations and builders owners perspectives with have you registered your buildings. You have until such and such time to do them, are they all registered, do you know how to do it, this is how you do it. They ran 3 or 4 separate workshops on how to register the building and what information you have to log with the building safety regulator. Which is not really anything to do with BIM as such, it’s the overview.
But I think you’re probably right, Andrew, there are those at the moment who will take their manila folder full of papers, put them through the scanner, and send them off and, hey presto, they’re digital. But in the medium to long term, that ain’t gonna wash. They’re beginning to get systems thinking now as well, thinking about how things work in conjunction with other products. Because for example, you made a point there, a cavity barrier might only work or have certification in particular type of wall. So you have to put the product into its context, or a set the hinges in a fire door, or door handles and all of that stuff. And that's quite complicated and complex to work out, and that's what I think BIM has got a significant part to play. But I think that it wouldn't be the world's worst idea, George, to maybe have asked if the HSC would kind of give us their view on where BIM sits with them. I think they might just say, well, digital is digital, but they must have an opinion, there must have a view.
ANDREW HOLLEY Well, the view I’ve heard so far is legally it doesn’t have to be BIM. It can be scanned in plans if that’s as simple as the building is. But as it gets more complicated then BIM will be needed because of the complication.
CHRIS HALL And the data storage requirements, and the size of the data and the size of the data banks and where the hell are you going to keep all of this stuff, bearing in mind, going forward, it’s a significant amount of data.
GEORGE And you need to be able to keep it up-to-date.
ANDREW HOLLEY We’ve got a great classic which is as we are re-cladding our buildings we’re using Multivista to o around taking photographs of the deconstruction of the wall, the reconstruction of the wall, across multiple points across the whole building as we take those walls off and on again. And in fact, there's probably more photographs than a new build cause we're taking photographs of it coming off and going back on again, whereas a new build would only go back on. That’s a photograph per week per window, maybe, or an area around a wall. So, the number of photographs, the number of data points, the data of who, what, where and when was fitted on that small area of wall is huge. We’ve got a window, a reveal, a cavity barrier, a bit insulation, the membrane behind the insulation, the other cavity barrier, the horizontal barrier, the vertical barrier. That's all within 1 foot of a bloody window, never mind that multiplied across the whole building. And then that has to be stuffed somewhere, but most of it we will never need. It will be there and we will need it at some point, and we need to have all of it.
But what it will do is it will mean that in the future, in five years time, when I have to review the building safety case, I don't have to physically remove that wall to see what was behind it. I might need to do a random number, just as a spec…but generally I can go through the photographs saying look, here it is being installed, here it is that the cavity, there is the make and model of the cavity barrier. But it's a huge amount of data, but it means, physically I won't need to find out later.
GEORGE Just picking up on what Chris was saying earlier, the term BIM is a challenging one because it’s something that people can relate to because it’s a thing, but it also gets misinterpreted by people. That’s one of the reasons we’ve renamed the UK BIM Alliance Nima, we’re trying to move it away from a 3D model to being about information. One of the challenges we’ve got, and your example of Multivista is a really good one, is you’ve done that for a particular exercise, so you’ve got that as a data set that’s accessible, so you could say that’s one golden thread. If you have fire door inspections whoever is doing the inspection might be using PlanRadar, Bolster, Vision, there’s a range of different applications they’ll use. So therefore you will get a link to PlanRadar, you’ll have somebody else that’s maybe looking at smoke ventilation or dampers, they’ll use something else.
So, what that means is that although in theory you’ve got a golden thread for each of those things it doesn’t relate back to the same part of the building and therefore if then a change takes place because you do some renovation work and you update the drawings and the floor plan etc, all of a sudden all that additional information, where was the original fire stopping, where’s the new fire stopping, it’s all in different data sets. So, what we as Active Plan have been trying to do is make it so that that can be glued together so you can actually see it in context. Now, that’s something that we’ve…we deal with hospitals and that type of federation, is something that I think is needed, and when I talk to people they agree. You still want your fire door inspector to be able to use the applications that they are familiar with, but it’s a matter of what then happens with that data.
We’re doing something at the moment with a council and we’ve been given access to Oakleaf which did the fire risk assessment. It’s quite a comprehensive fire risk assessment, but how do you tie back the information about the various different things they’ve put in that fire risk assessment against the building? My view is for the building safety process I think it does need to be glued together, so you can say, as Chris was saying earlier, you’ve got a number of different asset types that need to work together to actually deliver the mitigation, or whatever the HSE, and that was the brief that we had when we started.
ANDREW HOLLEY It’s a very good point, George, and I hadn’t quite seen it in that way that actually there’s this thing about putting information in one place, it’s that golden thread single version of truth. But actually to enable that, you’re quite right, there is sometimes a lot of data coming in inwards, and we’re thinking so far I thought, yeah, the data comes in, it goes into one database, probably into another, and then goes into Multivista to record where it is. But when we’re talking about updating data it needs to go back out, doesn’t it? Because you’ll end up with what appears to be a contradiction. You’ll have data from one worker who said I’ve changed this bit, and you’ve got data from somewhere else who said when I was there I saw that. And you need to make sure that the dates are in there, so you know who was the most up-to-date.
And in my experience, sometimes you get one person who has very recently been there, but has made an assumption. Whereas there is older data, so although it’s older it’s not necessarily less relevant. If it’s older it might have been, but I was the man who installed it, I know exactly what date it was installed. More recently someone comes along and says, well, I’ve had a look at it and i reckon it was installed on this date. But actually the person who actually installed it knows the actual date and the actual product. The person who’s done the inspection is making an assumption or a guess. So, which is right, and then which one takes precedent, and then does it feedback into the other databases that says this information is now actually more up-to-date, you need to record it here, because otherwise at some point you’re gonna someone saying it’s blue, no it’s red, no it’s blue, no it’s red, as different information comes in if you don’t feed it back out again saying, no, we’ve changed that, it’s not like that anymore, we’ve got rid of it. FRA stuff, the bloke does the inspection and quite quickly maybe someone is out there fixing it, it’s changed, there’s a new bit of kit there. And how do we make sure all of them are right, which is why they want the single point of truth, but equally does that feedback outwards to the other databases so that they’ve got that information for the next round.
GEORGE The approach that we’re taking with that, we’ve got a couple of different elements to it. I was given an example yesterday by somebody that’s doing fire engineering, he said a common problem is that the fire strategy plans and the fire compartmentation plans may not relate to the fire zoning for the fire alarm because they've been done at different times by different people. He said that’s not at all uncommon, and he said when we go and update the fire alarms or reconfigure, because obviously the fire alarms also need to reflect the use of the building as well. You can very easily end up with those being out of step with each other, because they’re different documents.
ANDREW HOLLEY Yeah, and they can be for different reasons. We had exactly that, our office is quite open plan and we asked someone else to check the fire alarm panel and zone it, and he said, well, according to this it’s all one big zone, it’s all called Zone 1. There’s zoning as in how many circuits there are, how many detectors are on one circuit going out and back again, which may or may not be the divided by a compartmentation line. Because mainly zoning is so that the fire brigade can go, oh, it’s on the left of the building, the right of the building, upstairs, downstairs or in that cupboard, they just need to know location. And, of course, it’s historic based on when we used to have, the zones was the only location thing you’d have. But now we have individually addressed items on the fire panel, so in some ways zoning is less relevant because you can tell exactly where it is. So, zones are just a very vague it’s over there. But you’re right, they should really be along compartmentation lines. For instance, we’ve got a set of plans where Zone 1 will be the left of the building and it will be 5 flats, obviously that’s many compartments on many flats. It’s just breaking the building up and it doesn’t really reflect the compartmentation lines at all.
GEORGE The approach we’ve taken with that is that when you bring a spatial model, because we’re working with Multivista, Andrew, by the way. We’ve got a project at the moment where they’re just completing the first part of it with Origin Housing. They’ve scanned 5 buildings, and we’ve also been doing the same exercise with Murphy Surveys, Plowman Craven and Spatial Dimensions as well, to try and break it up so that we can get some degree of understanding of how different people operate it. They’re capturing the photographs, they’re cutting through and producing the floor plans for us, so we’ve got a 2D floor plan, but the important thing is that we’re tying back to that 2D floor plan 360 photos. Now, the 360 photos, when they come into Active Plan, you can then use the data libraries to tag them with the things that you can see. So, it means you can build up an asset list from the photography. You can do it in 2 ways. One is if you know that there’s an AOV in that area you can click on it and say that’s where the AOV is. But you can also, for example, if there’s a cavity barrier there you won’t be able to see the cavity barrier (probably) but you can click on the photograph and identify that’s where it is.
The point about that is those 360 photographs can be taken just using £300 Ricoh cameras, so it means that the local team can get those cameras and use them to go and update the information so you can then have, maybe, annually you could have a new 360 photo. Or you do it when anything changes, that’s probably the easiest way. So, that becomes part of a workflow that then keeps everything up-to-date and we can then take the fire zoning and fire compartmentation information and that then becomes part of the active plans so that you can then see that in context. So, that’s where I’m going with this, to be able to hold all the documents i a proper structured meta-database folder structure, and be able to tie, for example, the fire risk assessment back to both the building, and also break out of that, if there's a fire risk assessment against a particular flat then it's tied back to that particular grouping of spaces that’s the flat. And also to be able to interactively make those changes. I’m just trying to get a sense check to see if that’s really what people want and need or whether we’re just going over the top.
ANDREW HOLLEY I think you’re right. Overall somehow we need a digital version of what’s on site. How do we record what’s actually on site, but more importantly how do we know that they do stay in sync. It’s no good saying, well, the computer says it doesn’t exist, when someone is standing there going, look, it’s here in my hand. There was a cartoon on the wall of the wholesalers, the customer is standing there pointing, and the salesman on the computer was saying ‘it’s no good pointing at it, my computer says we haven’t got one’. We don’t want that, it does need to be kept up-to-date. Which is right is quite tricky sometimes, because you’ve got someone guessing because it’s a survey and someone who installed it who’s got it right. Someone does a repair and for some reason that repair process doesn’t get through the system onto Active Plan or whatever, and update that data, because it gets missed. And then according to us the last time someone touched it was 6 years ago, well, that’s not true, the bloke was down here last week.
How do you make sure everything…so for me it will be talking to repairs and their subcontractors and their subcontractors and saying, look, somehow we need to know about everything going on everywhere. And not getting irrelevant stuff coming through, we painted the wall in someone’s flat, well, we don’t need to know about that, but if you paint the wall in the stairwell I do want to now about it, because what was the product. But it’s a very good point about it going out to other data. So the data it comes in from should be corrected and maybe sent out in several directions. Or it just ends up in one place, it’s quite tricky because you’ve got people using their bespoke stuff.
GEORGE The proposition from my perspective is because Active Plan is a cloud data and it works off SQL servers, so it can talk to anything, we retain all of those individual files, but we federate them, so it becomes grouped together. And because we also use BIM 360 as part of our solution. If it's a 3D model then we can tie that together as well. So I think we've got a solution to that particular issue.
ANDREW HOLLEY Well most of them do, don’t they? Multivista and someone like yourselves where you’ve always got that history, so you just go back and back. You can see all versions of it, but you try and see the current version. For simplicity you see the current version, but for historic data you can go back and see what it used to be. And the photos that go with it, which is useful.
GEORGE Yeah, but each of these applications is designed for its particular purpose. For example, Multivista, being able to track back every week through your things is fantastic, but if somebody is just looking to find out what that asset is in that room, they want a much simpler way of doing that.
ANDREW HOLLEY Yeah, they don’t need to know what it used to be because it's gone. That's irrelevant now, they just want to know what it is now.
GEORGE Exactly. And also to be able to tie it back to the information about how it was inspected and who did it etc. So, my approach is to see if we can use that in a federated way. Now, obviously feeding stuff back out again is an important area. So, if for example a floor plan changes, it’s a matter of then identifying an alert to whatever the application is, maybe the fire stopping, that there’s a revised floor plan. Bolster, they, like most people, work off a PDF. In theory, that’s great, but the PDF is just an image, so the pins that are on the PDF, the work that we’re looking to do is to make it so we can pick up the coordinates of those pins and then se bring them back into the spatial model so that you can see not just where the penetration seal pins are, but you can also see where information that might have come in from Plan Radar is as well. So, all of the different locational information can then be federated so you’ve got (for want of a better term) a digital twin that’s reflecting that.
I’d be interested in having a session with you to talk through what we’re doing in that regard to see if there is perhaps an opportunity with Tower Hamlets. I don’t mean this in the sales way, but you’re experience on that would be…you’ve obviously spent a lot of time thinking about this and working through it and I’d be interested to see if you think we’re on the right track. We’re doing the thing at the moment with Tower Hamlets? 33mins 23secs Homes, there’s been delays in kicking that off because they wanted to get their Type 4 fire risk assessments done, literally this week the surveyors are going in and doing the point clouds on 3 of the blocks and capturing the 360 photos, so I can show you what we’re doing there. Have you got all your stuff in the premises information boxes now?
ANDREW HOLLEY Yeah, mainly, although adding some of the newer stuff going into the premises information boxes like sort of an elevation view or a floor-by-floor view. All the floor plans have been done, but putting things like residents with PEEPs and things like that. Regarding HRRBs, depending how you count them, we’re doing them as 11 blocks. And those 11 blocks, on occasion, are 2 or 2 buildings, but they are a building. So, if you drew the circumference around the block it’s sometimes 4 named stairwells, if you like. But actually if you look at it from a building point of view it’s one building with 4 stairwells in it, so we’ve called that one. But when we list addresses it’s about 17, or something. We’ve got a couple of joint buildings of 2 or 3 or 4. Not huge, a nice manageable number of interesting blocks, some of them are just concrete and brick tower blocks, so relatively straightforward, and then you have to worry about the more recently built 15 year old buildings that are the terrible ones. The really old buildings are fine, they’re just brick and concrete and we’ve got nice new fire doors in them, most of it is passive not active, whereas the new buildings are all over the place.
GEORGE So, you’re using Multivista, what other software are you using?
ANDREW HOLLEY The consultant we’re using is Altair, and Altair have worked with Multivista a lot and also one of their staff is effectively embedded in us as a project manager, that’s Laurie Stroud, he’s been running one of the cladding replacement programmes. So we got Multivista effectively taking the overall stuff and photos and they’re doing internal photos, plotting it and the data in the background. We as an organisation are trying to go to Asset Pro internally for all assets, nothing to do with fire safety really, just about when the kitchen and bathroom are due next. That’s sort of asset replacement for general repairs and maintenance. We’re doing our own door surveys and we’ve got Turner & Townsend doing our FRAs. The idea is all that information will partly feed into Asset Pro and then we’ll feed out of that into the BIM modelling again, possibly, or directly or both at the same time. Within Multivista they use CADline, they’re very good at the scanning and modelling and the plans and data.
GEORGE So, the other thing obviously from a construction point of view, one of the things that that came out from our working groups the other day, let me just show you this, change control. As a landlord, this might not effect you too much.
ANDREW HOLLEY Well. it might do, because my development team (which is one person), she came to me and said we might be either planning what we build next, or we might be buying in a building, and I said, well, it depends what stage it’s at as to how much…we might be getting new stuff in, or partly built.
GEORGE (shares screen). This was given to us by one of the team members from Bouygues. This slide was produced by the NHBC, but it was their interpretation from lots of conversations with the regulator, so this is what they’re expecting to come out in the secondary legislation, I think. One of the important things here is when there is a major change, the principal that they’re trying to work to here is that the decision for all of these critical assets, like smoke dampers, smoke ventilation and fire doors, and the things that impact on compartmentation. Those decisions have got to be taken before construction starts, which is a massive change.
ANDREW HOLLEY Yes, exactly, because when Tina, our development manager, said can I feed into some information for her, and also I’m doing a building safety managers degree course with the CIOB, Diploma course, and it sort of came up as one of the questions. The decision making, yes, has to be done much earlier, one because it needs to, and two it makes sense because the argument is where things have gone wrong in the past compromises have to have been made because certain things can't be reversed, once you've gone past a certain point. It’s very hard to say that's the wrong wall you've built all the way up the building, can you change it? It’s the wrong type of wall, I can’t put my kit in that, so I tell you what, I’ll put this bit of kit in, which isn’t exactly what you need, but that’s the best I can do, and you get all these compromises. Whereas if you did it at the very beginning, can you build it with this wall instead of that wall because it will then suit my products, then happy days.
And it doesn’t really cost anymore when you build it, which type of wall you put in. So, doing everything a lot earlier, in theory, in the planning stage is the biggest thing. And you should have less need for change control if everyone is in the room at the beginning. Then, when someone says we’re gonna save a couple of quid, we’re gonna change this for that, and everyone goes no! Don’t do that because effects this, that and the other. Whereas what's happened in the past is someone's changed it and then the blokes been told to turn up to do his thing and he goes, what the heck is this? This is not what I thought I was gonna walk into.
GEORGE Absolutely. And the difficulty with that is contractor design portion, which is the way the M&E tends to be procured, is…that's the challenge really.
ANDREW HOLLEY At my previous role at Estuary Housing we were building quite a lot of buildings and I was coming along when they were about 3/4 done and having a look at it, and so many times what the heck’s this! Well, my mate said he needed it. Why? Who’s the designer? What is this, why is it there? Why does it contradict that? You’ve got a sign there saying ‘stay put’ and you’ve got an alarm saying ‘leave’. The ERs from the employers requirements said you needed a fire alarm so we fitted one. Yeah, but who’s the designer? Well, you are, because you said you needed a fire alarm. Well, we didn't actually say we need a fire alarm, we said you need to put in whatever needed. But we've put it in because you asked for it. Well, we didn't really ask for it. Who's the designer? And nobody knows, but someone’s put it in because someone said that someone said that they needed it. What a mess.
And I think the biggest thing on that for us all is the competency side of things. Who’s competent, who’s the right person, have they got the qualifications, experience and knowledge to design it and put it in. At the end of a meeting, who is saying, yes, we all agree. I’ve had meetings with fire alarm people to ask them what they want, and they’re sort of saying, well, it depends what you want. And at the end you end up going, well, am I allowed to do it, is it the best way? Well, you can if you want, but we’ll have to sign this bit of paper. Again it’s like who is the designer here? Please, someone's gonna sign at the bottom line saying they're responsible for it.
GEORGE Well, that’s really the pint that Paul McSoley’s been making, that one of the challenges is that the designers that are selecting products, they need to be properly informed by all of the complexity of the different things that could impact on whether that damper is going to work. And it’s very complicated, there’s a whole decision tree that needs to be built up for each of the asset types. The frustration I’ve got is that the subject matter experts are saying that that’s what needs to be done, because otherwise that damper just won’t work properly when it’s called upon. But I’m not seeing any appetite in the industry for who’s going to do that. We’ve been doing this for the last three years pro bono to get that knowledge brought together, but the challenge that we’ve got is then how do we then get that implemented. If people are dropping back to just give me a certificate and transfer the risk. Who would they accountable person be for your buildings? Would that be a director within Tower Hamlets?
ANDREW HOLLEY Accountable persons don’t have to be a person. Legally, person just means entity. It also means it allows for change, so if you have your staff changing you don’t have to keep telling everyone that peoples changed, or even job titles. So, technically, Tower Hamlets Community Housing is the accountable person. However, the accountable person would in practice be our CEO, because you can’t take a company to court but you can take the CEO who’s responsible for this. And then within the accountable person they are required to delegate down (because if they don’t delegate down, it’s them), so they delegate it down to people like me and my directors around me to make sure they get the job done. And in fact I had that thought process a year ago now when my health & safety advisor was rewriting the health and safety policy. I said you know what we need to put in there now is about responsibilities which says, so that CEOs are realising what they’re signing up to do, because I’ve had this.
A CEO decides one day they don’t need a building safety manager, and then can get Fred to do that instead. They’ve done it with other jobs, oh, we don’t need you, I’ll give it to them. What they haven’t realised is that that person had delegated legal responsibility that if it all went wrong he’d be the bloke in court, and they sack him. One of the arguments I’ve had about the difference between a named building safety manager and the building safety manager being a corporate client idea. If the people above don’t realise they’ve got rid of that person who was gonna carry the can, then it will come back up to them. And if they have no technical knowledge, they are in the wrong place. They shouldn't even be trying to do it because they don't have it either, and it's about that competency thing. So it's very important that within an organisation that although you name THCH as the overall that the delegation down is to a named person, because you need to have someone who is responsible further down, so you can have a responsible person and an accountable person.
GEORGE I was told the term responsible person had sort of been removed.
ANDREW HOLLEY There’s two. I had an email about where one of my colleagues in another organisation has some of their properties in our properties, they sort of sublet, and I have to answer them for the same question. What we’ve got is accountable person under the building safety act, but responsible person under the fire safety order. But they’re actually the same person, under the legislation they’ve got different names. Where we sublet half a building out we’ll be the principal accountable person, and the housing association that’s taken half our flats, they’ll be one of the accountable people. The one that’s rally dropped out is the building safety manager. The role still needs to be done, but the job title doesn’t have to be building safety manager.
GEORGE So, if they accountable person is delegated down to you, responsibility for that and therefore, legally, you could end up, if things go badly wrong, being held responsible. If that’s the case, let’s say for example you move on or move roles or whatever, the person that’s coming in to take on that role would be taking on that legal responsibility also.
ANDREW HOLLEY Yeah, and then in practice, I’ve got a team…I had a manager, so there’s me, my manager who was in charge of fire safety capital works, head of department, so there’s me, a department head above me, and then our director for property services. And then at the same time we’re employing Altair. So I’d say between us all we’ve got responsibly to making sure that it all happens. Now, legally if someone challenged where the buck actually stops, I’d try and push it back up to Anna, my director, overall and the board perhaps, and then legally they’d probably push ti down to me saying but you’re the technical person who advises us. And I’d say, well, I’m getting advice from my own knowledge, but also from Altair, and as much as possible we all sort of sit in the room and go is everyone happy with this, because that’s the only way top do it. No one person is an expert on this. As you said, it’s a bit like Paul saying about putting the right damper in the right wall, it’s not about one decision, it’s that bigger picture.
GEORGE Well, actually, the accountability that the government was trying to achieve with this is probably not really there.
ANDREW HOLLEY No, because they’ve decided that…I think the reason they took the role of building safety manager out and it got pushed out was because you’re going to get some tiny organisations who don’t need to employ a person called a building safety manager. It’s like my Fred who’s the head of property services, he’s fine being the building safety manager within his role. I think they should have kept it and called it a role, not necessarily a job title. And in other larger organisations, L&Q for instance, they’re gonna have building safety manager over there, and they may have a different role. So, they may have equivalent to deputy building safety managers, whereas they are upskilled caretakers, for instance, they look after those buildings, they keep and eye on what’s happening in their building, and then you have senior building safety managers who look after a group, and then probably a head of building safety manager who looks after everything in total. And then of course it becomes a whole team of building safety managers, systems, and in other ones it’s a 1/4 or a person, so i suppose why they say that’s why we can’t give it one name because it’s horses for courses on the size of buildings.
GEORGE The thing is, it’s a matter really of drawing everything together and making it simple to navigate, the updating processes and things like that are really vital.
ANDREW HOLLEY Yeah, and for me that’s why it’s important that I’m in my role because (don’t tell anyone) but I don’t do a lot. i don’t really have a budget, I do, but I spend other people’s budgets. But I don’t get given this is your project, I do have lots of projects, my projects are mainly communications and gathering stuff. But the biggest project I’ve got is that overview, I’m not head-in-the-sand working on a project so much that I don’t know everything else that’s going on. So, one minute I’m talking to the FRA guys about has that broken window got fixed or whatever, all those hundreds and hundreds of FRA items, and at the same time I’m talking to the plan guys who are rebuilding a building. But, I’m the only one in our organisation that knows about all of it, because one thing effects something else. Someone's going we’re just going to do that, woah! No, no, no, don’t you realise if you change that it’s going to bugger up this.
GEORGE Asbestos is a classic example of that, often the only people that know that are the people that know the building quite well.
ANDREW HOLLEY Yeah, that’s a good point. Someone goes, oh, we’ll take that bit of asbestos out, but if it’s doing a fire safety job, and someone goes I’ll put a bit of plywood in, no! For maintenance and general day-to-day repairs we use Axis Europe.
GEORGE And they presumably use their own software to capture that and then feed it back into Asset Pro.
ANDREW HOLLEY Mostly at the moment we raise orders on our system which get sent to Axis, they then come in and it closes the job off. And we pretty much in our own system say that job’s done. And we can dig in a bit if we want to check that it was properly done, not just closed as not done. Or they went to d a) and they actually did b) instead. That’s one of our bits that I’m getting from our repairs system and/or Axis’ info and feeding it properly into Asset Pro, so that you do get the results of jobs done properly fed back in, not just what we asked for. Sometimes what you ask for and what you get…because sometimes you don’t know, the tenant phones up and says I’ve got a leak, that’s all you know, until they’ve done the job you won’t know what to record. So, getting the feedback in is quite important. But I think the biggest thing overall, because I’ve had to learn it, that thing Paul said about dampers, completely new to me. I think I said at the meeting, I thought I knew quite a lot, and actually I know nothing. I’m doing it at that level, but people who have very little connection with that have to have a much better understanding of before you change things you need to understand how it might affect the building. Your biggest thing is your building as a system, and changing components within that whole system can mess up the system.
That’s the overall thing, the building is not seen as bunch of components, which it used to be, the fire alarms the fire alarms, the doors are the doors, and you don’t need to talk about the 2 together. As you said today about fire alarm panel zoning and compartment zoning. Someone did a clip the other day, it was a bloke saying ‘have you got this problem?’, trying to pull a door open because the suction from the AOV was sucking the door shut. I’ve just had a quote in for the ground floor front door of a block to go from opening inwards to opening outwards. It’s about the number of people going outwards, but also it’s about security, you can’t bash a door in that opens outwards, you have to pull it, which makes it more secure. But, if that door is almost designed to open to suck air in to allow the air to go up and out and it’s now going to open outwards, it’s going to be sucked shut and it won’t open to allow the air up and in. How is the air going to come into the building if it’s not going to come through a blowing open front door. Building as a system, change one thing it changes something else.
Under the new Gateway idea it should go back to the original designer and say that front door, was it built to open inwards to allow the AOV to work? And if it does and we change it to outwards, does it affect the AOV? Or, is it immaterial, because there’s a vent somewhere else that actually does that job and the front door is irrelevant? But that’s the change process you’ve just shown up which would happen as we go through Gateways. Someone says we’re gonna do this because the bloke from Secure By Design reckons you’ll have a more secure door if you open it outwards, but the AOV bloke goes no, that’s my air inlet valve effectively. If you don’t want to have the door opening inwards we’re going to have to knock a huge hole in the wall here to let the air in some other route. And you don’t want to wait until there is a real fire to find out, oh, that’s why it opens inwards. But yeah, I’m finding out things are far more interlinked that you might know. And of course other staff, who are not as involved, haven’t even got it on their radar that it might affect something else.