Designers have always had to balance the competing issues of quality and cost. Safety and social impact have also been key drivers, but with sustainability coming to the forefront, information holds the key.

Who needs to know what- and at what stage of the construction process they need to know it- is not something Designers can define. But in this age of shifting responsibilities, Designer’s input into that definition is crucial.

Through collaboration with other Working Groups via Workstreams we help to ensure that 'the right information at the right time' will underpin our ability to meet these aims, for both existing and new housing stock.

WORKSTREAM 1 - In Progress

Links Between BIM and Offsite Construction

Design Group Status

Chaired By: Andrew de Silva ‘Das’, Bill Watts

DateHighpointActionsAttendees
08-Jun-22

BIM4Housing Design Working Group Meeting-20220608

GEORGE, according to a source he spoke to within the community who works closely with the HSE, thinks that around 50% of projects that have gone forward to stage 1 gateway review have been refused. Also, in the second round of regulations happening soon there will be another 30 regulations added. he thinks that the vast amount of data held should be interpreted into some tangible answers. To get from data to information we need to curate questions as this ensures the answers will make sense.

Regarding getting to standardised data, he mentions a someone using BIM Object who found 280 different ways of describing width. JAREK says that context is key here as things make sense within a context.

DAS asks George for feedback from DCW and asks if there is any further clarification of the theories, they collated that should go into other workstreams.

GEORGE gives some background info before giving feedback about DCW. For the last few years we’ve been going through this exercise to try and create standardised libraries that can then be used in different software applications. They can then be used in different parts of the process to actually create that throw through, We can hold information about an e.g. door and then be able to identify whether information is missing or not. The Defective Premises Act has retrospective liability so now Liability on Developers and Contractors has increased to 30 years. According to the secondary legislation of the Building Safety Bill the data has to be structured and digital.

The terminology that they are using is ‘prescribed information’ GEORGE’s work on the Golden Thread initiative has produced information (via the different workstreams) which has gone back to the department. The information right now isn’t prescriptive but it informs the industry thinking of what is going to be needed. Regarding asset information, they were advised to look at what the risks are and how to manage against those risks happening. he also created outputs to say what information needed to be available to produce the safety case. Significantly, a prescriptive specification needs to be agreed at the end of Work Stage 4/Gateway 2, which massively impacts M&E and specialist design elements.

Also, the process group took the RIBA plan of work and then overlaid the Gateways against that as to what the building safety regulator was going to be dealing with at each stage - this helps clarify that the design has to be completed by the end of Work Stage 4. The data challenges are significant. People are accepting that a lot of the information is going to be in a document format, but the problem with documents is that you don’t know whether the information you need is actually in the document. Therefore, humans have to look at and interpret the documents which is a problem, which is why machine-readable data is necessary.

Many people think the data is in the BIM. One of the challenges is that there are so many data dictionaries used for different purposes with different ways of describing information. GEORGE thinks that standardisation is impossible because people need information in different ways because of their perspective. The Templater makes it possible to curate information and tie it back into product data, it acts like a ‘rosetta stone’ holding all the information together.

The HSE says the process should be looked at as risks, treatments (to prevent the risks), asset types (that go to make up the treatments) and the information about those. The DCW exercise said ‘let’s look at the risk of the spread of smoke and the impact to compromised fire escape routes’. The treatments identified were compartmentation, detection, smoke control and evacuation - they all need to work for the risk to be mitigated. In the case of compartmentation, there is a range of things that all have to perform in a joined-up way to ensure that the compartmentation works. Therefore the information is actually being provided so they can automatically be tested and validated.

We now have too much valuable data but not available in a way that can be easily consumed. Consequently, context is important. At DCW we had five tables with different groups: Manufacturing, Design, Operations, Construction and Development. The Development group told George that they needed someone from Operations.

The task was to take a particular student accommodation (residential building). The scenario was that a fire breaks out in the Kitchen which creates smoke and then to look at what would need to be done to ensure the tenants can escape. Have we got the right information about compartments/AOVs etc?…The outputs are from the guidance on the black box, interpreted into information sets and then looking at who is responsible for the information and who is consuming it. Maybe RACI was too complicated for this. How can we turn this data into questions that people can answer and be responsible for - that’s the task. JAREK’s feedback on the day was to question the use of the term Supplier - what is a Supplier?

MATT TAYLOR observes that there is an issue with how specified components work within their specified construction e.g. issues with dampers in partition walls where the wall construction the damper is tested on isn’t actually the wall construction its being specified within. Typically, dampers are being installed in petitions they have not been tested in. If it’s somehow placed electronically earlier in the process…if a damper is specified in a wall is there test information showing that it performs within that wall and therefore is that specification correct? GEORGE agrees with MATT that this is an issue.

GEORGE thinks one way to simplify complex discussions is to capture those types of scenarios (Matt’s being an example) to look at it in context. Critically, the damper needs to be looked at in the context of the wall and in the context of other things that are going to impact it. Currently there is often a lack of joined-up working. Regarding digital twins, GEORGE is cautious about it, but the tools and learnings emerging from it is useful, especially simulation. Possible scenarios with rules previously inbuilt can be run against a design at the early stage, therefore being able to test if it will work. And importantly to show to the new regulators that it’s been considered.

MATT TAYLOR is actually not sure how this can be picked up by digital information. He gives 2 examples of products that he considers had not been properly tested within an appropriate context (Intumescent deflection head seals, a damper) and the potential safety issues of that.

MARC BRADFIELD is particularly interested in the impact of the best/worst case scenario of needing to complete the stage 4 design before signing off for gateway 2 (which may have a 12 week sign off period). This sounds great, but will it be acceptable to start the design earlier or allow it to run later? It’s a procurement issue way beyond just the design. GEORGE thinks procurement is the element that needs to be brought along with the process. MARC is worried that the guidance talks about a ‘staged-approach’ which could possibly be used to move risks in an unfair way around the place.

DAS says that there seems to be some element of change management being allowed within gateway 2 and 3 which brings ambiguity. In terms of competency of design and making sure that things are interfacing the reality is that (as Matt said) there will not be certificates for every scenario that may happen on-site. Regarding commenting, you may have to go back to the pre-digital where commenting would be need from any trade that is interfacing with the specialist element, rather than just comments from the designer….A complete change in the Procurement would have to happen, but the guidelines mean that it has to change. The grey areas in the Gateway definition are a concern as some could take advantage of that or push things into stage 5.

DAS thinks that George should do something with the document for the Procurement team, to define things like what sort of change is allowed? Should it be allowed/ How long will it take for that change to be approved? Regarding the RACI matrix, if someone is responsible how do we then feed that back into the DRM (design responsibility matrix) or their scope of services? What’s the baseline? Uniclass or something else.

GEORGE interjects that Uniclass is useless for cost managers, therefore you need to be able to hold against a particular asset/system multiple different references (which is technologically easy to do) and present back to people with a particular level of interest that particular data set. We need to provide smart data (as we are doing at Activeplan) which can present itself back to whoever needs that information, using the right terminology. Another point, the HSE have to have all of this in place by October 2023. If they are holding up major schemes because they are not approving them that will be a problem.

MARC BRADFIELD, regarding the durations of sing-off period and change, thinks it depends on how prescribed the route is to achieve stage 2. GEORGE says that even within the HSE there are 2 very different groups: the people looking after CBM/construction and those looking after safety. He hopes to collectively come up with a viable way of working that can become standard practice.

‘Ontologies’, a term that GEORGE has recently become aware of, means the context in which something is being used - it’s a method by which we can capture the experience that Matt and colleagues have got and turn it into a reusable rule set. Then we can take the data, give it structure which makes it machine readable and then overlay ontologies against that which then allow us to achieve the goals.

ANA MATIC says its about working out the patterns and variations of things and building ontologies on top of that. The digital twin may be of functions and stories within each building (rather than necessarily about the asset itself). GEORGE makes the point that the digital twin doesn’t have to be a 3-D model, it can be a process. ANA says a translator will be necessary to translate into other classifications for different categorisations. GEORGE mentions the Templater in this context. The coming introduction of synonyms will enable him to help sort out some of the complexity of people describing the same thing in a different way.

MATT TAYLOR says if early stage design information cannot be accommodated by a specialist contractor its often the case to run into additional costs. he comes to the conclusion that stage 3 design has to be better. EDUARDO GUASQUE adds that it needs to be clarified what information is expected from designers during stage 3 and 4. GEORGE says that a Construction Control Plan is a new thing that will have to be done. CCP will be there to manage change. But MARC is actually talking about not needing the change in the first place. He currently uses a stage 3 check list to adjudicate the completeness of stage 3.

GEORGE thinks that maybe they should break down the next session into separate workstreams looking at the data and the process. DAS asks if anyone has further thoughts on the questions he’s raised (sent by email). MARC says they need a more targeted session to agree as a group and move to the next stage. GEORGE thinks talking about how to capture the kind of ideas Matt was talking about earlier and also work on ontologies would be useful. He hopes to run the DCWs virtually. DAS thinks it would make sense to continue with the accommodation and door scenario as it captures the major sectors involved.

JAREK has posted comments about this meeting in chat (see ADDENDUM).

ALAISTAIR BROCKETT agrees with everyone else that its information overload. How can we make the job easier in terms of getting the information across? Manufacturers have many different ways of presenting material - within the space of 2 years there’s been 3 different formats of fire test reports. Pulling everyone together towards a common standard is difficult. With BIM, he’s looking at various different ‘plug-ins’ that can be used with existing BIM models, the model can be populated with the correct products and information. He’s looking at how to interrogate the BIM model on-site, including augmented reality to inspect what is being built.

ADDENDUM

COMMENT IN CHAT BY JAREK WITYK

Going back to what George said, I thought I will summarise some of the comments

Right questions to ask (it may need rephrasing)

The answers would form gateways which trigger actions

1.         Is the installed item/equipment as specified or is it alternative? (MT)

1.         As specified

2.         Alternative

1.         Why? (i.e. unable to install, unavailable, budget) (MT)

2.         Cause & effect on other systems (MT)

3.         Confirm that design intent is achieved (MT)

2.         Is the item/equipment installed certified and tested for the project's specific use? (MT)

1.         If not tested for the specific use, can we use ‘gamification’ approach and rate % of expected risk? (JW triggered by Das’s comments)

3.         Can we engage the specialist’s designer early? (MB)

4.         What are the risks of late engagement of specialist’s designer? (MB)

5.         Can the project allow implications late specialist designers engagement (MB)

6.         Change Management - What is the impact of the change on other systems? (Cause & Effect) (Das)

7.         Is the change allowed? (Das)

8.         What classification method is used (Das)

1.         context - cost management (GS)

2.         context - construction

9.         Who is to provide information (Das)

10.     What standards are applicable for the specific item/equipment (GS)

11.     Change Management - what is the project specific definition of major and minor change (MB)

12.     Change Management – Why is the change required

13.     Change Management – what are the implications of the change on other systems (cause & effect)

14.     Scenario (ontology) to create machine readable algorithms

1.        If is used in context, this is the information we need (GS)

2.        If is used in context, this is the action need to happen (GS)

15.   What project specific dictionary is being used? (GS)

16.   Is the spatial coordination completed and 100% free of issues at RIBA Stage 3 (MB)

1.        Yes

2.        No

1.        What are the implications? 

Jiss Philip Mukkadan - BIM4Housing

Marc Bradfield - Bouygues

Matt Taylor - Taylor Design Consultancy

Patrick Wilson - PW Architects

Alastair Brockett - Hilti

Jim Creak - Jalite Plc

Andrew de Silva ‘Das’ - David Miller

George Stevenson - ActivePlan

Eduardo Guasque - Haworthtompkins

Sharon McClure - Avestagroup

Stewart Bailey - Virtual Viewing

Harshul Singh - UCL

Joe Stott - AHR

Ana Matic - Scott Brownrigg

06-Jun-22

Post DCW Feedback

Mo Fisher

Next steps from DCW roundtables-20220606

MO FISHER was on the design table and from the off they just focused on design rather than the point in hand which were the different items on the lists. it wasn’t prescriptive enough, it was left too open. So, it wasn’t successful right from the beginning because at no point did anyone look at RACI. It was debating what could be the issues rather than the issues at hand. RICHARD deduces from MO’s comments that he thought at was not focused enough and a bit too broad. Also, considering that people didn’t know each other, Richard says it needed to be simple and straightforward. MO agrees with this.

MO says it would have been better if the RACI was split out for the gateways (designers are gateway 1) which means that each discipline can just focus on what is relevant at that point rather than overloaded and all contained in one list. RICHARD says there was also some confusion as to what was the most onerous element - it’s not responsibility it’s accountability. It was put together quickly to primarily showcase the kind of thing that we do.

MO agrees with Richard’s suggestion that he thinks the RACI approach was correct but it would be better to be done within disciplines. mo thought it was good the way the risks were identified, but as soon as you get one or more subjects the brain wanders…they ended up talking about the flat design, the layout. He didn’t feel comfortable to say ‘hold on, we’re missing the point here’ as many attendees were unknown to him.

RICHARD suggests they could run through the exercise in the next design meeting. MO thinks they should pick one subject that hasn’t already been worked on and see how the list works against that. RICHARD says that methodology has to adapt depending on which group it is you’re dealing with. MO reiterates a focal point would be good and then strip it back to the gateways and who is involved at what stage, it then becomes easier to associate the questions (that are there already) with each part. Not everyone in the design group is a designer (so there is input from other stakeholders) but yes, the focus should be on design.

07-Jun-22

Ana Matic

Ana Matic - Next steps from DCW roundtables-20220607

ANA MATIC was part of the Design group and from her POV as an architect who works through all stages of design and delivery she considers that you have to have enough of the parameters fixed before you can comment on what information you need - the exercise as it was left quite a lot of stuff open which would never be the case in real life. She compares it to working on Revit models etc. Initially you download the whole model and then the next time you only download the changes, so we should never ask what information you need right from scratch as it wastes a lot of time trying to review everything. It’s essential to understand the context and then ask for the variations within that context. This can be applied digitally and to the whole of the Building Safety Bill.

RICHARD replies that this process is to try and ascertain which things are essential, but he takes Ana’s point about context, also part of this process. The RACI methodology works to some extent, the input we’ve been getting from the exercise helps us inform how to adapt the RACI and make it more effective.

Regarding Richard’s question to Ana as to what should be done moving forward, she asks whether we are trying to separate things into gateways…design and construction are very much time depended and what is relevant information therefore changes. BSB has focused on 3 Gateways because there is a progressional change. Re time: how are we calibrating information across time? Fixed points must be made at which information is listed. At the table discussion everyone was delivery based and wanted all discussions to be known from the start, but there is no way you can know them because supply chain/client requirements/occupancy may change. The timeline of the project has to be fair to itself: the list of things that need to be known changes from the design stage to delivery to handover. The shortlist at handover has to have stories/ontologies of when things are going to change.

So, says ANA, it’s not 1 RACI matrix, it’s at least 3 RACI matrixes. Try and keep them tight and be aware of variations that can drastically change things. RICHARD says with the new regulations that are coming in there is going to have to be a lot more done and done differently. ANA thinks we should also look across sectors to tease out good answers e.g. transport sector. RICHARD says they are keen to promote the industrialisation of construction, examining other sectors. Those who will regulate whether the Construction industry is compliant have come out of the highly regulated energy industry.

05-May-22

INTERIM DESIGN GROUP MEETING - PRELIMS FOR DCW-20220505

[Please note that at the end of this documents you can find an ADDENDUM titled “Pre-Meeting Inputs”]

PAULA CHANDLER says how it's important to get the CDP people involved earlier during stage 4.

PAUL WHITE says that often smoke control is ignored and should be put straight after fire safety (because it’s part of it).

DAS observes that from Paul’s email that Gateways 1 & 2 are good constraints in a way, though there’s a lot of hurdles with procurement fitting into those two gateways. From a design point of view there has been some improvement regarding fire strategies and colour coding, especially when talking about complicated buildings combining different uses e.g. supermarket/residential. He also notes that the conflict he often comes across between design and the specialists that come later in the process of building and might request changes to the design that are not approved and yet they are necessary. This might be a particular problem if it involves structural elements of the building.

He also thinks the issue of statutory signage is important (see JIM CREAK’s email).

MATT TAYLOR talks about mistakes being made re shaft walls and fire safety.

DAS thinks it’s important to address what has been mentioned already in the email: how can best laid plans be undermined by those living in the flats or those coming and doing subsequent repair or installation works? E.g. Das’ personal experience of technicians drilling for internet installment purposes. DAS says he doesn’t know how to answer the questions sent to him by Jiss via email (possibly regarding the 2 scenarios of smoke risk which are painting a fire door and installing a carpet???).

MATT TAYLOR shows everyone a fire compliance data sticker with information that can be picked up by a QR code – it links back to BIM information on the project. He notes the importance of the detailing of getting the interface details correct regarding Systems.

PAULA CHANDLER talks about how they are trying, with their design team, to bring in drawings with a lot of detail so that the builders and constructors don’t just rely on their experience to know how to put it together. for details that are safety critical it’s necessary to go into a deep level of granularity.

MATT TAYLOR says that, considering English is not the first language of many of the fixing workforce, they may struggle with reading the technical details. PAULA says that’s why visual representations (like Ikea do) are useful. PAUL thinks it would be a good idea to work together as an industry to build a catalogue of these standard details that we know work that would deal with certain situations.

ALAISTAIR BROCKETT says that designs that look good on paper sometimes have a problem that installations cannot actually be made e.g. there is no space to get in equipment to install something. Often, he observes on site, things are just not built properly. He says the problem with Paula’s idea about creating a standards book is that manufacturers details move on. MATT TAYLOR says that, if not enough space has been left per manufacturer’s instructions to build/install something, it can lead to delays to the construction of the building, often for weeks at a time.

DAS says that the virtual design is not enough as a model because, in general, there is often a lack of installation sequencing requirements or maintenance/inspection requirements when a replacement needs to be made afterwards.

MATT TAYLOR referring, once again, to studs, states that there are rules and guidance that have to exist in principle before the studwork can be formed around that and it's important to raise awareness about this early on in the process.

PAUL WHITE: ‘as architects (it’s important to) understand that everything is actually a lot bigger than you want it to be. You can’t just say let’s squeeze everything into this hole and get a bit more lettable space, because actually, when it comes to it, if you’ve hidden it, people can’t go and look at it every year. That’s the other issue. You can’t put all the pipes under the ductwork because you ve got to get an access door to get in to clean the duct to look at the damper and its space that is the issue.’

DAS points out that architects (and designers) infrequently visit sites due to the digital nature of their work and this needs to be addressed. M&E designers also lack the ‘real life’ experience. On site inspectors need to be rigorous, flagging up problems. This is even more important as its necessary to document data for the building safety case. MO FISHER thinks site mock-ups work really well because it’s not about how it looks (which marketing dept would do) it’s also about if it’s meeting the requirements. They use those images for lessons learned.

MATT TAYLOR agrees with an important point raised earlier about the need for early engagement with a specialist contractor – it would help to identify concerns early on. He refers to his email (see addendum) ‘regarding challenges that would need to be acknowledged in specialist contractors’ abilities to fulfill that early engagement requirement. They’re often not appointed at that stage and therefore any information they are providing they are providing at risk. As an industry we should look into who should fulfill these requirements.’

PAULA CHANDLER thinks the issue is that the procurement route needs to be looked at from the front end from when the client brings on the main contractor, to get advice from them at stage 2 or early in stage 3. ‘It’s a false economy because if we can demonstrate cause and effect, the issues that occur and the costs that are assigned to those issues because we haven’t been able to coordinate earlier, we can somehow capture that....then that’s a compelling argument back to the client to say, yes, you’ll have to spend up front just like we have to do with BIM. you have to expend and put all that effort in up front, but you should reap the rewards further down the line.’

DAS thinks that the Gateways are potentially are great way to change the system although it may be painful for some people. Regarding dealing with maintenance, he thinks QR codes are a good idea (and bar codes have been around for a long time) but many people may not want stickers on their walls. MATT TAYLOR says the visibility of codes is an issue. PAULA CHANDLER has a radical idea of using AI with a digital home user guide via a tablet.

DAS proposes that maybe fire drills have to be introduced into residential blocks (especially important after the Grenfell tragedy). Fire drills are already required in public buildings (offices, schools etc). PAUL WHITE says tenants will often prop fire doors open. DAS says that some hospitals have a tag or magnet on a door and if it was left open an alarm would be raised (via wi-fi), someone would get alerted. Also, you can have volunteers to walk around every few months and monitor things.

STEWART BAILEY talks about using the BIM model for tagging and making (a lightweight BIM model available to residents and develop a community engagement app – they are all on Whatsapp. The resident’s association could have a rep to go round and check. There’s also gamification, to motivate people to want to report e.g. bikes in smoke shafts ‘who wants to win the free pizza this week’.

ADDENDUM: Pre-meeting Inputs

Marc BRADFIELD

Apologies all as I have only had a chance to skim read through but I can see the themes developing for me.

For me, the challenge ahead can be simplified for thinking by considering that there are a significant number of aspects that we are ‘doing’ but we need to get better at it.

….Then there are items which are either unknown going forward or need a total re-thing in terms of overall strategy / approach.

One of these is the theme of specialist CDP s/c’s particularly MEP as so many of the safety systems and the prescriptive specification of them is too late.

If we accept that for Gateway 2 sign-off (and start on site) we need to prove compliance (with no ambiguous assumptions) then we need to be resolving this far earlier.

This then links heavily with the overall procurement strategy particularly when considering a two stage tender.

Worst case if we don’t do this we could be in a position that we need to substantially conclude RIBA Stage 4, make a submission to the BSR and then await sign-off (how long, 4 weeks, 8 weeks, 16 weeks) before we can mobilise and commence construction (RIBA 5) – Very different to what typically happens for most/many.

Alongside this what do we think about alignment of BG6 and RIBA. For me they seem out of kilter. BG6 4a, 4b (forgive me can never remember new money naming) seem more appropriate to be aligned with Spatial coordination RIBA 3?????

Alastair Brockett

To address /comment on Joe’s issues:

I can appreciate the ‘divvying’ up pf firestopping leaving it to particular sections of work. However, the significant issue with this is lack of coordination between work sections and trades. This results in a mix of manufacturers materials and thus non-compliant systems. It has firestopping components partially installed (eg fire collars left hanging on pipes) awaiting the completion of the main firestopping seal ‘once all the services are in’. It leads to the previously stated mix and also questions over who is responsible if something goes wrong .It leads to accusations of wrong product/ you fixed it etc etc.

Firestopping should be a separate works package. We don’t have a steel structure where one contactor does the columns and then someone else does the beams. Or put up the framing and someone else fits the plasterboard.

Modelling of firestop is available. For example, there is Hilti BIM firestop that provides and inserts the necessary data. I have seen a BIM model for a 79 storey tower what can be drilled down to the firestopping for the individual electrical outlets.

Surely BIM is collaboration where the services are known about and as such the optimized opening.firestop can be spec’d and frozen? It is the undefined and wide latitude given to service installation that leads to difficulties in providing suitable fire prevention solutions.

Examples

  • Firedoors being installed in wall openings that are not defined with defined tolerances resulting in wide gaps (circa 50 mm) that need to be filled (PS these are doors that will potentially work loose because of the excessive stand off and thus bending loads being applied to the fixings)

  • Firestopping of huge corridor wide openings for which there is little or no data (fire tests are conducted by manufacturers of applications that are carried out in accordance with standards/codes of practice/industry guides as this is what is expected in the industry ie correct working).

As a supplier we are inundated with requests for Engineered/Expert Judgements to deal with ‘tolerances of fit’ of the previous operations leading to the final stage of firestopping. There is no direct, specific test data. Manufacturers try their best to make the test scope of their products as wide as possible but there are limits.

Graphical communication- as long as there is coordination with and provision of detailed specification naming products (things might be similar but they are definitely not the same nor are generic solutions providing a defined solution with required performance)

Matt Taylor

A couple of thoughts on the recent emails from Joe, Das and Jim,

I completely agree with the point made on colour coordination of fire strategy plans. In my opinion, these should always form part of the fixer’s pack (all too often it appears that they are not) and should be consistent in their appearance to reduce the potential for error. One other aspect of the plans, which often leads to confusion, is the accuracy of the plan at wall interfaces. I have included an example from one of our previous projects below (I have better examples, but came across this one first).

In this case the wall marked in blue has 120 minutes fire performance requirement and the wall marked in red, a 60 minute requirement. The 120 minute wall should be continuing, uninterrupted, to maintain the fire compartment, with the 60 minute wall abutting, to form a T-junction detail. This is unclear from the fire strategy plans, and it appears that the 60 minute wall continues to form the corner of the wider footprint partition. This is often made more complicated, where the specification states different fire performances for the same wall type and therefore the wider footprint partition may be covered by the same K10 clause, causing the fixer to assume that a standard corner detail arrangement is to be formed. This is a major contributor to built defects and, more often than not, goes completely unrecognised, as quality measures often only pick up if the interface has been formed in relation to the manufacturer’s or project (often non-specific for an individual interface) details.

As I mention, this is not the best example and is perhaps a more obvious instance to resolve, however I have noted many other occurrences of this issue, where the intent becomes very unclear, often leading to RFIs, which can go unanswered for several weeks, leading to delays at a critical point in the build. We can always argue that this should be being picked up in the contractor design portion, however I have yet to come across a job with sufficient programme timescale or budget allowance to allow the specialist contractor to detail every interface through their design, prior to installation commencing.

In relation to the points made regarding early engagement with the specialist contractor; this will absolutely benefit the process and assist in identification of issues (obviously dependent on the organisation being engaged). There are however some challenges involved, that need to be acknowledged. As early engagement would usually occur prior to trade contractor appointment, it is understandable that many contractors may harbour a certain degree of reluctancy to resource any such early engagement. The risk to the contractor is that they will provide considerable input at their own cost, in the process identifying some of their quality assurance, VE or efficiency measures that would, as standard, cause them to stand apart from their competition, only for the project to go out to competitive tender, with their chances of winning the project on price/individual offerings then significantly reduced.

When I have known any contractor led early engagement to occur, it has usually been the result of a request by the MC and on the basis of enhancing their chances of securing the contract, on the basis of pro-active involvement and displaying an attitude that would display the contractor in a favourable light. One potential consideration is the specific inclusion and associated budgeting of this specialist design consideration/interrogation earlier on in the process. Unfortunately, to date, I have rarely observed this to be considered to any notable extent.

Paul White

Also looking at what is being said the smoke control design must be part of the fire strategy. It affects travel distances and is used to justify them. However, space is needed and must be integrated early and from a design perspective, shafts need to be in the correct places.

So yes, please specialist subcontractors up the chain to 2 and 3 as 4 is often too late and also not complete in some of the fire strategies that I get to see.

Jim Creak

I apologise for my absence for later but do concur with both of you regarding specialist contractors being involved earlier in design process.

Joe , you have already identified the problems that I experience with Statutory Signs and Signage Systems which are determined by the process of taking the fire safety strategy, and then the formal fire risk assessment to determine the requirements. When the decision is taken to use appropriate signs, a competent contractor can then use appropriate guidance to implement. In purpose built flats there are even more requirements outlined in building regulations that at the moment are not fully appreciated in the supply chain. The Health and Safety Sign Association are today discussing appropriate professional development training for providing this service.

Joe Stott

Workflow: (pretty much aligned with Das’s notes)

  • Fire Strategy Information/Report/Drawings for us is a means by which we communicate the Requirements for the design and fire strategy solutions. I highlight this because I think it’s important to distinguish between an elements requirements which comes at a point where very often no specific products have been specified or locked in. Going forward as more product selection is undertaken it is then our job to check the product’s potential performance and standards meet the requirements. We very often get asked to provide information against “Fire Rating” as an example against COBie.Type data however I believe this is not the complete picture as a wall type may well be able to achieve a specific fire rating due to its makeup however specific instances of the wall type may or may not actually have to achieve this depending on their location in the design / fire strategy.

  • 3Rd party fire strategy/report advice is to date always provided via a PDF document with elements highlighted (in the PDF). Not a very helpful BIM workflow.

  • Whilst the majority of fire strategy information is communicated in plan form we try wherever possible to embed the fire data into the model elements so it can be communicated in other view types/schedules.

Issues:

  • Fire stopping is key area of concern to us as architects as this is generally lumped into one line item within AIDPs. Our approach would typically be to push back to break this down into different types of stopping – some of which we believe we are capable of detailing and specifying (External wall/floor cavity barriers) however internal service penetrations are such a complex area dependant on a high level of information about the type/size/spec of the penetrating service we don’t believe we are best placed to take responsibility for these. Not to mention the fact that they are very rarely fully modelled or frozen in the design which leads to huge amounts of reworking and increases the risk of mistakes being made.

  • We have seen an increase in specialist subcontractor design specifically for things like CLT panels whereby these make up part of what was traditionally seen as a single item. (External / Internal Walls). This then created complexity into who is responsible for “the wall”.. From an operational point of view an external wall is simply that, one element however from a design and procurement perspective its often much more complicated.

  • There appears to be a lack of industry standards for the graphical communication of fire information. Things like standard colours denoting ratings etc. We are currently having a push to try and align our internal standards across all offices/projects however I have to say it is somewhat of an uphill struggle as each architect has their own preferences on this. Having a national standard to fall back on takes away the subjectiveness of things like this and can only aid the industry.

  • Escape signage – This is commonly seen on early architectural fire strategy information however I do question if we are really suitably qualified to do this to an appropriate standard? This item is typically shifted towards the MEP / Specialist input at later project stages however I do feel it would be much better to have much more resolution on this earlier in the project stages so as to be able to leverage it within evacuation simulations etc at a point where changes and improvements could be made with minimal impact / rework costs and delays.

See you all later today, sorry if the above is somewhat of a brain dump – I just thought it better to get it down in writing before I start getting chased by the usual “urgent” project support questions..

Das

Jiss – thank you for the invite and the overview below which is a great set of scenarios to discuss. I have bullet pointed some initial thoughts, from a Designer perspective what information is required, and observations from some live projects which are impacting the design:

Workflow:

  • Fire strategy report, for us as Architects / Designers, is the starting point at any RIBA stage to enable us to design / specify the systems / products that are related to the spread of fire / smoke,

  • We are receiving a combination of typical fire strategy reports, with coloured mark-ups of PDF plans and more recently, colour coded ‘mark-ups’ of our BIMs. This is helpful, as it allows the Fire Engineer to understand the scheme in 3D, and therefore provide the compartment lines in 3D i.e., not just in plan view, but in section and elevation,

  • Using the data embedded in our BIMs we can filter and view our wall / door / ceilings based on their fire rating / spread of flame etc. This helps us digitally cross reference to the fire strategy to check alignment,

  • Our GA Plans, Schedules, Glossaries and Specification are then developed to deliver the strategy,

Issues:

  • Security / access control strategy for the building being changed – which impacts on type of doors / ironmongery etc. that is required,

  • Smoke extract system specialists being appointed way down the line, under the M&E specialist sub-contractor. Once detailed CFD (Computational Fluid Dynamics) modelling is done, they may require changes to location of doors, AOVs, make-up air ducts / grilles. All of which may require re-coordination of the systems / products that are related to spread of fire / smoke,

Gateway 1 and 2 requirements would, from what I’m aware, require a coordinated fire strategy and design, including from specialist, to be in place much earlier. Therefore, the procurement of these specialist before end of RIBA stage 4, to enable the design team to coordinate and include them in the design, seems like a must going forward?

Jiss Philip Mukkadan - BIM4Housing

Paul White - Ventilation Fire Smoke

Patrick Wilson - PW Architects

Joe Stott - AHR

Harshul Singh - UCL

Matt Taylor - Taylor Design Consultancy

Paula Chandler (RDD) - Wates

Mike Richardson - PRP

Andrew de Silva ‘Das’ - David Miller

Mo Fisher - PRP

Alastair Brockett - Hilti

Ashley Kochiss - PRP

Stewart Bailey - Virtual Viewing

13-Apr-22

BIM4HOUSING DESIGN WORKING GROUP MEETING-20220413

GEORGE: We’ve identified that the current process leads to many problems with eg. Compartmentation which is (partly) influenced by the way that things are procured. So, we’ve been reviewing how it might be possible to look at the new requirements of the gateways to look at things from a design perspective. In this meeting we should talk about the process of change: how can we get information earlier in the process so if something gets swapped out for something else, we’ve got a more vigorous way of validating that.

GEORGE: We propose the group should take a look at a particular product (a fired door) at the BIm4housing session at Digital Construction Week. We can look at the various groups (design/manufacturing/developing/construction/operations) and think what information do they produce. That would give us a degree of profile as to how the digital record of that information is created.

JIM CREAK It makes sense because I’ve seen so many problems with change management. All of the specialist contractors are the same in that they will supply or similar and without regard to what may be in the digital information.

GEORGE, giving the example of an Intumescent strip of fire doors, considers that such infinite detail is needed, despite development teams and clients thinking it unnecessary.

ANDREW DA SILVA ‘DAS’ has invited Andy Wood and 2 other colleagues who work on improving everything from like workflows to content libraries to qualities, design, specification etc. ‘It’s useful for us and them to hear the input from the team’.

there are three things relevant to us coming up with questions regarding workstream: change management, project delivery program, discrepancies (in terms of what is it that we are all working towards or our responsibilities).

In terms of change management, if we don’t have the right people (which is a common thing that everyone has said for many years), the right information, at the right time, there will be problems down the line. The gateways are an opportunity for us the make a change to procurement and how we structure a project. We need to understand what is constituted as a change between gateway 2 or beyond Gateway 2 by? Is it simply a product or could it be anything?

To clarify re the Building safety build Gateways, gateway 1 is when we put something in for planning and that’s the general kind of requirement of the fire strategy, fire report, fire design to be bottomed out. Gateway 2 is at the end of stage 4 and before the beginning of stage 5 i.e. starting on site. Gateway 3 is at the end of the project, the handover.

MARC BRADFIELD I’m genuinely worried if we take what we see written about gateway 2 as a pre-construction approval process we’re going to be doing something fundamentally different. Also, it’s a fundamental issue for me that a significant majority of the schemes that we’re engaged on are procured. You cannot complete the design without a number of specialists involved. There is a need for a fundamental change to how procurement works.

JAREK WITYK: why don’t we refer to the work stages as a gateway because everyone understands them and they are all aligned. The problems my company has that leads to increasing costs are there’s a failure of the QA where checks are not done properly, spatial aspects (not enough space for services) and a technical aspect where the design at stage 3 or 4 is not fit for purpose.

JIM CREAK agrees: ‘there’s not an incentive in the change program for people of specialist contractors to go back and say there’s a problem with the design and pick up variations.’

GEORGE went to the fire safety show last week and met some of the people who were in the detail. A fire stopping company explained why need to be part of the coordination process much earlier. They demonstrated this with a practical example (fire collars/pipes) of how spatial coordination would be needed. ‘it is something that we need to get coordinated otherwise we end up with far too many penetrations.’ DAS considers this to be a valuable point.

ANDREW DA SILVA ‘DAS’ thinks it may be a good idea to draw a simple bar diagram of what the ideal workflow would be, taking out the realities of procurement/money/etc. The diagram would include how the gateways can be achieved. He says on most of the projects the start date and the end date inevitably changes because things have to be redone and specialists join the project.

Jim Creak - Jalite Plc

Jiss Philip Mukkadan - BIM4Housing

Andrew de Silva ‘Das’ - David Miller

Marc Bradfield - Bouygues

George Stevenson - ActivePlan

Richard Freer - IceFire Portfolio

Liam Wheatley - Nuliving

Ashley Kochiss - PRP

Jarek Wityk - Winters Electrical

Harshul Singh - UCL

Andrew Wood - David Miller

German Didenko - David Miller

JAREK thinks the diagram is a good idea, but thinks the group can also show, as a guide, the dependency and demonstrate what happens If this is not completed. This will show a cause and effect for clients, the consequences of skipping parts.

LIAM WHEATLEY: ‘The idea to go from design to procure to build isn’t something that should be viewed as a linear. It has to be at the point that you’re briefing from a client. We’re not placeholder in the design. We’re actually saying, well, someone signed off for that point. And when that’s going from the spatial coordination to the working drawings. That’s when the minutia and the details of it can be worked out. But from procurement, you’re working off design. That shouldn’t then change.’

JIM CREAK alludes to the fact that additional adjustments along the process may alter initial design plans e.g. ‘clients need to know they’re going to lose square inches of floor space as a function of proper service ducts.’

GEORGE, further to his earlier comments about the lack of standardisation of glass for windows, says that car manufacturers have more standardisation of component parts so they have an economy of scale.

MARC BRADFIELD thinks standardisation is very important for the industry. But he points out that a potential difficulty with standardisation is the idea of designing based upon a specific manufacturer’s product.

GEORGE likes JAREK’s cause and effect idea as it may be a means to have conversations with the both the clients, in terms of negotiating with them from a procurement perspective, but also talking to your procurement colleagues to say We want flexibility, but let’s have a look at what the impact of that flexibility is likely to lead to.

JIM CREAK points out the resistance of the manufacturers to introduce standardisation procedures for products because that would mean using technical assistance which puts up the bid price during the procurement process.

ANDREW DA SILVA ‘DAS’ Regarding M&E, one thing is designing it and spatially coordinating it. Butknowledge of in store and inspection as part of M&E design is also I think maybe something that needs to sort of upskilling.

Regarding DRM, we can say actually the responsibility of the architect is these systems and the engineers these systems. So that feels for us to be a sensible sort of classification to align the DRM or scope to for example in our view.

JAREK points out that there is acceptance of errors within the manufacturing industry and stages are moved between despite the fact the errors are known to exist.

GEORGE agrees, Tier1’s say there are 50% defects.

ANDREW DA SILVA ‘DAS’ Sequencing issues are happening because as you say, the design isn’t being procured or the specialist isn’t being procured. For example, the dry lining might go up, but the first fix some bits have to be changed...it’s constantly 3 steps forward 2 steps back, go forward, due to procuring things at the wrong time. How do we get the DMB benefits into the traditional design program? The quality goes up because it’s all properly designed, but also the cost (probably) goes up. How much benefit has DMB brought to projects? Considering that projects are always late and defects exist.

JIM CREAK is pleased that the need to have a design for all of these arrangements before it even goes to procurement has been brought up (he gave an example of how a luminaire is needed over a first aid box).

ANDREW DA SILVA ‘DAS’ to JAREK: I really like the idea of a dependency diagram that you made. So, if you could do that for your specialism, then others could kind of add (something)…

ANDREW DA SILVA ‘DAS’ agrees with Jim’s notion that design should be procured right at the beginning for these items, but there are problems with the current systems in place e.g., to say to the public sector, you’re going to have to change your procurement route to enable the design to be complete before you go to site. Input can be obtained about this matter in the working stream from clients etc.

ANDREW WOOD comments that BCF (Bim Coordination Format) is one of the formats that is being under utilised in the industry. BCF means you can exchange coordination data between different coordination platforms. It’s good for database sharing between other databases. It’s about tracking issues from the point of view of the longevity of the project and that they can actually equal up and be cancelled out and eliminated at gateways.

GEORGE says that actually Andrew’s example of exchanging coordinate information e.g. where a door is, would actually be done via IFC which is part of BCF.

ANDREW DA SILVA ‘DAS’ thinks the next step is to about developing a model workflow, not what is currently happening at the moment because we know all the problems. To start from a blank piece of paper, start with the RIBA stages, start with the gateways and then everything else is new and that we map out at very high level. Then, review that and then maybe go into further detail. The ‘cause and effect’ is particularly interesting as it’s all about risk management/risk transfer/cost tranfer.

RICHARD asks if anyone is interested in being involved in the change management workstream which will have its initial meeting in about three weeks’ time.

ANDREW DA SILVA ‘DAS’ cause and effect at the project level is about feasibility, viability, program funding, that kind of level of discussion and then the details of dealing with DRMs etc.

GEORGE wants to have a narrative to explain things to people and thinks that fire doors would be a good way to do that because it has so many different interfaces e.g. electrical/dry lining/security system.

ANDREW DA SILVA ‘DAS’ regarding George’s narrative idea, using a smoke detector for the narrative may be useful as you can show the journey from façade, to communal to individual on a residential scheme. It would connect the types of people or duty holders: residents, landlord and the cladding, or the facade envelope elements of any project.

LIAM WHEATLEY is interested in being shown by George how proper databases are connected to a space within Activeplan.

09-Feb-22

GEORGE: We’ve identified that the current process leads to many problems with eg. Compartmentation which is (partly) influenced by the way that things are procured. So, we’ve been reviewing how it might be possible to look at the new requirements of the gateways to look at things from a design perspective. In this meeting we should talk about the process of change: how can we get information earlier in the process so if something gets swapped out for something else, we’ve got a more vigorous way of validating that.

GEORGE: We propose the group should take a look at a particular product (a fired door) at the BIm4housing session at Digital Construction Week. We can look at the various groups (design/manufacturing/developing/construction/operations) and think what information do they produce. That would give us a degree of profile as to how the digital record of that information is created.

JIM CREAK It makes sense because I’ve seen so many problems with change management. All of the specialist contractors are the same in that they will supply or similar and without regard to what may be in the digital information.

GEORGE, giving the example of an Intumescent strip of fire doors, considers that such infinite detail is needed, despite development teams and clients thinking it unnecessary.

ANDREW DA SILVA ‘DAS’ has invited Andy Wood and 2 other colleagues who work on improving everything from like workflows to content libraries to qualities, design, specification etc. ‘It’s useful for us and them to hear the input from the team’.

there are three things relevant to us coming up with questions regarding workstream: change management, project delivery program, discrepancies (in terms of what is it that we are all working towards or our responsibilities).

In terms of change management, if we don’t have the right people (which is a common thing that everyone has said for many years), the right information, at the right time, there will be problems down the line. The gateways are an opportunity for us the make a change to procurement and how we structure a project. We need to understand what is constituted as a change between gateway 2 or beyond Gateway 2 by? Is it simply a product or could it be anything?

To clarify re the Building safety build Gateways, gateway 1 is when we put something in for planning and that’s the general kind of requirement of the fire strategy, fire report, fire design to be bottomed out. Gateway 2 is at the end of stage 4 and before the beginning of stage 5 i.e. starting on site. Gateway 3 is at the end of the project, the handover.

MARC BRADFIELD I’m genuinely worried if we take what we see written about gateway 2 as a pre-construction approval process we’re going to be doing something fundamentally different. Also, it’s a fundamental issue for me that a significant majority of the schemes that we’re engaged on are procured. You cannot complete the design without a number of specialists involved. There is a need for a fundamental change to how procurement works.

JAREK WITYK: why don’t we refer to the work stages as a gateway because everyone understands them and they are all aligned. The problems my company has that leads to increasing costs are there’s a failure of the QA where checks are not done properly, spatial aspects (not enough space for services) and a technical aspect where the design at stage 3 or 4 is not fit for purpose.

JIM CREAK agrees: ‘there’s not an incentive in the change program for people of specialist contractors to go back and say there’s a problem with the design and pick up variations.’

GEORGE went to the fire safety show last week and met some of the people who were in the detail. A fire stopping company explained why need to be part of the coordination process much earlier. They demonstrated this with a practical example (fire collars/pipes) of how spatial coordination would be needed. ‘it is something that we need to get coordinated otherwise we end up with far too many penetrations.’ DAS considers this to be a valuable point.

ANDREW DA SILVA ‘DAS’ thinks it may be a good idea to draw a simple bar diagram of what the ideal workflow would be, taking out the realities of procurement/money/etc. The diagram would include how the gateways can be achieved. He says on most of the projects the start date and the end date inevitably changes because things have to be redone and specialists join the project.

JAREK thinks the diagram is a good idea, but thinks the group can also show, as a guide, the dependency and demonstrate what happens If this is not completed. This will show a cause and effect for clients, the consequences of skipping parts.

LIAM WHEATLEY: ‘The idea to go from design to procure to build isn’t something that should be viewed as a linear. It has to be at the point that you’re briefing from a client. We’re not placeholder in the design. We’re actually saying, well, someone signed off for that point. And when that’s going from the spatial coordination to the working drawings. That’s when the minutia and the details of it can be worked out. But from procurement, you’re working off design. That shouldn’t then change.’

JIM CREAK alludes to the fact that additional adjustments along the process may alter initial design plans e.g. ‘clients need to know they’re going to lose square inches of floor space as a function of proper service ducts.’

GEORGE, further to his earlier comments about the lack of standardisation of glass for windows, says that car manufacturers have more standardisation of component parts so they have an economy of scale.

MARC BRADFIELD thinks standardisation is very important for the industry. But he points out that a potential difficulty with standardisation is the idea of designing based upon a specific manufacturer’s product.

GEORGE likes JAREK’s cause and effect idea as it may be a means to have conversations with the both the clients, in terms of negotiating with them from a procurement perspective, but also talking to your procurement colleagues to say We want flexibility, but let’s have a look at what the impact of that flexibility is likely to lead to.

JIM CREAK points out the resistance of the manufacturers to introduce standardisation procedures for products because that would mean using technical assistance which puts up the bid price during the procurement process.

ANDREW DA SILVA ‘DAS’ Regarding M&E, one thing is designing it and spatially coordinating it. Butknowledge of in store and inspection as part of M&E design is also I think maybe something that needs to sort of upskilling.

Regarding DRM, we can say actually the responsibility of the architect is these systems and the engineers these systems. So that feels for us to be a sensible sort of classification to align the DRM or scope to for example in our view.

JAREK points out that there is acceptance of errors within the manufacturing industry and stages are moved between despite the fact the errors are known to exist.

GEORGE agrees, Tier1’s say there are 50% defects.

ANDREW DA SILVA ‘DAS’ Sequencing issues are happening because as you say, the design isn’t being procured or the specialist isn’t being procured. For example, the dry lining might go up, but the first fix some bits have to be changed...it’s constantly 3 steps forward 2 steps back, go forward, due to procuring things at the wrong time. How do we get the DMB benefits into the traditional design program? The quality goes up because it’s all properly designed, but also the cost (probably) goes up. How much benefit has DMB brought to projects? Considering that projects are always late and defects exist.

JIM CREAK is pleased that the need to have a design for all of these arrangements before it even goes to procurement has been brought up (he gave an example of how a luminaire is needed over a first aid box).

ANDREW DA SILVA ‘DAS’ agrees with Jim’s notion that design should be procured right at the beginning for these items, but there are problems with the current systems in place e.g., to say to the public sector, you’re going to have to change your procurement route to enable the design to be complete before you go to site. Input can be obtained about this matter in the working stream from clients etc.

ANDREW WOOD comments that BCF (Bim Coordination Format) is one of the formats that is being under utilised in the industry. BCF means you can exchange coordination data between different coordination platforms. It’s good for database sharing between other databases. It’s about tracking issues from the point of view of the longevity of the project and that they can actually equal up and be cancelled out and eliminated at gateways.

GEORGE says that actually Andrew’s example of exchanging coordinate information e.g. where a door is, would actually be done via IFC which is part of BCF.

ANDREW DA SILVA ‘DAS’ thinks the next step is to about developing a model workflow, not what is currently happening at the moment because we know all the problems. To start from a blank piece of paper, start with the RIBA stages, start with the gateways and then everything else is new and that we map out at very high level. Then, review that and then maybe go into further detail. The ‘cause and effect’ is particularly interesting as it’s all about risk management/risk transfer/cost tranfer.

RICHARD asks if anyone is interested in being involved in the change management workstream which will have its initial meeting in about three weeks’ time.

ANDREW DA SILVA ‘DAS’ cause and effect at the project level is about feasibility, viability, program funding, that kind of level of discussion and then the details of dealing with DRMs etc.

GEORGE wants to have a narrative to explain things to people and thinks that fire doors would be a good way to do that because it has so many different interfaces e.g. electrical/dry lining/security system.

ANDREW DA SILVA ‘DAS’ regarding George’s narrative idea, using a smoke detector for the narrative may be useful as you can show the journey from façade, to communal to individual on a residential scheme. It would connect the types of people or duty holders: residents, landlord and the cladding, or the facade envelope elements of any project.

ANDREW DA SILVA ‘DAS’ to JAREK: I really like the idea of a dependency diagram that you made. So, if you could do that for your specialism, then others could kind of add (something)…

LIAM WHEATLEY is interested in being shown by George how proper databases are connected to a space within Activeplan.

Andrew de Silva ‘Das’David Miller Architects

Thomas LindnerHolden River

Patrick WilsonPW Architects

Jiss Philip MukkadanBIM4Housing

Jim CreakJalite Plc

Sharon McClureAvestagroup

Christopher OgboguRedbridge

Tony BoyleAico

Liam WheatleyNuliving

Richard FreerIceFire Portfolio

PaulConnollyMacegroup

Alastair BrockettHilti

Marc BRADFIELDBouygues

Chris HobbsGraitec

George StevensonActiveplan

Paula Chandler (RDD)Wates

Mike SmithBailey

Harshul SinghUCL

Jarek WitykWinters Electrical

Adam HopkinsPeabody

Eduardo GuasqueHaworthtompkins

Joe StottAHR

Paul WhiteVentilation Fire Smoke

Daniel EnglandPRP

Neil YeomansOrbit

Simon BowkerOnemanchester

Matt TaylorTaylor Design Consultancy

Charles MorrissKingspan

Bill WattsMaxfordham

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