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.

Design Group Meetings and Highpoints

If you have a comment or suggestion on a particular meeting, or just in general, please

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

DateHighpointActionsAttendees
11-Jan-23

BIM4Housing Design Working Group Meeting 11-01-23

Recording - https://youtu.be/lDNuk3SK734

ANDREW DE SILVA ‘DAS’ Richard, you mentioned there’s a gentleman who may be able to do it, because I don’t think we’ve met for a while now…George is on site but it'll be interesting to hear, I think there's another gentleman from workstream 1 who you thought would be able to give some sort of a presentation.

PAUL McSOLLEY Yeah, I sit on a few other different things, one of which is the process group for the Pacifier Knowledge group. We had a bit of a chat about it in working session 1 with Martin and the rest of the guys there about how process flow looks from everyone’s POV. It’s always good to get everyone’s view on it because this stuff’s going to get more and more present in released, we did it at Build Expo as well. It will be good to see how we’ve looked at it here in relation to what you’re doing because the more input you get it just helps change the flavour of whatever cocktail you’re making.

RICHARD Also I think we’re looking at having some ongoing work on that, so I think the idea is that if there's a designer with an M&E type bent to get them on board with the actual work that's gonna be moving on forward, but Paul knows more about that than I do.

PAUL McSOLLEY The problem is everyone thinks construction is easier than say than doing nuclear or pharmaceutical, it’s not, it’s complex. And when you look at your key stakeholders, who’s the knowledge holder for each part of it, you can see in the way we’ve transposed it where the issue occurs.

DAS Jarek, thanks for the feedback on the questions. What will be useful, I’ll have a catch-up with George in terms of whether those questions have been passed on to the other working groups because obviously there are questions about the procurement teams and the client teams etc.

RICHARD Partially, but not formally enough. At the tail end of last year there was a lot of focus on fire safety, with several of the working groups particularly with that deadline on the 23rd, everything got thrown in to that. So they absolutely need to be more formally adopted as something to move forward without any question and that's on the agenda to do that.

DAS No, that’s fine, because I think it’s kind of attacking you from two ends, the work you’ve been doing, Paul, is looking at more the detailed level but then making sure (in Jarek’s comments) about the client knowing what the right questions is or the procurement standing because I guess all these consultants I guess throw things at the clients and they’re like ‘fine, I guess, you’re the expert’. But they’re not necessarily taking on board the required time periods for design or detailed design or procurement or reviews. So educating the client side continues to be a requirement because they will just pass it on to the consultants and everything just gets pushed back down.

I think also now that we are getting into enacting things like the Building Safety Act and it’s in play, it would be nice to see how we're getting tender requests for resi schemes and we're talking with some contractors, people like Waites and Boyd who as we know who are engaged, but some others aren't. So we're getting to see real life requirements for this stuff which can only help us if we share it. We go ‘our clients are asking these things, what are your clients asking?’ the same type of things or not, so I think that will be an evolution in the first bit of the year. That’s a general request for feedback on those questions as and when people get it, and Richard I guess there’s a formal asking and sharing of those questions.

PAUL McSOLEY shares screen and begins his presentation. There was two things, Andrew, and this isn’t actually about detail which I think makes a change. So what we did was this thing called the Passive Fire Knowledge Group, we launched this build Expo this year, basically it's most of the tier one contractors have been involved in it. So I've been looking over process and one of the big things was that we presented there was about having a need for like a passive fire code of practice, a bit like in building services terms. You've got CIBSE code M which is how you manage commission management as a management processor commission, not how you do it (you have separate guides for how you do it) but how you manage it in behavioural for the various stages of the RIBA. So we come up with this, (the little keys there came from Georges around Gateways) but we've been trying to refine it and bring it back into the group because I need help with the BIM side of it. BIM being the key part in getting the assets stuff correct in relation to how this flow works.

So don't pay too much attention to, it’s all about how you establish the shape and form of the building, how systems working in risk categories and relation to space ratings, time off, how they operate and how you get to the point where you’ve actually got like a register all the different seal types in the building because…

DAS Sorry Paul, just to jump in there. Just for my knowledge when you referred to the passive fire systems, these are essentially things which don't have power or anything to them. They’re just sort of fire stops and fields and things like that.

PAUL McSOLLEY Yeah, I’ll get on to it, because there’s active systems which are a bit more dynamic, you’ve got static passive fire, but then also you’ve got transient systems. So we’ve broken it into three categories, you’ll see it in a minute when I go through it all. So passive fire knowledge…even if you take a fire door, it’s still a passive system but you can walk through it, so it’s transient. ? 9mins 18secs extract is like dynamic, but it’s passive in its first principle because it compartments but it can open to extract. Don’t worry about all this too much at the moment because there is a RACI that sits behind this as well.

When you take, whether it’s a fire door or a damper, a pipe seal (because these things are all different), whether it’s a flue a busbar, the only way to know how these things work in practice is to look at the fire risk type fo the building and the space risk. And whether those systems are a fire door is transient (because you can walk through it), they can be duel swing, single swing, they can have glass panels in them, all different sizes of doors. Fire dampers are generally static (they shut), smoke controls are dynamic because they can open to extract, we try to bring it into some different language about that’s the operations types. Once you know that you’ve got to assign that to that, then you gotta look at how you get to the classification of those products because this classification here is just for a fire damper, but the fact is is that there's other classification information, important information that sits behind it, hence where the BIM is so important.

Because then you've got obviously the supporting construction side of it which we all know has been half the battle, whether its symmetrical asymmetrical or it's rigid, whatever type of wall construction has been used, whether it’s standard or other. So there’s this side of it, but you’ve also got the installation and maintenance type. Unless you kind of consider all of those parts before you get to this point here at gateway 1 there's a good chance something is going to be wrong. It’s about how we get clients back to a very diagrammatic…you can say if you don't follow something like this, this is what the output is gonna be to this project. Fire engineers generally should know the space risk and know what the building type is and that should build the fire strategy. They’re the knowledge holders of that part, not always…(audio cutting out). Ana joins the call.

PAUL McSOLLEY Just quickly for you, Ana, we tried to get RIBA aligned into such a way where you’ve got some very big methods of going through passive fire knowledge from cradle to grave. We were just talking about shape and form of building, risk category of spaces, system operational types and how you get to the point where you really need to have a classification register before you get to Gateway 1 because otherwise you can’t tell whether things are going to fit in the building. And there’s a case example at the back of this about how you see the effect of what not doing it is. So, back to where we were. These are the five things we were looking at: building safety type, space risk type, the operational side of the system because fire doors are transient, dampers are static, smoke controls dynamic (same as sprinklers because of the form and the function). Every products got different classification by DOPs but there’s other information that sits behind this which is more than this.

To get these parts right you need to understand the blade type of the damper etc and obviously you’ve got wall types which is your standard supporting, your flexibles, your brick and block, non-standard, asymmetricals. Then, you’ve got the access type of installation, maintenance of products and how you get them installed which is obviously a key thing to get this whole thing done before you get out of the planning stage. Not actually get it done fully drawn, but actually have the considerations for different products. What we’re saying here was that fire engineers are the knowledge holder for the safety type of the building and generally the space (some spaces are more complex but generally they should know it). You look at architecture and those should be down here, but most architects won’t understand the difference between symmetrical and asymmetrical, brick and block work walls (they’ll know that part). They’re not fire engineers, they don’t necessarily understand how smoke control systems work and classifications of the products, or to understand how you install things because it’s product specific.

You look at building services consultants, they should generally know how things should function, but they don’t always because even with fire dampers and smoke control they don’t always understand how those products work either. So they should be the knowledge holder, but not necessarily know all of it - and not this part because they’re not fire engineers. When you look at principal contractor, just to really make you laugh, we are passing the risk down the line so we are knowledge holders of generally none if it. So just to bear that in mind, that’s what generally seems to happen. Specialist trades, someone that does dry wall should understand dry wall, someone that supplies dampers should understand how you install an access and do a damper. Product suppliers will understand how the product is classified and how the walls are classified.

But again, they’re not fire engineers. The point of all this was originally was that there’s not actually one duty holder that knows all of it and this is why we get into a bit of a pickle. When you say around procurement it’s quite key that if you’re going to procure a product you can’t just go CDP and actually the supplier of that product is going to know how to install all of this because they’re not. That's where it's kind of going a bit wrong. So we sort of went, how do you break it out into an easy way of portraying it? The big thing was is that the key denominator is the wall. I'm gonna do a case example on a damper because it's the one we've spent the most effort on. If you take a damper in consideration to a wall type, anything else that's in that wall must be considered at the same time as the damper because it affects the thickness and the type of the wall and the installation access to get that wall type right. So you can't set a wall unless you've set all of this in comparison to that wall.

So you look at procurement, we're seeing drawing packages, getting on board after maybe building services trades have done their coordination and doors are getting procured before security packages are known and it's all just a bit of a mess because with doors, if you don't know what type of lock you're putting in the door, it's really hard to do a fire door with a mortise lock in it if you didn't know you needed the mortise lock in the first place. So it's all about getting this system approach kind of lined up. So I'm gonna do a bit of an example around this so I think it make a bit more sense. In the whole sort of process there's a passive fire knowledge sort of code of practice and how you get things set out with a RACI, which I will share once we've got this kind of stuff into a bit of a better order because we're gonna get people's opinions and things on it.

How you then do workbooks is what I'm gonna show you next and the bit I need some help from with George on is about getting this asset information right because I don't think we're seeing these before. I did portray these in the Excel spreadsheets, they’re enormous things and it's quite hard to get simplified, this is all about simplifying it as well. I'm gonna do an example on fire damper and on how you select one of these things in say a protected space. So originally, and this is the first part of this whole passive fire process that I’m going to use on it, I’m gonna consider that damper as part of the wall system with everything else as well. I went through and plotted out how you select a fire damper based upon the space risk type, its functionality, the wall type and how you look at access and maintenance.

For us engineers it’s probably not too hard to follow, but it’s quite difficult for people that really don't understand the inherency of the engineering. So we sort of said this is where these come into it because these are representation of basically these channellings, so I'm gonna try and make this look a bit simpler. So I'm gonna start with this one, but I'm gonna relate it back to that RIBA process. First of all, let's look at a fire damper from the fire space risk and the building type risk. And I'm gonna look at it based upon maybe something like a disabled refuge in a protected corridor with supply and extract air. So I wanna establish the shape and form that will come from previous projects. You should look at lessons learned that you had on these kind of examples, but not as an individual architect as building services engineer but as a team, because everyone really needs to get, and this is where it's all gone wrong, a bit of a collaboration on doing passive fire team reviews, then we'll look at the next part of it.

So what does this look like in practice. So I said look all the different purpose groups, you’ve got 1As which are your multi flat sort of developments, your dwelling houses, duplexes, your prisons your group 2As your student blocks, hotels, 2B offices. So I kind of put all the purpose groups across the top then sort of went well someone's gotta look at the shape and form and you gotta look at the space risks (and this isn't all the space risks but just to give some example). So if you looked at a disabled refuge inside a protected space (not in a firefighting shaft but in a protected corridor somewhere) and your building is less than 900 metres squares, that drives your floor plates for firefighting shafts and things. Your heights this, it’s a group 2 student block student block we're looking at, it’s a refuge, it’s got a fire and a smoke risk, that should be the thinking behind the fire engineering to get you to that point.

Then you will look at how does this thing work in relation to its operational type. So you go, well, let's look at whatever is in there, how it's going to operate from a fire damper point of view and what the ratings and times are before we get onto the classification. I said, well, this is probably the best way to portray it because this is a protected lobby or corridor (I think everyone agrees with that because this is what you've got) and it's got ventilations, it has got a fire risk, a smoke risk. You can have a rating between 30-120 minutes depending on where it is. Because it's protected space it’s gotta be activated automatically to the closed position by follow activation, that’s method form building regulations for that type of damper. But the bit that gets kind of missed out is that that system and depending on the product you're buying it could be an opposed blade damper, it could be a parallel damper, it could be a single blade damper.

It can't be a curtain damper, because that can't be automatically driven. So it’s one of these three sort of damper types that you're gonna have and it's obviously got a power alarm and fire alarm supply. So what does it look like in practice? That's kind of what I'd be choosing. I’d want something like that to make it work. This is all about process that should go on, but it's not going on because I think we've kind of lost the collaboration in the industry to get it right because of how procurements driven maybe by clients (no disrespect to clients). It's like we're gonna do this CDP later on but someone that does CDP can’t be a fire engineer an architect and everything at once. It's gotta be done at a level before you prescribe it for them to describe the product that you're getting.

So if I come on to the classification of how these things look. You then go well into the next bit about getting it classified. I wanna establish all the classification types and I need to do a seal register as well for all of this stuff. So go on to the next one. It's the same chart again, but I've just changed some some language and added some more stuff into it. If you think about it, it's protected corridor again, so it's ES. I've got one of those little diagrams, just put the figure into it's now an ES damper, so it's good between thirteen hundred and twenty minutes it's ADB method 4 which has to shut automatically on a fire alarm activation because of the smoke risk. I’ve still chosen that blade type. Well, these are really important just to get into it because these kind of blades might give you a 70% free area, that might give you a 50 or 60% free area, that might give you 50% free area. So if you based your airflow in engineering on a fusible link your duct is going to be 50% too small.

We see this a lot because no one considers actually the blade types gotta be defined as one of the parameters before you go in to CDP so you know your Part L calculations is right for fan power. All dampers to be inside to out tested. This one is on a wall so I'm gonna go for the vertical installation. There's little diagram down there to tell you what it actually is, that’s a VE damper for the wall that way. And the cycling in dampers can be up to C 10,000. So you gotta look at this now in comparison, because you've set out what that product basically is, but you need to set it out in comparison to the type of wall you're looking at. If I'm putting it in a block work or a drywall, what am I looking at? Well, you got two types of support and constructions, you’ve got rigid block or you've got symmetrical in ? 23mins 29secs boards. So anything above that is classed as other.

So let's look at how this looks in practice, because you wanna establish how the construction is compatible with it. So these are all the different types of damper blades that exist on the market. So these are these are the ones that I know kind of exist on the wall. I've included now reverse deflection heads, cleats plastered in. So I've got a product range and I'm selecting the dampers as a building services consultant and I've got all configuration of what's compatible with an architect. So what I'm making this simpler is to say, well, I know what that is because it’s a protected space and I've got that bit figured out, but I maybe wanna use a flange damper because that might be made by…I’ll use one of these, I know it's compatible with a symmetrical wall. Anything else above this is classed as other and you need to make sure it’s been tested with it. But then the thickness, you need to check the DOP through the manufacturer the minimum thickness that's been used in their test to set that into the wall. So it might be 122 mil, it might be 100 mil, but you need to check with the manufacturer what that is. It’s giving you a method of going through it, but you know the passive seal types are in 520 and mineral wall.

So as I said before like this word on fire stopping, that’s not fire stopping because fire stopping is generally Part 3 which is pipes. This isn't fire stopping, this is a drywall detail. So who’s got the relative competence to do that isn't necessarily someone that does pipe work bats because it doesn't involve bats. That’s sand and cement, that's bat and mastics, there might be some crossover with a passive fire company that can do that one, but they've all got different seal types. This is how they all kind of work. So you've got a method there of selecting. Then you’ve got to look at how you do the installation, the access of it, because if you don’t look at this it’s where we’ve seen it going horribly wrong. It’s that you need to allow the space and this is how I’ve kind of worked it out. So I know what that is, I know the damper type, I’ve gone for that type of blades, I know what the pressure drop is, I know it's VE in the wall and it's symmetrical, but I still need to consider it with all the other components that go into the wall because that's just one component in isolation.

Not forgetting doors are complex because you might have Part M requirements, they might be powered, they might have lower pull forces. You might have security on it, it could be Z and L bracket to the top, it could be a mortise red lock. That has to be compatible with the wall thickness as well, and the wall types. All these things have gotta be checked as a system for the wall that they're going. So if you've got one wall in an office floor and it's got doors glazing in it, it's got flues in it, fire rated ducts and dampers, you can't just do this exercise about running the same exercise for all of these, all the components that go into it, because you’ve got to get that to suit all of these, not these to suit that because it’ll all be different. Then you got your seal type, then you've got your access requirements. So any seal that you've got for a damper, a duct, anything like that, you still need access both sides cause all seals need access both sides. You can't do it from one side, it just doesn't exist.

So if you've got a symmetrical wall in there you still need to get in to fix the wall, if you’ve got a shaft wall and this is testing the shaft wall, the seal still needs access both sides. And if you're doing that seal as a passive fire company or someone that’s doing the damper, you need 5 or 6 hundred worth of space. So you can't just ignore that, unfortunately, it’s there, but also you need access for cleaning for ones at the bottom, ones at the side, your TR19 requirements. But again, the wall requirement itself has still got its own requirement which has got to be compatible with these as well. So the minimum distance for this from the top might be 75 mil in the test standards if they can test things properly, but the wall if it's got a 25 mil deflection head might need 250 mil drywall build up before you can put the damper into it. And that's the reality of how this kind of shows things appropriately about how you do it. So you can kind of see it all there in visual.

So if you look at it all that's how you got to that classification number at the bottom by going through that process and this is how we can't just kind of try to portray it. We're gonna present this a bit more as time goes on. But obviously once you've done that, the big next step for me is to get this bit right, which is the asset information because all of these different things need to be recorded in the asset. Some things are gonna be geometry, some things are gonna be like PDF held like the test results or the O&M manual for the product. That's an expert I’ve got to get done with George, then obviously I've got a process of builders work. There's a way of doing different builders work schedules, the big thing is you cannot put passive fire seals on one shed? 28mins 10secs, you need to break them out by subject matter otherwise you get yourself into a pickle and a common denominator has gotta be the wall system.

Then obviously you got your digital record and inspections. There’s lots of other things that sit behind this that you may have already seen from us, but to put it into like a bit more of a flow around a passive fire knowledge sort of process which is that back to the top. That's what it kind of looks like in practice. I'm gonna switch that back off and revert to the screen and let the questioning begin.

DAS That was a whirlwind, but actually it’s clear you’ve done a huge amount of kind of work on that. And the diagrammatic element, for a visual kind of person like myself that really helps just to understand something quite complicated. I guess the question that I would have at the moment from an architectural, because we're going through at the moment trying to generate our content library for architectural speaking wall types and door types. In order to reduce the number, I think for all of us we just want to reduce the glossaries or the number of glossaries or the number of things in a glossary, for example. So what I can think immediately here is that coordination more detailed review between the M&E services the fire concern and architectural layouts, because typically I would say at the moment we do the layouts and then the M&E would overlay their design onto the scheme but I'm 100% sure that no M&E has ever looked through our wall glossaries and gone ‘actually hold on a minute, we’ve looked at the wall time type that you're proposing between the parting walls or shaft or whatever, and our proposed ductwork is not gonna work in that. We don't think it's gonna work’.

Now, I would like to understand whether in practice, what is currently happening at the moment - obviously on all this, I don't know if you know this level of scrutinising actually is happening or maybe it is, I've just not been lucky enough to kind of witness it. Is it actually a case of being more onerous with the coordination requirement to go actually M&E, fire consultants, you're gonna have to check the wall build ups as well that we propose to meet the fire and acoustics that we may need against the review that you’ve done in terms of the passive fire.

PAUL McSOLLEY What I'm seeing from various different things is, just take this one example, we've had a job where we've had a riser revelation? 31mins 05secs duct going all the way up, where the outturn onto the floor of the distance between that wall and that duct is 90 millimetres. And in 90 millimetres of space you can put a shaft wall there because (and this is about reversion to type) if you've got a shaft, the first thing that the human brain will think is I'm gonna put a shaft wall in because it’s a shaft because I’m safe because I’m only building it from one side. But it's not necessarily the right thing because we still need to look as a tier one contractor about how the space is safe to do the work for putting the duct in anyway, and actually I've still gonna have to put something in here in seal terms on both sides to make it work. So I wonder if we had to say to the client that 90 mil was 500 mil deficient, we can't make it work, we can't install it.

You can put any wall type in there that you want. We do not have physically have space to make breakaway joints, put access panels in, form seals, and actually the job in particular to even have a door into the riser. We can’t build this, this has got to come out. The problem was on this job is because it had gone through a process in stage 4 and had gone to tender the client agreed agreement for leases everything and they go, well, we can’t bring it out. We're going, well, make this smaller. We can’t because actually we’ve got an agreement for leases in relation to volumetric. We can’t make the volumes any smaller. So basically the whole job has had to go right back to Stage 2 and be re-planned, it just doesn’t work. If these kind of things aren't considered this unfortunately is just the reality of it. What you find is that if it comes up with the trades later on the trades can't fix it because they’re governed by getting seals installed correctly, doing breakaway joints.

And we’ve got a Building Safety Act coming in where the HSE maybe not completely cottoned on to all of this yet, because they may not have the reasonable skill that understands all the stuff around this, but they're gonna learn pretty quickly when the first few things go wrong. You will never make that job work. So get in at the end of Gateway 1 before it goes to planning where you’ve got some real good rule sets around, things like this diagrammatically about how things fit. It’s in everyone’s benefit to go out to a client and say, well, this stuff exists in the market, you can clearly see and this will end up in other documents that have been circulated, this is actually what you need to actually install these things correctly and safely and actually make the seals work. But this isn't knowledge that (this is the absolute truth) if you look at it from various sides, a Tier 1 contractor may be looking at the architects going they ain’t cutting the mustard.

This isn’t an architectural issue, this is a combination of installation, compatibility with wall types and procurement because the MEP consultant doesn't want to choose these. You don't wanna set these because you've been told the best value comes from the tier 1 later on when they select supply chain. So that's a direct conflict, it doesn’t work. That’s the whole behavioural thing in the construction industry. The fact is that if we can get to the end of Gateway 1 where there’s lots of good workbooks available for architects and building services consultants to work to make this selection process easier. So there's a workbook for that, a workbook for that, a workbook for that. But when you go through the same sort of diagrammatic flow that you get to the end and you go, well, I know the wall type that I've got, I know the thickness because I've now determined this against all of these.

Then you know the wall thickness that you need and the type that you need, you're 99% sure that it's all gonna fit in the future, even though what the wall deflection requirement is to get these things right as well, because that's one of the ones that's been causing problems. It's then no. And it's gonna make people's lives a lot easier, easier to talk to clients about it. The whole aim of getting this done is to give everyone the support to go through it with clients a bit easier.

DAS Yeah, and I think that builds on again one of the comments that Jarek made about this zonal design state because it's a zonal thing, isn't it a vertical horizontal, which we should be doing already. And I know we joke about M&E always wanting more riser space, but maybe they're true, and it's that kind of level of accuracy is what we need at this stage coming from, as I say the workbooks are rule of thumb. The flexibility is there for the specific product maybe later, but at least the installation and you're not narrowing yourself down by squeezing everything too early that actually you know you don't have the chance of procuring something more cost economical etc later down the line because you squeezed yourself in the design. You don't you have to go down a bespoke route every time or something.

PAUL McSOLLEY There’s limitations on bespoke. I’m doing the same thing at the moment for this on steel beams because you can’t put ? 36mins 14secs in compartment lines and put products through them, there’s no method of doing it. And I’m trying to get that method of how you get yourself out of dodge when ti all goes wrong into an order and the same sort of shape as this.

PAUL WHITE I think that’d the whole point and you’ve shown it very well, Paul. The key point is that if you close everything down there’s not going to be a solution, however much you want one. I think that's the situation that we're in now because somebody just solved it in the past and just put it all in and now they can't do that because they can't generate the evidence to say that it's alright.

PAUL McSOLLEY And you won't get assessments done either because it's not enough data to do it. If you look at all of the issues, this is just dampers. All this stuff will come out, I’ve got another meeting in the PFKG at the end of this month we're gonna try and get this fully ratified through al aligned, then we're gonna bring other people into it because the bit I really need the help on is…If you can get the manufacturers fully on board as well you’ll end up with that information that’s there in a Revit file and a tick seat at the front, which will basically make you go through that process of selection in this order. And that’s gonna help drive it as well, that’s where the BIM part is quite important because it's gotta be held in Revit a lot on this as well and that's all for Golden Thread and for changing and later on. Because this is essentially when you think about it, if you wanted to do golden thread for a fire damper in one location in the building, this is all it is, isn't it? You've gone for the whole process of type space, risk etc to get to that point of selecting the appropriate product for the appropriate circumstance of where you wanna use it. That’s what we’re trying to do and make it diagrammatically essentially.

DAS That's correct. One of the things that may help always is that with the, from an architectural point of view, and we're going through this sort of wall type filtering process for DMA-led projects, trying to minimise the number of types that we have of walls, dry lining at the moment is what we're focusing on. Ideally it'll be a dry lining or let's say RC, some block work in unusual plant room kind of scenarios. So maybe something that once you've kind of looked at this I could share what our team are doing. To say here's our typical glossary of wall types which achieved acoustic fire, but also maybe in other scenarios like in kitchens and bathrooms, because not a huge amount to be honest in a flat, for example, in an apartment, I think there's like 3 wall types. You have variations on that because of the type of board and the finish, but it would be useful to kind of say well actually the wall type thicknesses that we're getting are here. How does that align to the testing? Because you’ve got 122, 140, but actually they're quite thick walls, relatively speaking, in terms of our internal ones. So I'm happy to kind of share that when the time is right because we're doing it at the moment. So if your wall types don't match up with the certified.

PAUL McSOLLEY These Excels are available at the moment because they’ve been sent out, if you need I’ll send them back out to you.

DAS Yeah, I just find it easier to say we’ll kind of share our glossary and then you can say, well, ,most of the test data is done on walls which are thicker, so there’s some inherent misalignment within, say, BG White Book or Canal. And the testing that's been done in dampers for example.

PAUL McSOLLEY I've used these for actually, so you can look at all the things when you do the initial check on site, it's all installed correctly then for future maintenance. So you sit there and you go, well, you look to Actionair dampers because they use one layer of patrice board? 41mins 22secs. We looked at some other Actionair ones and there are two layers of aperture framing, this is what you have to follow. Some of the ??? 41 mins 31secs kit on the market doesn't have any picture frame because you're filling it with gypsum plaster. These things are actually a kit that's built with formed into the wall that comes specifically for the manufacture, sands, cement, cavity systems, cleats built into the wall. So all of these things have some variances so you have to compare that as a system approach with the whole wall and actually how many holes can you have on the wall before it before it can't house anymore.

PAUL WHITE The other issue with that is that you've gotta get your coordination if you're building the wall correct. Because if you buy that one, you have to have the damper installed before the wall goes up. And if you buy the other one, you've got to have the wall there before you put the damper in. So you've gotta be looking at your site coordination quite clearly.

DAS Interesting. I've just seen a couple of other things. I think Sharon, you made a comment and Joe you sent a link, if you wanna just add to that.

JOE Yeah, it just kind of rang a bell, really. In terms of you were saying that you're developing your your library of wall types. We've been going through exactly the same exercise kind of driven by sustainability more than anything else actually, and making sure that they are tested products. we haven't quite managed to boil it down to three wall types though, I’m impressed by that.

DAS Well, as I said, just internal wall, internal apartments, not when you take all the party? 43mins 06secs walls and everything else it just explodes. But yeah, in terms of just purely dealing with sort of fire and acoustics, but then when you put the board types, it kind of messes things up a bit. As you're trying to make things simple, things always wanna get more complicated.

JOE Exactly. So the link that I just put in the chat https://apps.autodesk.com/RVT/en/Detail/Index?id=1113875452800974116&appLang=en&os=Win 64 was to Knauf’s Revit plug-in. This is something that I haven't used, but I saw it when I was developing our own content. But I don't know if that actually asks the same kind of questions that we’ve been discussing today. I suspect it doesn't, but it's interesting that that is because it's getting so complicated, isn't it, that this has to be solved by programming and databases rather than was me, Immortals I think.

PAUL McSOLLEY This isn’t about business ? 44mins 04 secs this is about seeing everybody else’s problems because you can become a bit of an agony Aunt, everyone comes to you with their dirty laundry. Is that everyone kind of thought initially that they had a builders’ work issue and it's not a builders work issue that exists and I think…it’s a procurement issue that’s the biggest problem because we're doing things in isolation, not as a system approach. So you're seeing it faced in the builders work problem where everyone goes ‘the damper doesn't work, they’ve selected the wrong kit’ and actually go, well, it’s a door, it’s a wall, it’s a flue, it’s a damper, it’s smoke control, it’s glass panel and it’s all got a minimum thickness requirement and the type and there’s obviously the weight of it and the wall type that you’ve got to house it all in.

So if it gets to the point where you go actually generally 122 mil thick you’re probably not gonna go wrong. With glass panels on a wall you’re not going to go wrong on a wall smaller than 138 mil thick…Then you already getting down to the point when you're drawing walls out initially, you know that they're always symmetrical, you can access them from both sides, you allow the access inside to install them both ways and things like shaft wall reserved for a shaft when there’s nothing going through it. And that's it. That kind of removes that issue because I think what's happened is shaft walls just been used, its no one’s fault, it’s just easy to install, it’s safe and tested but nothing goes through it. That’s kind of the issue I have with steel beams is that a structural engineer wants to put them at the line level with the risers but there’s no test method to put anything through.

And I’ve started working out how you can get a method for testing stuff through it and honestly it’s gonna take me many weeks to into a document where you say this is everything you need to go through. It’s not gonna be classified either because there’s no test standard to prove it’s safe in all conditions because you’ve got a thickness that way, you’ve got a type of beam, a depth that way then a span, the layers of board in, the internal board in, the type of seal, they type of kit you’re gonna put through it - it’s just too much. So I always say keep steel beams off of compartment lines risers because you ain’t going through them, you’re gonna go under them.

DAS I think the other thing that I’ve noticed is it’s quite easy I guess to get too overwhelmed because actually maybe risers and shafts are relatively speaking quite a minor percentage of the build, very important. And actually all the other one’s (partitions, bedrooms, bathrooms. If you're talking residential) are generally accessible by both sides and asymmetrical, as you say Paul. So I think you shouldn't get too overwhelmed, but also it's quite good because these are specific instances within a building floor play that there's a bit of additional attention is needed time, but it's not like every single area, generally speaking I think that's true to say.

So one hand, yes, it seems like quite a tricky area, but luckily there's only a small percentage of them. And that's why when we look at the wall types, I’m speaking to the internal team ‘OK, look, it may look like there's a huge amount of wall types, but to deal with 80% of the floor play, we only need a couple. So let's not kind of get too overwhelmed at the same time’. Sharon, I think you just mentioned that thing on the chat: ‘20% of the areas giving 80% of the problems’.

PAUL McSOLLEY The big thing for me was that did everyone kind of agree that how the flow, when you look at it in that context, how it kind of flows? And it's just so you can see it from all the other inputs that I'm trying to get to this point where I’ve got a passive fire code, if you’ve never seen CIBSE code M it's always worth having a look at it, even though it's commissioning, it's not anything that maybe architectural deals with. If you look at the principle of how you manage commissioning, it's no different to really how you manage passive fire cradle to grave. You've gotta have the same approach. What CIBSE has done is you go have a passive fire knowledge code that…sets out how you do RACI from cradle to grave, how people should input to that thing.

Because it’s about specialist knowledge holders, it’s also about supply chain to a degree because once you’ve got the key classification information you can go to a manufacturer and say ‘can I have one of these’ and they can give it to you. If you go to them and ask for an FD what you get is a bit of a gamble: you’re gambling it’s going to be appropriate for where it’s going because all other parameters aren’t considered, if that makes sense.

DAS One of the things from an M&E point of view the experience, I guess there’s the idea of trying to get them on board earlier especially with the Gateway 2 requirement, is an M&E subcontractor with a designer who actually work together with their knowledge of install, commissioning and maintenance. A lot of consultants don’t have maintenance or installation experience, but you’d hope that if a subcontractor is appointing the designer they would actually review the design and say ‘we can’t actually build that in that sequence, or that’s not how we would do it’. I haven’t really seen that happen in projects that i’ve worked on but in an ideal world that would be the best way so that the maintenance and installation elements of it are picked up in the comment in the design and fed back to the architectural structural team saying we do need more space in this riser because of X,Y and Z because it’s required. So every time I see an M&E subcontractor appoint a consultant early (which is rare) I hope that the maintenance element and installation is reviewed. Unfortunately I don’t think that’s happening.

PAUL McSOLLEY No, I don’t think it is. This is why (shares screen again) I don't mind a bit of criticism because it's healthy to have it. Some people think I went too far, some people have gone I've got it just about right. Some people have gone, well, what about what about tolerances? The bottom line is to get to a point where you've got like a a graphical where you go before you go to a manufacturer and ask for a product that’s the minimum, along with that, you need to go to them with and say can I have one of these. That’s basically what you need. That’s why this sends the powerful message that you know you’ve gone through all of that. The only thing is you need to make sure, this is all comes down to relative competence. Fire curtains are a nightmare because the classification…what I’m experiencing here is that a fire curtain isn’t REI, and I’ve seen that a hundred times now. it could be R, it could be W, it could be EW or S depending on the function for which it’s fulfilling which effects the product.

I will get one of these done for fire curtains as well but the classification information will be different, I need to add all of that into it. But some of these parameters will be the same like the wall types will be the same, but there will be add-ons here with C-16 timbers and things I need to insert. So I need to get to a method where whatever product that's going into it of the general 7 or 8 that go into it there’s a method of getting to how they work classification wise and the common denominator on thickness and type because that’s gonna remove 99% of the problem. The fact is whatever you install, whether it's a damper, a duct, flue, even a door, you still need this level of access both sides to get that product installed safely. You can't get away from it, so that kind of sets the scene for ducts and dampers and things in closed risers and what actual space you really need to get it right because I can't see how else you’re gonna do it. But I’ve seen these things installed in spaces less than that before but you go back and you look at them, they're not installed very well. they’re not done properly, things are missing. These things aren't installed correctly that you know that you always find problems with them.

Especially when you look at what’s going on with defective premises. These things are coming back out the woodwork, people are making a cottage industry of it's very easy to do it. So that kind of stuff, this this will come out and you will get copies of it in the next couple of weeks. Once gone through with the PFKG, you'll see more of this stuff getting launched and I think my biggest thing was to make sure you guys were really aware of it because this is about BIM4housing, it’s about PFKG and it's about us all getting better collectively and hopefully it will help you guys. But the biggest one is doors because you’ve got security and you’ve got ? 54mins 16secs on it. This is the hardest one because this isn't about classification, it's about pipe work material, it’s about corrosive effects as well. There’s all different key propagators into this. If you look at pipe work, not to sort of bog this down, is that you can't put stainless steel through a wall with a HMV pipe made of rockwool, especially if it's a cold temperature cause the rockwool and the stainless steel will probably react.

This isn’t an architectural issue, though certain people are putting it on it, and it's not necessarily a building services issue. I’m seeing it as a whoever is gonna take ownership with the contract, at least to make sure the pencil sharp and this stuff's all considered. And then you support the design team with fire engineers to get it right because there's not one knowledge holder, there’s individual ones. And this is why it's good because you got mixtures of all those people in these groups.

SHARON I just wanted to say thank you because this is like a Christmas present for me. I had a conversation yesterday with someone saying that they'd still don't know anything about passive fire protection, they still don't know about service penetrations and sealing them, and that's a fit out contractor, quite a large organisation, FM. So listening to this, having an image of a person inside a riser and outside a riser. It just feels as if I’m in a conversation with likeminded people for a change, instead of me being a harbinger of doom every time I go onto a building site because I just say I can’t do that and everyone says don’t invite her back. The sprinkler pipe thing that you just mentioned, allegedly the mastic having an issue as opposed to the bracket tray being too tight and running against the block work etc. I mean honestly I just I had to intervene just to say that imagery that's been showing the evidence of how complicated things are and the way that people…it’s almost like people are throwing buildings up and it’s actually a science and this is gonna cut through all the bullshit and just make people sit up and think it’s not straightforward, so thank you.

PAUL McSOLLEY The only way we could work out how to do it was actually to put things into imagery purposes. The one I’m working on at the moment is the steel beam one, I’ve got to transfer these images into the same thing because it’s super complex to get it right. And without those images, as you say, you can’t cut through the bullshit. Because if you imagine it from a contractor’s perspective, and this is why we brought it up first of all with Martin and the contracting group, is that when you actually think it up is that once you get to that situation where that’s 100 mil, that’s 50 mil and there’s an AF filling involved…where you can’t make the riser bigger, straight away that contractor reverts to type and so does the design team, to be frank, and so does the client and it becomes hard hats on in the trench all fighting each other. The fact is someone just had to bight the bullet and make it bigger and deal with the contractual consequences, then it’s done. Should be simple but it’s not, so everyone starts fighting about it.

MIKE following on from his comment via chat ‘Collaboration and changing the industry culture is so key’. This is a really good conversation and if you took this topic about fire dampers and applied it to any other element within the building it’s a very similar conversation. I think the key message with this is we always come across people who have wonderful skill sets and knowledge about a specific element and it’s about having those right and open conversations at the right time. I’m always a little bit nervous of manufacturer-led design tools. I think they serve a purpose and I always feel there is a step ahead of that which is more generic information about building information about projects and that always comes from much better and open collaboration in the early stages of projects. So I echo many of Paul’s thoughts and thanks, it’s been really good.

DAS When we’re designing it’s just building in that kind of rules of thumb a bit more, that design book that we’ve spoken before about. All the zoning discussions and making zoning not just ‘oh it’s always 300 so we’ll do it 300’. It’s not just 300, it’s 300 or 350 because of X,Y and Z, decisions or actually this flow chart approach that you’ve taken to get to a zonal decision. They may not be 100% right but there’s actually a logic and a thread to how you got to that zone, so if you apply that vertically, horizontally to ceilings, to floor build-ups etc then that’s going to help minimise issues down the line. I’m sure you can make it bespoke and slim it, but always start with the real tolerance on each of the side first rather than squeezing ourselves first and really struggling later on.

Richard Freer - IceFire Portfolio

Andrew de Silva ‘Das’ - David Miller

Paul McSoley - Macegroup

Mo Fisher - PRP

Jarek Wityk - Winters Electrical

Joe Stott - AHR

Nathaniel Rackham - HawkinsBrown

Ashley Kochiss - PRP

Paul White - Ventilation Fire Smoke

Sharon McClure - Avestagroup

Mike Smith - Bailey Partnership

Ana Matic - Scott Brownrigg

Judith Kelemen - PRP

12-Oct-22

BIM4Housing Design Working Group Meeting-20221012

Recording - https://youtu.be/9H-gTB5uFqo

GEORGE The various different consultations close today. Obviously it’s hard to know what influence we’ve got. I fed-back the document we used for the Golden Thread Initiative, there’s also the competency framework as well. The point that we made last time is there is some things that going to significantly influence everybody, one of them is the proposal for the health & safety executive/regulator, what fees they are going to be able to charge for reviewing the building safety reports. The guide price was between £160-900 an hour, they wanted peoples input to see whether they agreed with that.

The other thing I was raising is who is going to pay that, because if we have a situation where the design is challenged are we actually saying that a project could be delayed going through. reading the consultation, they are also saying that if the regulator doesn’t respond within the timescale it will be considered to have been rejected. I think we ought to have a copy of what the questions are, because when the consultation has finished…has anybody contributed to the various different questions? No responses suggest nobody has, Jarek will try to do it today.

George shares the ‘Consultation on implementing the new building control regime…’ document on screen. There’s two elements to this. One is this Consultation on implementing the new building control regime for higher-risk buildings. And then there is another one which is the regime for occupied higher-risk buildings. Balfour Beatty said this is the one that they’d focused on. Basically, you can go in and it takes you to a questionnaire. I’ve done this one, but I’m not the right person to be filling this in.

What I’m concerned about is getting the questions out before the consultation ends?

In terms of our meeting today one of the things that we need to talk about is how do we manage product change and record that information in a more robust way, and dealing with the fact that the prescriptive and descriptive side of things needs to be addressed.

George sets the context of Monday’s meeting with Tier 1s so Paul McSoley will then comment upon it. One of the things we’ve been talking about is this move towards defining what products and materials are going into the building by gateway 2. The challenge with that is there is fair bit of contractor design portion still and we end up with more defects (as Matt Taylor can evidence from the work they’ve been doing with the FIS). If products are selected later than gateway 2 that’s inherently going to have an impact on design, potentially, and creating risks. I’ve spoken with Mike Smith about this and he said he’s increasingly seeing Tier 1…main contractors are asking them to be more prescriptive by the end of Workstage 4 of the products and materials that are being used.

PAUL MCSOLLEY It’s kind of like the buzzword, it’s the modern methods of procurement we should be looking at. To put it into a nutshell, we’ve been waiting until contractors are appointed to get products selected, but even if this fabulous world with CDP you still need to have the basic descriptive set. Even if you take an e.g. fire door, damper, if the original design has not set out the descriptive of it (and this all comes down to the body being big enough to fit into the skin and you don’t know that unless you know the prescriptive of the product, if you haven’t defined the wall type, the door, compatibility of the wall with the door etc when it comes down to CDP and you select the door at manufacturing stage if that’s not described then there is a good change the manufacturer will give you the wrong door anyway. It’s about that coordinated approach to it.

We were talking about smoke control dampers as well is that if you haven’t gone through the prescriptive (and forget specification) if it’s a case of someone’s got to describe what it was originally a manufacturer then can’t really prescribe it. So if you get to the end of stage 2, or actually if you get to end of stage one and you’re not spatially set it based upon some descriptive and prescriptive product, you run the risk of it not fitting in the building for one, being too small. You run the risk at the end of stage 2 that you can’t actually coordinate it all together

because again the body is too big for the skin.

Even within the fabulous world of CDP you still need the performance parameters of what you are working with, you can’t work out what the fire engineer should be telling you (and the rest of it) because it’s never been recorded properly, you’re always on a loser.

MATT TAYLOR There’s a concern even before that which is the fact that the test information or a lot of components does not exist into different types of dry lining construction. For example, we’ve got a lot of dampers that tend to be tested on an 130 mm…with 2 layers of board, they are then put into twin frame constructions. We have doors which are put into twin frame constructions and only ever tested in single frame. And we’ve got a huge elephant in the room

at the moment in relation to shaft wall, very little in the way of componentry is tested into shaft

wall, yet we use shaft wall in almost every building with a stairwell and certainly it goes up

the entire core in some of our high ridges. So, that’s one of the most important things to address in terms of getting that information now in terms of test or assessment first and then looking at actually what’s available to specify.

PAUL MCSOLLEY The bottom line is, is that we’re stuck in a world where you have a standard

supporting construction which is symmetrical, group A, B and C which is your 130 mm walls. From an architectural POV (and it’s not the architects’ fault) if you don’t know the componentry of the door, the wall, because it’s being procured later on by some elusive Tier 2 contractor after it’s gone through a Tier 1, what is the architect actually coordinating into the design? The answer is nothing. So, there’s that problem as well to address.

LUCY CRAIG All of this does lend it to look at how the design stages of a building, how you work through it to get to that certainty, and the current ones and how you procure design services don’t enable you to do that with any certainty. And I don’t feel like there’s an awful lot of discussion around how they will be redefined and how you’ve redefined. You mentioned CDP, I don’t see an awful lot of that conversation happening, whether it’s BSRIA or RIBA, that needs to be redefined to provide an alignment of designers to enable to do that at the gateways we are talking about.

PAUL One of the big things is for me is that you can't throw anyone under the bus in the current scenario because it's a whole scale issue from procurement and behavior procurement from clients right down to how we instigate design teams before contractors get involved. If no one wants anyone to select products and doesn't want pay for it to be inherently coordinated in a job when it comes to, you know, as as a contractor, we've got to go out and procure and we're doing it ten months after the frames gone out, then it is a recipe for disaster, isn't it?

So we kind of need to support the whole industry to get to the point where actually you are going back a bit to helping people get the descriptive right, then you’re actually helping people to get products to meet…so when you’re coming out of gateway 1 you know the shape and form of the building isn’t going to be affected by it, because the minute it is in gateway 2 you are going to have a rough ride.

ANA MATIC There are 12 consultation documents. I’m just going through them in the background and I’ll try and pick up on all the questions at least. (To Paul) About the specifying elements, we do actually nowadays know quite a lot about each element quite early on. This is the result of RIBA stages actually being pushed forward in some ways, not too much for residential, so actually that sector is lagging behind, but for more advanced tech projects and technical projects, we pretty much specify everything by element around stage 3 plus.

So, already at that point there is a contractor (they just go out to market), or if there isn’t a contractor and the client is going out to the contractor they are going with quite a detailed spec. So, the industry is pushing that way, which is a good thing. The only thing is that removes the ability to do any reasonable VE later on. I mean VE in a reasonable way (not bad way) where you actually do allow a little bit of flexibility later on for certain elements to be either replaced, or if leading times are really long - things that happen in today’s world. So, it’s really not about judging the process as a wrong process, it’s just about the process being like that because of external forces. You could be super precise at gateway 2 and design everything to the last bolt and then what will happen six weeks later is that the contractor that has come on board doesn’t have a supply chain and everything will have to be changed. So I think it’s worth being realistic about things.

PAUL MCSOLLEY The point I’m making is that when you look at ‘specification’ there’s probably about 20 things that need to be predetermined and described for someone to go out and buy a product from a manufacturer. if you’ve got those right that’s what you’re working to, that’s your initial thread, you can’t change that. You can engineer and go for another product that meets those 20 things from different manufacturers to get best value. What you can’t do is derogate the original 20 things because that’s the things that actually depict the risk class and shape and form of the building. To do that you open a pandora’s box.

PAUL WHITE Well, it's just pretty much what you were saying, which is the fact that with all due respect, the specifications that are coming out for the fire safety products just basically put in the kitchen sink just to make sure nothing's missed and actually it can be a lot simpler and a lot more specific in terms of we need this product, it has to be thins product and it’s going in this wall, that’s all you need to do. But at the moment it’s unclear and therefore people try, and value engineer and they end up doing the wrong thing because they try and use the different a different product.

My soapbox is…where people don’t really know whether a fire and smoke damper is a smoke control damper or a motorised fire damper, and therefore they're both specified in the wrong way, and then somebody just says it's a smoke damper and then people think, well, it must be a fire damper and we go round around the houses. The funniest one is people just swap the name around and say a smoke and fire damper instead of a fire and smoke damper. The other thing, since we’re talking about BIM…you’ve got a allow the space to fit everything and if the space isn’t there, it doesn’t matter what you do, you can’t get around the problem.

GEORGE I was on a call on Monday, one of the things that came out of that is that the builder was saying they didn’t need to provide information about where the dampers are because that would be picked up with the panel. Somebody said, hang on, that would only be for things that are electronically controlled. So things like fire dampers would not be picked up by the panel. Therefore, you would need to have a record in your BIM models of the locations of the fire dampers.

PAUL WHITE, You have to test them and look at them every year and you need to test them from both sides and you need to do it and get to them. The whole point about this is not about just getting it in the building, handing it over and it’s all gone. You are handing it over to somebody who’s got to go and check it all every year at least. Yes, having things under the control of the panel help and maybe you can rely on them, but, when you look into it, somebody could have taken an actuator off a damper…back to the panel that the product appears to be opening and closing, but it might not be attached to the damper. So, you have to go and check: you’ve got to know where everything is and you’ve got to have access to it.

GEORGE That’s exactly what I am saying. We need to be collecting this level of detail, we can’t just look at things from a systems perspective.

PAUL MCSOLLEY Just to answer Anna’s point, the point I’m trying to make with a lot of this is what we put in specs currently isn’t enough - this is my biggest problem at the moment. He shares an excel document on screen which he refers to. This is an example. Someone needs to specify all of this and have a product to match because if you change from what was specified on this to a different product and it effects your initial thread of how you got there you are going back to stage 2 to look at your ripple effect. It’s not just about getting all this right (it’s hard enough to do that). It’s quite complicated and it’s going to take a while to get the industry to a point where we can specify these things correctly as a system in the future it’s going to take a while.

GEORGE One of the things I’m concerned about is that are just overwhelming even our audience who are subject matter experts with information. A conclusion I’ve come to is that my drive for having everything digital is possibly getting in the way of us making enough progress with the product manufacturers to get at least some information from them. What we should be doing is doing the basics of saying what asset types are going in the buildings and where are they going (that would include e.g. fire dampers). Then, which products were actually used to satisfy those fire dampers, and at the very least we should have a data sheet (which might just be a PDF) that is then collected once into a common public library.

The majority of the information that we are asking from specialist sub-contractors is fixed information that is coming through from manufacturers. the only thing we’re asking a mechanical installer to provide us about a fire damper is probably it’s settings, serial number etc. And yet we are asking the trade contractor to provide that information on every job in every situation which, for me, is a bit crazy. Whereas if we can have a free common library of data sheets against different products then we’ve got an opportunity to move things forward because we’ve got something that’s (at least at the base level) useful.

We can also then progressively add the level of detail in a machine-readable form that Paul was just showing there. It means that we’ve got some mechanism to actually record change.

JAREK WITYK I’ll comment on your comments, George, and referring to what Paul said about not specifying enough, i think this can be misinterpreted because from my end I’m finding there’s actually a lot specified but it’s very generic. So, the problem is the specifications requirements are not project specific. They are missing purpose - why is something being requested, what is being requested, when is it required, what level of information is needed and when. And then at the end who needs to provide the information. That is the order of what should happen because now with all this digitisation (NDS is probably the most frequently used tool to write specifications) it’s so generic, 100’s of pages of generic information and someone is just ticking the boxes, but there is very little project specific meaningful information.

PAUL WHITE, I see 100’s of these and the problem is that whoever wrote it doesn’t understand what they are writing, and they’ve overcomplicated it by putting in the kitchen sink of standards in there that they don’t need to do. The problem is it’s being used and copied by more people who don’t understand it and it’s not being corrected…I will go and write in three paragraphs, and you’ll never get a fire damper, a smoke control damper and a fire damper wrong again because there is too much information in there. it’s actually very simple, but people are using it to make sure that they are covered rather than putting the right information in there.

Regarding George’s point, all the information you are looking for, George, is out there. Whether we get people to put a QR code on their fire damper so they know which one it is and that can go straight to a website, that’s always been talked about. I’ve seen the information you have mentioned in handover documents etc but the info is sitting in the design, hopefully the majority of that gets handed over to the building owner then they can find their way round it.

GEORGE In my experience the information that actually gets handed over is often just the design information and not what product was provided.

PAUL MCSOLLEY Paul works a lot with us and sees how certain contractors do specify the kitchen sink and what they do specify is incorrect. Trying to get a consultant to be completely descriptive about what the component is supposed to do, it’s intended purpose, so I can get the prescriptive right. If you do anything, specify the test standard because at least then you can’t kind of go wrong.

LUCY CRAIG isn’t that competency of the designer? it’s a slight issue at the minute that we’re seeing in numerous projects and specifications. The top tier organisations, particularly around building services engineers aren't necessarily training their people to be able to know how to do this in the first instance or recognising they've got an issue.

MATT TAYLOR the situation at present, specifications come through that are fairly non-descriptive and one of the issues is that detailed design information isn’t available early on. Then we get to a situation where if there isn’t a sufficient development process that highlights all of these issues and resolves them, when they haven’t been resolved by the point of procurement and we then get questions like ‘I haven’t got this insulation, can I use this glass one instead of that rock mineral wall’, that’s when we get a huge amount of errors in construction.

I’m hoping with the introduction of building safety gateways we will be forced as an industry to have to bring in detailed design earlier in that process because if you’ve got a good consultant or specialist contractor on board they should be highlighting these items earlier in that process. It all comes down to the competency of the person who is tasked with reviewing specification, checking it and ensuring that information is correct through sufficient design development.

At the moment that doesn’t happen. When it does happen, we raise numerous RFIs on projects, they are often outstanding for a considerable time, they may not be answered or they may be reluctant to answer even. That process is about going through the process of design development to try and ensure that we’re building the correct thing. Value engineering works fantastically when it’s done well, but it’s not just about substitution of products - it’s about procurement, sequence, and ensuring we are making the most of the building process to build in the most efficient and cost-effective way possible, not just about saving money on a cheaper product.

GEORGE i’d like to open up the conversation to the architects within the group here, because I understand that the overload of the work that then comes in where you might spend a lot of time finding a product that satisfies your performance specification, then your hit with a lot of technical submittals to approve so you’ve often got to revisit what you spent a lot of time designing.

JOE STOTT i kind of agree. i think one thing that’s helping us is bringing in sustainability credentials into the specification scope as well, because as soon as you start to do that, as well as performance requirements, you quickly start to refine the potential pool of products that can meet those requirements. The more requirements you build into specification that pool gets smaller and smaller. In terms of them being able to review potential substitutions or alternative products, if you’ve put the specification together then you’ve probably visited all of those products, so I don’t see that being additional work necessarily.

One thing that is happening is specification writing is becoming more and more specialist, certainly within our practice. It used to be that all architects would write specifications and now that is certainly not the case, because it is a full-time role that you need to be an expert in doing. There may be an issue there that the knowledge is with the specification writer and not necessarily with the architect using the specification.

GEORGE When you produce the specification you might propose a particular product. Would you also include the others that you have considered? JOE Generally, we name products now, so whereas we used to be performance drive, we have to hang our hats on a product. And then there is the old, approved alternative, it’s still a valid addition to that. Generally, we’ll have 2 or 3 alternative products, so for internal partitions we’ll run with 2 or 3 potential suppliers that we know well. The sustainability side does tend to tell you what those suppliers are going to be, because it’s about where these products are manufactured and sourced from more than anything else.

GEORGE And when you engage with, for example, Paula, if you issue that through to weights, would you provide both the selected product and also the information about the potential alternatives? JOE we’d typically just have the one that we would recommend and that would have also all the performance requirements. Because we can’t specify multiple options. We don’t want to go down the fallback option route, that’s where everything starts to become unstuck. doesn’t it?

GEORGE, I agree. How frequently are the suggestions that you’ve made adopted? Or is it invariable that your specification is being broken? JOE It’s still the case that it’s pretty much being broken because the supply chains that we are dealing with are slow to change. In the last 18 months we’ve been revisiting all of our specifications so it’s too early to tell, but I suspect that there will be a lot of kickback against that because you are removing choice from the process (to some extent).

GEORGE under the new building safety environment, Howell from Sibsey said whoever selects the product then takes on the liability of being the designer, which has significant implications.

EDUARDO GUASQUE Thinking about your attempt to make the specifications and the libraries available, I see institutions like CDDB and not much effort by the Government to sustain them in the UK. We need an organisation in the UK to have people paid to do this job, collecting information from suppliers, but not overdoing it (as it has been mentioned) where you get more information than you need. It takes a collective effort and it’s a huge undertaking to make sure that these libraries will have the exact specified objects.

GEORGE Just to clarify, I was thinking much simpler than that because the challenge of having a national library of BIM objects is so huge because there are so many different ways that it could be done, and also you’d be cutting across a lot of people who are actually doing that. I was thinking something much simpler e.g. data sheets, then from that you could add certain property sets in there that are important.

EDUARDO So, to tackle these her what we did was use simplified codes, use 3 letters to identify the type of object you’re talking about e.g., FLO for floors. This is a simpler way for us to identify objects that we use more frequently. Then from there, typical specifications. We tried to create a mass spec so that it’s used in other projects but what ends up happening is it varies widely from project to project, not only because clients have different requirements, but also, we do different types of projects: educational, theatres, residential, all with different requirements. But it was a good start, not having to rely on Uniclass codes that re really difficult to memorise.

ANA, I think things are going to crystallise as we go along. In a way, every project and every sector will be slightly different in terms of what data you collate for an element, it’s going tp be hard to say ‘this is the right list’. 2 big things everyone will be pushing for is useable correct carbon data and useable and correct fire data. We’ll need those 2 things more from suppliers they will get better at giving us that information. i don’t think one body or one library will be able to run everything because its a humungous task. The push from ground up will be we’ll all be asking the same questions of the suppliers and they will simply jump on that and be able to deliver those (maybe not imminently, but within 6 months - a year). We shouldn’t stress too much. On a project you look at everything at a time when it’s right to be looked at, so it’s doable.

GEORGE Let me introduce Gareth Evans who we’re working with from the Zero group. Zero has become the sustainability arm of Bim4housing. Gareth is a specialist in procurement, and we thought that would useful to have within this group. One of the things we’re trying to tackle here in the design working group is the situation where under gateway 2 products will need to be selected much earlier, the how do we go about doing that. Do you want to explain briefly what smart procurement is doing.

GARETH EVANS, I think we just need to left shift procurement into design. A great challenge is that there’s a huge gap between buyers and suppliers and we need to narrow that gap. we’re scared to communicate. Procurement has been a back-office organisation that’s very transactional for way too long and it needs to become far more strategic and be a business partner that it could be and should be. We have to left shift and go earlier into the cycle, to engage with design teams to understand how we can bring more sustainable solutions to the market and what those barriers are, because procurement is just a vehicle to working through those challenges.

That’s all we do: we facilitate material services etc to be delivered on the projects that we are delivering and we have to work hand in glove with the design teams and we don’t currently do it effectively enough. Smart procurement is setting out to disrupt the status quo and talk about these things and try to set an example for the rest of my procurement fraternity to follow. To be brave and come like a lamb to the slaughter to working groups like this and say ‘right, let’s hear it: what can we do to improve construction procurement’. We need to get procurement to be better at what it does.

PAUL MCSOLLEY Gareth, really goo to hear it, and I’m sure there’s some overlap we can do together. The issue is that what’s kind of caused the problem is that all these relative standards are so complex that if you don’t get your head into them it’s very hard to describe a product because you have to understand the ontology of the building, the risk category of the space, the system approach. Scott said it about a dry wall, certain products work in BG/shaft wall, but you can’t put them in a X? 57 mins 17 secs shaft wall because they are not the same thing.

I feel sorry for architects in this respect that all the stuff that goes in the wall has different requirements but no one knows what it is until an MEP contractor has been appointed by a main contractor 15 months down the line after the frame has been set. There’s no value in that. Value is to understand early on what the descriptive of those systems are, how it all works together, pick a product that’s proscribed against it. We that know need to help those that don’t to get to that place, to support the industry and not just go it’s an architectural and MEP issue. In MEP terms no one really knows how much embedded carbon is in what product, that’s the harder bit, the operational side is a bit easier.

Getting back to the beginning bit, you can help get procurement right if you understand what the descriptive is early enough. it’s getting clients educated as well that you can’t go on a jamboree where you’re pushing everything down the line on a procurement model for best value which is a race to the bottom, you’ve got to do that a bit earlier. Architects, fire engineers especially as they are not product gurus, need advice early on to get those products right.

Another point from earlier: the person who selects the product is not necessarily the designer. if you describe a product and you pick a product to meet that description the design of that system and how that product has got to meet it is by the designer. The selector fo the manufactured product to meet it verified by that designer. This is the issue with CDP, if you say there is a long list of performance requirements it’s not the best way to do it - you actually need all the products that go with it then you can describe the wall that meets the products in that location.

PAUL WHITE if we come back to using the more prescriptive side of things and say ‘we need this product, but we need it to be this to match the wall etc’ with fire safety products now we have a long string of terms - these things should be in approved document B, that was the point of them. There’s a little bit of thought that goes with that, that if you’ve specialised different types of wall you’ve got to realise that a product is available to go in that wall. Then having picked that wall you have to provide the right amount fo space. in terms of a specification, that’s quite easy.

The point is the person who selects the product isn’t the designer because they’ve been given the wall and the product so therefore they have to select those two to be together, but that’s the design. If the designs been given and actually its this wall and this product and you can never put those two products together, it’s got to go back to the designer to make the decision. You’re the designer, you’ve caused the problem, and you’ve got to put it right.

PAUL MCSOLLEY shares ‘Process Working Group’ document on screen. This is an illustration we’ve been using re fire dampers, that’s how you describe the product by ontology, space and risk category. That’s how you verify compatibility with the wall and that’s how you do your builders work. You can’t just go do the builders work against the FD symbol on a drawing which you see all the time. Someone’s got to verify all of this. It’s a whole system approach and this is why specifications a bit of a nightmare because generally it will say the kitchen sink is in here somewhere as well. We’ve got to get to that point where we are helping designers as well and by that way everyone gets better at it.

GEORGE So the person that’s doing this is the designer, principally…aren’t they? PAUL MCSOLLEY If you think about it, that’s the risk category of the building. If its phased evacuation then you’re doing ES category dampers and there’s X? 1hr 03mins 44 secs ES category. We’ve had jobs with E category (Integrity only) - this is about ontology and language, understanding that LS is a low leakage is half the battle. The fire engineers don’t always the talk about it, the MEP consultant just says FD, and the contractor will go and bu something under the E category because it’s the cheapest on the market because they don’t understand any of this either.

GEORGE What I’m asking is who’s doing this? Ι ’m asking the question because, for example, we’ve got Jarek on the call. In his role as an installation contractor Ι’m wondering whether he would get any of this information, so that he understands what the criteria was that was used to select that particular fire damper.

JAREK most of the time there is no visibility of why something was selected. There is typically a product and performance, that’s all. But you don’t know the purpose and why and so on.

PAUL MCSOLLEY If you think, George, that regulation 7 is appropriate for the circumstances for which you are intending to use it it’s important the designers go from a risk POV of the building, this is where that thing is located in this space, and it’s ES and actually the product we looked at was an Actionaire damper and it fits an 122 symmetrical wall and that’s what the architects used. Because otherwise the person who is going to buy it will get to site and go ‘oh, how’s it fit in this wall’ which is made of core board or something like that. Someone’s got to do that piece of work, you can’t just do CDP and performance because a contractors not going to understand all of this.

GEORGE Should this be part of the digital record? PAUL MCSOLLEY 100% yeah. The point that Paul White made earlier is don’t forget about the access of stuff from both sides.

LUCY George, you’re talking about referencing the liabilities of product selection really need to be with the designers. There’s a bigger question of are those organisations going to be comfortable with doping that. If it doesn’t with the designer you cannot confirm that you’ve got a coordinated design and there is no opportunity to do that later, so it needs to be dome as you’ve identified on the flow charts you’ve put up. But, all the liabilities do need to go back to the designers. I think that’s going to be a bid issue.

PAUL WHITE But it has to go back to them because they are the people who have given you the problem in the first place. LUCY I think at the moment they don’t see it like that. When you start mentioning product selection you start getting into more strained conversations. PAUL WHITE but it’s quite straightforward as we have a fire strategy at the start and compartmentation drawings - just write on the drawing what wall you want. But because there is this level of value engineering that goes on it then makes it complicated, because it isn’t value engineering in a lot of cases it’s making it more expensive.

LUCY but it’s existing liabilities work at the moment that consultants do an outline specification, then a trade would select a product (e.g. damper) and then that consultant would approve that. that consultant has no liability in approving it, it’s just saying to the best of my knowledge that looks OK to me and aligned with the specification. That’s where there is a gap because how can a trade contractor who is completing design be responsible for the product selection within a design intent established by somebody else. it needs to be bottomed out, organisations involved in this process need to take ownership of what they are going to be comfortable with.

The big question is are they going to be accepting of doing that product selection….talking about the competency piece because they probably don’t have an inherently large portion of people in their organisations who can make the right product selection with confidence.

PAUL MCSOLLEY One of the things I don’t want to do is to alienate any specific group because I’m appreciative of it took me a long while to get these diagrams out. Consciously, if you don’t know the products and how they are tested then it’s very hard for someone to describe them. There are 2 things going on here: clients are making us kick the can down the road with very late procurement, then we’re trying to be very late procurement - we’re actually trying to be something that probably doesn't inherently work in the first place.

You have to get to that point where if we’re going to do the word ‘specification’ (which is seen by different people in different mind sets of what it actually is). To me all I rally want is descriptive bits about the component.

GEORGE One of the scenarios that we’ve been having is the wall/builders work being designed to accommodate a certain size of damper. Then because of the contractor design portion an alternative damper is picked and therefore the builders work hole is the wrong size. Therefore, that compromises the compartment. In a simplistic way the selection of what the product is needs to be done before the dry lining people have actually installed the wall.

PAUL MCSOLLEY The reason we have the diagrams is so people can understand that if you go from one type, and there's two sides to this, if you've classified it wrong in the 1st place and you gotta go to the right classification. That's why I'm saying. But if you've got the right classification, the right one, you change it. You can't just get another manufacturers kit to fit that hole, it will change the size of the hole and he can change the depth and thickness type of wall.

LUCY if you have to select a standard symmetrical construction wall rather than a shaft wall then you are moving that wall away from your edge of a slab where you might have an opening, then that changes your NIA or whatever you are developing. that changes the plan of the building so the selection of that wall is quite critical and its done very early on for the viability of the build. As you’re suggesting by selecting a product in can change that dramatically and influence that, so it’s early doors.

PAUL MCSOLLEY If I said to all architects on the call, if you had to allow an early ventilation riser 500-600 off the inside walls, the ventilation duct to enable you to do the seals for the damper, at least the only way you can actually probably get them in correct with the right workmanship to regulation 7. I think a lot of people would say my risers at the moment probably don't work because we're allowing, and Lucy's been through this, 90-100 mm space. You can't do breakaway…fire dampers and access install seals in that space, it’s just too small inside the riser.

The bottom line is when we look at the early stages in design of 2 or 3 there’s not the right level of rigour to go through ontology of space, risk category, products. If you go do a smoke control company/damper company and ask for a damper and you don’t know the descriptive of the building, don’t be surprised if they give you the wrong thing.

PAUL WHITE that quite often happens but hopefully they’ll be asking you more questions. What we’re talking about here is a QDR situation in the fact that this should be being considered because we should consider the influences of one system on another. The fire damper is one system through ventilation and the wall is another system that’s compartmenting in general. QDR is Qualitative Design Review, the point of it is as part of your design if they think they’ve got a problem they do a QDR. The point is you are supposed to be considering the influence of everything on everything else. We’re saying we have got to look at the interaction between the ventilation and the walls and the amount of space we need.

GARETH There’s a study that we conducted of the back of London Bridge station, Crossrail and HS2 where I worked as the procurement director, and we asked one simple question. Why is procurement late? The key themes as to why procurement was late was when people don’t know what they want (54% of delay) and secondly once they did know they couldn’t get approval (21% of all delays) and it took an eternity for the consensus to place the order. This is reflective in all sectors. What we’ve got to be better at is reaching consensus quicker and using data…in all my life I’ve never gone up in a fight against a designer as to who’s going to win the argument as t technical clarity, I’ve always lost.

What we need to do as procurement is work with you better. In trying to fix that conundrum of being late (and blamed for being late) we set out to design a consensus mechanism. We said we need squad reviews and we need people firs to come together and be early on in the decision making process to be informed of what’s making the decision, what materials are being specified or what methodologies are going to be used on site to execute the work. Basically, we need to reach consensus quicker. And so for me that's making sure that we have the mechanisms, the people first and then the mechanisms, the systems in place to facilitate that. And once we've got that, the approvals should naturally flow easier because there's more confidence and transparency of that decision making process.

PAUL MCSOLLEY The issue is it gets so technical, and we’ve done a lot of work to make this thing simpler, but as simple as we manage to make it you can’t make it any simpler than that. In your own words, the reason why it’s so difficult with procurement is because no one knows what they want. No ones got the confidence to specify it properly in the first place.

GARETH The pace is going faster, there’s people who just don’t want to do procurement because they keep getting blamed. We have to protect people that are in our sector, your people first approach is excellent. We’ve got to make sure that we’re kind to ourselves because this is complex, it’s really difficult.

GEORGE After today the regulations will then be drafted. I wouldn’t have thought it would be firmed up earlier than a couple of months because they are going to need to take all the feedback into consideration. To some extent I don’t think that’s too relevant. We’ve got to just press on and do what we think is the right thing to do in terms of the information. We’ll talk this through with Das, but I think maybe we pick up on this, we send through the recording and the notes. We need to put some sort of structure behind how we’re actually going to deal with this whole process.

ANA the really tricky things from the Duty Holder document are competency generally. The requirement for competency for ability of contractors and clients to be able to assess competency of a person - who is the person competent enough to agree somebody else is competent? There’s also quite a lot of emphasis on the client being able to set everything up well from the start. That’s fine for experienced clients who are procuring projects all the time but what if you have a client doing a one-off and has maybe not accounted for costs of this. The least described things are the most tricky.

JAREK It seems like the architects can only go so far when doing specifications because they are not working on site (so they wouldn’t have a contractor’s knowledge) so maybe we need more communication and consistency in the way that specifications are done so that the industry can move together and sharing knowledge. Maybe we need a specialist in doing specifications collating information from multiple sources.

MATT I completely agree. There is a huge amount of pressure on principal designers and architects to know a lot about a vast number of different systems working together in unison. And it it's not always possible to to do that, not with the changes with manufacturers and systems that happened in the industry constantly. So it is just about bringing that knowledge to the forefront of that process, getting that knowledge earlier on to ensure that nay of these issues are picked up. We have issues with that in terms of securing specialist contractors and having the budget available earlier in the project to ensure that information is correct. I’m hoping the outcome of some things being raised in this panel will be some changes of things that have to change in order to make the process better.

GEORGE About what Paul White was saying, this QDR (Qualitative Design Review) is a term I’ve not heard before. PAUL WHITE QDR is specifically around fire engineering and fire strategies etc. if you go off piste and you decide you’re going to do something different because you have to you are into fire engineering principles and then you have to follow that standard.

PAUL MCSOLLEY To give you a bit of a steer, George, when you look at the ontology of a risk class of a building, building regulations are set around a square. As soon as you go away from that square box you should do design reviews. Probably most stuff we build in London should have one. LUCY A complex building over 53 meters there should be a QDR approach on the building. PAUL WHITE More and more now if something is slightly different in there (not a square box) then you really have to think outside of that box and really address the problems that your building could possibly have.

LUCY In a nutshell, what the process is that the fire engineer describing the strategy needs to have consultation with other peers on the bespoke nuances of that scheme to establish an appropriate fire strategy and establish whether or not they need to go down a bespoke engineered route or they can apply principle fire engineering standards to it that maybe somewhat amended, so they’d go down a QDR route to seek consensus from the industry of how they apply that. The QDR process is continuous. It’s done at the start to produce your fire strategy. By the end of stage 4 you are submitting to building control a complete fire strategy that shouldn’t evolve too much. Basically, it’s subject to change throughout the design process.

GEORGE We’re checking systems against systems here. If that’s the case that systems against systems is actually something we could have as part of the process. One of the concerns I’ve got is that people are just inspecting fire doors without inspecting the whole compartment.

PAUL WHITE This is the problem. if you go and do a risk assessment of a building you need different specialists. If you don’t, you could well miss something. If e.g. you’re building has got an atrium in it, atria (although described in 9999 on how to design them) you should be doing calculations on smoke which come under the 7974 and its supporting parts so you can look at designing it. But some people might imagine just taking a simple atrium that in natural ventilation it gets warm, it goes up, it goes out at the top. But if you've left various other ventilation systems on or you've got a mechanical ventilation system, you will disrupt that natural process. And so so this is the interrelationship between different systems that you have to be aware of.

GEORGE So if that's the case, just should we have maybe a process whereby the qualitative design review is actually a process that should be an action that's carried out by somebody at a certain point in time at several points in time? What Lucy was saying, it's continuous, but therefore there ought to be a prompt for that to be done.

PAUL WHITE Yes, there should be a prompt for that to be done. The problem is because everybody assumes that their building is this box that fits into ADB or 9999 they don’t fall into doing that process and they’ll go out of their way to fall out of doing that process because it becomes more expensive and complicated.

ADDENDUM

CHAT

Paula Chandler (RDD)

The issue we've got is no one dares to specify anything these days as their 'PI doesn't cover it' - everything gets chucked into the CDP bucket and then you have the added complexity of QS looking for a quick buck and not truly understanding the impact of 'quick win' decisions in terms of the long term fitness for purpose and compliance. There is an education piece here for all facets of our industry.

Just wanted to add that we have introduced additional governance gateways within our internal process to make sure any change to the spec'd product/system has undergone robust due diligence to understand the implications of such a change and balance that with the perceived benefits. Talking of the owner of the design George, we would then play this back to our Consultants to get their buy in so that the Design Responsibility stays with the Consultant even though it didn't originate from them in the first instance. Does create programme pressures though!

Jarek Wityk

While we are talking about specifying products and requirements I thought I share with you the ISO 19650 based information exchange process that I am working on. It’s very much work in process but I thought it would be good for context of what should happen when (cross referenced to standards) 

Here is a Dropbox link:  https://www.dropbox.com/s/gu20wivzf6trs01/Information Exchange Framework principles analysis process.jpg?dl=0

Sharon McClure - AVESTA 

Agree with Paula, even reading the manual to determine the requirements of the services seems to be a task that no one wants to do - e.g., damper sealing requested on every job yet we, as the passive fire contractor, are the only ones reading the manuals to determine the seal required (if any!) and then if it is, we are expected to work around however it’s been installed - whether it’s in the wall or out of line.  They then ask us to certify this or request an ad-hoc or EJ - but it’s all on us. 

Gareth Evans

Agreed Paul, a systems approach should be adopted for the design. Sharing the rational for material selection would be helpful...to support the build methodology...this is very useful data that Procurement needs in developing its procurement package strategies... so let's get procurement representation as early as possible in the design process

Sharon McClure - AVESTA 

yes - space is key for everyone!

Jarek Wityk

when we are talking about coordination of product or requirement, we have a few competing objectives 

  • Technical performance/product vs available space [PURPOSE]
  • Space for services vs rentable space (as 3D Volume) [WHAT, HOW & PURPOSE]
  •  
  • Space for services vs Aesthetic [WHAT, WHEN]
  • Performance/product vs procurement/availability  [WHAT, WHEN, LEVEL OF INFORMATION]

Decision points should take this into account 

Gareth, good point about delay in response/reaching consensus – one of the most painful factors impacting Tier 2 ate RIBA S4 & S5. Often reason being that the people present are not competent to make decision 

Gareth Evans

Eduardo Guasque

Paul White - Ventilation Fire Smoke

George Stevenson - ActivePlan

Jarek Wityk - Winters Electrical

Jiss Philip Mukkadan - BIM4Housing

Richard Freer - IceFire Portfolio

Matt Taylor - Taylor Design Consultancy

Joe Stott - AHR

Lucy Craig - Mace Group

Paul McSoley - Macegroup

Eduardo Guasque - Haworthtompkins

Ashley Kochiss - PRP

Ana Matic - Scott Brownrigg

Stewart Bailey - Virtual Viewing

Thomas Lindner - Holdenriver

Sharon McClure - Avestagroup

Matthew Curran - Westminster

Harshul Singh - Aisni

Paula Chandler (RDD) - Wates

Gareth Evans - Smart Procurement Group

10-Aug-22

BIM4Housing Design Working Group Meeting-20220810

Recording - https://youtu.be/y22c_KP3GfQ

ANDREW DA SILVA ‘DAS’ thinks it would make sense that George goes through the three things that he had noted, talk through the workstreams and then any other business.

GEORGE says there are a few things that he’d put on the email to Das, the topical point being the new BS8644 which has kicked off a storm of comments. As Active Plan he’s looking at it from the point of view of how we can deliver it. Ηe wants to talk through the approach he’s following to see if others find it useful. The other is the court case won this week by Broadway Malyan when Balfour Beatty were pressing them.

It’s a project Broadway Malyan designed 13 years ago and the developer is taking action against Balfour Beatty who have gone back to Broadway Malyon and asked for all of the records of how they arrived at the design specification. It went to court because they thought it was unreasonable for Balfour Beatty to ask them for all of that information. The judge ruled it was unreasonable, not on the basis that they asked for the information but due to the amount of information they asked for and the fact that it was too vague.

MARC BRADFIELD understands the problems from both points of view. About the reasoning behind it - we’ve got a lot of people who are offering different digital solutions, platforms, using the cloud, and he asks a lot of the suppliers ‘what happens to the data if you go bust? Or if technology moves on?’. Broadway Malyon were saying they couldn’t access some of the data, they didn’t have the packages anymore. There’s a ticking time-bomb here regarding accessible digital information in 10, 20 years’ time. The Doomsday Project in which schools gathered and stored data and information can now not be accessed as the hardware doesn’t exist to access the information. This will only get worse.

GEORGE absolutely agrees. A lot of Active Plan’s work is reverse-engineering old projects. In many cases information has often disappeared because we’ve moved into a digital way of handling things and we still sometimes need PDFs/documents. It’s not the fact the Broadway Malyon project was 13 years ago, it’s actually happening today. He knows that the information isn’t properly classified and categorised and therefore this is a major issue.

MARC BRADFIELD thinks there is a certain loss of discipline in the digital age. As a project manager years ago he had all of the files behind him in an office, filed (pretty much) correctly, and now people are generating information, they don’t have that discipline. People need to be educated on how to put digital files in the right place.

PAUL MCSOLLEY says the reason that Balfour Beatty lost the case is that if you are going to go to someone with a defect you’ve got to say what the defect is to have the action in the first place. It sounds as if they never said what was defective so they asked for all the information so they could go and find the defect - that’s not how contracts work. What they’ve said in this case is ‘give us everything’ which is unreasonable. He agrees with Marc that people are frivolous in the digital age. We were more in the detail than the new generation will ever will be.

GEORGE says we actually need some handholding and training, and also possibly penalties for people who are not doing the job properly. If people are submitting information that isn’t right maybe there is a small fee. We record all of our meetings. Whether anybody goes back and watches them or not. We’re creating a big record of all the meetings we’ve carried out, but we realised that that on it’s own isn’t enough so that’s why we get somebody to transcribe meetings as a form of reference. He thinks we need to look at how to utilise and classify a lot of the information.

The Broadway Malyon case is relevant from a design point of view. What we do about that is some of the things we are doing anyway, which is trying to identify individual elements and try and keep proper records of what those designs were (the golden thread) and also how they are installed.

PAUL MCSOLLEY talks about what he’s been working on post DCW which George thinks could be a methodology they could follow. What he’s ended up doing after speaking to many different people is if you are an MEP contractor you see the problem as a builders work issue, if you’re a Tier 1 contractor it’s more of a descriptive issue, so he’s tried to put it all together to cover everyone including architects, MEP consultants, to cover everyone in a process to say that’s what we need to think about as you go through it all before you get to the builders works stage.

MARC has a question about BS8644: why? Is it just because they can? We feel that everything we do we don’t build on what we’ve got because we change it. GEORGE explains what he thinks has happened. There is a group that has come out of a guy from Totus Fire who has been working with a group of fire safety experts (including Sibsey) for a few years. They’ve produced what is now called Fiery. They’ve produced 8644 and they are looking at it from the point of view of what information do they see that fire fighters and fire engineers would need to have to make the building safe.

They have not thought through how that information is going to be produced and what software applications are capable of producing it. Whether they are asking for the right information is also questionable, but a lot of the comment has really been around technology and existing processes e.g. who’s got software applications that can read Fiery and also Cobie? It doesn’t matter because its an information exchange format that allows you to then verify that the information is there and then it can be delivered in different ways in different software applications.

GEORGE shares the 8644 document on screen. PAUL MCSOLLEY says the problem he had with it is that it’s showing everything to do with Part 3. Everyone is so fixated on pipes and trays, they are not fixated on the whole passive thing e.g. lift doors, seals around fire doors, flues. Everyone is treating everything in the word ‘fire stopping’ but it’s not fire stopping, it’s penetration seals. He defines ‘Part 3’ as pipe work and tray work.

GEORGE shows the examples from 8644, the ‘Fiery’ bit, it looks exactly like Cobie, but they have aded in to the contact tab an attribute called competency. They have added in to floor some attributes: resistance to fire required structure, integrity and insulation. These are properties that actually you could add into Cobie easily just by having them as attributes. One of the things that are causing the challenge is that people have a mind set that you should be able to generate everything in Cobie from the 3-D model. That’s not the case. Cobie does allow you to have information coming in from different sources.

ANA MATIC says the requirement for Cobie to come from 3-D mostly on projects comes from the point of view of how it’s managed. It’s not about the end result it’s about how the project is managed. George considers that, due to the large number of models utilised within a project, there will always be attribute information that is coming from someone who is not using 3-D modelling e.g. from a manufacturer, installer etc. The way we get round that at the moment is somebody manually adds it into the 3-D model which is a big break in the golden thread because you are asking maybe an architect to take on liability for information that is being produced by somebody else.

Looking at the 8644 document again regarding Types there are 3 or 4 different attributes. They have also (quite helpfully) added in some new ‘tabs’. ‘Event’ is a new element. ‘Package’ is maintenance related. There is also ‘competence’ which is pretty high on everyones agenda at the moment. Towards the end there are some suggested fire safety properties - these are additional attributes that can relate to different elements. From a data perspective it’s very useful. They are attributes that fire safety engineers are asking for.

GEORGE then shares on screen a ‘COBie data model’ document. This is basically the way COBie is set up. You’ve got the building, the relationship of floors, spaces, zones and types of product, components can be part of systems. You’ve also got spares and resources and then a range of elements. What we’ve done is looked at Fiery from a point of view of…we’ve got some addition fields or properties that we can hold at those levels. We can add this information in through data templates. If there are things that naturally would go into the models they would be managed through there or they can be managed as data templates that are added. Finally, we have added the additional attribute information to the end of the Cobie layout.

PAUL McSOLLEY shares a document on screen and begins his presentation. This is for Part 2. It covers Fire dampers, it doesn’t cover smoke control dampers, and the fields of application are not what you do for pipe work. There is a Key, this explains all the different ones we are talking about, this wil get bigger as time goes on. This talks about what Standard supporting Constructions are and what non-standard is. Process Interface - we are talking about education, technical and process. Most of the MEP contractors are stuck on this, about how you set the hole in the wall, but there is a load of stuff you have to do before you get there.

This is the Excel, not a PDF, it’s a descriptive. Fire risk category - it’s either a fire risk which is Integrity, a smoke risk, or it’s a heat risk with insulation. I’ve tried to make it rudimentary and say if you are actually going to specify a piece of kit to go in a wall for a fire damper you’ve got to think about it is it located for a sleeping risk, is it a whole house ventilation in a student block which is going to transfer smoke through the building.

Also is the building phased evacuation, because if it is you’ve then got fire and smoke risk as well. You’ve got to look at system approach and ventilation. Is it a sub-supplier with a phased evacuation zone, or maybe within a room, because if it’s inside the room your protecting it from smoke externally and that zone is going to get evacuated then E for fire is probably fine. If it’s single phased evacuation then E is probably fine as well. Is it a protective corridor where you may have a refuge point in it - that’s going to be fire and smoke as well.

Then you’ve got to consider the stuff that is slightly different like high risk environments, you might have a transfer into a gas stored room where the insulation value is actually something you might want to consider, so it’s maybe an explosive atmosphere. You don’t need insulation by default in building regulations anyway, but you might need it specific to the safety case you are looking at. Then you’ve got substations which are generally 4 hours which is outside the scope of the testing standard. Then there are higher pressure scenarios like tunnels, and cavity barriers (smoke control is a different thing altogether and will go off to a different sheet).

The issue we are having is that consultants just put everything into specs so we’ve got to cherry-pick the bits out and say descriptively what it is. So you can define what that product should be in that particular position. It gives you a way of actually saying what should it be by location. Then you’ve got to look at the descriptive of the wall or floor in coordination with the damper. Then you’ve got to look at what thickness of wall do you allow if you don’t know the product.

GEORGE interrupts and says this feeds into what Jim said earlier and that is people are asking for the answers without understanding and specifying what the question is. The challenge is that these points that Paul is making are clearly things that somebody (probably a collection of different people) need to be addressing. It’s apparent that nobody is actually doing all of these things perfectly and the difficulty is if you don’t do all of them, if you make one mistake in her, then it compromises the whole process.

NEIL YEOMANS comments that people are not following 19650. If you look at 19650 as a concept really it is a (43 mins) poor standard: we are supposed to pull/pool? the information we need to manage a building for the rest of the life cycle of the building. At the housing association he work at he’s the one that goes through the OIR process in 19650 trying to pull the information he needs to manage that building. He would never in a million years go down to this level of detail in an OIR. He doesn’t know whether it’s because this is too detailed or whether he’s not asking for enough detail. To be blunt, Fiery is one very very small part of running a Housing Association. He questions whether 19650 is the panacea that some consider it to be.

PAUL McSOLLEY responds that no one deals with this bit. If you look at it from an architectural perspective if you’ve got a shaft you’ll put a shaft wall on it. It doesn’t mean that it’s compatible with the system approach of the building. What I felt i needed to do was get a system where an architect/MEP consultant Tier 1 can do it and just follow it through and between you all go have we got something that is compatible? When you go through it all you’ll probably find on most jobs that the first selection you’ve got won’t be compatible - either the wall is wrong, the damper products are descriptively wrong, but you won’t see it until so far down the line the shape and form has been set. So this is what this is about. Depending on what level you sit in the industry it doesn’t apply to you but at other levels it will and you can actually then follow it.

NEIL gets that from build and handover stage. I’ve got to be cognisant of the changes, repairs and adaptations over time within a building in order to keep it updated to allow the decision making from a fire engineer or a contractor in 20 or 30 years time to do the next refurb has the accurate information at hand. That’s where there is that conceptual clash between the pull of 19650 of what I think I need to manage the building being completely misaligned with actually the level of decision and information that you actually need to make those decisions.

LUCY CRAIG re design responsibility and appointments on Design & Build contracts - ultimately it’s about assigning responsibility to making decisions and clarity around it and I think we think we know who those people are in the process but I don't think those people think they are accountable to make this level of prescriptive specification or selection. I think what we’re trying to do here is to say here is the root path of all the decisions to be made so it’s transparent. A lot of these intricate decisions are not being made or they are being missed or not done. It goes back to appointments….You’ve done this flow chart to chart what decisions you’ve made and when do you need to revisit those decisions.

PAUL says it may be worth him adding something at the top to say who is accountable for it, so you know who needs to be involved in the conversation. He refers to the document on screen: There’s seven types of generalised dampers frames that you can install, it talks about each one in relation to the substrate that you can put it in. So whoever is selecting the type of damper will know what you can fit it in and what you can’t so it should help to prevent you from buying the wrong product that is not appropriate for the circumstances. Then it’s just about builder’s work at the end, how you put the builder’s work together.

This has the RACI in it. This is all about geometric asset, documents that are held. When you look at assets for future somehow it’s go to be recorded what it was. You have to know what it was if you ever want to replace it in the future then you know what your starting point was. Unfortunately when you’ve got a system approach you haven’t just got the piece of kit that goes in the wall, you’ve got the wall itself. Also, all the frames that exist, the dampers, it tells you all the information you need to know about how it fits. You have something to reference through in diagrammatic form in each type of frame in relation to how you are actually process flowing it out in the first place…The descriptive involved in a smoke control damper (as an example) is huge.

GEORGE says if we can take this level of knowledge and then put it into environments that then deliver the information in a coordinated way that is context specific…you don’t need to see all of this, you can probably limit a lot of these options here because of something that you know later on in the process that then limits the number of selections that you would need to consider.

MARC says it recalls two subjects that have been mentioned: competency and responsibility. From Neil’s POV you don’t want to be getting into this level of detail, you just need to know a competent team produced this design. LUCY remarks the design processes don’t support this: RIBA/Sibsey etc suggest that this level of detail is by the trade contractor at the end of the process when ultimately that needs to be at the beginning.

NEIL says that regarding all of the operational things that he has to do, this adds such a layer of complexity to any decision he or his contractors make around it. PAUL: despite what has gone on at Grenfell they are still doing procurement very similarly, everything is going to the end because no one understands the level of rigour that is required at the start. I blame the procurement process because by having a staged process where you are going the contractors good at doing it anyway, do you think anyone gives a hoot about any of that? Because they don’t. MARC, in one part of his work, is kind of constrained by procurement routes, but also as developers they are modelling situations on real developments and be able to change the way that procurement works.

GEORGE says to Neil that it’s important that he understands that within BIM 4housing there are 6 working groups, including operations, manufacturing etc. Each of them looks at different things for different purposes. The cross filterisation is really important - it’s important that people like you are in this group because you need to say exactly what you are saying here and that is from your perspective this is the information that we need. The objective of this is to really drill down to the detail and to look at what different people need to consume for different purposes.

NEIL makes 2 points: 1) it’s made him realise the idea that 19650 is going to be a panacea is not right, if we use it to design our asset management systems it isn’t going to accommodate this level of detail. That conversation needs to be had for the BIM4housing concept because that reliance on a pull methodology is not going to accommodate is not going to deliver management of such data detail. 2) The Peter Baker thing, their reports constantly come about about not moving fast enough - I think they just don’t appreciate how much detail there is. I’m encouraging a conversation and potentially using something like this to say ‘look guys, this is just fire dampers, when you keep coming out and saying you are not moving fast enough, how fast do you think you can move with this!’.

PAUL says this is the issue with the 8644, it’s not at that level of everything you need to know about the smoke control system it’s not talking about all this stuff, and it has to. It’s got to be recorded somewhere, if something is going to be changed in the future you’ve got to know what it was to change it.

DAS comments via chat: ‘In a way this process workflow it is a bit like say British Gypsum’s online White Book which allows filters to be used to then generate viable build-ups to achieve the performance requirements’.

By using the structured data the handover information which is given is consistent, that’s something we are all trying to get to. As an owner of a building, if you’ve got the handover information correct to the current strategies, all the thinking that’s gone behind to generate that building, that’s what future projects/changes should be based on.

PAUL: If gateway 2 starts happening at the end of concept that massive thing I’ve shown you is not going to be considered but the effect is on the body and the skin all the way through. If you get to a point where you are looking at products and descriptives earlier on, ideally you want to do it in such a way that you are actually doing it at that stage before you go into planning, because otherwise how do you know your building works?

DAS thinks it would be useful to have a mixed group session, the procurement and asset management team to show what they have got to. We could share the questions out to the working groups to get feedback from them.

GEORGE says everyones focused on the regulator but the other people who are going to be really important (1 hr 16 mins 25 secs) are Buigs insurers because if Buigal deliver a building and then there is an issue people are going to drill into detail and ask why did that smoke damper fail and what was the procedure and how did you go about doing it.

NEIL: if you were to go back and say we need more time to do this, there’s too much to do, do we not think the answer might be what have you been doing all this time before?

PAUL is going to continue this type of work on other asset types. GEORGE asks should we be going through this level of detail on all 12 asset types. PAUL replies if you want to do golden thread then that’s the only way you can thread it out. GEORGE thinks in order to do this other people will need to be recruited as it’s too much work for Paul alone and those with expertise on particular assets will be needed. What GEORGE really likes about what Paul has done is if a decision is taken to change what the wall is then you can see immediately what the impact is likely to be.

SHARON MCLURE imagines that this methodology could also be used for penetration seals.

DAS would expect, if he is working with a specialist, I would expect them to have some sort of checklist to ask us to then be able to feed back and forth to then develop the right system and choose the right product. It’s probably about finding the right people who have got that workflow mapped out that we could add to or make it consistent and/or identify specific responsible parties that need to input at the right time (going back to the DRM issue). DAS’ request is if you (George) are able to share the three questions that we summarised in the last session that was sent across it would be great to send that to all the teams and then for them to spend a bit of time looking at them and then to come back at the next meeting and hear what they have to say in response to the three questions.

GEORGE says he is actually about to start the scenario used at the DCW roundtable on a real job with the designers, architect, fire engineers and the mechanical engineers as well.

George Stevenson - ActivePlan

Jim Creak - Jalite Plc

Richard Freer - IceFire Portfolio

Jiss Philip Mukkadan - BIM4Housing

Marc Bradfield - Bouygues

Joe Stott - AHR

Sharon McClure - Avestagroup

Neil Yeomans - Orbit

Andrew de Silva ‘Das’ - David Miller

Alastair Brockett - Hilti

Lucy Craig - Mace Group

Judith Kelemen - PRP

Paul McSoley - Macegroup

Ana Matic - Scott Brownrigg

ADDENDUM

Andrew de Silva ‘Das’

https://www.architectsjournal.co.uk/news/court backs broadway malyansbrefusal to hand cladding documents to contractor

Lucy Craig

This detail needs to be applied at RIBA stage 3 Andrew de Silva ‘Das’

The Design Responsibility Matrix will help define who should lead, input, etc., however,

going back to our Question 1 - at the moment the decision about the size of the BWIC is

made way before the specialist is appointed. If we manage to crack that with the

Procurement / Client teams input, then this workflow can be followed with informed input

from the right parties. So we can design / specify tender / pre-construction freeze the

design.

Andrew de Silva ‘Das’

In a way this process workflow it is a bit like say British Gypsum’s online White Book which

allows filters to be used to then generate viable build-ups to achieve the performance

requirements.

Andrew de Silva ‘Das’

George Stevenson I would expect specialists who design and install those 12 assets would /

should already be following some sort of workflow like this?? in the same say we follow Part

M to ensure we design the bathroom to the right size etc....??

29-Jun-22

BIM4Housing - Design Working Group Meeting- Notes & Actions-20220629

Recording: https://youtu.be/LebgFb_WngU

ANDREW De SILVA ‘DAS’ talks about focusing on 3 questions that they have already done some work on, then to go into a workstream and do further work on them, working towards an ideal workflow. He’s collated the feedback about the questions. If the questions are all refined and ready then they have to work out who should be involved in the workstream that follows.

The first one was the Project Delivery Program. Marc Bradfield made an important point about the engagement of specialists at the PCSA stage. MARC says that the problem with engagement is that people tend to be in sales mode - for him it’s about the actual design. DAS: zonal requirements have to be agreed on as early as possible, though even when they are agreed this can change due to financial and/or product constraints/changes. MARC says if you’re talking about engaging with specialist subcontractors to unlock specialist information, from their point of view there are two elements to the price: the design, and (the much larger cost) installation. There’s a problem if you don’t end up procuring through that specialist subcontractor because there is not always one answer to a problem.

PAUL MCSOLEY agrees with MARC that if you change products the things that would have been the issue in the first place actually, if you didn’t have a product in the first place, you’ve still got the same problem no matter what. So, you need the specific product to unlock it all because the wall is a system of ducts, dampers, doors etc and there are different requirements to install each products - one thing effects another thing. MARC says as a client he wants to minimise his exposure and push his cashflow to the other side of that line, but in reality, to do the job right, that cashflow needs to be earlier.

ANA MATIC considers that it’s not just to do with cashflow, it’s to do with risk. Most clients opt for D&B because they want to de-risk their side of things. There is a commercial and design risk reason why suppliers are not brought on early because, firstly, you might pay for something that you are not going to use. You might also make early decisions that end up redundant because the whole thing has changed. Early supply chain only works if you can specify an entire prefabricated system. In this case you can bring your suppliers on board at stage 3. Everything else, there is no point bringing suppliers in early because they might do loads of work and eventually you change everything.

GEORGE says it’s not just commercial risk. On compartmentation, by leaving the procurement of the selection of M&E products later in the process there is much greater likelihood that the penetration seals are going to be in the wrong place. The cost risk is mitigated but the safety risk and the risk of quality is going to be increased. JAREK thinks the client needs the client side consultant engaged early to be responsible for checking what assumptions and constraints been made and whether they are being followed, and if not flag them up so it can be actioned.

MARC agrees with JAREK and, possibly controversially, says that when he picks up a so-called spatially co-ordinated stage 3 design, where you would assume those assumptions have been applied, it’s not unusual to find that as you further develop your building services you will find those assumptions were wrong. Or, to be frank, that something has just been manipulated to present itself as a stage 3.

PAUL says MARC is absolutely right. He’s not sure that ‘specialist’ is the right terminology, it’s a combination of the construction of the actual core, the material that’s been used and its performance. You end up with designs that come out that structurally work…looking at ‘specialist’ if an architect has drawn everything out with a services consultant but it’s not based upon products they have probably got no hope in hell of getting it right in the first place because the rules are just not generic - it’s all based on the services being tested in the supporting construction that was appropriate in the test.

JIM CREAK says that a minor discrepancy in the planned ceiling height can cause a lot of trouble on site with attempts to fix this potentially leading to non-conformance. JAREK replies that the biggest problem from his practical experience is that no one is actually responsible, no one actually checks and says ‘this is wrong or right’. He thinks its linked to the lack of competency of the advisers as all of these things can be established early (as the science doesn’t change, it’s all predictable). Architect JOE STOTT shared his view via chat: ‘Totally agree - Design Rulebooks need developing and agreeing. This is what pre-fab brings by default, but these rules need developing for all designs’. He thinks the idea of developing a rule book at the start of the design always pays dividends later on down the line. When projects don’t have that framework to refer back to it’s a bit of a free-for-all. If a design change comes about that will break those rules it has to be agreed upon and everyone (particularly the client) should be made aware that it’s happened.

Some designers like rules and some do not.

MARC says it brings it back to the topic of standardisation. You are standardising the things we are doing day in day out rather than the facades etc. (therefore architects still have some creative freedom). JOE, looking at car design, notes that the rules are established but there is still design in that process. PAUL MCSOLEY says that one of the things is we don’t really understand standardisation in the first place, we don’t understand that if you change something (away from the standard) it actually goes into ‘other’, you can still do it but you have to identify it, you have to do something different and test it.

LIAM WHEATLEY compares the situation to the car industry and how they know that there are a particular number of variants to chose from, this could be replicated in the building industry e.g. a bath would measure up to a certain limit.

DAS really likes the rule book idea. Maybe project by project there could be a rule book that covers all offices or all schools etc, however on some projects there may be other specialist elements of the design which actually does need specific input. The lead co-ordinator/architect may say to the M&E engineer ‘do we not need something like this? maybe we need some input’ - maybe that’s the way to be less generic and more specific and therefore help explain that to the client in terms of their cash flow and risk management. Also, apart from the designers, he finds it really useful to get input from the installing maintenance teams because it’s easy to get things to fit digitally in a model but to get it installed in real life and the things you need for that/maintenance adds another layer of tolerance and zonal requirement which the designers themselves may not be aware of.

MARC wonders if they are only repeating what they should all be doing anyway. Maybe this is us trying to take it to the next level as we respond to the question. He asks everyone in an absolute (unachievable) perfect world do they agree that as a basic principle it would be far better to complete the design before you started building?

ANA MATIC says you can’t compare something that comes out of the ground with something manufactured in thousands of units (referencing the IKEA products Marc mentioned). A lot of architects are already working on platforms (calling them that rather than individual projects). Let’s say there are 2 or 3 platforms each to build housing and schools. All the suppliers and contractors plug into those platforms and everyone knows what they are doing. At every single stage as soon as something changes everything else has to change to adapt to that: that is design. It’s very hard to design that out. Realistically, there are gateways and we need to fix ourselves to those gateways and try and fix only those things that are being questioned at that specific gateway.

DAS, replying to MARC’s question, says he thinks there is an agreement that the design should be completed by the end of stage 4, because that is what the gateway is asking for. In terms of standardisation platforms, the more we can create assemblies that are repeatable that’s great. How to we get the input we need from other parties which are not part of the core team at the right time? Using gateway 2 as a hard stop to identify to the client the reason why a certain input is needed by a certain specialist to enable us to complete the design by the end of stage 4. Is the question that we are really asking input from the other working team/s about their internal discussion about how much can the procurement route change, are clients willing to spend potentially more money to meet the requirements of the gateway.

JIM asks, regarding the rule book, are they really talking about real prescription? He supports prescription because he thinks it's the way to achieve the objectives, but in the standardisation process there are currently loads of choices. GEORGE thinks one of the issues with standardisation generally is because there are so many different stakeholders….as a community we can say, to achieve the objectives, we should work in a more prescriptive way. JAREK says the modular approach to design is causing things to become less prescriptive. He thinks it would be handy if they linked the gateways to lessons learned to show the client specifically that if X is not done then Y is most likely to happen. Regarding the rule book, he doesn’t think it’s another standard, it’s more a practical link to lessons learned. Asset information requirement is often missing from projects and that should be part of the rule book.

PAUL talks about the difference between descriptive and prescriptive. JIM thinks you have to go back to basics on the difference between a sleeping risk (descriptive???) and a standard risk (prescriptive???).

GEORGE has learnt this week from a conversation with a door manufacturer that the details of the circumstances of test standards are not available to the client or maintenance because it is commercially sensitive. He asked if you swapped out some components would the test not be valid? The door manufacturer said yes. The concern is that one of their competitors could see what type e.g. hinges they are using and therefore that could be used against them. With standardisation the data needs to be standardised. it’s surprising that the information that seems to be safety critical is secret. PAUL replies that there is a problem with manufacturers having their R&D stolen.

DAS says the second question is about the Change Management process. Change shouldn’t be happening after the design is complete at the end of stage 4, but inevitably sometimes there will be changes. It would be useful to know the output of the workstream regarding being clear about what is a major what is a notifiable change so that can be managed. MARC says they can’t run the scenarios as they don’t know what constitutes a ‘major change’. PAUL says a major change is going to be something structural e.g. a change in principle of smoke control or evacuation. The minor changes will be the wrong type of damper or wall etc. There is some debate about when gateway 2 ends.

For PAULA CHANDLER, Gateway 2 is a milestone not a duration. MARC agrees that it has to be a milestone because it’s what allows you to commence on-site. PAUL says there is no way anyone would submit a completed stage 4 where every element is completely designed out when you haven’t got product, so then it would be a phased approach. This change process, which is still part of gateway 2, is going to be a nightmare when it comes in. MARC and PAUL discuss about what constitutes a major change and a minor change. Regarding timescales, MARC thinks that a Major change is four weeks and a notifiable change is fourteen days. He can’t remember is anything is defined as ‘minor’ or not.

In terms of transitional arrangements, MARC was of the mind that if a project had already started you could go through to gateway 3 even though gateway 2 had not been signed-off, but this may now not be the case. JIM CREAK considers that everyone is right to say the Fire Safety Bill applies to every building.

GEORGE is in touch with Steve Coppin who is being very helpful, so if he can get a summarised set of questions he will run through those with him. Also, if he can get a summary of the questions MARC was asking he can put those to several different lawyers.

For the last twenty minutes of the meeting DAS wants to look at the final questions around the idea of some of the documents in there and about aligning - how do you go around aligning the responsibilities of the team. He’s noticed the disconnect in various contractual documents which are not very clear, they are not using a baseline standard or classification system to define it e.g. the scope is not aligned to the BIM, execution plan not aligned to the design responsibility matrix. He doesn’t know of any good examples of how that’s been realigned. Also, the as-built or final record drawings that MARC has commented on…

MARC says it’s a big deal that they now actually have to provide an as-built drawing and somebody needs to consider how to get enough confidence through that build process for an individual/organisation to sign it off ‘this is as built?’. DAS says he doesn’t know if there are templates which have been issued for Fire Statement/Construction control plan/As-built etc - these are phrases that were extracted from the guidance. We may ask the building safety regulator if they are going to provide some kind of structure around these. PAULA thinks they need to work backwards from what they need to establish a) whether the building is working safely for them and b) if not, what other information is required. Is KOBE data (currently used) the format that it needs to be in? We need to look at it from the end user point of view and then adapt accordingly.

GEORGE is working with asset management companies and is looking at how the new Fiery information can be delivered in a way that it’s part of KOBE. George has a slide about this and may be present in the future if people are interested. GEORGE says to PAULA that the FM team is as a similarly complex group as the construction team - there are so many different stakeholders with many different needs and we need to make sure we can accommodate all of them. PAULA says they also have a wide range of competencies spanning digital to old drawings, how do we up-skill and identify that level of competency on a project-by-project basis and appeal to the middle ground?

JIM wouldn’t mind seeing what the definition is of a fire and emergency files and then he may be able to help in that regard. The idea is to change it to a QR code so you can scan it and have access. If it takes 3/4 hour to go through a control box to find out what you want (in order) during an emergency, it’s a really detailed thing. Most fire and rescue deployment officers, turning up with a complete set of plans, wouldn’t actually know where to start.

JOE, regarding as-built and KOBE information, wonders when exactly it should be collated and handed over. Even if we get that record 100% right at handover the odds of it being 100% right 12 months later are extremely slim. Therefore, even with our best efforts, that data is potentially out-of-date. MARC says there is a need to continue with the safety case going forward beyond gateway 3.

GEORGE says to JOE that you need both data drops: they need that handover data set early, then at the end of the defect period that should be a version of…that’s a revision probably…JOE wants to push his service beyond handover, an aftercare period. GEORGE says that post occupancy evaluation is often put into schemes and it always gets struck out. DAS says that installing a door which e.g. is 60 minutes rather than the required 30 minutes starts to change the entire baseline design that all future changes should be assessed against.

MARC will send GEORGE an explicit set of questions to ask the lawyers.

PAUL, regarding change control process, says understanding how that process is supposed to work in legal terms kind of makes it a bit easier to understand how it’s going to work with the regulator. Both the regulator and the client’s lawyer may take action against you if it all goes wrong.

DAS asks MARC id he is doing anything to recheck the alignment of these kind of documents? MARC replies, DRM, absolutely - that’s an ongoing process. On the BIM side the big discussion is about transitioning properly over to 19650 and embedding Uniclass into everything. DAS says working on something to tie the 3 main documents together where there are often variations is a good idea: the DRM, the scope, and other documents.

PAUL says that, for the all the architects in the room, the fundamental issue with DRMs is that fi you’ve drawn a building out generically without any products then you go into novation to a contractor and they say ‘here’s all the products, go ahead and re-draw it’, you’d say ‘our fee doesn’t cover that, you have already spent the money’.

DAS says that, where possible, the goal is to reduce ambiguity - the more it’s reduced the better it is for everyone, as it can typically lead to heated discussions.

 

George Stevenson - ActivePlan

Jim Creak - Jalite Plc

Andrew de Silva ‘Das’ - David Miller

Richard Freer - IceFire Portfolio

Paul McSoley - Macegroup

Jarek Wityk - Winters Electrical

Liam Wheatley - Swan Housing

Marc Bradfield - Bouygues

Joe Stott - AHR

Eduardo Guasque - Haworthtompkins

Stewart Bailey - Virtual Viewing

Sharon McClure - Avestagroup

Judith Kelemen - PRP

Paula Chandler (RDD) - Wates

Ashley Kochiss - PRP

Jiss Philip Mukkadan - BIM4Housing

ADDENDUM

COMMENTS VIA CHAT

Stewart Bailey

I believe architects will either embrace the opportunity to design with standard parts or stay completely bespoke. In our world, I believe those that don't work with standard parts will find their market shrinking. 

As we develop a Lego kit for DFMA / MMC architects deciding to ignore that will become niche

VW/Audi can build 4 million variations of cars off 3 standard platforms - we need to do the same

Joe Stott

Is a Major change something that breaks the established parameters in the Rule Book?

Marc Bradfield

On the 'Fire Statement' and thinking about templates worth looking at the list of items that have not been correctly considered in Gateway 1 applications to date.

Paul McSoley

Building Safety Bill: factsheets - GOV.UK (www.gov.uk)

Building Safety Bill: factsheets

These factsheets provide more information about key provisions in the Bill.

08-Jun-22

BIM4Housing Design Working Group Meeting-20220608

Recording: https://youtu.be/niq7fa7KmyI

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

Recording: https://youtu.be/3HYju_DIHZk

[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

Recording : https://youtu.be/FW7_hnpxjgM

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

BIM4Housing Design Working Group Meeting-20220209 -Meeting

Recording : https://youtu.be/1M7ji3xStyU

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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