BIM4Housing Development Working Group Meeting 01-03-2023

BIM4Housing Development Working Group Meeting 01-03-2023

GEORGE I think the National Fire Chiefs Council was there as well, but the London Fire Brigade were there also, and they were basically explaining that the portal had a few problems at the beginning, but that’s all operational now and they are expecting everybody to be registering on it. And so, Tower Hamlets have registered theirs and they've got 78 blocks. I think you’ve got about a hundred, haven’t you?

DAVID POAT Yeah, and this will be on the radar of our building team rather than ourselves, but I hadn't heard that the portal had been finalised and it had been launched, but maybe my building safety colleagues will be all over that, hopefully.

GEORGE What I’ve discovered starting down this journey, because we (Active Plan) have now been working with Origin for the last two months, creating the fire plans for them, having surveyors go and do the scanning, generating the floor plans and the like. And what's been interesting about that is working out the practical workflow. I know that Enzo, in our golden thread group, was heading up the visualisation side of things. What’s been interesting about that is that the surveyors, who are doing the measured surveys and producing the floor plans, they don't have the competence to be able to determine which doors are fire doors and whether they are 30 minute or 60-minute doors, and even things like the other fire related assets. They can identify there’s a fire lift there or they can identify there’s an AOV, but they don’t have the skills to be able to say what type of item it is. So, what we’re now doing is a process whereby specialists, for maybe fire doors, AOVs, fire dampers, smoke dampers, would then be able to visit the virtual 360 view and make a remote assessment of something, so that at least you’re identifying how many doors there are that are going to need inspecting.

And then when you can schedule a physical visit, because the fire door inspectors that we've gone involved, we've now got about 60 or 70 fire door inspectors come into BIM4housing, we've recruited quite a few. What we’re doing with them is looking at standardising the way fire door inspections are done. And by going through that process the fire door people can then plan their work, because it seems to do proper fire door inspections on a block of flats could take easily a couple of weeks. And it depends really on the scope, do you do you take off all the architrave and look at all the gaps. And if you do that, then that's more work, it will take even longer, but it will also mean remedial works. What we're trying to do at the moment is look at the practical way of doing that on a risk-based basis as well, because that's the other point. Some of the housing associations, one of them on a session a couple of weeks ago was saying they have a policy whereby if they don't have the certificates for the door then it's considered to be non-compliant and therefore it needs to be replaced.

And the fire door inspectors who were on the call said no, that's not necessary, it should be on a risk-based approach and also as long as you can inspect it. And I think they call them the notional fire doors. So, it is a fire door, it appears to have the right specification, it just doesn't have the certificate. And these are all nuanced things, David, that I think we need to be taking account of because what I’m learning is that when people replace the fire door that may not be the answer because 75% of brand new fire doors that are being inspected are failing inspection, so you could well be making the building less safe by taking…

STEVEN CAPLAN Do you know if that's the door or the way it's been installed? Cause of course it could easily be…I’m not a building surveyor, so I'm just being really stupid on this call, but it did occur to me that you can buy a product, it’s actually the installation, not having intumescent strips or what have you, or the wrong architecture, the wrong ironmongery etc. There are many things that could make it noncompliant, not just the physical door. I wondered if there's more detail behind that statistic because there is probably a bigger story.

GEORGE The doors have typically been provided by people who are qualified and certified installers, so you'd expect them to be doing that properly. I think in most cases they're procured as door sets. So, they should be right, but in some cases the ironmongery is not right, which obviously if you procure a door set it shouldn't be the issue. But it's also the gaps and things like that. Another thing I've been told is that it depends on when it's delivered to site, where it's stored, if it's installed and it's cold or wet or whatever, then it may well go out. Coming back to the point, David, what we’re finding is that the…these fire doors are maybe £3-4,000 each, so if you’re gonna replace a thousand that’s a big chunk, especially if you’ve then got to have them inspected. Simply relying on the fact they’re coming from a qualified and certified installer doesn't seem to be enough.

DAVID POAT As you know, we employ fire consultants post-contract to do a lot of the kind of quality inspections, we set a schedule of everything that we want them to look at and fire doors is on that list. But even fire consultants find they can observe the fire door if they're tagged as fire doors and labeled as fire doors because I think fire doors should come with a disc and that makes them easier to identify. The biggest issue they tend to pick up is the gapping around the threshold of the door. Sometimes that can be too large but, as you say, if you were using certified installers then you would have imagined that that's the first thing that they would understand. We can put all the controls in place that we want, we can take all the photographs that we want and we can inspect as much as we like, there are still going to be issues that get raised, inevitably.

JOE STOTT I’m just trying to relate it to some of the things within our practice in terms of designing new content. I’m spending quite a lot of time designing new Revit content for our libraries and doors is always where we start and stumble. I’m from AHL, we’re architects and building surveyors. We have a large team of building surveyors who are busy going around scanning high-rises, so all of this is quite relevant. They’re based in our Huddersfield office, which is where I’m based, so I spend a lot of time with the building surveyors. It’s quite interesting to see the two different sides of the business and the two different ways of kind of looking at the same problems. I’m detailed driven, I’m not kind of techy architect really, so making content, I kind of obsess over tolerances and undercuts on doors. And quite often from architects the feedback is, oh, you’re overthinking this, and I’m thinking ‘not really’. Because then I see the building surveying team, they work with people who own estates and a lot of housing associations etc and their problems are huge.

I’m kind of wondering what involvement our building surveyors have got in this topic. We’ve got quite a big team who go out laser scanning and a scan-to-BIM service. They’ve been doing that for a long time and they’re all qualified surveyors. One observation that they’ve made in the last few years is that because the scanning technology has become cheaper and easier to use, there’s a lot of scanning companies out there who are not qualified surveyors. So, they’re just people who will go out and scan something for cash. And their beef is always how do they distinguish themselves from essentially a service which is ultimately cheaper but doesn’t have any qualifications behind it. So, I'm gonna have a conversation on the back of this with them, particularly our scanning guys to say what do you do in terms of identifying fire doors? Do you identify them? They probably don't.

I hope they don't because, as you say, they're probably not qualified to do so. They're more qualified than someone who's just bought a scanner. But they've always had this issue, with the work that they do they’re very scared of making any assumptions. So even doing existing surveys, they’ll say I can only guarantee where the surface of this wall is, and the odds are that’s a block work wall, but I’m not going to say it’s a block work wall unless I do an intrusive survey, and you’re not going to pay me to do that.

GEORGE I think the point, Joe, is really well made there and that is what we need to do is recognise that this is a journey, in terms of capturing the data. We’ve got two main projects at the moment, one is with Tower Hamlets and the other is with Origin and the approach that we’re taking is that the information needs to be adequate to satisfy the regulations in terms of fire plans. So, we need symbols on drawings and things like that that look right. There's no standard for symbols, by the way. We’ve tried to create some which we can use which I’m happy to share with you. We’ve made them as machine addressable blocks. So just have an AutoCAD block that has got enough intelligence in it that we can then bring it into the database and then add information to it. So, in other words, it might come through just as a door, but it's a door object that we can then say, right, that’s a door object, it's in a fire compartment so it's going to be acting as a fire door. Now what the rating is of that maybe accommodation of what wall it’s in, and then having to go back and look at the declarations of performance or whatever the data sheet is for that door to then increment it. And it means that we’ve got something that is a journey. Therefore, if you do qualify it, which you might well do, you could actually say, well, this is our assessment at this stage, and at least it's better than nothing. I suppose the difficulty for any professional is being caught out with that liability, isn't it?

DAVID POAT I was going to make that point, George, actually, just coming back to something that you said originally about the remediation on a fire door coming down to a risk assessment. We're finding that in some areas it is quite difficult to actually get someone prepared to do a risk assessment that results in a decision to actually physically do something (or not do it). And we've got an interesting example at the moment where obviously the topic of the moment is all around second staircases and government consultation on the 30-meter threshold. Well, we've internally made the decision to set a standard at 18 meters in the absence of anything else, there's a whole bunch of reasons why we've decided to do that. But in addition to that, we have asked our projects to consider the introduction of a second staircase for buildings under 18 meters and do a risk assessment in order to evidence why they wouldn't want to put a second staircase in. And what that's responding to is a comment that we had from Fire Brigade a while ago where they were very reluctant to put a height threshold because they wanted it to be a risk-based decision rather than a tick-box exercise.

Anyway, we thought we were being rather clever and so we'd ask our projects to do a risk assessment and we took that to our fire consultants who were very reluctant to do an assessment on that basis. There seemed to be two reasons for that: one is approved document B and BS 9991 is their safe haven, so they're more than happy to do an assessment of a design in terms of whether it meets a standard or whether it doesn’t, and that's quite straightforward. But to ask them to make an assessment of risk that then results in a decision to either put a second staircase in or not was something that they felt was kind of beyond their responsibility, if you like, or something that they were reluctant to do because that goes beyond the requirements of what ADB asks for. So, it kind of gets them out of their comfort zone a little bit. And I guess you could apply the same argument to a fire door. Who's gonna inspect a fire door and make a decision as to whether it needs to be replaced or whether it doesn't based on risk? I don't know the answer. But generally, people seem more reluctant to do risk assessments, preferring to keep things as factual as they possibly can. And probably for good reason.

PAUL WHITE I’m at Enfield for the next month, I’m working on a period of leave, notice at the moment. I'm going to Gravesham in Kent. Senior development is all pretty much buttoned up now. So from Enfield’s point of view, I’m trying to find a replacement, but I don’t think you’ll get a direct person in the development team. And I'm not sure you'd get the same because at the moment, obviously we've had quite a high staff turnover and things. Obviously, we’ve had Sarah and Abigail and various other people. I’ll try and set it up before I go and obviously try and find out about Gravesham. It’s another council so I’ll still be in that world. It’s a slightly elevated role, rather than regeneration, it’s development.

GEORGE to RAYMOND OZOGULU (Harrow) who missed the earlier part of the call. What we’ve been talking about is the need to take a risk-based approach rather than, for example, replacing all fire doors because you don’t have a certificate for them.

RAYMOND OZOGULU I agree with that. It makes more sense in terms of prioritising things with potentially limited resources rather than taking a blanket approach. You may well be dealing with low-risk stuff when you’ve got higher risk stuff sitting there. So, I totally agree.

GEORGE Yeah, and what David from Notting Hill Genesis was saying that their fire engineers, there’s a conversation about twin staircases as to at what point you actually make a decision as to whether you need a second staircase. And the approach they were looking to do, which seems sensible to me, is a risk-based approach, but the question is who signs that off? One of the challenges with all this, and it’s been a bane of my life for probably 20 or 30 years in the construction industry, and that's people transferring risk. And rather than the team taking a sensible view on it and saying, right, what is the actual risk of this situation. People aren’t working collaboratively and that’s what I think we should be trying to do now.

PAUL WHITE Isn't it an insurance issue, though? Are they all a bit worried about their insurance policies? GEORGE Most certainly.

DAVID POAT Ultimately, yeah. One of the pieces of language that's emerging more readily now is the concept of a QDR process, Quality Design Review process for fire safety matters particularly. And it tended to be a process that was required in exceptionally high buildings, although what a high building was wasn't particularly well defined. But we conceptually actually quite like the idea of a QDR process, because it kind of brings stakeholders together, be that architects, be that fire consultants, be that fire brigade, be that building control and it seems to be a pretty decent structured approach to how you would go about setting.

PAUL WHITE Is that a bit like RACI then? Where you actually define this is what you’re responsible for.

DAVID POAT No, but that’s what I was going to come onto, Paul, because I think  the QDR process is designed as a collaborative process, so the whole reason for doing it is you're trying to get all of the stakeholders bought into the kind of fire safety objectives for a building right from the outset, and then people can then evaluate that design against those objectives that everyone's bought into. What isn't necessarily clear through that is if it's a collaborative process then is the decision making therefore collaborative and therefore in terms of the kind of design risks and liabilities are they shared, or are they then still retained by the various people that would take on those liabilities now? Again, I don't know, but for us, we were trying to take the essence of that QDR process and apply it across other buildings as well, lower rise buildings, to try and make it a more collaborative process. We haven't quite got that off the ground yet. But again, I'm not sure how our consultants and fire consultants will respond to that in terms of the implications to them around PI and such like.

GEORGE I think PI’s are something that is a real driver for bad practice. I spent 4 or 5 years on a research project with integrated project insurance. So, the idea of integrated project insurance is that nobody on the projects got PI cover. The projects got the PI cover. And the responsibility then is on the team to work collaboratively to identify problems and then resolve them. And if something goes wrong then, in particular, maybe delays or faults or whatever, it’s the master insurance company that takes the risk, but the team has actually worked to resolve it. Now the reason I got involved in it, and it's won several awards, we have new contracts written, and it's now been used on several projects, not enough. But what we did, it was based on something called HAPM, the Housing Association Property Mutual, and the philosophy behind that was to identify what things fail on buildings, because what was happening was that when housing associations were first started, as they came out the councils, they couldn't get any insurance because the track record for council built properties was so poor, with the number of building failures, that they couldn’t get any cover.

So, what happened was set up as a mutual insurance fund and all of the people that had projects that they wanted to cover, they took the premiums that the insurance companies wouldn't accept and put them into a pot. But what they also did was they identified the procedures that could be put in place to prevent building failure, and it’s just so sensible, really. And then anybody that was a member of HAPM, you had to sign up to following that process, and an organisation called the Building Performance Group was set up where they got 50 or 60 architects, engineers, surveyors, and they were doing inspections of the materials that were gonna be used, really a proper clerk of works process, and as long as they signed it off, then everybody's happy. And almost in a very short space of time, it was in credit because there were no claims. And that just seems to me to be so sensible.

PAUL WHITE And contractors didn't like it because it was too thorough. Yeah, be honest, the site managers didn’t, because I remember it all. I remember thinking it was a good idea back in the day. But that’s what you want as a client, you want more scrutiny, because the alternatives, perhaps you didn’t quite get that quite in the same way, which is where the industry went and unfortunately, we’re back there again arguing for it. And that’s what we’re getting, anyway, a more regulated industry. It’s come back full circle.

GEORGE Just what Paul White was saying there, what we're trying to do at the moment is look at standardising inspections. So, the idea being that if, for example, we can have some more standardised inspections then that might be something that is going to reduce risk as far as the insurers are concerned. We started with fire doors, and we've got a work stream that started about two weeks ago where we've got about 50 or 60 fire door specialists collaborating around producing some standardised inspection procedures. We're robbing something from the NHS, with their permission. They produced something about three or four years ago where they've got three types of inspections, one of new fire doors, one of existing ones, and then one on an ongoing basis. We've got that team already operational; they've got their second meeting next week and we're hoping to have that cracked within the next month and then it means that we've got something to base it on. And the reason I'm mentioning it, Paul, is that we're doing the same for smoke vents and we’ll then roll on and probably do penetration seals. So, if you’re interested, if you’re an M&E person, that might be something that you'd want to participate in.

PAUL COOK I think the comment about people not wanting to take accountability and buck-passing, is an extremely important comment in our section at the moment. I do think simplifying stuff is what we need because we've got too many subcontractors that wanna complicate things when we do need to take them to the simplest form. So, I think it's a good idea to simplify as much as we can across our sector, but also I do think the NHS is a mile in front of us as well.

DAVID PEAT How do the NHS do it on their new builds, George? Do they set standards that then they'd expect the contractors quality assurance process to follow? Or do they employ independent inspectors to do the quality assurance piece?

GEORGE I don’t think they prescribe that, per se, what they’re doing, they've got standard specifications called HTM’s (Health Technical Memoranda) which are principally being used by designers. There’s HBNs which are the Health Building Notes and HTMs, and they're used to try and make sure that the right product is selected for the right job. So that's one level. In terms of workmanship, I think there's very different ways that it's done. The principal reason that they did this guidance, which is quite a substantial piece of work, but it breaks it down into what do you do with the new door to make sure that it's been installed properly and it's of the right spec. What do you do with an existing door to make sure that it's fit for purpose. And those two inspections only happen once. There’s then a third level of inspection and that's the ongoing inspections. And then there's a fourth section which is putting together a fire door plan. We're basically taking that as a baseline and then working back from there. But I think different projects work differently.

COLIN CRAPPER I’m from Oxford City Council. I’ve got five HRRBs. (responding to George’s question ‘Where are you on the journey, in terms of information?). I'm all over the place, to be honest. So currently I'm just working on trying to gather all the information into one place and to start putting the building safety case reports together. I’ve already got a template together for that and started populating some of the information within it. I’ve also built a filing system as well for the golden thread of information. So, I’ve got that sort of in place and now I'm just gathering information for finishing off the floor plans for the emergency services, so they’ve got electronic versions of those, and to update the information boxes on site. I've also been tasked with carrying out the fire door inspections as well, so I've just created a fire door inspection sheet for that as well. I'm quite lucky in some respects that we've had a load of refurbishment works that have gone on over the last five years. So, all our cladding on our high rises to spec, new fire doors in communal areas and stuff. So, and I have all that information to hand which is which is quite handy.

GEORGE Yeah, what might be useful, because some of the some of the people on the call have already seen what I'm just about show you. But we've got some resources that we've developed over the last couple of years that might be useful to you. So, I'll just very quickly show you and then maybe we set up a session afterwards for anybody else that's interested that we can do it on a one-to-one basis if that would be helpful. This was put together by our golden thread working group as to the things that you needed to have to be able to put together your safety case. The methodology that we're using was to do what you've just said there, and that’s step one, get together everything you've already got, which is largely documents and some data files into some sort of container so you could identify what's missing. Then Step 2 is turning that into machine readable information so that you can connect things up so that, for example, schedules of accommodation can be tied back to the floor plans. And then if you've got them, 3D models then add those in as well. But the critical thing is that BIM isn't just about 3D models, it's about the data. So, we've then aligned it back to the IT’s digital twin methodology. But this is the meat of it really.

It's a method by saying you first of all start off by creating digital containers for you to put things into, which might just be the site, so that you've got a record of the site and maybe the list of units on the site. Then when you've got that together, then have those as proper CAD plans with layering and done to the right protocols. And then any risks related to that, any 360 photos or laser scans or whatever. Then put those in there, and if you’ve got a 3D model then use it. And then at the building level, these are the things that the team identified as being likely to be asked, the height of the building, etc. And then drilling down, what systems are in there. So do you have systems drawings and are those drawings structured in a proper methodology. The same with floors. Then units and spaces, do you have the UPRN numbers, do you have a personal evacuation plan. And then drilling into asset types. So being able to manage things, both at an asset type level and what sort of documents you might need against asset types. And then going into every instance, so an instance is an individual asset rather than a type of asset. So, all the different types of doors, for example, and then the individual doors.

And then going into every instance, so an instance is an individual asset rather than a type of asset. So, all the different types of doors, for example, and then the individual doors. And then maybe what certification and things like that are against each item. Sorry if this is a bit detailed, but it’s a check list really. And then products, what products are installed and how do you get those into something that’s machine readable. Procedures and then the asset information model, and finally the records. I’m happy to send this over to you. We’ve also got information which I think also might be useful to you on…this was the report that we did that went to the government which I can go through with you. This is basically the results of the work that we did. We’ve got guidance on AOVs, fire doors, cavity barriers, fire alarms, risers, emergency lighting etc. So, we’ve got detailed documents on each of these, and also looking at things from a risk-based perspective, because that’s what the HDSE told us that we needed to do, in terms of asset data. To look at it from a point of view of what’s the hazard, the spread of smoke, and being able to run that through.

And then this is more recent stuff that we’re doing, decision trees in terms of, for example, how do you know that the smoke damper that was selected is the right one for that particular substrate. Sorry about that, I thought I was showing the document. I think probably the best thing will be, I’m very happy to set up smaller groups or maybe even one-to-ones to go through this because I think you may well find it useful. Because the fire door guidance, as an example, it breaks down what is a fire door and then what are the risks that you’re preventing, and then what do people do to fire doors to stop them from working and then what information do you need. We were talking earlier about the gaps, the door closer type, gaps in the frame etc. And then going onto tasks and procedures, what do you inspect, and standard maintenance procedures, for example. So, this is the thing that we’re trying to recreate with the workstreams. This is what I’ll share with you. Basically, it goes through what do you need to do at a site level, then what information do you need at a building level, a systems level, a floors level, and then down to individual units. And then asset types and then the individual assets themselves.

GEORGE Paul Cook, from an M&E perspective would you say that we’ve covered the things that are critical from your perspective? What asset types would you be focusing on?

PAUL COOK From the point of view of fire safety our biggest ones are alarms. I spent a bit of time at RBKC and we obviously had mechanical shutters that came into play to shut out windows etc. We had trouble getting access to properties to actually check those, so we were checking the communal area, but we weren’t checking the flats. I made it quite clear that that made no sense because the fire was going to start in the flats, smash through the window before the actual mechanical shutter shuts. So it’s things like that we need to be looking at as well, the slightly weirder stuff away from the norm.

GEORGE That’s really helpful. What sort of people manufacture mechanical shutters? Are they used commonly?

PAUL COOK I’ve only ever worked in one organisation which was using them, but basically because they had communal escape routes with flat windows, they had to have communal shutters on the windows as well as obviously fire doors on the doors. I actually wonder how many are ignored across the country, because I’ve seen buildings before where they put fire doors on escape routes, but actually next to the escape route is the kitchen window. So, I don’t know how much we’re ignoring that concept across the country at the moment. So, you’ve got your escape route which is an external escape route, you got the fire door to allow people to go past it, but then there’s a window next to that that’s got no protection, realistically.

GEORGE So basically, forgive my ignorance, I’m not a construction professional, that would make the compartment pretty much useless.

PAUL COOK I’m not a construction professional either, but that’s the way I see it as well. Definitely at RBKC they had metal shutters, but they were very hard to maintain because of access reasons. I’m hoping next time you walk round and see a block, if you've got fire doors on the outside and you have got windows next to it, just think about the compartmentation.

GEORGE At the moment, as we’re doing the surveys, we’re taking 360 photos so that we’ve got evidence of there, but I think that's going to be very useful because it's going to become a learning thing as well. So, I can't quite visualise what you're saying at the moment in terms of what a mechanical shutter looks like and…PAUL COOK Basically mechanical shutters just drop down in front of a window. It’s a metal shutter, it’s triggered by the communal rife alarm system. We have detectors in each dwelling. GEORGE And the window goes to the external. PAUL COOK Yeah, basically, there were sort of eternal escape routes, but because of the way the construction was it had sort of half a roof, so it wasn’t fully external, but it was the escape route for the block. The metal escape route that’s on the outside of the building that we’re putting fire doors on but still passing flat windows. GEORGE So basically it would mean you couldn’t use the fire escape because a fire would be coming through the window. PAUL COOK yeah, in a worst-case scenario.

GEORGE Has anybody been involved in doing the safety cases at the moment? David, are you one of the early adopters?
DAVID POAT No, we’re not. I’ve had distant involvement with this, our building safety team’s been doing some work on safety cases. They ran a trial with a company called Aderlade? 53mins 48secs who had a piece of software that had been developed, my understanding is within the kind of oil and gas industry who I believe have been doing safety cases for a number of years. The software was basically a series of questions that needed to be answered that then generated the data that then generated a safety case. I don't think we've adopted it. It wasn't quite transferable for us in terms of how we wanted to use it. But I think we've taken the principles of it and we're trying to develop something similar ourselves. So, I sense that we're producing something a bit more bespoke to suit our requirements, but I've had no more involvement than that, George. It’s Jake LePage’s team that will be leading on it.

GEORGE Yeah, I might have a word with him, actually, because we built some new functionality into Active Plan to enable you to take the spaces, group them together and then look at the assets that are protecting those spaces so that you can…it’s my thought we may be able to visualise the safety case which is going to be, I think, a useful thing.  One of the reasons we're doing it is because invariably FM's haven't been very good at telling designers and constructors how they want the information structured, and part of the reason for that is that they probably don't know. They probably don't know how they're gonna want to use it. So, what we've done, we've actually said, right, let's make it so that we can take the information that let's say Joe creates, and as long as it's classified properly and structured in a proper way, we’re making it so that the FM can group things together in ways that make sense to them dynamically. So, you're not changing the underlying data, you are just creating a view. And we've been doing that with several hospitals and it's gone down very, very well with the FM teams because they're sort of empowered. Because normally what happens is they'll take information and then they'll hold it off in something else and try and do it in spreadsheets.

DAVID POAT And that’s exactly where our asset management colleagues are right now, and that’s the piece that needs to change. GEORGE So your asset management colleagues, that would be somebody other than Jake? DAVID POAT Yeah, so Jake heads up the building safety team. There is a separate asset management team, Rupesh is the data manager, he would span both of those teams. GEORGE At the moment I’m trying to understand how people might find it useful to do this because the safety case, it gives a completely different perspective on how you want things grouping. DAVID POAT Yeah, and I’m not as close to it as I should be, George. It seems to me that there are two things going on here. You’ve got the safety case which is basically evidence of a risk assessment and evidence that risks are being managed. But then you’ve got the whole evidence piece that sits underneath that which is demonstrating the data that you hold, how you hold it, how available it is etc. I’d imagine at the moment our focus is on the first bit and the asset and building safety guys haven’t got as far through yet how they want to hold and manage the data, but I expect it will be a useful conversation for you to have with them.

GEORGE Joe, I’d be quite interested in having a one-to-one with you on that because I think from a data perspective, you’re going to be all over it, but it just occurred to me that with your surveying colleagues it might well be that you can give us quite an interesting insight to that.

JOE STOTT Yeah, definitely, the discussion you were having there is ringing a lot of bells for me, and we do have some clients who do exactly as you described. They know where they want to get to in terms of digitising their information, but they can’t tell us how to do that because they will quite honestly say we don’t know ourselves, but we do know the longer-term direction that we want to get to. So, in those instances as long as we’re delivering structured data for them, I think we’re doing the best that we can do. But yeah, there’s other discussions we could have with our surveying side as well. Because, as I said before, they put a totally different spin on a lot of these…I’m an architect by training and that’s my background, but I’m now straddling these two camps, and it’s quite interesting, they’re two different worlds, it seems.

PAUL COOK I found this useful that people are actually on the same page. I sometimes feel people aren't on the same page when you talk to people outside of groups like this, so it's nice to actually be invited to a group where you feel like you're talking to the same sort of people, the same sort of ideas. So, thank you.

GEORGE  I was sort of describing what I was saying there with grouping, so if I just show you what we're doing. (shares screen). This is actually for a school, but here we've got data, this is the sort of thing that Joe and the design team would produce. This is a COBie data set here. We’ve got floors, we’ve got layouts, and these are all data containers that you can put things into. So, this sort of structured data you can then use to, it’s picking up there. The first sections of that are the schedule of accommodation. But there this has only been achieved because it's been created properly as structured information. But then what you're then also able to do is, this is the point I was making earlier about grouping things together. You can group together spaces on the fly as a user and just say that I want to put those all into a fire door container, or fire corridor for example. And what I can also do is group together things like fire doors then I can see which doors have got that particular attribute, which rooms they go in and out of. But I can also then group them into which are 30 minute or 60-minute doors and then see those on a plan. So, again, it's just a way of visualising the information in different ways, and by doing that you can also see which corridors they're in and which spaces they’re supporting.

Our thought is this is a really helpful thing in terms of being able to relate it to the building safety case because you're actually looking at a combination of what are these spaces being used for. I mean, if this is a block of flats, you'd be identifying which are the communal areas, where the kitchen is, what are the measures that are in place to protect against that. And then obviously you can then drill into the detail and see what type of door and specification it is. It would be helpful to really understand whether that's the sort of thing that you might want to do if you're doing a risk assessment of a particular group of assets, because the other thing that you can do with this is say, it's not just the doors, but it might be a combination of the doors, the smoke vent system, the fire alarm system. So, you can group those together as a measure. Is that of any interest?

JOE STOTT From my perspective it's usually valuable because you know that kind of reflects how we design the information in the first place which is more often visual than anything else. I think one of the problems is we're dealing with a lot of data, there’s hug databases behind this and not many of us can handle that data and can think like that, but we can very quickly use systems like that to visually interpret that data in something you can understand in a snap. So, you can very quickly see if that information looks correct, is there a rogue fire door for some reason that’s being picked up in the data. So, I think that's hugely valuable.

GEORGE Yeah, if the spaces, for example, that have been missed out, because that's one of the problems that you might have a space that neither the architect nor the M&E engineer actually owns, like risers and things like that. And if that isn't actually identified as a space, then when the assets that have gone in that space are placed there, they're not scheduled. But the other thing is if you’re a Revit wizard, like you, you’ll probably be able to find all this in Revit, but 90% of the people, even within an architectural practice, probably 50% of the people, they're not, are they?

JOE STOTT Well, the exact same people I was talking about in terms of saying we want all this data, we want to digitise our estate, some of them have also gone down the route of using Revit as a tool to do so, to interact with their FM platforms, etc. And I always questioned that because I kind of think, and we've done it, we’ve handed Revit models over to them and then they've gone ‘great, what do I do now? How do I produce a plan?’. And I’m thinking they’ll freely say we got what we asked for, I suppose, but now we’ve got to admit that we can’t drive this. And nor should they, really, in my mind, because that's an authoring tool, it’s a production tool. It's a very different environment to be consumed at the other end. So, something like you’ve just showed me, most of the information that I see used in existing FM tools are still plan based. I do always question the value of the model, and I shouldn’t maybe say this as a BIM manager, but to me the data is more important than the 3D model, you’ve got the real thing. It can solve some niche issues, but I think we still consume information in very simplistic plan views still.

I really liked what you showed me there, I’ve got some ideas to discuss with you for our own use. So as an architect at an architectural practice, we’ve done maybe 100’s of projects a year, and in the back of my mind I’m thinking I want an asset library of all of our projects. I want to be able to query how many apartments have we delivered in the last three years. Again, exactly the same kind of risk-based challenge, we couldn’t foresee some of the things that have come out in recent years in terms of material risks. So, I’m kind of thinking, well, we’ve got all this information, e produce it for our clients, and then we put it on an archive server somewhere and it just never gets used again, and to me that’s a waste. From a risk perspective we should be developing our own asset database so that when the next risk that comes up we can quantify that quite quickly. It could be anything, it could be where have you used this particular flooring type because it self-combusts.

RICHARD I think that’s quite an interesting point. You said, Joe, that you really think there is value in creating your own asset data set. Is that something that any of the other guys are doing? Colin, do you dig into this kind of detail?
COLIN CRAPPER Obviously not quite in the same format as that’s all singing and dancing, but yeah, to a certain extent. With my folder, the way I’ve built it is that you will have everything in subfolders, and within that…your building safety case report, the building information, and within that you’ve got your building plans - floor plans, door plans. And then obviously any building works that have gone on so any changes to the building. Fire Safety folder and then within that obviously all the subsections, fire strategy, fire risk assessments etc. Regarding the actual assets we’ll have the door plans, and obviously for every single floor what fire doors we have in each area. In the high-rise building, when it comes to assets it’s not massive, you’ve got FD 30s, FD 60 doors. And then apart from that, not a huge amount. So, I don’t think I have to go into as much detail because I have PDF documents with that information in, I have pyrotechs install manual for the fire system and obviously where all the smoke detectors are. So that's all asset listed anyway, but yeah, within nutshell things are going that far in depth, but not in the same way. Obviously, I would love it to be in that way, but obviously I work for the council and we don’t have that kind of money available to build anything like that. But yeah, it’s quite in-depth with the information that I’m collating for that, but luckily where it’s only a high-rise building with limited assets, it’s not as difficult as it would be for other buildings.

GEORGE I think you're absolutely right that the first point is to make sure that you've got all of the documents, but it's the interrelationship of the documents that I think becomes a bit of a challenge, because if you've got…let me just again show you an example. This is a project that we’ve used to create that example (shares screen). This is fairly typical of the information. What architects will often do, they’ll create styles of doors, so door types, and then maybe with some annotation in there to explain the specification. So, the the point about this is that you've got a drawing there that you've got to then visually read. You've then got a compartment drawing and then you've got a schedule. You've got those things as separate documents, probably all in the same folder, or different folders. You might have your schedules; you might have your commissioning certificates.

COLIN CRAPPER I do have some of that information. I don't actually have the schedules at the moment, but that’s all stuff that I'm trying to get hold of at the moment.

GEORGE The key thing is obviously, fundamentally you want to make sure that you’ve got the documents, but it's then a matter of going through the exercise. That's what that checklist was going through because really what you want to know is which door is being inspected, not just that 50% of the doors or 100% of the doors have been tested and ten of them have failed. Which 10 have failed? And which spaces does that affect? Or if you've got a ventilation system, because the other issue that we've got at the moment is mould, what spaces is that ventilation system supporting? So, it's the interrelationship often, Colin, that I think we struggle with, and people have then got to dive into, they’ve got to interpret things. The methodology that we're trying to introduce is if you've got somebody who is something of an expert then they only need to do it once to tie together the room list, the space list, and the drawings. And then if you’ve got schedules that relate to those, just make sure that the reference that’s on the schedule is consistent with the reference that's in the drawings.

Because what often happens is that the architect will produce their drawings and they'll use a room referencing that makes sense at the time, but then maybe another architect takes over that, because the construction company appoints somebody else, and they might start again, and they do renumbering. And, of course, anything that was then identified before has the original room numbers against it. This happens all the time. So, you end up not having anything that relates to each other. We're doing this quite a lot with reverse engineering O&M's and you come up some real understandable things that have gone wrong, but it doesn’t really help if you’re in a crisis situation and you’re trying to figure out what is that wall type.

COLIN CRAPPER I've only been working for the Council for four months now, so obviously I haven't been in the job very long. And beforehand I used to work for Thames Water, and I was more compliance, health and safety. So, this is a whole new ball game for me and I'm just trying to get my head around everything. We use, it’s like a sister company to Oxford City Council, which is done by ODS, and they use a different system to us when it comes to scheduling in works and stuff like that. So, I'm still trying to get my head round the way everything works and understanding how we go about things. We have monthly meetings anyway, where anything that’s been raised is then followed through to make sure that something is gonna happen.

GEORGE I think what from what you're saying, you're doing exactly the right thing. You've got folders and you're gathering together the information. I guess what I'm saying is there's a potential whilst you're doing that to identify a little bit more classification and structure to it.

COLIN CRAPPER Yeah, previously there was no real structure anyway behind storing information, so it’s nice to be able to be putting things in place for that.

RICHARD Colin, I'll send you a message later and maybe we'll hook up for a quick 15 minute 1-to-1 chat just to talk about status and stuff. I'm trying to get a sort of a helicopter view of where the different organisations are in terms of the Fire Safety Act and the upcoming Building Safety Act. Just to get a market view.

COLIN CRAPPER Yeah, I would really appreciate that, to be honest, because obviously it can bring other things that I may have missed.