BIM4Housing Development Working Group Meeting-20220518
DAVID POAT apologises for not being able to make the (DCW roundtable session?).
PAUL WHITE talks about what he calls the RACI concept (Responsible, Accountable, Consulted, Informed). ‘From that, if we disagree with something, how will that information be used. As the development group do we say “we can’t be held responsible for that”…people need to be clear on what the implications of it are’.
DAVID POAT asks PAUL WHITE if the conversation he will have tomorrow is to try and agree the content of the RACI matrix or is it a broader conversation about its purpose…
RICHARD FREER interjects and reminds everyone what a short time the roundtable is (45 minutes) and that the purpose of the exercise is twofold: to showcase what we are doing and our risk-based approach to doing it and also to get more members/interest. There will be an input rather than an output during the meeting - an input….this is a roundtable following through from pre-sessions to this point and what that roundtable has won’t be a final output. So, the final output is input.
As there are some new people at the meeting, DAVID POAT of Notting Hill Genesis, thinks it's a good idea to do some introductions (starting with himself). MARK BRIDGE, land manager, of Citizen Housing Group is attending for the first time.
RICHARD FREER briefs the group about the DCW roundtables. 5 working groups of which one is the Development one. In total the goal is to spread the word out, present what we do and hopefully get more people involved. ‘We have a number of templates that, at the most basic level, need approval - yes or no, do you agree with this’. PAUL WHITE says there are two tabs on each of the templates: compromise and information, one is what can go wrong? and the other is what information do we need from people to stop that from happening? RICHARD suggests to go through it here as if this is the meeting.
DAVID POAT explains how the RACI matrix emerged as an output from Bim4housing roundtables made of suppliers, contractors, clients etc who looked at the individual components that make up fire safety systems. The RACI matrix starts to try and map what peoples responsibilities and accountabilities are in relation to risks surrounding those components.
RICHARD FREER says that on the day it will be done paper-based. There will be a paper floor plan of a floor of an apartment building. Richard shares the floor plan on screen. The scenario is a fire breaks out in one of the bedrooms. PAUL WHITE reads… The characteristics of the building is that it’s over 18 meters high, student urban living accommodation. Single phased evacuation. It has 3 basic types of accommodation units, mechanically heated and ventilated through the corridor distribution. Alternative means of escape is available through distributed staircase. A firefighting shaft is provided. An automatic opening vent, AOV is provided, also dry and wet risers.
RICHARD says the first task is to look at the floor plan and decide which asset types would be relevant to preventing the spread of smoke. The compartmentalisation needed to prevent the spread of smoke in that bedroom. We have predetermined those. He shows a document (excel) on screen. There are six of these documents (this one is for fire alarms), one for each of the asset types identified. Regarding the question what compromises fire alarm and fire detector systems that could stop them working properly? At the top there is a list of stakeholder groups and RACI is applied to them e.g. the client/developer would be Informed, the designer would be Responsible, the main contractor would be Accountable etc. Does the group agree that for you (Development) the only responsibility is to be informed?
PAUL WHITE thinks there is only time to concentrate on one asset type in the 45 minutes of the event. RICHARD wants to do a run through here of the meeting and see how many asset types they get through. The group seems to think they will not have enough time to get the right results. They say they can only concentrate on one asset point. RICHARD makes the point GEORGE said that the compromise factor is very important. RICHARD says that it is important that people are briefed when they come into that meeting. That is why GEORGE has been given stuff beforehand, so that it could since the group will be sector people. CHRISTINE MILLING is seeing the matrix for the first time and thinks there is a lot of detail. ‘If you’re accountable for something what information would you need to either reduce that risk or get rid of it…to get the risk down as much as possible. If that’s your focus you can be very specific.’ RICHARD says that is the intention. In the Development column we’d be primarily looking at ‘accountable’ and ‘responsible’ columns.
DAVID POAT is uncertain who the ‘designer’ is in this context and also does not understand the difference between the role of the manufacturer and the role of the supplier. The operator and the commissioner…who are they? PAUL WHITE thinks that’s a great point. DAVID ‘the session needs a quick context that it’s a design & build type of scenario’.
DAVID POAT wonders what knowledge people will come to the table with (how many have been involved in the process so far?). RICHARD has said all attendees will be fully briefed, RICHARD says the group has to go through the document looking at the client development column to see if they agree with the RACI classifications. On the document fire alarm/fire detection systems the first is ‘incorrect initial design’, that requires you to be ‘informed’. DAVID POAT thinks they are consulted, not just informed. PAUL WHITE agrees with him. RICHARD makes a note to change that.
RICHARD The next one is ‘lack of weekly user tests’, development is ‘Accountable’. DAVID POAT says the accountable person in this situation is the Operator, not the Client. SCOTT SANDERSON seems to suggest to alter the heading to ‘Client/Operator’ rather than Client/Developer. The group debates this point. They talk about the difference between ‘commissioner’ (as written on the column) and ‘commissioning’. DAVID POAT ‘even if I was a Developer that wasn’t going to Operate I’d expect to be consulted on the design.’
SCOTT SANDERSON says that something to be watched out for with the RACI method is e.g. if you consider this discussion in terms of building contracts the RACI all mean one thing, if in the context of the regulatory reform order it can be slightly different. So, positioning the discussion in its context, a timeline of a project, is going to to be important, both to the exercise and then the meaning of whatever the output is down stream. I think we’re thinking about this in the context of project procurement as opposed to clients’ ultimate legal responsibilities. DAVID (kind of) agrees that that’s the case.
DAVID POAT talks about potentially re-organising the columns and the risks within different processes, he wonders if by sequencing descriptions in a timeline reflecting that whether that would visually tell the story in a better way. He thinks maybe having this conversation (about re-configuring the columns etc?) may be better to do in the roundtable tomorrow than filling in the columns. CHRISTINE MILLING says a distinction between the roles is needed but you might need to say what each of these roles is supposed to be doing.
PAUL WHITE ‘at this point in the process this is what we’ve got to do to make sure that the operational side has all the information/tools to do what they need to do’.
RICHARD FREER says the outputs of the actual roundtable session tomorrow will be minimised as it won’t be recorded, it’s just a question of what notes are taken. They look at another point on the list : Poorly designed cause and effect at the outset. DAVID POAT agrees that they would be consulted and nothing more than that. Next, ‘difficulty in safe evacuation’, it’s written that they would be accountable. DAVID says ultimately the client would take accountability. SCOTT says that would be the client as operator that’s accountable. They discuss whether they would be responsible. DAVID POAT thinks that the client (whether developer or operator) are accountable for this. The main contractor and designer have a responsibility to design a building that is safe to evacuate. CHRISTINE says that once they hand it over to you some of the responsibility that they were building in through design etc. gets passed on because you have accepted that.
RICHARD wonders how do the issue of ‘safe evacuation’ have any effect on whether the fire alarm and fire detection system are working properly? The next one is long run residential building cause and effect. When fire smoke detected in a communal area, tenants within the flaps are being told to stay put or elsewhere to evacuate. No consistency. RICHARD also wonders about this one as its an effect not a risk. ‘Power failure’ is obviously a risk to the fire alarm not working properly. DAVID POAT says, regarding vandalism, the operator is responsible rather than the client as developer.
RICHARD asks whether it's the case that as soon as they are removed from being part of the operations team and they are purely development they are no longer responsible as they have then handed it over already. PAUL WHITE says that is correct. MARK BRIDGE feels that there are 3 columns condensed into 2, there are 3 different elements: developer as a function, the occupier as a function and then there is the business itself. The operator might be a third party, he says that’s the people doing the day-to-day stuff. There’s the developer whose involved from day one, but future changes have nothing to do with them, and the owning body/client who is accountable…but might not be responsible because it might not be the operator.
RICHARD asks if it should be defined on this exercise that development is not responsible for any operations stuff? CHRISTINE MULLING says it depends on what information is given at handover.
RICHARD moves on to another tab given the definition that you’re not going to be operating the building as a developer, what information do you require to fill your role as defined by these RACI rankings? Do you agree with them?
SCOTT SANDERSON makes a general observation, looking at the 2 tabs, he finds it much easier to fix the RACI ratings for information than for risk because risk is dynamic and needs to be managed and it might be that responsibility for information can be placed with more certainty and that’s one of the keys to managing risk. DAVID POAT agrees. RICHARD mentions an email exchange he had with George and how it’s not possible to ask for information without establishing a context.
DAVID POAT has reflected and now considers that as the developer they are responsible because even though it’s the contractors accountability to provide it it’s the developer’s responsibility to check the information as best they can and to pass it on to the asset team in an appropriate format. He thinks the lists are far too long and nobody will use them. RICHARD makes the point that the lists combine the requirements of six or seven stakeholders, they just happen to be all on one table.
SCOTT SANDERSON says the bottom-up view, looking at the detail, is completely overwhelming and unrealistic. The top-down view - is a building safe? is very simple, so how do we define process that manages the detail up to a very simple answer?
RICHARD returns to another item on the list (the subject is fire doors): ‘risk of human intervention on ancillary assets such as smoke detectors impacting on asset performance’. CHRISTINE says this is a good example of the list being too big - ‘this is a fire door list and you’re talking about smoke detectors’. Next, ‘risk of information on an individual asset being incomplete’ - they say they are responsible for that.
SCOTT says the difference between accountable and responsible can be difficult to define. His understanding of RACI is that ‘responsible’ means having connection to the activity of production (producing a document or design), ‘accountable’ might be, if someone commissions a design from e.g. Scott Sanderson as an architect, they’ve commissioned the design, they are the building owner and legally accountable for the safe operation of that building. PAUL WHITE says the word ‘fault’ is accountable. Accountability, says Richard, indicates legal accountability.
The group seems to agree that the most onerous position is to be Accountable. RICHARD suggests to PAUL that he defines that at the beginning of the meeting. RICHARD tells PAUL to do the information first (he’ll start off with fire alarms) and when he goes on to ‘compromise’ he’s not losing any context, then, do the others with the context first.