BIM4Housing Development Working Group Meeting-20220720
GEORGE says, regarding surveys, we need to make sure that the right information is being collected because you could end up with a detailed measured survey that actually still doesn't; capture the key information that you need - it needs to be an incremental thing. We can align it with the information that we have already identified needs to go into a safety case. We have the site plan of the building but we need to capture additional information which is probably best done by the landlord. Some information is coming from one party and then the information about the systems that have gone in can be captured even before the surveyors have gone in.
DAVID POAT talks about a scanning organisation called DEEO who have developed a product that enables better communication with residents enabling them to access all this information on their own devices. GEORGE would like DEEO’s contact details. He then proceeds to give information about the recent activities of the other groups.
For centuries the industry has been drive by contracts but now it is a regulated industry which brings on a whole different level of complexity. There are another 30 regulations coming through to support the Building Safety Act 2022 and the golden thread. Is my project in scope? There is a project with secured planning approval and the demolition work has already started. It’s at the beginning of RIBA workstage 4. Probably the design work will not complete until March 2023 and handover may be as late as 2025. Regarding reviews DAVID POAT says it would be no to gateway 2 but yes to gateway 3.
GEORGE clarifies the question: will you have to give the evidence required to support the digital record next April? MIKE SMITH understands that when the Act is up and running from April and that point forward all of the new jobs from that stage would be required to provide provide all the information on all the gateways and the evidence. GEORGE is asking this question because he has not got a conclusive answer from the subject matter experts - there is no consensus.
MIKE’s view is that consensus is that everyone should be looking to achieve these things now regardless of there still being a timeframe while the act comes into force. Once the Act is up and running and the register of buildings comes live there will be an expectation that they can go back on projects that were started or done earlier and ask them to provide that golden thread information.
GEORGE says that the Act mentions ‘prescribed information’ and we’ve spent the last 18 months or so trying to arrive at what that prescribed information is because they are not going to provide it: it’s up to us as an industry to provide it. There is a big change that is going to revolutionise the way the industry is working and this is something that is scaring Tier 1 contractors. The design is expected to be competed by the end of workstage 4/Gateway 2. A lot of the design is done by specialist trades, particularly M&E, and that work needs to be done earlier. Consequently there will be a big shakeup in the way that procurement is done.
The Defective Premises Act and the Buildings Safety Act put liability not just on the developer but also on the Tier 1 contractor so everybody’s got the same interest in sorting it out. We need an industry-led solution to this where everybody can agree on the methodologies. We’re trying to work on the data and fire safety side of things but we also have to be aware of embodied carbon. We need to take the raw data and turn it into reusable information.
So, what we’ve been talking to the Advisory group about playbooks, a term used in the BIM industry which is the modern term for guidance etc. As BIM4housing perhaps we ought to produce a Playbook. We can determine what information is required, what can be provided as documents (and what types of documents), how much of it should be machine readable…it would be good to do all of this at an industry level. PAUL WHITE asks if an input is needed from the principal designer point-of-view. GEORGE thinks yes.
MIKE SMITH asks how difficult would it be to turn a playbook into a British standard or such like? GEORGE replies that the challenge with the British standard is getting consensus and it takes about three years. The cost is probably £200,000 and the way BSI works is that somebody has to fund that. The next level down is PAS (Publicly Accessible Specification) costs around £100,000. MIKE says that those trying to drive the BIM industry forward have produced a large number of guidance documents, playbooks etc but as soon as you get something like a British standard it gels the requirement for that to be actually followed and then brings a more consistent approach. GEORGE believes in standards but thinks there are an overwhelming number of them. Gregor of Designing Buildings Wiki did an analysis of the building regs at the time and within the regs there were references to 800 standards. Designer would have to spend a lot of time reading and interpreting those standards and also have to acquire them (at a cost of 2 or 300 pounds each). He feels that something more dynamic is needed.
MIKE thinks the standards can be challenging, however it becomes easier to demonstrate compliance as a building regs application if we can demonstrate compliance with that standard.
GEORGE, referring again to the Golden Thread Playbook list shared on screen, regarding how to organise models says the lack of training is staggering. We need to help people by providing some guidance, maybe just how they should set up the naming conventions. What should swe expect from Manufacturers - Will Perkins and Chris Hall from Siderise or on the case with that. They are organising information so we can put that into the Templater so that we’ve got a standardised data set.
Another challenge is a concern of product manufacturers regarding what information is confidential. Scott Sanderson said that increasingly they are having to sing NDAs (Non-disclosure agreements) with product manufacturers to get their product data…how can that work with the Golden Thread?
PAUL WHITE refers to the DCW workshop, applying the RACI was difficult sometimes as you didn’t have the expert fire safety knowledge or it wasn’t relevant to development because it was post-handover, also answering each question to a long time - he wonders how practical it was from development point of view. Someone joined from the Operations table to help debate whether they were responsible or accountable. The HSE chap said that it’s a baton holding process so it depends at what time in the process you’re making the call on.
GEORGE thinks what it did do was test the process of being able to have different stakeholder groups having a view from their perspective. The methodology of picking a particular group of elements and looking at it from a point of view of what risk is it mitigating (and therefore what’s the minimum amount of information that we need to protect that particular risk) is good methodology. With the Development group we need to make it so they just need to be confident that somebody in the supply chain is actually doing that due diligence.
Another thing that came out of it was a participant in the Operations group meeting said they didn’t want to know details about the door closure/hinges etc, it’s too much information. He thought a specialist contractor should be responsible for holding that information, but actually it’s no longer the case that the risk can be passed down to a specialist subcontractor and then hot provide them with access to the information: you are the accountable person.
A test certificate for a fire door set is only valid if it’s going into exactly the same wall that it was tested in and exactly the same conditions under which it was tested. This is rarely the case, but also because of the confidentiality issue they don’t give you the detail about what the test conditions were because their competitors could potentially copy it. Next on the list what information should we expect from installers and how do we assess and record competence. How is the safety case demonstrated and how can changes be recorded. A Construction Control Plan is a formalised method of recording change.
Where we are going with this is trying to organise this with input from the different BIM4housing groups so that this can become a gateway review. From his point of view with Active Plan he’d like it to be something that would make it easy for people to just pull up the floor plan and go around and assign the information against it so it becomes something which is progressive. We need machine readable data because currently there are different terminologies being used by different manufacturers.
People are asking is the data in the BIM model? The data in the BIM object shown has 210 parameters each of which has to be filled in manually. That’s why with manufacturers is to get them all to use the common data dictionary. You just need to recognise the fact that we’ve got specifications, National BIM Library, Causeway, all calling the same thing something different. And actually the value is 60. We need to simplify that. When we are capturing the information for Asset Management we can then use if for Safety and also for embodied carbon which is what the manufacturers group are working on.
If we can then have reusable data libraries it means we can add expertise expertise and knowledge and then make it so that those can be read into software applications. He then talks about the context of the DCW workshop: it’s in scope, a fire breaks out in student accommodation, are the measures in place to protect the residents to enable them to get out. It’s a combination of compartmentation, smoke control and detection. The exercise is risk driven so we can say what’s the risk? What are the treatments? what asset types go to make up the defence and what do we need to know about it?
Where we need to get to is Process Change. The focus of the Tier 1 group is on their liability retrospectively. At the moment a lot of the selection of products is done during construction (which is too late) and these firms are all receptive to it being pulled back. The ones we need to influence are procurement.
MIKE SMITH responds that the ideal scenario is to fully specify a system at stage four and then just deliver it at stage 5. But in some cases, what we find is that we can specify to a certain stage and then that final element of work is transferred to the contractor to manage on site. And it’s just a use of terminology that can sometimes be difficult. We’re also seeing some of these tier one and
Tier 2 contractors say that their insurance risks and their liability risks are being affected by the wording of TDP and therefore their preference is now to see fully designed projects at stage 4.
GEORGE is encouraged to hear this. We’re setting up requirements that can then be tested against known products but it might be that those known products are not the ones that will definitely be used (you probably need to do that at spatial coordination level) and on D&B you wouldn’t be able to impose it at that stage. The principal idea, though, is that you’ve got products that could satisfy the requirement. Then the design can be tested at workstage 4 against actual products.
If we have a lean way of procurement (maybe using the supply chain) then when the products are reviewed by specialist subcontractors if they’ve got a really good reason to change something that needs to go through a robust technical submittal process. Compartmentation is the cause of defects 50% of the time. We’re trying to make it so the procurement schedules are detailed.
George is talking with software companies Tier 1 contractors use to see if they can support a bill of materials. The reason for that is that Waites or Wilmott Dixon seldom buy anything. They buy a package of work from NG Bailey and its NG Bailey that place the orders with the wholesalers. That’s why we need to pull back and back up the process so the products are selected and verified earlier then we have a proper record…
MIKE SMITH says this follows the logic of the golden thread initiative which is about recording change and substitutions. All of this can be adequately covered with the application of common data environments. PAUL WHITE would like to know from a client development point of view what he needs to consider in procurement terms what he should need requiring. DAVID POAT senses what’s being said here is the people who are really making the detailed design choices and are selecting the components are 3 or 4 tiers down the supply chain. In order to make those decisions earlier in the process then we don’t need bosses of??? the NG Baileys at the table, we need the people that work for NG Bailey involved in that early design process.
That raises a whole load of capacity, logistics and procurement issues. Are what we saying is through the process of generating standardised data…you have created a library of components that you know how they perform you can at least be selecting those earlier, even if downstream they subsequently get changed because of procurement reasons, you can still track how that component is intended to perform and how it does perform. GEORGE says it's exactly this…it’s not saying that change can’t happen but if change happens we need transparency to understand the implication of that change.
He thinks the thing that’s changed is everything has been contractually driven up until now and therefore people have only been concerned with what they have to deliver within their contract, and also making sure they don’t deliver anymore because that could leave them liable so they intentionally try and limit how much information they provide. We are now in a completely different world of regulated industry. We don’t know what the regulator is going to be asking for yet but we can be certain they’ll be asking for a lot more than we are currently producing.
Therefore the risk has changed substantially: rather that a financial risk now, the big risk is that your project will not be allowed to be built or, when it is built, you won’t be able to get a certificate of occupation. The impact of that for insurers, funders is huge. If we’re moving towards having quality assured buildings a way of doing that is to pick a limited number of products and you work around those.
Eduardo Guasque thinks this whole conversation means the whole industry needs to be aligned. All the top-down subcontractors need to be providing their information. The software, all the plug-ins need to be aligned, the library…it’s a massive undertaking. GEORGE agrees, but what we do currently is also a massive undertaking and there’s a huge amount of wasted energy and effort which has a negative effect on building quality.
EDUARDO says he has problems with the first hurdle which is what is their maintainable asset list and then trying to figure out what is the typical or minimum assets we should be providing Cobie information for. GEORGE says the point about it being maintainable assets is a red herring. Cobie is a data schemer that can be used for any type of asset. Active Plan is working on incorporating BS8644/Fiery into Cobie so we don’t end up with two outputs.
In the development group we need to look at what the impact is likely to be on this change of contractor design portion being done earlier. EDUARDO adds also how the golden thread is going to work in practice. DAVID POAT says from a development point of view what we’re trying to do now is manage three gateway processes: gateway 1 is pretty much done, so how do we manage 2 and 3?
He wants a means by which he can understand what is the requirement at each of those gateways - what is the documentation that we need to be able to demonstrate, what is the digital content we need to be able to demonstrate. It feels like there is some definition that is beginning to emerge. In the background we have all the manufacturers and suppliers working on consistent data structures, terminology, that will find it’s way into consistent libraries from a bottom-up approach. He’s interested in what is the development process that enables us to effectively audit…what are we getting at gateways 2 and 3 that is going to enable us to satisfy the regulator? What is our process? He says effectively we are process managers.
MIKE SMITH talks about the potential of converting this information into a standard. If you think about the digital and BIM world obviously the two documents that have become very important are EIRs and BEPs. If David has a clear EIR and it states you must comply with this standard that gives him the comfort blanket that that is then passed onto designers and delivery teams to meet that standard. The BEP is the mechanism of capturing that process and the delivery of those things. Gateway 1 is easy, Gateway 3 should be relatively easy. Gateway 2 is the more difficult one, your EIR could very clearly document your expectations in an open dialogue/2 stage negotiation with a contractor.
GEORGE thinks Mike is right, but in order to have that standard what has to be done is to agree what those procedures are. If we ask a committee that is managed and coordinated by the BSI to do that for us we will definitely get the wrong answer. MIKE says that developing a playbook is worthwhile and it doesn’t necessarily have to be a British Standard. EDUARDO thinks that in the end these standards are good for people who understand the concepts but when they try and apply them in practice they struggle to fit them into the reality of their projects.
DAVID says one of the critical documents here is the EIR because that sets the context for everything. Often, when outsourcing EIRs, you end up with something far more complex than it needs to be. GEORGE thinks it also needs to be incremental. The AIR needs to be progressive - people can add requirements into it before it becomes an issue.
EDUARDO says the problem would be that this leads to an additional cost later on that wold be difficult to justify and charge for, that’s why the provision of information for maintenance becomes so complicated. MIKE thinks it comes down to the quality of an EIR. Some of the best EIRs are very simple single page documents that set out very high level expectations of what you’re trying to achieve on a project. You can then ‘grow it’ as you have open discussions about what is useful and when it’s useful to gather information.
GEORGE wonders if this can be a work action away from this and maybe have an hour session. MIKE would like someone from Bond Bryan involved because of their BIM document knowledge, though he thinks maybe they take things too far. GEORGE would be reluctant to involve them for that reason - he’d like to look at something simper than what they are doing.
The EIR has been rebranded, it’s now the Exchange Information Requirement and not the employer’s information requirements. he can’t see an issue with the project producing the exchange information requirements and then helping the client understand what they are asking for. GEORGE says they can take a package of work and he’ll set up something in a months time (before the next development meeting).
GEORGE says a project he’s working on with Scott and PRP is to take that example that we did at digital construction week and try and apply it to a real project so that we can come up with a sort of digital twin type of scenario where we can actually simulate a risk or a problem, and then be able to demonstrate that the information that is required has been provided. We need to be able to proactively go back to the regulator and say this is how you should be assessing our scheme because it’s not a good idea to leave it to them. The exam question is ‘is this building safe?’.