RICHARD …tell them what’s needed, but that’s not going to happen, so it’s a question of working it out for yourself., then they’ll tell you if it’s wrong.

GEORGE The thing is, as Richard said there, different people are interpreting what’s going to be needed in different ways because we’re not getting clarity. There is some more expected this week or next week, but I think even when we get that there’s not going to be a huge amount of detail. Andrew, have you got a view on that?

ANDREW HOLLEY No, I mean, we're cheating slightly as much as we can by using contractors or consultants that work with other housing associations and therefore about to learn from one group to another, so some internal swaps and stuff. Some people have said, yeah, they've put things in and been told you should do more, but haven’t necessarily been told how to do it.

GEORGE I think at the moment the regulator is also learning themselves and therefore for both landlords and Tier 1 contractors it’s quite a delicate situation because what you ask for and gather at the moment it may well be in 3-6 months-time that you find that you haven’t gathered enough. And certainly when we were working with the HSE on the Golden Thread initiative workshops, they were very clear that it was about the accountable people making sure that the building that is delivered, or is being managed, is safe. And they’re not going to determine what that really means. So, one of the challenges is trying to anticipate what’s required, and certainly I'm seeing from talking with different landlords, for example, quite a wide range of ways of doing it. Some people are simply producing an electronic folder of the fire risk assessments, the schedules, door inspections and things like that and their view is that that should be adequate. And other people are producing 3D models, even digital twins, because that’s what they think is needed.

RICHARD I’ve been holding one-to-ones with a lot of the housing associations and local authorities, it’s quite extraordinary. One particular local authority who shall not be named quite literally are not even close to even being ready to comply with the fire safety for 23rd January. They’re not in the ball park, let alone the building safety act. Then you’ve got others who have got drones up in the air. It runs the gamut, really. I think what we’re trying to do today is to get an idea of where you guys are, where do you sit within that path. And how’s it going, what’s working for you? Or what route have you taken that you wished you hadn’t?

VICTORIA FINN I’m from Wythenshawe Community Housing Group, currently I’m the one that’s doing it plain and simply until I find out the best way to look at it. I’ve got Revit folders, and we did meet the 23rd January regs, the folders at the moment is a safety case per block with everything in there we found out about the building, and then everything done since built. On new builds, we’ve not got any over the 18 metres that we’ve been doing, so I’m the one that’s making sure that everything is in there, simply, and then looking for the right solution. We’ve been looking over 18 metres and any that’s attached to those over 18 metres.

RICHARD I’ve spoken to a number of organisations that although obviously the Act is currently referring to over 18 metres most people are expecting that to come down, so there is a certain amount of preparation going on for that. Are you well sorted?

VICTORIA FINN Yeah, we’re sorted, we’ve got what’s required, we’ve even got a reporting mechanism by way of Power BI. It’s really looking at if there is a nice easy simple way that information can all be stored and put together. More simply than we’re doing it at the moment which is pretty much manually.

RICHARD Right, because obviously an issue is going to be retrieval. The more information you’ve got, the harder it is to find, isn’t it?

VICTORIA FINN Exactly, we are going through something at the minute, a single pane of glass where, it’s software that we’re using to pull information from the different areas of the business, so it’s still got to be set up in that way, as with Power BI or any sort of reporting tool as well. I’m set up at the moment, I do know where to get that information, the retrieval of it is a bit onerous at the moment so it’s just looking at better ways to do it.

SIMON FULLARD I’m from the London Borough of Ealing. We’re doing more than electronic folders in documents, obviously dependent on our systems which allows us to collate the information from the building safety case. We’ve got externals as well as internals working on it and we’re utilising people along the way.

GEORGE And what do you think colleagues or some of our people may be able to help you with? Is there anything you’re missing from what you’re doing at the moment that you think some better information coming from other parties could with?

SIMON FULLARD It’s just policies and procedures, really, just making sure they’re up-to-date and fit for purpose.

RICHARD What about the issue Victoria was having in terms of where to put all this data once you’ve got it together. How are you dealing with that?

SIMON DULLARD That is another issue, it’s making sure that our systems are capable of storing it in a central location that everybody's able to access. So we're still trying to develop that at the moment to ensure that it's capable of carrying all this information and that it's usable by external parties such as the building safety regulator.

RICHARD I know people are using Sharespace, so it goes from the sublime to the ridiculous really.

ADEY BADMOS I’m from Hexagon Housing. We have consultants working with us on this making sure we’ve got our housing in order, making sure we can get the golden thread in place and lined-up for safety. We have development on site, we have to make sure they’re complying and ready to be registered. Luckily, currently we don’t have any 18 metres buildings, in development or in the pipeline we do have completed schemes that are 18 metres. But we just want to make sure that we get our house in order and that the procedures are up-to-date.

Regarding data retrieval we’re working with external consultants. First of all we need to make sure the framework is working correctly and we have the right set of data. And the other thing we’re trying to do is to look beyond this because history tells us that it’s just a matter of time, this is going to creep, so we need to make sure we’re ready and we have a system in place flexible enough to accommodate that.

LAURA SMITH So, we actually have a digital twin of all of our over 18 metre buildings which we are then using for our data gathering tools, so all of the information is stored within that digital twin model, so that maintains our golden thread of information. And then to build our building safety case, we're actually using a piece of software called Ace with the contractor Adelard. So what that basically does is that looks at your HAS ID, your bowtie analysis, but also your building safety is built up into your claims arguments evidence. That software then exports that to a Word document which would be your building safety report.

Our digital twin is completed for all of our over 18 metre buildings, now we’re putting all of our golden thread information in there, our IT Department are developing a linked in to our other corporate systems, so for example maintenance records would be linked in to the digital twin. So, it’s a one-stop for all the information and it will maintain it up-to-date and then our Ace software will link back to the digital twin that we’ve got as well, so that we can hopefully keep it all up-to-date so then when you export the report it’s the current live version of where everything is at. We’re building that at the moment, all very digital and it’s using those pieces of software to do that which means that it is a bit easier to maintain the information up-to-date and to pull all that information from the golden thread down.

RICHARD So you’ve nailed it in terms of actually being able to find the stuff once you’ve gathered it all.

LAURA SMITH Yeah, we’ve gathered the information and we’ve done a lot of surveys, recently we’ve got all the information in regards to buildings’ external walls, we’re currently undergoing structural surveys as well because we’ve got 10 LPS blocks, and all of that information is then maintained within the software which is our digital twin. It’s in operation, we’re perfecting our building safety cases because they’re very in-depth. We’ve got the HAS ID exercise to roam which will really tell our safety story for our buildings. Working the consultant Adelard, it’s not an easy feat to complete one of those, so we’re still working on the building safety case, but we’re planning to be up and ready for when we need to be. We’re on track with where we want to get to, but obviously the building safety cases, we’re following the advice from this consultant who worked with earl adopters Clarion, so that’s why we chose to work with them. But obviously the building safety case, even just the template prints off as a ridiculous document at the moment, so we’re working really hard to make sure we’ve got all the right evidence in place and all the correct information within there.

VICTORIA FINN If for some reason you weren’t to get ready in time and you needed to manually print off your safety case, can you do that from your digital twin?

LAURA SMITH Yeah. So, even now it just prints it off. So basically it just works on a digital software, you connect all of the elements together in the order that you want it to print out in the report, and then it just automatically prints it. So say if we hadn't quite got all the information into one of our claims, we can print it and you can have a note there saying where we're currently at and what information we're waiting on. The other good thing about the software we're using as well, it creates an action plan within it. So while you're looking at it, if you were to say they look at your external walls and you thought, right, we need a little bit more evidence to support this argument here, you can actually create an action to that which you then assign to someone else and give it a deadline. So you can really rag right where you're at with that building safety case as well. So if people are writing up the building safety case they can assign actions to whichever subject matter expert needs to find that evidence to provide it for them. So, that’s a really good feature that we’re utilising to make sure that we know where we’re at with everything and we’re getting the right actions and evidence within there.

VICTORIA FINN That sounds good. I think that’s what put me off doing the digital twin and the beginning, when we spoke to somebody about it, it was, well, when everything is in and we’ve got that right you can print off your safety case report. I was worried about not being ready in time so I’ve manually done my safety case reports so they can be registered, but that sounds like you could already do that anyway.

GEORGE I think you’ve done what will be needed and that is that you’re not looking at safety case reports as being and end in itself because the fact is, and I’ve spoken to Adelard and I agree with you that their methodology seems very sound. The point is the safety case report that you might submit to the regulator, the following day something may happen that causes that safety case report, which is just a snapshot in time, to be ineffective. And therefore the safety case report that people think if I’ve done that I’m over the line, you’ve got to have a safety management system in place that allows you to pick up. For example, some work is done, the safety case report, at least in theory, has only got to be produced every 5 years. If you do some remedial works 6 months after the safety case report is done there’s a requirement therefore for you constantly to have the ability to produce an updated version.

VICTORIA FINN It’s a live document, it can never be signed off, it’s alive document you’ve got to continually update with the safety case at the back of it and the report needs to be submitted, that’s an update to the report. At the moment I’m manually updating it and my fire safety management system is basically a procedure for the whole organisation.

SIMON COLLERY I think Camden has taken an interest in Operance. Although I started off working at Camden they’ve kind of gone off in the direction of trying to find something off-the-shelf.

RICHARD One of the senior guys at Operance heads up one of our working groups.

SIMON COLLERY I haven’t really continued to work with Operance, I was focusing on the structure and content of the building safety case and I distinguish between the building safety case on the one hand, which is a live log, and the building safety case report which is a snapshot on that live log. I also think that there does need to be some kind of system to run this but I’m not convinced Operance can produce. I was at the London Borough of Camden, but they weren’t really interested in going down the route of producing something that was closer to being open source.. Though ’m still working on a different project at Camden, my interest in the building safety case is with other potential clients.

RICHARD So in terms of Operance, what couldn’t they do? It would help everybody if we culd take the barriers down and talk very openly about this stuff, it will help everybody in their decision making.

SIMON COLLERY It wasn’t that I thought there was something they couldn’t do, it was the fact that they were claiming to be able to do everything when we didn’t actually know what anything was. They were claiming to be able to provide an off-the-shelf solution to a problem which we didn’t quite understand. There was a presentation a week or so ago hosted by Ventro, Andrew Saunders from the building safety regulator was one of the people presenting and he clarified that the building safety case is intentionally not very clearly specified, there isn’t going to be a template. I find this a bit baffling, I think the building safety regulator is giving themselves a huge amount of work. He was clearer about the building safety case and building safety case report than I think…they really are being very slow, if there’s going to be this massive thing then we need to know something. We’re not expecting clear templates, we’re trying to produce those ourselves, it depends on what data you’re collecting and what system you’re using. I don’t know exactly what Camden is doing now, the last thing I heard was that they were very impressed with Operance.

GEORGE I have to declare a vested interest here because Active Plan as a software provider is also involved in this space. If we step back from that for a minute I think that what Operance are largely doing is making sure that they documents that are needed are being stored. I’m with you, Simon, it’s an important element to things but it actually isn’t answering the question, it needs to be more interactive and live than that. One of the things I’ve discovered in the last few months is some of the key information sets like fire stopping information or fire doors, the method that the industry is currently using to do inspections has got some fundamental issues because fire stopping is perhaps an example of that. If you’re doing a fire stopping survey you really should be looking at where the original fire stopping assets were.

So rather than coming along and just doing a fire stopping inspection using Bolster or Fieldwire or Plan Radar, there’s a whole range of applications that do those surveys, but numbers that people record against them, and maybe even a bar code against them, they relate to the inspection, they don’t relate to the thing that you’re inspecting. The result of that is that maybe in 2 years-time a new inspection will come along and they will issue a reference against the asset that they’ve inspected or repaired, but actually they’re not recording it against the original asset. So, it breaks the golden thread.

SIMON COLLERY Yeah, that’s absolutely true. And if asset managers are not managing their assets to the extent that every piece of fire stopping work can be matched against the asset or the location then you’ve broken the golden thread, and it’s to some extent a metadata issue, where meta data is about assets rather than…so like bar codes, QR codes. Assets need to be managed in lock step with fire stopping and all the other surveys.

RICHARD So they think that they’re complying and it appears, at first glance, that they are, but if you dig a little bit deeper they’re not, is that what you’re saying?

GEORGE Yes. Well, it depends on what you call complying. The point is if anybody came along and said…fire doors are exactly the same. If you’re doing a fire door inspection, say that a Council has got 5,000 across their portfolio and they have a fire door survey done and they go and inspect each of those fire doors, and maybe even they’ve got a bar code on the door, unless they’ve actually related int back to the original door schedule which has got the specification on it then what you’re doing is creating a brand new data set that doesn’t relate to what was installed. It’s not easy because O&Ms often aren’t very good, so that original base data may not be so great, but if they then procure another fire door survey in maybe 2 years time and the new fire door inspector comes along, unless they’re actually relating it back to the original one then you end up with information that’s completely disconnected.

So you’ve got no history of that and I think that’s a fundamental issue, as Simon said from an asset management point of view, it’s so overused this term the single version of the truth, but it’s really important. All of the key assets that we’ve been working on within BIm4housing, AOVs, dampers, all of those do need to be unique assets that then you can refer things against, otherwise you genuinely don’t have the golden thread. We’re finding to some extent that the golden thread as a concept has been in some ways too successful because everybody now is producing a golden thread. If we look at the work we’re doing at the moment on fire doors, this is in terms of identifying what inspections needs to be done.

For people that don’t know, we’ve got a workstream underway at the moment where we’ve got experts, you’re welcome to see what we’ve been doing. we’re trying to standardise the way inspections are done so that there’s a standardised methodology. But one of the key things about that is actually identifying the particular asset and then what people are doing to them, whether that be maintenance or inspections lifecycle work. And all of those different activities need to relate back to not just the individual door but also the substrate it’s in because the best fire door in the world is useless if the wall isn’t going to protect against the fire. And if the wall has got some penetration seals in it that are damaged, then again the best inspection of the fire door isn’t going to get us anywhere.

The relationship between the spaces, the measures of protection and also the activities, that’s why what Laura’s doing sounds very good because it means that you can run scenarios, especially Adelard will be looking at that from a point of view of how those scenarios have gone. So, simply having a record of the fact you’ve had your doors inspected is obviously good, but it’s not really answering the question.

ANTHONY ATHERTON I’m from Halton House in Chesire. My role is basically part of innovation, so I look after digital transformation projects, so I might not be the best to answer all the questions. Essentially I’m part of the conversation to offer recommendations internally as to where we’re all up to on the journey. I’d say roughly 20-30% of our buildings over 18 metres now have digital twins. Of them I think we’ve used one as a pilot to put fire assets in, but we do have a dedicated health and safety team working on the building safety case. From what I know they’re primarily using electronic documentation, that’s in a centralised location and I think the main hurdle at the moment is around access. I was interested in what Laura was saying around her digital approach because we’ve done quite a lot on golden threads in the past, so I think we will be taking a digital first approach to the safety case.

RICHARD I remember that was something you were very much pushing, I think when we spoke there was resistance, is that…

ANTHONY ATHERTON I wouldn’t say resistance, I think the team at the moment are just trying to get the data before we can do anything with it. We do have a dedicated team working on it, it’s a shame none of them are here at the moment.

RICHARD S in terms of actually the data retrieval and storage etc, is that something you don’t know about or is it that something left for another day?

ANTHONY ATHERTON Yeah, as I say I think it’s all stored electronically, I just think the main issue is making sure that the right people have access. To be honest we don’t have too many buildings that are over the threshold anyway, but the ones that we have are the ones that we’re focusing on in terms of getting the fire assets in. I know we’ve used systems in the past like Bolster as well as a couple of other BIM ones. I have the same concern as Victoria about how we get them assets out of a digital twin for that quick access, so it was really interesting to hear what Laura was saying about that, I think that sounds the way forward.

RICHARD Yeah, I had a good chat with Laura and here colleagues a few months ago when the process was still in its infancy. They were very well advanced at that time.

GEORGE One of the key things with BIM4housing is we’re trying to make sure that data that is held in various different software applications can talk to each other, it’s interoperable. And one of the barriers that we encountered is because people are just working with reports, so if you look at Bolster, people will get the Bolster report which is a snapshot in time, but all it is is a pin on a PDF so it therefore is difficult for any other software application to actually use. With my other hat on, I’ve been talking with people like Bolster and Plan Radar and Fieldwire and other applications, and they’re actually willing to share their information…either using APIs, an API for anybody that doesn't know means that one software application can sort directly to the database and another, or taking the reports that were produced and just reading them in an electronic format that can be transformed.

I think that’s a really good way forward because it doesn’t matter what software you or your inspectors are using, they can use the one that’s most suited to their particular needs, but as long as we can agree the protocols for how what information can be linked then it means that a landlord can actually receive machine-readable information to update their master models. I would suggest that’s a critical thing you should be asking if you’re having any work done, to make sure that the information is interoperable.

MUSTAFA ALHASHIMI I’m from Clarion Housing.

RICHARD You guys were early adopters, so you have got all your houses registered now?

MUSTAFA ALHASHIMI Not all of them, no, but we have a system that we’re working with, Bentley system we’re trying to build a database that would provide the golden thread for Clarion Housing.

RICHARD When you say a system, is that what everybody has been talking about for the last half hour in terms of somewhere to store and retrieve, order and update?

MUSTAFA ALHASHIMI Exactly. It’s kind of a blank platform where you can do whatever you want it to do, basically. So we’re trying to tailor the software tools in a way that would work with our HRB stock.

RICHARD So you’re not actually doing a bespoke system, you’re adapting an existing system.

MUSTAFA ALHASHIMI No, it’s not existing, it has tools that you can build a tailored system for your relevant housing associations. We found that in the market there isn’t really a bespoke system that would fill all the needs for our association and meet the golden thread requirements. We have just below 80 HRBs I think, and the system we’re looking for is something that could manage that number of stock, not on kind of an individual HRB. We want the data to be saved, the documents of all fire assets of all HRBs to be managed from a single system and we couldn’t find something in the market that would provide that. We collaborated with Bentley Systems and they have tools that are used for plans, railways, reservoirs, it’s a very intricate system with tools that would allow you to tailor these tools in a way that would work with your association. Kind of like a blank paper with tools that would say, OK, you need the documents to be done in this way, you need the reporting to be done in this particular way, and that’s where comes our role in the digital built environment with Clarion to use these tools to build our own system rather than something ready to have.

GEORGE Mustafa, are you still…point clouds to models, or are you doing something…

MUSTAFA ALHASHIMI Yeah, for surveying we do laser scanning, we use a portable laser scanner. We laser scan the buildings and we generate point clouds and then we merge these point clouds in order to create 3D models for our stock. That is the geometrical data of our HRBs and then we do surveys as well in which we have identified around 65 assets that are related to structural fire safety. And during the survey visits we capture this data, we currently have them on Excel sheets, the way the data is captured about these assets is based on a special hierarchy that we developed at Clarion which tells you, for example, a fire door belongs to let’s say flat 5, 2nd floor of this block and this estate. The code of the door, by reading it if you’re familiar with the hierarchy, you would know where the door is simply by reading the code of that door. But we are using the 3D model to support finding these assets visually. The system that we’re using with Bentley has a 3D viewer which will put the 3D model into the system and the survey data is also put int the system and then the 3D smart object within the 3D model, let’s say of a fire door, would have the code of the door and our survey data would have the same code of the door, therefore they can be linked together in the Bentley system. And document reports could be saved against that asset, that door.

GEORGE I remember when Jack was explaining it last year. You’re producing a 3D model in Revit and then bringing it into Bentley to manage the…of the estate

MUSTAFA ALHASHIMI Yeah, just an export function, the 3D model can be in Revit format and IFC, the IFC is interoperable so we could use it with any system, but we’re putting it on Bentley because it’s where the 3D model and the data are combined and can be managed together.

GEORGE It would be great, Mustafa, if you’d be willing to show that to us at some stage, that would be very helpful. You know the 65 assets that you’ve identified, it would be interesting with standardisation would you be willing to share what those assets are?

MUSTAFA ALHASHIMI Yeah, sure, you’ve got structural assets, for example, you’ve got compartmentation, suppression system assets, fire safety, doors, windows, assets that are related to ventilation.

GEORGE The reason I’m asking the question is we do a lot of work with HACT to come up with asset types and one of…we got back from the various different housing associations there’s a mix of assets, or asset types, and systems. What would be helpful from my point of view is to understand whether you, for example, if you’ve got an asset which is maybe a dry riser and how that then fits into other things. So, if you wouldn’t mind sharing that with us, we can also share with you some of the other work that we’ve been doing since.

MUSTAFA ALHASHIMI Yeah, I would be happy to, just now we’re still in what we call the digital construction phase of our assets and we think that there is a construction phase in building and digital 3D model with the data and there is the operation phase where the data combined with the 3D model can be managed virtually. So, we are still in the construction phase, to answer your question partially is that the Bentley System, after many conversations, we realised that we do need two hierarchies, one is a spatial hierarchy that tells us the assets location within the HRB, and another called the system hierarchy which is not really spatial, it mostly says this fire alarm is in this room of the building (that’s the spatial hierarchy) but it is connected to this fire system of the building which is functional hierarchy.

So, we really need both hierarchies, and they are managed on the platform separately. A system hierarchy wouldn’t show, for example, as asset on the 3D model, you can check it out and you can see it’s exact location, but while you see its location it would tell you which system it belongs to. And there are systems that, for example, within the same building, are related to residential units and there is a system that covers the whole communal part of the building. And obviously you have HVAC system, suppression system, fire system, structural etc. And we do have a list fo systems that we have identified that are related to structure on fire safety.

SCOTT SANDERSON I’ve been listening in with interest. I should probably declare I’m an architect, not from a housing association or a developer, which I think is largely the case on the call, but I’ve been involved with this development group for a couple of years, so it’s good to be able to reconnect, and looking forward to Digital Construction Week. What’s interesting is hearing what sounds like really good process, we know our clients have been wrestling with the challenges around data capture, hosting, validation, how sophisticated (or not) any of the systems might be, and clearly from this call there is progress being made, which is great to hear. I think there’s two strains to be considered at the moment.

There’s a focus here on safety case which we appreciate from a client perspective in terms of obligations to gather information on existing stock, but that’s going to be the data set and how the information is organised and procured for safety case is different to what lies ahead in October this year for Gateway 2 for new build development. A big broader package of information for that Gateway 2 submission covering not just safety issues but the wider building regs pack, so I think it’s got to be organised and strategised in a slightly different way. So, we’re wrestling with that ourselves in terms of how we organise information and collaborate with others. I think a wider piece, from a clients perspective, a kind of wider strategy around procurement, I appreciate a focus here on digital content and information, but just the wider piece is interesting how the Building Safety Act might shift procurement to earlier engagement and then how that translates to how teams collaborate efficiently and effectively, supported by a good digital process.

My final thought I guess is picking up on discussions around components and validation, for instance fire doors, it’s interesting to balance components versus validated strategies.A single component, like a door or a barrier may be correct in itself, but it functions as part of a wider strategy in combination with other items and you need a whole sequence of items to be correct to provide safety. And at the moment it’s difficult to kind of digitise that process, you’ve actually got to have a competent individual who validates either the design or the install. And how do we capture that, because that’s definitely where we are heading which is individuals or responsible people signing off either design or as-built. So there’s a number of different dimensions to the discussion which I think are quite interesting and challenging.

RICHARD We’ve had a lot of meetings where the compartmentation issue has come up many times. As you said, it’s alright doing an inspection of a fire door but if it’s put in the wrong wall it’s virtually valueless, so you’ve got to have somebody to actually inspect the whole compartment. The problem is that there’s a danger that the people who are going to be capable of inspecting the whole compartment don’t have enough specialist knowledge in each of the individual assets that make up that compartment.

SCOTT SANDERSON Quite. And a strategy is compartmentation, sprinklers, signage, ventilation,  all those elements combined together within a strategy that delivers protection and safety. So as well as validating components, we're going to need to robustly capture or understand, capture, record, validate the strategy and then associate components to agreed strategy. Which takes us, I think, to strategy documents, not necessarily model information, they’re both relevant but you're gonna have documented strategies as well as validated components.

GEORGE I have a question on that, Scott. I’m still learning a lot on this journey and the relationship between the fire strategy, for example, and how that’s documented and how that is then taken into a series of outputs that make it easier for people to understand is a bit of a challenge because what we’re seeing is that fire risk assessment, for example, might refer to a document but it’s actually quite difficult for the persons reading the fire risk assessment to actually interpret that in the context of maybe several other documents which may or may not be up-to-date. Therefore the digital twin, that’s an overused term, is really what we’re looking at, but what we’re looking at I think is something that allows you to interact with a virtual building, to be able to identify…would you do the fire strategies? Or would you have a fire engineer initiate that and you’re responding to it? You’re creating a design solution that responds to that. Or are you initiating the fire strategy?

SCOTT SANDERSON In the current context, certainly considering high-rise or high-risk residential buildings, we would always want a fire engineer engaged. They’ll ordinarily prepare a strategy document and then effectively the design team are translating those strategy requirements into the design. For instance, for us it would be compartmentation, an MEP consultant might design a smoke ventilation system that achieves the protection requirements of the strategy. But I guess this illustrates where the new builds versus legacy context are different in terms of the information set. On a new build project you should have the strategy and then see how the design delivers the strategy and then how at Gateway 3 the execution of the design delivers all of the above. On our legacy projects, particularly where it’s often the case that the record information won’t host a strategy, you are kind of reverse engineering it to satisfy yourself on an acceptable level of compliance. And it’s often the case that that level of compliance wouldn’t actually necessarily meet full new build standard, it’s a judgement in the context of that building. Again, the information available is handled differently.

VICTORIA FINN Just a question for Scott. On strategies, are predominantly the HAs doing a strategy pre-build? So something that would be submitted at Gateway 1, perhaps, and then a strategy pre-occupation?

SCOTT SANDERSON Yes is the short answer. Certainly for HRBs where we’re interfacing now with the building safety regulator at Gateway 1 we’re finding it’s actually quite a deep dive. Conceptually Gateway 1 falling under planning legislation has actually got quite a narrow brief, like land use…high value, but in reality if it’s going to make a difference you really want to quite tightly define a strategy. And certainly it’s the case at our interactions with HSE which have been very detailed, at a detailed strategy level individual rooms and spaces and relationships. So we’re trying to fix it at planning, certainly get principles agreed and then ideally develop that in a linear way. If it varies later, which it will from time to time, at least you know your criticalities in terms of going back to negotiate or rework something.

VICTORIA FINN Yeah, that’s how I saw it, I was just checking. Some people have said to me before if they’ve done the strategy and they’re updated it pre-occupation then in my mind you can’t update a strategy that was therefore for the build that has to go through Gateway 1, they’re two completely different documents and those that are both have to be in the safety case as far as I was concerned. So I think you've just confirmed that for me as well.

GEORGE This mirrors what we’ve been finding in the construction group within BIM4housing, and that it they’ve gone into the details…what’s become very clear is that unless you get space strategy right then you’re really going to fail Gateway 2 because if the space strategy and the use of the spaces isn’t nailed earlier in the process then you could be selecting the wrong product.

SCOTT SANDERSON Yeah, absolutely right, and a product might appear to be correct in a model or in a database, but that’s only based on certain assumptions on the strategy, so you need to know what the strategy is. A compartment wall in a tall building, you assume it’s 60 minutes, just because it’s a compartment wall, but maybe it should be 120 minutes because it’s a wall to a transformer room. So, you’ve got to understand the strategy.

GEORGE If anybody is interested we’re overtly going to be running some work with Balfour Beatty, Mace, Bouygues, and also Iain McIlwee from the Finishers and Interior Specialists Association, and also the smoke control association as well. We’ll look at what information do we need to know about manufactured products and what’s the decision tree that a designer should need to go through. This to some extent mirrors some of the work you were doing, Scott, a couple of years ago. Paul McSoley from Mace is leading on that, he’s been doing the Association of Passive Fire, they’ve got something that they’re sharing with us where they’re looking at what information does somebody that’s picking a smoke damper need to know about the wall and spaces and things. It’s a really complex set of decisions that are being made, but arguably those need to be recorded in some way so that you’re not just entirely dependent on maybe a procurement person.

SCOTT SANDERSON It’s also where competency comes in because I’m familiar with what Paul’s done on dampers which when you see the mapping he’s laid out it’s incredible. But it’s only mapping reality and obligations specifying, seeing it laid out in a workflow. That’s also where competency comes in because the competency of the specifier is to get that right, and then the question is do you have to record every micro decision of the project to demonstrate compliance. And it’s that balance between the important information and being reasonably able to rely on the competencies of the teams, because if you capture everything, well, I don’t think we can or should capture everything.

GEORGE No, I agree…looking at each of those decision points in the decision tree.

SCOTT SANDERSON That was a really good exercise, and to your last question, George, certainly we’d be very interested in connecting with that group because there is a really interesting piece of work evolving there.

GEORGE Where I’m thinking of it, Scott, is that if, for example, information is needed about maybe the plasterboard that’s being used then that ought to be one of the things that we ask for. We make sure that…or British Gypsum actually is providing that information so that whoever is the competent person that’s making decisions can at least be confident of the information. We’re not suggesting…it’s really a matter of making sure that the right information, because the manufacturers are willing to provide the information, they just need to know what information is needed and what format it’s needed in.

MALCOLM DICKSON I’m from the London Borough of Camden. I see Simon’s on the call here, he’s been working with Camden on some of our assets. I’m just trying to gather procedures within Camden itself. We’ve rarely been using BIM on most of our buildings although we have one, Maitland Park.

GEORGE Malcolm, we can pick up on that, we’ve been doing some more work on that.

ANDREW HOLLEY I’m a building safety manager at Tower Hamlets Community Housing. We’ve had full remediation of, we’ve finished one and we’re working on another, remediating the external walls, took the whole wall system off and put it back on again. So, that was a good starting point because a part of that project we were using Multivista to record all the work that was done, that’s laser scans, photographs, all pulling it together using Cadline. That puts a lot of data as a starting point, we’re gonna do one building as a starting point, I think, based on that and then seeing how it works well as we scan existing buildings as well and we’ll work on. We’re still working on things like spacial hierarchy which we’ve stated by using it on door surveys, and while we’re doing fire door surveys we’re trying to do it sort of and house and realised that we’ll need a bespoke system, maybe Plan Radar.

Because as some of you said it’s things like when you do the second survey how do you make you are updating and it’s the current one and you’re not duplicating an action on it because you notice the same dent twice. So as we do things you realise what the problems are and then you have to solve them. And knowing what other people are doing, things like the consultant said our price included info of 30 assets. Now, Clarion. you’re saying 65 asset types and our consultant has said, well, some people have gone really deep and they will and they want 200.

RICHARD I think we identified at BIM4housing, was it 125 critical fire assets?

GEORGE I think we started with about 150 and then by the time the HACT group had finished with it it was almost 300.

ANDREW HOLLEY I suppose that’s 300 possibles, but in practice on each building you’d have a lot less than that, but if you need a column because it might occur, that’s quite a big thing. I did like the point about system function, I guess that’s a but like the difference between a wiring diagram and a plan of a building. Your wiring diagram, you system function, shows how they link together, whereas your plan of your building and your spatial hierarchy shows you where they are physically. The other thing from Simon was for me how well builders will have to understand maintenance. In my experience up to now where I’ve worked for housing associations who have commissioned a builder to build a building, their target at that point was very much, well, I’ve got to get the building built, and I’ve done my bit and I’m off. I turn up as it nears to finish and I go how does that work then? And they go, well, my bloke who’s a fire alarm bloke says that’s supposed to happen, and I go that doesn’t work.

Or just little things like, well, that’s great, you’ve buried it so it’s pretty behind the plaster board, but we need to get to it now to maintain it so I need an access hatch and if I put an access hatch in we’re now cutting into a fire wall. It shouldn’t really happen, it’s basic CDM, day 1 of CDM, how do you maintain things. But that sort of thing is going to have to be understood, and groups like this which are joining up new build with the maintenance side of things, it’s quite important for them to understand ongoing maintenance.

So much so that when we did the wall re-cladding we thought about how we were going to clad, in this case a copper clad standing seam external system, how we were going to put it in so that in five years time if a fire engineer says, actually, I really want to open up and have a look at a few fire barriers, compartmentation lines between floor and ceiling level, how can we open up the copper in the future in a way that’s least disruptive. So there’s lots of things I think are quite new and never on our radar in the past, it was built and buried and you leave it.

RICHARD The thing is as soon as you add one variable it’s a million times more that proportional.

ANDREW HOLLEY Yeah. The query I've got from people we were thinking of for data for servicing, this is going back to servicing. So at the moment, most of our servicing is in bespoke things or on the cloud somewhere or a pile of certificates and then an Excel spreadsheet. So we were we thinking in-house anyway just to manage processes, we're gonna use Asset Pro for an asset, when it's gonna be serviced next, when it's gonna be replaced yet and cycles in that. So therefore from our compliance items, lots of different stuff, the lifts on the lift portal and the electrical certificate somewhere else and all the rest of it. We’d pull data from there and put it into Asset Pro and then from Asset Pro we’d put it into Multivista and Cadline. But the worry I’ve got is someone renames something and suddenly all the links break, that sort of thing. Have other people got similar issues and solutions to that? Or do you take it out of wherever it is now and put it into one place where you’d then deal with it in there and have to talk to your contractors about how do you do that.

RICHARD Something we identified right at the beginning of our work was everybody labels everything differently and it’s getting total consistency in the labelling because if it’s not done properly it limits the opportunities of making it machine-readable and if things aren’t machine-readable I don’t know how you’re gonna…

GEORGE In terms of that question, Andrew, that’s really about having proper data libraries. So what should be happening, the various different applications that you’re using, what you need is a master library that is coordinating the different elements because you’ll never be able to get all the different systems to use the same nomenclature, even if you dictate it you’ll find that people will call things something else. But if you’ve got a common data library then you’re able to then reference it, I don’t know if you’re familiar with the term Guids, a unique identifier can then be shared with the various different applications. So I think that’s certainly a way of achieving what you are trying to achieve.

I’d like to say something on what Andrew was saying there. You know when you were saying to be able to ask a contractor, have you thought of this or that, what would be really helpful from BIM4housing’s point of view, if you and Victoria and other experienced people, building safety managers, for example, if you could come up with some scenarios or some examples, like you just said, about those questions we could actually create a library that you could use as a check and we could share that with the contractors so they know the questions that they’re going to be asking.

ANDREW HOLLEY Yeah, I know what you’re saying. Trying to think of real ones as well, more specific ones, quite critical in some cases.

VICTORIA FINN It’s about collaboration, really. I think that was the Grenfell issue that things had been done in isolation and silos and had not been thought of more holistically. So, again, it’s making sure the contractor doesn’t do that, think in isolation when they’re doing the build. But I guess wouldn’t the gateways be there to manage some of that, how it’s going to be used as well at the end, not just saying we’re going to do this and do that., how is that useable and how can yo prove that, sort of thing. So you’d hope some of that would be mitigated at least.

ANDREW HOLLEY And the very big thing is going to be that it means that people like some doing lots of pre-planning, not being done on the hoof as they build it. It’s going to have to be much more upfront, that should help. And then the guys turning up on site should be able to price things much more accurately, they should know exactly what they’re doing, not when you come on site and have a quick design and throw it in, it’s too late. That’s the scenario we should be avoiding. I’ve done a little presentation to our area little group of our developers in our Borough and I was things like the order in which things are built makes a big difference. It's no good sealing up a wall and then calling your electrician to run the cables through it, and not calling back your fire stopper afterwards. So, the fire stopper has been and gone, then the electrician makes a hole, ohh, the fire stopper will be back, and then never is. That sort of thing, are they getting the workstream done in the right order.

GEORGE That’s a procurement thing, going back to what Scott was saying earlier, because in some cases the person that’s putting in the ceiling has got a program to meet and if they don’t meet that program they get penalties. Even though it’s stupid because they know they're gonna have to set something down again because the electrician has been delayed for another reason. I’ve seen this, it’s crazy.