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GEORGE starts by talking about Digital Construction week and the 5 tables he will have there that can accommodate up to 50 people. He wants to use it to encourage more people to get engaged and to promote the adoption of a risk-based approach to the whole process. Those that will be adjudicating on the gateways and given the task of ensuring that buildings are safe are coming in from the oil and gas industry (which is heavily regulated).

The government has terminated negotiations with the Construction Products Association about the contribution that manufacturers should be giving to the new safety fund – this is a hardline approach. The Tier 1s in the BIM4housing group are thinking about how to collectively go back to the government and say ‘this is what we are going to do’ rather than ‘we can’t do anything’. Civil servants are saying if it’s a matter of liability it should therefore be sorted out by lawyers – a potential nightmare.

To proactively demonstrate how a building is safe our approach is to look at particular scenarios: if, for example, there’s an incident that leads to smoke, what collection of assets and systems can be drawn together to mitigate that specific risk and what information do we need to know about them to perform when they are needed? Also, how are the tenants briefed? It needs to be ensured they don’t do anything that compromises their own safety. Additionally, there’s the Operations team/ anybody else carrying out ‘this work’ to think about regarding this...

(There are specific working groups, but within those groups there are ‘different perspectives’ e.g. ‘Asif, who is both a contractor and a developer’ - it’s an interdisciplinary approach). On the day, we need to work out how the spread of smoke is successfully mitigated.

DAVID POAT (who unfortunately will not be attending) asks George how he imagines the 45 minutes of the round table session will be organised. GEORGE says there are at least 4 people committed for each table. He talks about the contentious issue of a particular housing association removing fire extinguishers from common areas: is it an operations issue? A design issue? Currently, there are individual inspections (e.g. a fire door) without taking account of what that asset is doing in terms of the rest of the things its part of.

PAUL WHITE interjects: ‘what we are saying here is what can be reasonably expected at development to hand on what operations need to mitigate all those risks? How we can nail it at development? (And then afterwards) that’s for operations to deal with.’

RICHARD WHITTAKER talks about the tower block fire he recently dealt with and how, after 9000 litres of water was pumped into the building by the fire brigade, there was a problem with saturated ducts which caused the electrics to fail. A drying out period was required before tenants could move back in. ‘Compartmentalization is important, but there’s a saturation issue we’ve discovered...’.

DAVID POAT, responding to Whittaker’s anecdote, wonders if there is something that needs to be done ‘around the front end of design to mitigate some of those issues’.

GEORGE says that the different working groups have a consensus that by gateway 2/end of work stage 4 (what should be the end of design process) the products that are actually going to be installed should have been selected – that’s a massive change. Currently with DMB (D and B???) (certain things are done) at work stage 5...which increases risk. Design should be completed before construction starts. Cost risk is lessened by later product selection, but it increases overall risk.

DAVID POAT returns to his question about how things will play out during the 45 minutes of the round table. He says he doesn’t want participants to have to read and comment about the document about risk/spread of smoke developed in the Bim4housing sessions during the round table as it would eat up too much time. GEORGE says they should be briefed beforehand. RICHARD FREER says this is the primer for that meeting. ASIF emphasises the importance of documenting everything so if there is a problem it can be examined. GEORGE uses the term ‘simulate’ (relating to the round table, as it will be a kind of simulation exercise...maybe).

PAUL WHITE says maybe it should be made clear at the design stage which things cannot be changed in order for things not to be compromised (like the change he previously mentioned that led to overheated corridors in a tower block).

GEORGE says that maybe safety critical products and materials should be selected earlier in the process. In the ‘smoke’ scenario there is smoke, compartmentation (fire door, wall, smoke dampers, cavity barriers, detection systems, alarm), if they all fail and the smoke gets out into the corridor there is smoke extraction – 3 systems made up of individual assets/systems that have to perform perfectly. Any product being swapped out after design is a process of change management.

CHRISTINE MILLING (via chat) ‘here is the healthcare services Key Lines of Enquiry link Assessment framework: 20Healthcare%20services 20KLOEs 20prompts 20and 20characteristics 20FINAL.pdf if you think it has some good pointers in it. If you look at the 2nd half it gives examples of how you might rate; observations/responses (outstanding, good, requires improvement, inadequate).’

GEORGE re the round table session: should we be looking at what responsibilities the development team would consider are down to them? What information do they need?

DAVID POAT wonders how efficiently communicating via data transfer what needs to be done between the development and operational teams. ‘Are we clear down the supply chain, who is responsible for what? Are we clear about how those responsibilities are kind of transferred as the building evolves into its different stages?’ He agrees with George about sending out the document to round table participants beforehand, but also to prompt them – this is the keyline of enquiry that we want to have a conversation around, based on the document provided to them.

PAULINE: ‘what we’re looking at is trying to see how we can build in the much closer involvement with the design teams and the design process early on, rather than be handed something at handover where we don’t really fully understand the implications of a particular decision until an incident can operations be more closely involved in the design process?’.

GEORGE says that if the asset management teams were more closely involved in the early development/design process it may be possible to eliminate some unnecessary elements of the design and also to accommodate things that are necessary. The regulator could be presented with many different examples that we’ve considered and look how the design of our building going to perform, we could then zero in on the information that would evidence that.

ASIF will be attending Digital Construction Week.

DAVID POAT believes that people in Development know what they have to do: good design, quality assured, good data. But it’s when the data gets passed around (that problems may occur). He thinks the document they have developed about Smoke control deals with the ‘what’ but he’s not sure it deals with the ‘how’: how do you communicate this stuff? How do you make this stuff more widely available? It’s a challenge for Development to take really complex stuff and turn it into something simple that can be easily transferred? BIM and Digital Twins are a part of that...but is that the only answer?

GEORGE believes this exercise is to determine what information is critical...for different people it will be different information (which is critical). GEORGE talks about the idea of having a ‘permit to work’ (in response to PAULINE’s anecdote about contractors doing work on roofs which invalidates the warranties and she incurs unnecessary costs).

MO FISHER says that change of notification is used within Architecture (which relates to this topic) and also altercation notes to the building management so they know a change is taking place. Also, consultant reviews via the design responsibility matrix...a tick with ‘who does this affect?’ So with the overheating issue (talked about earlier) it would go to the architects and sustainability consultant etc... it’s a way of documenting who’s been asked, where and when?

GEORGE, wrapping up, says they need to distill what has been drawn from this very helpful meeting and send it out to everyone. Maybe engaging with WhatsApp to see if people have any suggestions to make. He asks group members to collectively think about any scenarios or examples that could be used.

RICHARD FREER asks who would be interested in joining a WhatsApp group around this subject, Jiss will send out a link for it.

Richard Whittaker -Citizen Housing

George Stevenson -ActivePlan

Richard Freer -IceFire Portfolio

Asif Mirza -Brekeley Group

David Poat -Nottinghill Genesis

Paul White -Enfield Council

Christine Milling -L&Q

Eduardo Guasque -Haworth Tompkins

Pauline Tuitt -L&Q

Mo Fisher -PRP