AOV BIM4Housing Roundtables 19-06-2023

RICHARD As you’re all aware a couple of years ago we had a number of roundtable sessions and produced 12 pieces of guidance. This is a meeting to update that guidance, but also we’ve got a slightly different approach. So I’ll ask George to put this meeting and upcoming meetings in context with what we did before and with slightly modifying how we’re looking at things now.

GEORGE (shares screen). I think there’s probably quite a few people that aren’t familiar with BIM4housing, so I’ll cover that initially. Basically we’ve got about 500 members overall now and what we’re focused on isn’t so much 3D modelling which is the way people often think about BIM, it’s about managing information better. So, what information do you need to make development, design, construction and operations easier. We’ve got 6 working groups that meet a couple of times a year and they define what information would make their jobs easier and also to try and identify things that are common to all of them. And then once we’ve defined that we identify workstreams who look at those different aspects. So, for example, we’ve had a team that have been looking at data management, which is broadly what we’re covering today. Also, we’ve got people that have been looking at process to look at how we can classify things.

Fire safety is the principal goal that we’re trying to achieve today with the 12 critical asset types. We’re also doing work on sustainability and also how we can have a digital record. All of that is under the BIM4housing banner and I wanted to put quickly in context some of the information. What we obviously need to know is information about the building, the spaces that are in the building, the systems that are supporting those activities and spaces and the assets and the products that are satisfying them. But one of the challenges is that you’ve got people that have got different perspectives, what’s needed for specification and design is quite different than what is needed for construction and even more so when you then get into operations and life cycle. All of them require different information at different levels of detail and what we need to do is make sure that we’re capturing the level of detail that’s needed, but then filter it back so that people can only see the information that they need.

One of the exercises that we’re going to go through today is to try and identify which of this information is fixed and which is variable, which needs somebody to read it and interpret it, or is active and therefore machine actionable. So, one of the exercises today is to look at the fantastic information that the previous groups have put together and then see how we want to classify the information. One of the points about this is what do you do with that information because it’s all very well having data, but what’s the point of it. Two of the legislative things now are to have fire risk assessments and safety case reports. The challenge is that they’re only correct at the moment of time that they’re created, and they’re also an opinion. Whereas what we actually need is a fire safety management system and also a safety management system. So that’s really what the legislation requires, not just a document.

So, when things change those risk assessments need to be rerun and also to break out the things that might naturally be changing and tying them back to individual assets. So, where did we start on this journey? We started this about 3 years ago where we had a consortium of people who are subject matter experts who started to try and pull together some standardisation in terms of asset data, and to create some templates that could be used either on new build or for existing properties. And by organising and structuring data properly it means it can be used in any software application. This is the exercise that we started with HACT. The Housing Association Charitable Trust was asked by housing associations to bring together the asset data that had been compiled in many different systems and really try and make sure that there’s some degree of standardisation as to what you call a dry riser, for example, or an AOV. So here, for example, we’ve got a number of different terminologies that are used: You’ve got an AOV, an opening vent, or a smoke vent. By working on this collectively we can then tie it back to a Uniclass definition and therefore we’ve got a degree of standardisation that we can then work to. By doing that we can also then tie that back to maintenance standards like SFG-20. That exercise resulted in 245 asset types overall and of those we identified 71 that were fire related and 152 that were safety related (that includes the fire related ones).

One of the things that is a challenge is, OK, you know it’s a fire related asset, what information do you really need to know about it, over and above what it is. These are general COBie, what in the BIM industry is called standard COBie. So, these are attributes that are common to any type of product, irrespective of whether it’s an AOV a fire door, or a damper. So, the idea of this is to really drill down to the detail, that’s the big piece of work that we need help with, to actually identify what is it about an AOV that we really need to know in a machine-readable form. It may sound pretty easy to do, and you think that BIM’s sorted it all out, but there are lots of different libraries that are created for different purposes. As I said at the beginning, you’ve got different people that need different information for different purposes. For example, IFC, which is the BIM standard, we’ve already populated a lot of asset types with IFC data, but that can be meaningless to other people. BIMhawk has done it for Cibse, the Chartered Institute of Building Services Engineers. The distribution industry, wholesalers and builders merchants, they use something called Etim.

So, all of these are very relevant classifications and property sets, but it’s a matter of what’s included for what purpose. For an automatic opening vent, these are the IFG attributes that have been selected and this is machine-readable information, that’s the whole point of putting things in IFC> That means that when that information is collected it can be collected in a machine-readable format and therefore automatically tested and validated, but really is it the case that you would really need to know what the wind load rating is, or the mechanical load rating, actually as machine-readable data. It may be that we can satisfy that by having a data sheet that’s got it that a human can read. So, that’s really what I’m saying the difference between active and passive data is. So, as part of this exercise we were asked by L&Q to lead the asset information group. The Golden Thread Initiative was led by L&Q to advise the government as to what the golden thread should contain.

There was 10 working groups and I led the asset and survey information group. The question that we were asking was what data do we need for an AOV, for example, and the answer that we typically got from talking to experts was ‘it depends’. It depends where the AOV is going, it depends what it’s doing, it depends on the fire strategy, it depends on how it’s being maintained. And everything drops back, in terms of liabilities, to the building regs. Now unfortunately, although that is the major requirement that people will have to meet, there are 800 standards referred to in building regs, so it’s just an overwhelming amount of information. So, that’s why we tried to focus on the 250 or so asset types and then this exercise is to try and address that. This is the exercise that we went through, a lot of really good effort by some great people about 18 months ago, and we’ve got publications for AOVs, fire doors, dry risers, emergency lighting etc and we’re going through this exercise on each one so that we can actually identify what the asset is and also then look at it in a context.

So, the final bit of this is really looking at this, not from an individual asset perspective, but what is that asset doing, because that’s really what the HSE are looking for. They’re not looking to see whether the fire doors are perfect, what they want to know is how is it going to perform to deal with a hazard. So, in this particular case we’ve got fire breaking out in a kitchen and we’ve got a number of different measures that are in place, or the HSE call them treatments, to protect against smoke spreading. First of all, you’ve got the compartmentation and with the best will in the world no matter how good the fire doors are, if the penetration seals aren’t working then it’s pointless, really, so all of those have to be considered in context. Also, you’ve got to make sure that the smoke control system is working and one of the points the teams made is, OK, you’re supposed to check the fire alarm once a week, but the smoke alarm should also be tested once a week because it’s a critical area (that’s Paul White that suggested that to us). And also you’ve got to make sure that the detection system is working.

So, the overall objective here is to have it so that we can have the key parameter data in a form that can then be connected through to maybe CAD systems or procurement systems and also the new Firey (BS8644), this data here can also be added as a different view according to what’s required.

RICHARD Jiss, scan through the document until we get to question 1. I’m not going to bother with the early stuff, this is about the setting and the context which George has covered anyway, but this will obviously need updating. The first question we had was what risks does an AOV mitigate. Have a quick look through there. Anything there anybody disagrees with?

GEORGE The purpose of this is to look at things from the perspective of what the asset is doing, rather than just simply the condition of the asset. So, it’s looking at things from a point of view of what risk is it mitigating and therefore being able to then how that all feeds into a full risk management process.

DAVID JONES The bullet point on risk of safety failure, you only really with an AOV have one hit, it has to fail safe, is it worth underlining that. Risk of system failure, the AOV not working. It only happens once probably in its lifetime that a current happens. So, failure, any system, should be designed to fail safe.

RICHARD Absolutely. What we do, we’re recording this and the video will be available, as will highpoint notes of the meeting which include the chat. So, if you’ve got any comments that you want us to look at just put them in the chat because they will be seen and put in. Anybody else got any points on that question 1a?

CONOR LOGAN Yeah, I’d like to question the risk of system failure, what are we saying there? In terms of an AOV, how is that mitigating the risk of system failure? Are talking about the AOV system? In which case you’re not mitigating that, are you?

RICHARD No, system failure is a risk that would prevent the AOV from working properly.

CONOR LOGAN OK, so that’s not a risk that the AOV is mitigating then, is it?

GEORGE I think it’s a very good point.

RICHARD Actually, that’s in the wrong place, it should be 1b. Right, that’s going to 1b then. So, to what risk is an AOV itself susceptible to? What are the risks and issues that are going to affect an AOV and prevent it working properly?

GEORGE This was based on people’s experience of, for example, somebody going and smoking in a corridor and forcing the AOV open to let the smoke out. This is anecdotal that the experts have told us happens. That can obviously damage the AOV from working. Another example was that the AOV that was also a roof light was used for regular access to the roof and it hadn’t really been designed for that level of opening.

WAYNE PARRIS Also, they’re now using AOVs as daily ventilation which is overuse of the actuators.

IAN DONCASTER To pick up on that point, the question about using them for daily vent, that depends on if they’re properly specified. If they’re properly specified there is no reason why that’s not OK, but if they’re not then that certainly is a risk. And again, one of the other big risks is if you don’t allow people to ventilate a corridor when they’re not smoking there when they’re not supposed to, they may well break it, and that’s quite a common issue that we’ve seen.

GEORGE Ian, with that, when that AOV was installed it might be that the designers hadn’t anticipated it was going to be used to that level, so that essentially is a change of use, isn’t it?

IAN DONCASTER Yes. The risk would be change of use or change of application, possibly.

WAYNE PARRIS I haven’t seen anything in there for the risk of fall. Some AOV windows open on chain actuators and they open vertically, so if there are no railings there is a risk of fall. And the height of the railings has to be a minimum of 105 cm.

GEORGE Is that there for a parameter that we need to accommodate in the next stage down, which is the construction.

CONOR LOGAN I think there is another level of risk. There’s the risk that the AOV mitigates, there’s the risk that the AOV itself is susceptible to, but there’s also the risk that the AOV causes through use. And falls, finger trapping, all those things, fall into that category.

ASHLEY PEARCE About the fail safe, you’re saying how ideally they should be fail safe in theory then fail safe to open, if we’ve got an AOV window with its friction stays on it you’re not going to get a fail safe to open unless it’s mechanically driven, which then wouldn’t be a fail safe open.

DAVID JONES In 1989 I patented a gravity opening vent because the problems that I found on 8 blocks in Croydon, 8 out of the 12 that were found fire safe after Grenfell, what we found there is that windows, the opening vents, these were the opening vents to give fresh air to a common single staircase on the 8 blocks, they were hopper type windows, opened at the top, the fresh air came in the bottom and smoke went out the top. We found that the opening steel springs were rusted, hadn’t been tested for so many years, so they didn’t work. I needed a force to open a pivot window and the only two natural forces at that time, and this is why I got the patent, was either pressure or gravity. How do you open a vertical window with the centre of gravity going downwards on that, well, I put an offset hinge on that so that when the magnet released the weight of the window opened the window itself, and that’s what I got the patent for. That’s why I made the point about the fail safe.

GEORGE Has anybody adopted that, David?

DAVID JONES I had a very bad deal with the manufacturer at the time and I just parked it. From the AOB my inventive step was GOV (Gravity Opening Vent), I currently have claims that…I want to work with some others, possibly people on here, with a smart opening vent.

RICHARD This one is about risk of the building actually moving causing shrinkage, water damage.

GEORGE If people could have a look through those and see if they’re ones that we need to challenge. Or add to, if in your experience you’ve got other things that you come across.

IAN DONCASTER Can I pick up on a comment, risk of detritus in shafts. The use of AOV is a very widely used and misused term. If we’ve got a smoke vent going into a shaft it’s likely to be a smoke control damper, not an AOV. So I don’t know whether we should be careful about that, that we don’t lead down the wrong path.

WILL PERKINS Historically the construction industry has used this term AOV and I think Approved Document B calls an AOV an umbrella phrase for automatic opening vent. And Ian has quite rightly pointed out there are certain different types of automatic opening vents principally led by application. So, if the automatic opening vent is at the top of a stair or at the end of a corridor directly to atmosphere, typically that would fall under the category of an NSHEV (Natural Smoke Heat Exhaust Ventilator) covered under EN12101-2. If, as Ian said, it was an AOV going into a vertical shaft inside a building, then that would be a smoke control damper - still an AOV, but a smoke control damper, which falls under the standard EN12101-8. So there’s two examples, ultimately what this points to is we need clarification of the various types of AOVs.

RICHARD We’ve got a piece of guidance for smoke control dampers. So, we’re kind of splitting them out so maybe that should be removed and we’ll make sure it’s in the other one, perhaps.

CONOR LOGAN I think it’s a valid point, it’s just that we’re at the risk of splitting hairs here really. If you just deleted ‘in shafts’ then it would be fine, because there is a risk of stuff falling on vents and jamming them over time, so it you just take the shafts out then the question goes away.

WILL PERKINS And I think as a note just to go back at the very start when we put a document with definitions we need to be clear to the reader that an AOV is kind of all encompassing and it needs to be recognised what the application is which will determine the direction of which guidance is used.

IAN DONCASTER Because we’ve specifically got this smoke control damper guide as well it really does make that split between AOVs as a generic term and AOVs as a more specific application.

CONOR LOGAN I think the biggest risk you want here is the risk of someone installing a product that isn’t actually a certified AOV and presenting it as being an AOV.

ASHLEY PEARCE A quick one about the roof lights, AOVs being used for access and being overly used. Surely now we’re doing weekly testing on AOVs and you’ve got a 10 storey building with a roof hatch or something like that, that’s getting tested 10 times a week. Being used for access once every 2-3 weeks is that gonna make much more of a difference on the lifespan of an actuator.

GEORGE I’m intrigued that you say they’re going to be inspected once a week, is that the case?

ASHLEY PEARCE If we’re doing weekly testing on AOVs the AOV would be tested once a week, so if we’re doing one per floor in say a 10 storey building, then the head of stairs, head of shafts are going to be activated 10 times in that weekly test.

GEORGE I appreciate that, I’ve just not heard that it’s going t o be weekly. I said it earlier because Paul White raised it.

ASHLEY PEARCE From conversations with the IFC they’re recommending to us…that we advise our customers they should be doing a weekly test since the first of January for the fire safety order.

GEORGE That’s interesting. I’m confident that SFG20, which is the maintenance standard, they’ve not caught up on that.

WAYNE PARRIS Testing for AOVs is as the manufacturers requirements, unless it is basically stated where you have a break glass unit to activate any fire alarm system, fire alarm or activating or door exits. They’re the only times when you’d need servicing weekly.

GEORGE There’s a difference between servicing and inspecting, isn’t there?

WAYNE PARRIS Yeah. You can do a visual inspection weekly, but unless you have a break glass or override unit there’s no compulsory testing needed unless there’s a break glass.

ASHLEY PEARCE Unless there’s a break glass, which most systems have a form of activation switch on them on every floor. So if they have got an activation switch, an override switch, would they then need to do a test on that switch. 90% of the systems in the country would therefore do a weekly test then.

WAYNE PARRIS Yeah, agreed.

RICHARD Lets move down to question 2, this is one where we’re going to go in rather more detail than last time.

GEORGE The purpose of this was to really try and identify what information we ought to be gathering that the experts felt was necessary to ensure safety. One of the exercises with this, this was really a structured brain dump for the experts to say what are we doing in therms of specification, construction, installation, maintenance - what information is needed at each stage. To look at that we embarked on the idea of trying to do it in a machine-readable format so that it could then be reused. (shares screen). This is work that Will and the team led last year looking at each of the particular attributes in that document and identify who’s actually responsible for making them happen, who is accountable, who’s been consulted and who needs to be informed. RACI was the methodology we sought to operate on this. We’re not going to try and cover this today because I think we need a separate session on this, but we can share with you what the team did when they went through this originally. The point about it is that it’s then tying back the information so that you only get what you need for a particular purpose.

The thing I’d like to draw your attention to is this one here which is whether something is passive of active. We’re thinking rather than all of this information being machine-readable, which would be nice, a lot of it is probably in data sheets, so therefore if we can say which of the properties could be as data sheets and which needs to be active, in other words it’s going to be machine-readable, that’s a way forward with sorting out the wood for the trees, as it were. This is an exercise that I think we can go through quickly as we’re going through the various different points.

RICHARD We’ll go through the points individually on this question and identify whether they’re passive or active.

WAYNE PARRIS My query is about lockouts on AOV systems, I didn’t see anything detailed regarding lockout. A lockout is if it’s triggered on one floor it won’t open on another floor.

GEORGE So, would that be information about the AOV, or information about the risk.

WAYNE PARRIS It’s about design and risk.

IAN DONCASTER Just to add to that point, that’s a system thing, rather than a specific AOV product thing. So, that’s about the performance of a system, that’s absolutely right. And if you do have a day to day system then you’ll want to close everything down and only have the vent open on the floor that is ? 37mins 41secs. So, those are system things rather than AOV things, I don’t know where we pick that up, because it’s the performance of a system ultimately, not jut the individual item.

WAYNE PARRIS It’s how it’s programmed, as well. How it’s interfaced, that’s basically how it works, so if you have a standalone system you can have more than one controller for each floor, but they’ve got to be interfaced that when one is activated it will not allow the other one to activate if it picks up a fire on that floor. It will still trigger and send a signal back, but it will not activate to open the shaft or the AOV.

GEORGE I absolutely agree with the system thing, I’m just trying to figure out where we put it. Is it in the specifications section?

WILL PERKINS Fundamentally, it is part of the cause and effect, Ian is right. if we’re looking at the discrete product, the AOV, that is a function of what it’s told to do, but really it should be in the cause and effect, by nature of the description the cause and effect.

GEORGE Yeah, we’ve got the cause and effect. Yeah, inspection, cause and effect protocols.

DEANE SALES Should there not be a separate section there for design because what kind of leads us is going to be that initial design, which I think is where Wayne was coming from. You can have all of the products in the world and you can have all of the inspections and maintenance, but ultimately it comes to there has got to be a separate section in there for design and that cause and effect and what that system is actually designed to do in line with the fire strategy and other important documentation.

WAYNE PARRIS And commissioning, because that is the final part when they commission that system and ensure that that system is working correctly to what it has been designed.

DEANE SALES I think where this gets a little bit confusing is form a systems house or an integrated perspective its design, installation, commissioning, so every element has its own requirement. So, I get there is obviously other bits to be taken into account, I think if you separated them out and make it a little bit more specific to those elements then that just might be a little clearer.

WAYNE PARRIS Maybe it’s asking if it’s compatible, for the information you want to have is it compatible to carry out lockout. That might be one of the questions, the risks.

WILL PERKINS Wayne, you’re absolutely right. Over the last 2 years we’ve been working on this we’ve tried to rather than go from a topdown approach, it’s actually looking at it from the product point of view. Ultimately you guys have got the products in buildings and they need maintaining and we’ve got to make sure they operate correctly. So the methodology we’ve tried to do here is rather than go from a system design down we’ve actually picked products and gone, OK, that specific unique product, what’s the information that needs to go in to make sure that it’s specified right, but then goes out to make it work right. So, you’re right, it’s not a disagreement, it’s just that we went through circles and circles, and we can’t generate a whole system design document here, so that is why actually if we try and get in the mindset of going let’s go for the product. You’re absolutely right, we need to know what is going to trigger the product, what information the product has got to give out. So, we’re flipping the hierarchy and building up a different way.

WAYNE PARRIS There’s also AOV systems where the actuators are integral to the frame of the window. How are they services? They cannot be maintained. Items like that, that information needs to be specified and provided because once that is installed that’s a high cost to have to incur if you can’t then service that equipment.

GEORGE Wayne, if you could just jot that down, because we’re not experts, we’re relying on you guys to share your knowledge. Obviously the benefits of this as well is that if we can feed this back up to construction companies who are procuring your services, then there is an opportunity for them to think a bit more about what they’re asking you to do. As Will has said, one of the challenges we’ve got with the golden thread is that it’s just enormous. The number of ways in which you need to look at this information is completely overwhelming, so we’re trying to boil it down into some things that are practical and usable so you can then say, OK, let’s look at a specification, one of the challenges we’ve got at the moment is that as part of the golden thread you’re supposed to have the performance specification and the prescriptive specification held against the product that has been installed. The challenge with that is, I’ve spoken to MBS about this, MBS produce Chorus which is probably the most widely used specification system and they’ve explained that an MBS specification can run to 1500 pages and it can have 100s of products mentioned in it as well, all of which are then referencing off to different standards. So we must find a way of simplifying this otherwise all that we’re doing, we’re not providing, for example, asset managers with the information that they need to keep the building safe.

RICHARD We’re being very focused and drilling down as much as we can, so let’s get on with that or we’re never going to finish. Let’s go back up to the beginning of question 2, Jiss. Requirements. Has anybody got anything they think should be added or changed in requirements. OK, we’re going to move down the specification.

PENCHO STUDENKOV Is it worth actually specifying the requirements for evidence of competence and training for installers.

RICHARD We’ve got a section on that, it’s one of our competency sections we’ve already got in the document, we’ll be coming onto that.

GEORGE (shares spreadsheet on screen). What I’ve done here is say the AOV’s got to meet the required standard, so I think that’s passive because it’s you read something and interpret it. This information here, a description of the main components, their number and location, that could be just as a document, but ideally it should be active, something that’s machine-readable. Could you just take a look down these and just see whether my guesstimate of what I think, and I’m not an expert, do you think that’s right?

WILL PERKINS George, is it fair to say the approach you’ve taken is you’ve taken a standard product data sheet, which is generic and therefore passive, but in the specific project that that product is applied to, that becomes active. is that the differentiator you’ve used?

GEORGE No, it’s more about if there’s information that you’ve got on data sheets already then we probably don’t need you to provide it as active data. That’s my logic. In other words, if you can provide a data sheet that basically covers the type of system the AOV is part of, so it’s in the specification set, that can be passive, whereas it might be that the traceability of the product needs to be active. I’m just trying to boil it down.

RICHARD It depends if the information is going to change or not. The stuff on the data sheet is static, so that’s passive information. If it’s something that’s going to change, like traceability, that’s got to ideally be machine-readable, we call it active information because it’s not static. Does that make sense, Will?

WILL PERKINS Yeah, it’s possibly even clearer than that because, putting a building operators hat on, they’re dealing with actual unique assets. There might be lots of these in a project, but each one is unique and it’s got to work. So, actually what we’re talking about is static information, which is generic data sheets, but then it’s asset-specific information, which is dynamic.

GEORGE Yes, exactly right. So, commissioning information, for example.

IAN DONCASTER Most of those things would be on the drawing, there’d be a schematic and a drawing because they’re fixed things all the layouts and number. The number of AOVs isn’t going to change and the number of dampers isn’t going to change, the cause and effect shouldn’t change. So all those things should be fixed, so they should be passive not active.

GEORGE It depends really on what…if you think that it shouldn’t be necessary to be able to locate where things are without having to manually read it, it depends really on what your preference is.

IAN DONCASTER Well, again, that probably should be on a drawing.

GEORGE A drawing is passive, isn’t it?

IAN DONCASTER But then if you actually change the design of your system, that’s one of the issues we do come across, when people change the building layout and then the AOV or smoke ventilation flow control system needs to change. That’s when you do have issues sometimes when people have refurbished a building, but not understood what’s there originally.

WAYNE PARRIS And whether the building is shared, because some buildings can be one complete building with two entrances and that AOV is shared by both sections of that building.

IAN DONCASTER Well. that’s the landlords, whoever is the responsible person for the common area. You may well be a leaseholder in the building, but the common area will be under the jurisdiction of one person who has to be responsible for it.

WAYNE PARRIS That depends on whether you’ve leased out what levels. I could be one landlord that owned levels 1-3 and then another landlord could be in control of levels 4-7.

IAN DONCASTER But if it’s a common area that has some smoke control in it then it does…

GEORGE I would say the location of things, in particular fire critical things, invariably should be active.

IAN DONCASTER Surely they’re fixed, though, so why would they be active if they’re fixed?

GEORGE Because they need to be machine-addressable. People want to be able to search for things and to update information. If you’re having things inspected you need to be able to update the information about that particular asset from whatever inspection has been done. I think probably we may disagree on that, but certainly from a BIM perspective and an asset management perspective we really don't want to have to rely on having to go off and read a schematic to find where something might be. That’s the feedback that we’re getting.

DAVID JONES Active, what you were just talking about, active may be for several different reasons. One may be where it’s located, one may be moving, even a fixed object needs to be active because you need the information. So, it’s almost an active/passive or a passive/active or whatever. It’s that sort of category, sits on the fence.

GEORGE Yeah, the differentiation that I’m talking about is the information itself, whether it’s likely to ever change. Is the information about something likely to ever change. If it’s likely to change because of maybe a status or its been inspected or it may be replaced, therefore I’d say that’s something we need to hold active information against. We’re not saying it’s mobile, we’re saying the data about it…

WAYNE PARRIS Is likely to change. So, something like the design, the design would be active because it could change. Maintenance regimes are going to be active because you’re always recording new information.

DEANE SALES Should that first one, the AOV meets the relevant standard, that shouldn’t be passive because that standard is liable to change. It’s liable to be updated or new revisions, so it needs to be something that can change.

WAYNE PARRIS No, but is it likely to change now, or are they going to introduce a new book? They’d introduce a new book so that would give us time to change that to the new standard, what you’re going to meet.

RANIE GOOLCHARAN I'm just wondering obviously if this system is going to be universal and used by a lot of people from a fire safety perspective, if you classify things passive and active it's very difficult to understand. Perhaps,  don't know if it's possible in the system, but would it not make more sense to have these definitions changed to something like static and dynamic so that you have an understanding that, look, this is a static system, it’s not going to change, it’s fixed. So is dynamic perhaps able to be adapted or changed based on application or based on standard. I just feel that the active and passive definitions are likely to cause a lot of confusion for users.

GEORGE Happy to change that. The reason we’ve used passive and active is that’s terminology that’s used in the fire industry. Passive is universally used.

RANIE GOOLCHARAN We understand passive and active fire applications, passive fire safety and active fire safety. But not really as you would apply it to these definitions that you have here.

GEORGE OK. The important thing is to consider these as to what do we need as machine-readable, that’s probably a better way of saying it. Machine-readable or editable, and what is unlikely to change. That’s probably a better way of defining it.

WAYNE PARRIS But then it’s what people want to report on, that’s what you want to devise, what people want information from. So some people might want just information regarding the type of AOV system it is and other people might want information about the documentation. So, again, it depends on the end user on how they want that information delivered to them.

WILL PERKINS it’s an interesting discussion, but I guess it’s confusing. We’ve got to remember we’re not talking about the systems, we’re talking about the data about the systems. This is simply about the information, it’s not about the systems themselves. I completely get it, passive and active is misleading because anybody in the fire industry like anybody in this room has just gone, ah, that’s to do with the product, it’s actually not to do with the data. So, I think that’s a great suggestion, we probably do need to come up with a better way. Static and dynamic, again, we see that in specifications talking about systems, so I think it needs to be clearer that were talking about the information about the assets in the first instance and how we then say whether it’s one or the other is down to us to design. But I think we’re making it difficult for ourselves by not talking about the data.

RICHARD I think you’re right, but I think let’s not spend the meeting talking about terminology, we can sort that out outside. Let’s focus on getting through these questions and we’ll name it afterwards. Somebody said fixed and variable. Anyway, whatever we call it we know what we mean now. The page that Jiss is showing there, is there anything on there that anyone disagrees with George’s classification?

GEORGE I’m very happy for people to question and challenge things, but as Richard said we’ve got to get through these.

WAYNE PARRIS Item 17: evidence of testing against specific AOV performance criterias. That can change because depending on what your readings you get back from the system and how that data is going to be stored.

GEORGE OK, make that active. How would that be delivered?

WAYNE PARRIS You’re doing tests to make sure that the AOV is always able to take the air out and bring in new air, you want to make sure it’s always doing it within that time frame. That can change. It’s the same for item 21 and 22 as well, the evidence of the testing.

GEORGE But product data sheets and things like that, that’s fine.

IAN DONCASTER Can I jump back on 22. What are you actually trying to say there? Materials, under materials, evidence of testing. What does that mean?

GEORGE I have to say I don’t know, I wasn’t the author.

WAYNE PARRIS I don’t see materials, I see evidence of testing against specific AOV performance criterias.

DEANE SALES It’s a duplication of 17. I don’t think it needs to be in there, I think you can take that out of.

IAN DONCASTER If it’s under materials I’m assuming it’s something about the material that the thing is made at. I’d assume it’s something like will it get destroyed by UV light or something. But it doesn’t really seem to add anything to the document.

GEORGE That’s fine. The purpose of this session is to do exactly what you’ve just done there.

IAN DONCASTER And product lifespan, that will be passive. That would just be a lifetime based on the product specification.

DEANE SALES Can I highlight no.30, technical information on interface systems. Can we take out EVC because an emergency voice communication system has nothing to do with AOVs. So, I think in there you either need to just leave it blank or put in there fire alarm systems.


DEANE SALES You wouldn't interface a sprinkler with AOVs, the sprinklers would be interfaced with the fire alarm.

WAYNE PARRIS You can interface a sprinkler with an AOV because you can have a sprinkler for common areas which can also be to make the X axis ingress for the fire brigade.

DEANE SALES Yeah, but you wouldn't drive that from an AOV system, you’d drive that from a fire alarm or from…

WAYNE PARRIS You might have a fire alarm panel controlling the sprinkler system.

DEANE SALES Yeah, that's what I mean. I’m just thinking either we leave it blank, so that obviously whoever's responsible for that system per se as an idea of what it's interfacing with, or we just be, like you say, be specific and say that ultimately these systems tend to be interfaced in with a fire alarm in order to drive the cause and effect which may we'll then have a knock on effect to things like sprinklers and other supplementary systems.

IAN DONCASTER I think just leave it like it is because that could be lots of things, it could be interfaced with lots of things.

DEANE SALES On 38 and 39, would you take out the ‘if required’? Surely that should be a requirement. I get that there might be historic systems that have been installed by Joe Bloggs & son, who last week was installing a heating system in someones house, but should we take out the ‘if required’ and drive that message that it should be required?

WILL PERKINS I think the most important thing is actually those are active because when the building is in operation then that information is…sorry, we’re just talking about installation and not maintenance, aren’t we. OK, so in that instance, the regulations that are coming through there are schemes out there so, yeah, it’s safer if you take out ‘if required’ because that will need to be captured as part of the golden thread anyway.

IAN DONCASTER If it’s about installation, aren’t they all passive, because spatial location is fixed at installation. I think they're all passive in installation, cause that's the baseline, isn't it?

GEORGE When you say they all, you’d certainly want ideally the installation instructions in a form that could be machine-readable.

IAN DONCASTER But that will be a product brochure, it will be…

GEORGE Yeah, but it shouldn’t simply be a product brochure.

CONOR LOGAN In terms of the product, the spatial location is a variable. You’re buying an AOV, where it goes in the building is always still a variable. It’s not a fixed data set for the product. In BIM terms, installation isn’t an asset. It’s an active or variable component.

RANIE GOOLCHARAN Just before moving on from installation, I'm just wondering there might be situations in say older blocks, for instance mansion blocks, 4-5 storey blocks that would have been built in the 50s and 60s, where they would have louvred vents that would have acted as smoke ventilation. But then following on from refurbishment the fire assessor would have come along and specified an AOV system to be retrofitted. And I'm just wondering within that description there if you would allow a line, I know, for instance, that a lot of installations are done where it’s not specifically done per specification, but it’s installed as a sort of after effect to help the building with smoke ventilation. So, would there be a situation where in that section you would allow for some sort of bespoke, retro installation of an AOV system.

DEANE SALES Maybe call it an engineered system because obviously it doesn’t specifically comply with the standards, but you've got a building like in the old mansion blocks where you have to put something in that ultimately provides a…

GEORGE Is that covered in 35?

DEANE SALES What might be a good line would be to put another line in there to say are there any documentation that highlights deviations or variations against the standards based on an engineered system.

WAYNE PARRIS That would be on the commissioning.

RANIE GOOLCHARAN They wouldn’t commission it because you’re sort of installing a system that would meet the functional requirements of the building, but really wouldn’t have been installed to warranty guidelines.

DEANE SALES It is part of the commissioning, but I think if this is being used to identify information, then surely if you’ve got 100 buildings that have got an AOV system in, if we’re able to single out those ones that have got maybe an engineered deviated system. It will be on the commissioning certificate.

GEORGE Is it an engineered system.

DEANE SALES Yeah, or is there a…that system deviates from the standards because of the type of building that it is.

GEORGE Bearing in mind that we’ve got to get it into this type of format. I think that’s a really good point, would you mind typing in 10 words that encapsulate what you’ve just said. From what I understand from what you’ve just said, it’s where the AOV is part of an engineered solution.

RANIE GOOLCHARAN Absolutely, yeah.

GEORGE OK. Anything on maintenance, or inspection? The commissioning certificates, I think it’s clear they should be passive or static. Manufacturers instructions, probably it’s reasonable to get them as PDFs. Components, again, probably PDF. You can obviously take maintenance instructions and interpret them into active data, which I think we should be doing, or what should be done. But, when it’s actually delivered initially then it should be in that format. Will, could you show us your data sheet?

WAYNE PARRIS I haven’t seen one thing about battery backup, secondary supply.

WILL PERKINS (shares screen). This is straight off the website so, for instance, one of our what we call our tested solutions is with a company called NorDan. So, we will have undertaken testing to 12101 with NorDan sample declaration of performance there and then the three profile types. So, the NorDan entech top swing reversal, side hinged, and side hinged balcony door and then click throughs to all the additional information that you’d need there.

GEORGE So, really most of that is just dimensional information. So, of the information that we’ve just been going through would that be anywhere as a technical document?

WILL PERKINS Well, no, you’re talking more about the O&M. That’s the product data sheet at top level as a sales data sheet, but as you go through then obviously there’s more information that would start to bring in product specific and application project specific information.

CONOR LOGAN So, in that example, Will, you’d really want the information from the NorDan data sheet as well.

WILL PERKINS Yeah, there would be supplementary environment…

GEORGE Conor, do you have anything you could share on that basis?

CONOR LOGAN Yeah, sure.

WAYNE PARRIS As I said, I didn’t see anything on there about batteries and secondary supply.

WILL PERKINS That would be more to  do with, you remember we looked at the asset of the AOV and then the battery supply is kind of one of those branches off. So, that’s the control system.

CONOR LOGAN (shares screen). This is the data sheet for a product that comes to site as a complete unit. There’s a whole load of variants within that: firmly broken, non-firmly broken, double-glazed, single-glazed, triple-glazed, insulated and so on. A lot of it’s dimensional, but when you get to the classifications you’re down into the aerodynamic values, the U value, classification, resistance to wind, resistance to rain, air permeability, method of control, glazing types, glazing thicknesses. The frame is consistent, open…angle, usually consistent, height and width, and the actual louvre width is a variable.

GEORGE So, this is the sort of information that would go into the O&M, isn’t it?


GEORGE And you’d have one of these uniquely for each product that would be installed.

CONOR LOGAN Yeah. when it’s ordered up on the factory you can configure it depending on which variables you want to adopt and that spits out the product at the end and the declaration of performance is generated on the end product.

GEORGE Part of the challenge I think we’ve got is that you, Will, and other AOV manufacturers will be producing this type of data, but there it may be that you include things here that Will doesn’t and vice versa and the asset manager isn’t going to know what they’re going to be needing until they need it. So that’s part of what we’re trying to…i don’t know how we boil this down, by the way.

WILL PERKINS What it comes down to in that instance is we’ve got to think like an asset manager. The information in here, what’s on the screen now and in the data I was showing, is very much about product selection and product specification stage. A lot of the data here really isn’t going to be relevant to the asset manager. It’s nice to have, but from a day to day running point of view, it just isn’t and so really it’s critical information for the early part, but once that building is handed over then the chances are this won’t be looked at again.

GRORGE And that’s why the data that we’re requiring in the guidance is as it is. So really a lot of that information probably would need to be curated separately, albeit it can be static.

WILL PERKINS Yes, that’s effectively what we’re talking about, each asset has its own story, its own data set, and that’s specific and unique to that building because that’s ultimately what the asset manager, the building operator, needs.

GEORGE I think we need to move on now to the other sections. The great news is that we’ve had fantastic engagement.

RICHARD We identified before the meeting that the most important question was question 2 which we’ve covered very well. With the new approach, as you’re all aware it’s not just about this meeting, it’s about ongoing discussions and we’ve certainly got a lot to discuss with people outside this meeting. Has anyone got anything they’d like to share in the last few minutes?

ASHLEY PEARCE One thing we’ve come across recently with this sort of information is where we’ve gone to a site where we’ve needed this information and a particular manufacturer/installer of that system. The site had lost the details, the site had no more records of the O&MS etc and the installer/manufacturer would not provide that information again. Surely that should still be available at all times where possible.

GEORGE Definitely. Does any of the manufacturers on the call have a view on that?

CONOR LOGAN I think that’s the whole point of going down this digital route, so that it’s always available. Historically, record keeping may not be as good as it should be, obviously I can’t speak for the whole industry, there will always be challenges in recovering information on products, particularly if it’s been sold through a third-party who might have called the project something completely different. There will be challenges in doing that, particularly in the way information was stored in the past.

ASHLEY PEARCE I won’t mention any names, but this particular manufacturer weren’t interested in helping unless they were doing the maintenance themselves on that new install.

DEANE SALES Ashley, these issues, was that also from the installer as well? The installer is saying…

ASHLEY PEARCE The installation firm was the manufacturer.

DAVID JONES I don’t do very much site work now, but in my early days of CDM walking around sites one of the things that I used to find is when equipment was delivered on to sites there was a manual that possibly had been printed somewhere in the Far east or some other country and you find it’s been discarded into the mud or left on the scaffolding. I always made a point of picking that stuff up and putting it in the site managers office so that it got into the O&M file. A lot of the stuff there, it’s far better to have it with a bit of mud on there than have nothing at all later on down the line.

PENCHO STUDENKOV Just on the last point, we are obtaining that information as part of the regulation ? 1hr 25mins 22secs so that is actually the requirement for the main contractor to provide this information, don’t understand why they haven’t provided it.

ASHLEY PEARCE Though in this case it would have been provided and no doubt it would have been provided, but that’s got to the main contractor and the main contractor has gone to the lease holder, the leaseholder has gone to the company who is now managing that site and now where do they go to get the information because it just gets lost, that’s the issue we found.

DEANE SALES I think that’s the challenge that we’ve got is that with new build properties there is a much better process in place to obtain and keep that information, but when you’re going back to these historic buildings all of those O&M manuals that were physically handed over to the client at the end usually just go to some obscure cupboard in the basement that’s probably been turned into a residents spar room or something. It’s a challenge and I feel your pain.

GEORGE If you found it useful today…just to be clear, we’re all volunteers, so obviously we want to try and make the most of the 1 1/2 hours that you’ve already spent, but also build on the other stuff. So, what would be useful, some people will be interested in the data and going through the individual properties and things like that. I’m thinking if you’re interested in participating going forward then if you type your name into the chat…I’m thinking we perhaps look at process, data and what does anybody else think?

DAVID JONES What about application?

GEORGE That’s good. You don’t have to choose which, but it might be that we run another couple of sessions like this, but with a smaller group that is interested in doing a little bit of review. If we break it down into small sections you can put an hours work in and have an impact. The other thing I would ask is that what we’re trying to do is influence the way the industry is procuring and managing and delivering the services. So, if you’ve got people that are in the construction companies, perhaps design managers or people that you’re connecting with, if you want us to involve them in this process then let us know who they are because all of the major contractors, pretty much, are active members of BIM4housing, but at the end of the day it comes down to people.

So the people that we’re dealing with who might be involved in defect management or detailed construction or design, they may not be the people that you’re dealing with. So if you feel that maybe your customers or the people that you’re interfacing with could benefit from some of the brilliant thinking that we’ve had going on, then just let us know because we can hook them in. At the end of the day we’re a community.



[11:20 am] Deane Sales (Guest)

I would question how does an AOV mitigate the risk of system failure? what system is this refering to

[11:20 am] Ian Doncaster - FASS

AOV's cannot always fail safe depending on application

[11:22 am] Tom Spencer

We have been looking at the installation of AOV's to manage air circulation in a high rise. To elaborate, we have found that the current POV's at the top of the stairwells are causing cross corridor doors to pop open when there are high winds and an AOV would possibly mitigate against the risk of multiple cross corridor doors being open at any one time. I hope this makes sense.

[11:22 am] Deane Sales (Guest)

I would say that vandalism and components that are are not designed for environmental use as well as fire use

[11:23 am] Wayne Parris

AOV's that being used for daily venting are they designed for this.

[11:23 am] David Jones FCIOB (Guest)

an AOV and its system will probably only ever have one chance to mitigate a serious occurrence - it therefore follows any AOV and its controlling system MUST fail safe

[11:24 am] Ian Doncaster - FASS

change of use or application to include daily ventilation

(11:24 am] Deane Sales (Guest)

Also consider the viability of natural ventilation in high rise, is this the right application and should consideration then be given to mechanical

[11:25 am] Wayne Parris

Risk of falls from AOV windows

[11:25 am] Helen Buchan

There's often a disconnect between end user and designers of the building, who commissioned the installation. End users often don't know how often the AOV system requires checking/servicing

[11:26 am] Conor Logan

Item 1c risks that the AOV presents to others:

[11:26 am] Ricky Cook

Failsafe open isn't  achievable on all  electronic opening systems - drive open / drive close is often utilised with AOV Systems

[11:28 am] Conor Logan

Fall from height,

finger trapping, etc

Risk of falling components from height


[11:32 am] David Jones FCIOB (Guest)

Deterioration of gasket seals where plastics and rubbers reduce over time and become adhesive which can prevent vents opening

[11:32 am] Deane Sales (Guest)

should a reference be made to other guidance for smoke dampers in the comment about differentiation between types of smoke control, as assuming this is specific to Natural Venti Systems and not mechanical

[11:33 am] Conor Logan

Add risk of products being used as an AOV that are not tested and certified for that purpose

[11:35 am] Anthony Childs (Guest)

The main issue we have with AOV's being used as roof access is damage to the AOV, or the AOV arm being removed to give better access

[11:35 am] Ricky Cook

actuators are tested to open at least 10,000 cycles - Weekly testing and environmental cooling should be factored into the consideration of Preventative maintenance and replacement programme.

[11:38 am] Ian Doncaster - FASS

The product DOP will have the number of tested cycles and it could be anything from no declared performance to 10,000 or more

[11:42 am] Wayne Parris

Lockout: The system should only open on the floor where the activation is triggered and lock all other floors from opening.

[11:46 am] Wayne Parris

Integral actuators in AOV windows: How are they maintained or serviced once windows installed?

[11:47 am] Ian Doncaster - FASS

Note - If dual purpose for ventilation other AOV's should also close. Lockout is a cause and effect issue for the system rather than an individually AOV product issue.

[11:49 am] Tracie Reeves

Add in BS EN 12101-8 as a relevant standard for smoke shaft dampers as well as BS EN 12101-2 for AOV’s

[11:56 am] Jeremy Malet

So if an asset requires golden thread information history then its active?

[11:57 am] Ron Burns

For repairs and maintenance, the components need to be defined as part of the AOV. There needs to be a safeguard against a service company replacing a part in a n AOV which is not the original part used when the certification test was passed.

[11:59 am] Anthony Childs (Guest)

If its an older system would the standard not be what it was designed to at the time of installation

[12:00 pm] Conor Logan

I agree - how about fixed/variable.

[12:01 pm] Helen Buchan

Agree that static/dynamic is clearer and no chance of confusing the user of this document

[12:07 pm] Anthony Childs (Guest)

3rd party fire safety systems

[12:12 pm] Anthony Childs (Guest)

on new installations this info would be available, but maybe not on historic

[12:16 pm] Deane Sales (Guest)

insert a line into installation - Systems that are engineered solutions with deviations or variations against the current standards.

[12:17 pm] Ranie Goolcharan

Installations that form part of an engineered solution normally retrofitted buildings in arrangements that may deviate from traditional specifications.

[12:22 pm] Ron Burns

Does the AOV need to come to site complete or can the AOV be assembled on site?