Fire Stopping, Dampers, Partitioning or Compartmentation elements Meeting 13-01-2021
PAUL McSOLLEY I know this document is called fire stopping fire dampers. The one thing for me is that we've ended up having to break it all out. So we've got documents on fire dampers, documents on smoke control dampers, documents on fire stopping for pipes, trays, then stuff on flues. We’ve had to break it out because the seal rules are different, distances are different. Does that make sense? I don’t know if I’m being controversial.
GEORGE You're quite right, Paul, that what we need to do is to bring this back to is bring this back to the individual asset types. When we ran the first 3 workshops we did one on AOVs, one on fire doors, another on cavity barriers. They were sufficiently different that we had a complete workshop on each. What we were then trying to do was to try and streamline things and, to be honest this, this was really (audio cuts out). I wasn’t sure whether it would be meaningful to have a whole two hour workshop on fire stopping, but I actually think it probably would have been sensible to do that now and I think what we're actually doing with this information is that we’re going to be drawing this out into data templates working with BRE so that we can have something for fire stopping, something for smoke and fire dampers and something for dry walling, for example, which is another different element. From the last workshop where Joe Celia from FIS was on, Joe’s got a massive amount of knowledge about that sort of things, partitioning systems.
And in each of these cases that's why these groups are so important. You’ve got people like Paul, for example, you've got enormous knowledge on things like dampers and the other elements as well, smoke control. So therefore what we're really trying to do is get your steer and that's been really helpful what you've just said there Paul because it reinforces the fact that we need the detail.
PAUL WHITE I think maybe we shouldn't use the word fire stopping at all and we should use pipes and cables and dampers etc because the issue is that pipes and cables don't have a fire performance. The fire stopping that goes around them does, but the dampers and ducts, whilst they are fire stopped around the outside, they have their own performance. So you can't necessarily mix and match the materials that you would use just by saying, ohh, this is a fire stopping to part three. So maybe it would be better to look at the actual elements and call them pipes and cables and not fire stopping.
GEORGE (Regarding the first question) When we first started going through this with the HSE they basically said, and this is through the Golden Thread Initiative working group that I’m chairing, it's not so much the asset itself that's the critical thing, it's the risk that the a particular asset is protecting against. So what is it that could happen that this particular asset of fire stopping, for example, or a fire damper, or a smoke damper, what is it protecting against? By doing that what we’re trying to do is have a checklist of things that could happen that we need to be protecting against. So that’s point one. Secondly, on this there’s another part of the Golden Thread Initiative working group that we’re working with that's also looking at classification. So within Uniclass there are tables under the project management section to deal with risk. So one of the things that we're doing, we're taking this and feeding it back to the team that's working on that and the intention is this will be expressed with a classification in Uniclass, which I think it's a good thing. We don't want to be entirely reliant on Uniclass, but the idea is to try and flesh out Uniclass to be better. And by doing that, if we can then standardise the way descriptions or risks are defined, we can then standardise the way that you might mitigate a risk. So that's the idea.
PAUL WHITE The points that I made, the title indicated flats and apartments essentially, houses are slightly different. Generally you don't have compartmentation inside the flat or the apartment. So the point is, is that your compartmentation is the flat itself. You used to have to have fire doors inside, generally speaking you don't know because people just propped them open anyway. But the point is, it’s to remain in place as a concept the flat or the apartment would be its own compartment. So the flat where the fire is, it stays in there and it can't get into any other flats. Now the point about that then comes is where are your entry and exit points for services that would compromise that. So first thing would be where all your pipes and cables come in, then they would need to be fire stopped or collared or whatever you needed to do. One of the points that I made to you going through is that generally speaking you wouldn't have an air supply into a flat or an apartment from the common areas. So my point is I suppose that the other thing that we have got to look forward to is change. We also have Part L of the building regulations, which everybody knows and also we have Part F which are being revised. And one of the issues that we're going to have now is it's not places? 9mins 25secs not staying warm enough, but we're going to have to actually cool them now because they're going to get too hot. So at that point then we may well have new things going into apartments. You will need this at this point because if you start putting ducts into flats then you will need to protect them.
The other point that I made in my e-mail was the fact that if you have a common extract system which a lot of places, certainly older buildings do, then essentially they link all the apartments. So therefore all those extract shafts and ducts and whatever you have, toilet extract, bathroom extract, if they're all in there and they're not going straight outside then they are ducts and they will need protecting with dampers. You've got two things. You've got ventilation going in that may arrive, but you've also got extract systems that that could well be there even now…with heat recovery ventilation because that may be done on a flat by flat basis and that should hopefully just go inside to outside. But what I'm trying to say is don't just constrain this to your question, which is…I’m trying to broaden your focus because if you don't you will miss stuff because if you don’t you will miss stuff. It's all about ventilation, it’s not about fire stopping.
NICK One of the things I was thinking of which probably needs adding to this list is the risk of structural figures caused by things not being fire stopped, particularly where you've got things penetrating the external side, balcony brackets, canopy supports, all that kind of thing. Where if there wasn't fire stopping in place, it could damage the materials, the fixings and things could fall off if you like. And then there's two parts, that one is the obviously the risk of the structural components, but also putting in added danger to the Fire Brigades as well. That’s a couple of other things it mitigates really.
DAVID I can’t think of anything to add to this list and I think the comment Nick made about the structural safety is a really good one so it should be added. George, you spoke about ultimately this information making its way into the Uniclass system. I'm just wondering whether we could cluster these risks because in essence there are really 2 risks: it’s about people and it's about the asset. So the risks that we're trying to mitigate are all about saving people's lives and saving the assets. So I'm just wondering if kind of clustering these from a long list into something more readable and something more visual that there's value in just just clustering around those two.
GEORGE What we’re trying to do is capture the knowledge of the collaborative here. This is a data collection exercise rather than being how it's going to be consumed. So what we're doing with this already, we’ve recorded some of the work that we're doing with BRE on cavity barriers, for example, as to how this can then be taken and put them into data templates. Because once they're in data templates so that they can be consumed and presented in lots of different ways. And that's really where we're going to be going with this and you will see that when we look through some things are repeated in different sections and if you were just reading it as a document you might say why is it being repeated, this was already answered in question 4. The reason is because we want to make sure that they're self-standing in their own right and therefore can be presented as a package in whatever form people want to consume them.
PAUL McSOLLEY The big thing for me, when we get onto the next part of it, because the fields of how you install these things like dampers, fire stopping, is so different I just think how you do the data sets, when you look at what goes into the Uniclass, it’s gonna cause a problem if you don’t break it out.
MIKE SMITH I would definitely support including the Uniclass in these sections, it's obviously something that we need to promote more within the industry. So anything we can do to be starting to show Uniclass as being a classification system that we should support definitely behind that.
MARTIN In terms of this first question, I think it was your earlier speaker David who identified the risk. This question asks what risks and it’s a straightforward single answer relating to ensuring that the spread of fire and smoke doesn’t occur before the element to which it’s passing through. The other items you’ve got there are the consequences of that failure, not the actual risk itself. So I think it's more simplistic to keep it as the risk is failure of smoke and fire.
RICHARD I’m going to close that one and let’s move down to the second part of question 1. Question 1b: What are the risks that the asset itself is susceptible to? Has anybody got anything to add to what's already there?
PAUL McSOLLEY The big thing here for me, and you talk about Joe with the FIS as well, incorrect wall type and understanding the groupings of wall that’s tested. BS476 versus 1364 part 1 rule, direct compatibility with the test standards. And it's all about the incorrect vertical and it should say horizontal seal. There’s all different rules depending on what's been tested under what field. Just cause you test something to part 3, it bears no resemblance to what you test under part 2 and it's completely different to fire rated duct work. And when it comes down for us as a business about competency, who's down to install them, if I see a fire stopping company on site putting gypsum plaster around the damper I take a photograph and question why they're doing it because they’re not the right people to do it.
PAUL WHITE The last but one point, no builders frame to permit damper expansion. that's a bit of a misnomer. That’s a fairly old concept now, but basically it just needs to be installed according to their instructions whatever you use. So you don't need to put the so that…you need to delete that one. The point is that’s describing expansion and that's irrelevant. It's the damper must be installed according to their instructions. They've dealt with the expansion or not expansion. They've done all that for you, but you don’t need to build in expansion, and that implies that you have to make sure there's room for expansion and actually it’s been proven over years now that you don’t need to allow for expansion.
PAUL McSOLLEY The big thing for me on question 1b is that there's nothing wrong with dampers and ductwork, i’s all about the supporting construction. It's the wall that's always wrong, in my experience we don't build walls right. So I mean I just thought I'd put that little bit on the right hand side just to say it's about the supporting constructions.
GEORGE The purpose of us putting this particular question in, obviously the whole point about this is for you to give your knowledge and it's a matter of where we put it. The purpose of this question was really to say whether there's a particular thing that happens regularly that maybe a building safety manager needs to watch out for that could damage or impact on a particular asset performing properly.
PAUL McSOLLEY Yeah, and the wall is probably the biggest one. PAUL WHITE Yeah, and that’s Paul’s point, if they’ve mismatched the product with the wall or the floor then there’s a chance that it won’t work. GEORGE I see what you mean, yes. PAUL McSOLLEY It’s quite hard to articulate. The thing is I'm sort of down a rabbit hole with wall types. And I mean the business I work for at one point was saying that if you see marked it's fine. And I was like no, it's not fine because just because a damper is CE marked if it's been tested in solid you can't put it in flexible, if it relies on a wall with a certain thickness. And it all comes down to think what you're trying to achieve is if you change something out because it's broken, you can't just go and buy something different. You gotta buy something which works within the parameters of the wall type that you've got because it’s the wall that prevents the damper from failing because it is a supporting construction. And that's the bit, in my experience, we get wrong in every job we build the walls wrong.
GEORGE Yeah, absolutely. And just to reinforce that this is something that I've been talking with Joe Cilia about as well. And also it’s an issue, just to a slight tangent, the way BIM models are created. Because the typical way that a BIM model would be created for an internal partition wall would be to use a single element, a single fan, and then use annotation to differentiate the different sections and therefore you would not, within the BIM data itself, be able to differentiate between a 60 minute and a 30 minute property. This isn't the proper way that BIM models are created, but I'm talking about the practicality of people that are on a budget as to what they do and therefore this is something that we're trying to identify as being the way of doing it. Often wall thicknesses and wall properties are defined as just a in a finisher schedule whereas we need ti to be more explicit than that.
GEORGE (Regarding question 2). No this is the one that you’re quite right, Paul, we need break these out into the difference between fire stopping, and indeed the different types of fire stopping because you've got collars, you've got different types of products. You’ve then got things like the dampers and the partitioning. They're all going to be different elements. So this is, if you like, a brain dump of things that we ought to be including and it’s probably going to be, there's an additional piece of work that people like Paul White could help with. Where this is coming from is that there is no standardised set of information, properties, attributes that we have across the industry and that's where I'm trying to get to. There’s information from IFC, MBS, CIBSE, but none of them are comprehensive or consistent enough. I’d like to go get to be able to say against a fire damper what information explicitly do we want to hold against a fire damper?
PAUL WHITE George, from that point of view, if you if you can send me all the ones that you've got from those various different organisations I'm more than happy to go through those and tell you which ones are right and come down with a common list.
GEORGE I'd be very grateful for that and in fact what we're doing, obviously we're looking at this through the residential sector and in particular housing associations and social landlords. We've created this this entity called the Housing Association Data group and we've got several people looking at different asset types and it would be great if you could contribute to that. The work that we’re doing with the BRE is actually providing a tool to actually do that. So the other data set is from the builders merchants and the electrical and mechanical merchants. It's a data set from an international organisation called ETIM.
PAUL WHITE The Housing Associations, the area that they're going to be more interested in and the the area that they're going to be more at risk in is smoke control.
(Regarding Richard’s question if there is anything missing from question 2). Not missing, again, but proof for use in mixed penetrations. I’m not sure that any duct or damper is approved for use in mixed penetrations. There’s no testing yet because I've been working on the group where we've been trying to define a test for that. At the moment the rule is do not mix dampers, ducts and pipes and cables. Do not do it, there is no test evidence.
PAUL McSOLLEY Have you got the direction of fire on there as well or has that been missed? Within the classifications you've got some dampers were originally tested one way, not the other. They're all so different all of these different categories and how the fields work that if you mix them altogether, unless you break them out, you risk confusing people even more with it.
GEORGE I was on a meeting this morning, Mace were involved in it. We’re being asked to provide the attribute information is needed and actually the number of different attributes that are fundamentally different for different asset types is something that most people just don't appreciate. It’s so important that we are adequately explicit for each of the different asset types. So I'm absolutely on board with what you’ve said.
(Introduction to question 3). Where we’re trying to get to with this is to actually have something that is adequately a checklist that can be used to support a competent person that’s carrying out the work, or a person that’s employing a competent person so they can be aware of what they expect that competent person to be doing. That might sound overkill, but what we've discovered, a lot of the work we do is in PFI hospitals and the level of scrutiny of the maintenance activity that is carried out is becoming really important because they have to be able to evidence the fact that they've provided every possible support to the engineer that's actually carrying out the work that it's done properly. And that's why people are using SFG 20 so extensively as a checklist. So what we're trying to do, SFG20 is great, but it's not all all-encompassing. There's certainly elements, asset types that we've identified that aren't covered in it and also it's only really for maintenance and to some extent inspection, whereas what we need to do is also have a similar type of checklist for installation, commissioning and decommissioning. So that's really what we're trying to get to here if that's if that's possible. These golden rules (displayed on screen) are the ones that Joe Cilia has provided
PAUL McSOLLEY If I were to give you an example for, say, fire dampers you’d say always check the building movement and tolerance because the damper doesn't pick up deflection, generally the structure does. There is some deflection head dampers on the market, but generally the wall picks up the deflection. So you can end up with 250, 300 mil deflection heads which doesn't get accounted for. Things like always make sure the appropriate contractors responsible for the penetration seal because a lot of fire rated duct doesn't need a fire stopping company because again it's a penetration seal. So it’s slightly different, I don’t know how you want to tackle that one.
GEORGE Paul, that point you said about deflection, is that something that we ought to have as one of the information sets that we need in the asset?
PAUL McSOLLEY Yeah, I think what I'm gonna do is I've got a flow chart that we use for sort of thinking about all of this stuff early on for ducts and dampers and stuff and I should be able to sort of send a copy of it over. It talks about deflection and things you need to consider. About deflections, in part 3 it’s not so bad because the market has gone away and tested soft seals which are like an 80KG product over a 140, but in dampers and duct work is so prescriptive that essentially you’re testing a four sided hole. As soon as you go into a flexible wall the fire safety of the flexible wall kicks in. So if you look at how Bree BGs can build a wall, as soon as you've got 25 or 30 mil deflection you end up a 250-60 mil deflection head for the fire safety of the wall. And that's something that no one takes account for which is why everything goes down on sites or in the case of people doing three side apertures on site, but they’re not tested with a deflection head in there, so it’s not right.
PAUL WHITE I've been doing some work with Paul on that anyway. But also there are various checklists certainly for dampers and they would probably be good for dampers and to an extent fire resisting ductwork if that's applied here. So yeah, there are there are lists available and I'll dig those out.
RICHARD Question 3. So the usual question, has anybody got anything they'd like to add, subtract or amend on that listing?
EMMA Like I said in my e-mail, my LinkedIn message, this is a great way to do this if people are inputting before because it's so comprehensive and helps us all to see if there's anything that’s missing ahead of the session. So thank you, George.
GEORGE I think to add in what Paul was saying there about checking the deflection. So there's two elements to it. There's knowing whether the deflection is in the asset type, which is question 2, but I think we need to…. that there, for example, I've put in there an example from SFG 20. We’ve got the testing procedure from SFG 20 and also the maintenance procedure, but the interesting thing for what Paul's saying there checking the deflection is probably something that they wouldn't think of doing because it's not actually the damper itself that's being checked it, it’s actually the context. And I think that's a fantastic point, that you've got something else that's affected it and in fact actually on reflection we ought to also add that in to 1b.
PAUL McSOLLEY One of the things to consider, because I have to deal with procurement as well, architects do not design flexible walls, they do line and linear. So when you look at what you're saying in BIM, you'll get a block and that block, you don't know if it's two layers of board and the 70 mil stud, you don’t know what it is. And the problem is things like dampers and ductwork rely on the thickness and the aperture thickness and also the layers of board within that wall for their fire testing to be correct when you install it on site because you've got to install in practise as tested. So when you look at it in context is that if a big construction company like Mace goes away and procures the MEP contractor to go and buy all the kit and do all the builders work holes they're doing it in isolation of understanding what deflection is, how a wall is built correctly, what the thickness of the walls are required for the detail and it ends up that when the drywall contractors appointed later on it all then comes out of the woodwork. And this is why you get absolute crap quality on sites with some of these installation details because the way that things are being procured.
An architect can understand from a white book a thickness of a wall, I wouldn't really necessarily trust them to put a door in it, 16 different apertures and get the spacing right between all of them or the still channeling correct. it’s not their bag, is it? You need to give architects support as a builder. If you go back pre-2005 and builder control FPR etc reliance before all these prescriptive test standards were there, architects could probably do it, but the world we live in now where everything is so prescriptive about what’s being tested, you can’t expect them to do it. You need to give them all the detail and the support because one affects the other and vice versa.
MIKE? I think it's quite useful that you could go back onto competency here, because it's really important. I mean, again, the expectation that architects have full competency for these specialist sectors is wrong, completely wrong. They need the support of the specialists with the knowledge to make informed decisions, so it's a really good point here.
PAUL WHITE Just briefly going back to the prior page on the document, of the things that doesn't seem to be included in that first list there is there's nothing mentioned about the installation of the product in the first list, and that should be included in that list. If somebody's going to go around and do all these checks they're just functional tests, but if it's installed wrongly then it doesn't matter whether this works or not, really.
GEORGE No, definitely. What I definitely want is a list of the things that you need to watch out for in terms of installation and maybe even ahead of that, you know what should the manufacturer's checklist be?
PAUL WHITE I understand that, George, and I'll give you that. I'm just saying that that list basically says you've done a testing and reporting procedure but you haven't looked at how it was installed and that’s the fundamental point.
GEORGE Can I just clarify because it’s me that put that in, that’s an extract from SFG20s maintenance procedure. So you’re right, it’s not even commissioning, it's testing once it's been installed.
PAUL WHITE Yes, that’s right, but they should be looking at the installation as well. I’m quite shocked by that. Well, if they're going around and doing this, if it's not installed properly, there's no point in doing this.
GEORGE So a maintenance person, when they’re doing their six monthly maintenance, they should be be checking to see if it’s been installed properly. I suppose that then becomes the question, Paul, as to what would that maintenance person do that inspection?
PAUL WHITE Well. we then get back into the whole competency issue. So it's all very well going doing a mechanical check, anybody can lift the bonnet and check everything's there. Fundamentally they don't know whether it meets the rules or not, and if they don't know then you really need to do something about it. And the other point is, is it might be that it's damaged around the outside. So I don't like to use it, but the installation method, the fire stopping that's used might have been chipped away or it's not been installed properly or any of those and that's not covered here and I'm quite shocked.
IAN Picking up on what Paul was saying, but surely it should have been commissioned properly in the first place. So that's not maintenance. So if it's not been installed correctly, there are big issues about things not being designed and installed correctly, but surely that's the stage before and at the maintenance stage you shouldn't be having that discussion. I mean obviously if it’s badly wrong somebody should notice it but the detail of that should have been done in the installation commissioning phase, not in the maintenance phase.
PAUL WHITE Yeah, Ian, I understand what you’re saying and if it was a new building, I think you might be lucky. But we have a whole load of stuff out there…it’s all the existing stuff. There’s literally 10s of thousands out there that probably not installed properly.
GEORGE I think what we want to do is have a 360 view on these things so that the person that's actually going to do the maintenance, there should be a process and a conduit where they can report back the sorts of things anyway.
MIKE Yeah, I’d agree with that, George, although the focus may be on existing buildings, I mean I think the transition from new build and CapEx to OpEx scenarios is really critical and that loss of information from that sort of disconnect between front end teams and back end teams can lead to significant problems. So definitely something to address.
RICHARD Let’s move onto question 4 which is about competency, one of our more lively sections. What competency training should be in place?
PAUL WHITE Just in the background to this, we’re doing some work through ADCAS on looking at their installer schemes and that's also going to uncover cover the installation of dampers and there is a level of training we’re aiming that people would follow as well. There are in place or will be in place very soon national occupational standards for the installation of fire dampers. And there is unfortunately only one course available at the moment that's there underwritten by UCAS and CITB and again might lead to card carrying members and all the rest of it. So a lot of this work is ongoing. And the Smoke Control Association, again we now have a third party installer certification scheme and we're working on the competencies that need to go with that. All of this is cart before the horses, I think we know, because nobody ever realised they needed it, but if it we don’t start then it won’t get there. I think the requirements gonna come before the ability to be able to get it. But again, hopefully if there's a requirement then that will generate people actually providing the services.
RICHARD Can I just actually just interpose something there? I know George mentioned it earlier, but in the document that we produce, we’re calling it a document, it's going to be online and it's going to be dynamic in that it will be amended, changed, added to on an ongoing basis, it will never be finished. But within that, we’ll call it a document, there is an appendix which has your comments, your points that are not answering the questions, but are adjacent or important points that need to be made and considered. So nothing's wasted or lost.
GEORGE Yeah, what we’re trying to do, Paul, is to put the answers to the questions in a form that we can then put into software applications, for example, to form a decision making and then also, because one of the concerns that we've got is that this whole process is generating a plethora of documents. I saw one that had been issued last Thursday which has come out of the HSE which is a 30 or 40 page document that explains what ought to go into a safety case report. And it’s great, but it’s a hell of a lot to read and consume. And we're probably getting two of those a week.
EMMA? George, I could not agree more, the amount of information that we've all got to read and keep it up to date with. You know, I've just created a building safety case and now I've got this 40 page document to match it to. We've all been asked to not wait and get on with this. And we're all doing things and as you do them, information is being released and you're then having to change things. And it's great. I mean it's the biggest change in in the sector, isn't it? But sorry, I just wanted to say hear! hear!
GEORGE And the point is if we can try and organise this in a way that is more standardised then it means that when you answer the question, let's say for example on the point Paul's made earlier on smoke control, there's probably things that are generic about smoke control that could be applied to 10 different asset types. And therefore if you can answer the questions and get that information organised properly. There’s also going to be other information that's needed for different asset types regarding smoke, but some of the questions and some of the answers are going to be quite common. So if we can try and organise the information properly we've got a much better chance of people consuming it, I think all too often in the BIM world you end up with an employers information requirements or whatever which is maybe 200-300 pages. Nobody stands a chance of interpreting all of that. All it is a way of passing risk. And what we're trying to do is say how can we then make that more consumable and properly reusable.
PAUL WHITE understand what you're saying is also, but what you tend to find is less is less sometimes. And you need to be careful because you need people doing this who are competent. And if people think they're competent and they're not, then that is the biggest problem because, I’ll tell you what, they outnumbered everybody a hundred to one.
GEORGE It’s a competency and training at an industry level and then there’s additional training needed for the individual products, the manufacturer's product, and therefore we need to recognise both of those.
PAUL OAKLEY So we're back to one of my favourite subjects, actors. So basically at the moment you just really have the manufacturers and the installers. But there are specifiers, there are maintainers, there are transporters, it’s defining these sets of actors and then each of those would have a specific competency set against those. So the focus here seems to be basically about the competencies only on the manufacturers and the installers, but there's other people involved in the in the system that needs to be picked up.
PAUL McSOLLEY The experience we have at the moment in this side of construction is that if you don't allow for the fire detailing at the start then suddenly you get to contract stage of a builder and all this deflection comes out of the woodwork. Everything you had drawn, it’s what MEP consultants will do because they're not experts on how dampers are tested. All types of the slab are suddenly 300 odd mil below the top of the ceiling, and fundamentally the building doesn't work. Then you’re putting the pressure back on, get the fire stopper in to solve the problem who is actually in the wrong person for dampers because of part three. We see this sort of shindigs going on all the time on jobs at the moment, which have been through planning the last sort of two or three years.
GEORGE I was just going to ask her a question. I was talking with Howell from CIBSE on Friday. Howell made the point that design is a very important part of fire stopping and it's just occurred to me just in that conversation, Howell will be looking at things probably from the building services engineers design perspective, but when we talk about the design of fire stopping would that be done by the M&E consultant or would it be done by by the architect? Or would it be done even by structural consultant?
PAUL McSOLLEY In construction, let’s talk about procurement, generally we’ll hire the building services engineers and the subcontractor to draw it all out before drywall was involved or before brick and block works involved or the fire stopping is was even appointed. We have changed that but a lot of people haven't. So then they're thinking the architect who had never built a dry wall in their life, no disrespect as you can’t really draw that. So by the time that dry lining contractor is on board and fire stopping that horse has well and truly bolted. And that lies the current problem in the industry. So when you look at it on competency you need to have the right horse for the right course on at the right times. You've gotta have a damper supplier because they all make different products that are only applicable for certain circumstances. You’ve got to have that knowledge of what you’re buying.
There’s two things you need to do: one is traditional procurement, and this all comes from the client side, you have a PQS who wants to get the cost down, it goes out to the market for cots advice. but all the time this job’s going through planning with no detail in involved. So you're gonna end up with services designs which are drawn to technical design at 4A which don't take due account of deflection heads and spacings in walls because that's a specialist function as CDP from the drywall company, a damper supplier or a fire rating and smoke control company. Horses’ bolted. It will not fit.
GEORGE Howell was obviously promoting the role of the M&E consultant in that process. But just thinking about what you just said there, the majority of the work, in my experience, the majority of building services that are installed do not follow what the M&E consultant has specified. Even when there's a coordinated BIM model that would typically be done by the installation contractor and they wouldn't use the M&E consultants model. That's my practical experience. So therefore actually when Howell is saying that the fire stopping should be designed presumably by an ME consultant that wouldn't actually work in reality because the decision as to what pipes are going through or exactly where that pipe is going through would be done by the fire stopping subcontractor.
PAUL McSOLLEY And every system is different. If you look at it in BG6 terms, in BG6 you’re supposed to get rid of all critical clashes. My argument is I don't think you can do it anyway because MEP consultants don't make fire dampers, they don't make fire rated duct work and they do not design drywall. And when you look at the drywall industry, they don't make dampers. And when you look at the damper industry, they don't make drywall. And that's the risk. And that is the issue really of having all direct fields of application to test standards that all go back to the same test proceedings under EN. Getting getting the damper manufacturers to open their eyes to walls, I think you'll always struggle to do it.
IAN So if I could sort of pick up exactly what Paul was saying. We’re specialist designers and installers of smoke ventilation systems, smoke control systems. And that's exactly the problem we find, that we get all these bits where a consultant has specified something, but we've actually got to make a system that works and we've got to cover all of those aspects. And we find the space isn't there, things don't fit, we can't coordinate things and so the specialist knowledge to actually make the whole system work from a smoke ventilation point of view is where we struggle because we end up having to pick up what has been allowed for or done by people who aren't specialists. And they've got something that may be generally right or maybe frankly a long way away. And it may be specified by architects or consultants, but they're not specialists. So they don't get those details right. And when you actually build it and try and make it work, those details have got to be right, there's nowhere to go then.
How that information gets back into the model, it depends what sort of contract we, from our point of view, what we’ve been working on and who's doing that sort of coordination. But from a BIM point of view normally someone else is doing that with information that we were supplying it.
GEORGE Yeah, so in practise to fulfil your function, I’m not suggesting that this information should go back into the 3D model and we can have a separate conversation on that. I’m just trying to understand what you're likely to use and broadly for your purpose, for you delivering what you need to do, you don't actually need it to be in a 3D model. For your purposes you’re using information that’s already in a 3D model but there's no necessity from your perspective to put it back into a 3D model.
IAN So do we personally get any value from putting it back into 3D model? Obviously there's going to be maintenance further down the line and so on and so on. I think it would be fair to say that it is limited in terms of it tends to be contractual more than of value. But then you've gotta coordinate your models anyway, so somewhere down the line if it doesn't go back in the 3D model, something else crops up somewhere else down the line. Which is the old age-old coordination problem that you that we're trying to get round with BIM.
GEORGE Yeah, what I'm trying to do is just understand what data, forget the 3D geometry as it were. I'm just talking about the data, what we're going to be doing with this. We're trying to define what information is needed irrespective of how it's going to be stored.
MIKE As a BIM manager what I find on most of these things is absolutely everything that you guys have just discussed in the last five minutes is all about what BIM should be about, covering all of these aspects. But what's interesting about the challenge of this is that what this leads to is actually, you said earlier on George, is very large documents with lots of information within them, which then becomes the Achilles heel of actually then being run through. So we've talked about responsibility matrixes, well those are key documents and you can allocate who's responsible for these things. You can talk about task information, delivery plans and all of these documents and terminologies and things which BIM is about. But it leads to very big, complicated documents that then take considerable time to process and digest and procurement programmes that typically don't allow for all those things to happen in a sensible manner. It's a big animal, this.
GEORGE It is, and one of the things that we're working on is making all of that information more machine readable so that you can actually build that into a master information delivery plan, for example, it should be structured in a data schema which then different software applications can use. So the common data environment, for example, should be reading from that and that master information delivery plan and the AIR to then automatically validate to see whether that information has been provided. Unfortunately that's not the way it is at the moment, but that's the journey that we're on.
MIKE Absolutely, couldn't agree more. Just picking up on I think what Ian was just talking about, modelling information, and again that's something that we regularly have challenges with. Supply chain and specialist advisors are able to provide us information, but quite often they don't have information to be able to populate models with which contain useful information that can then flood through to all those data sets and information. So there's still a requirement from a supply chain end and also quite importantly from a client end actually making sure that they ask for the right information right at the onset of projects.
PAUL WHITE One of the things I’m trying to do with the ADCAS and the Smoke Control Association documents that I'm working on is actually show who needs to be competent at any given stage. And I'm trying to include in the designer that possibly the architect, the building control officer…presenting what they need to be competent in. I’m trying to develop tables like that. I'm only aware that that there's three different BIM models at the moment: there’s the architect, there's the designer and then there's a contractor, and they don't talk because the people at the top don't know what to put in the model and it's populated by the third people in the queue who aren't solving a problem, not solving a design. If that makes sense.
GEORGE On most projects were involved with we have between 25 and 40 BIM models. Not 3, because each work package typically has its own model what we need to then to do is to federate those different models. You've then got all the information that isn't modelled which can be delivered as COBie outputs. It doesn't have to be modelled, so you've got on a job, we’re just doing a university complex in in Dublin at the moment, there’s 87 work packages and there are I think 35 BIM models. So yes, I'm just reinforcing the point.
IAN Competency is a very difficult one and we're working on quite a few things that we've pooled on with some of the associations and so on. And yeah, it's such a difficult one, competency and at what level and at what stage because we've got people focusing on the people delivering on site, but then if it's not being designed right in the first place because there's a lack of skill and expertise in that area, then it doesn't matter what you deliver on site. So it's how you address all the levels.
RICHARD Absolutely. I think from what point what Paul White said he was doing that that is absolutely the route, isn't it? You've got to define it at a very granular level, exactly who's got to have what competency and when, and how do you prove it. Which is the next bit, which is the third party assessors, and who assesses the assessors?
IAN And the weakness of not having people doing assessments who are assessing assessors who know less than the people they're assessing sometimes. It’s ridiculous sometimes that you've got people doing assessments who are very genuine, but just don’t have the…
GEORGE There was a fire risk assessor who was on the on the workshop a few weeks ago for when he was talking about fire doors and he went on a NEBOSH training course a few years ago. He finished the course and the requirement was then for him to go off and do a fire risk assessment and then submit it back to NEBOSH for approval. He did that and he passed it and then thought how do they know it was me that did that? They didn’t visit the site with him so they don't actually know whether he picked up everything he was supposed to pick up. But he's got his new Bosch qualification.
EMMA Sorry, George, I wouldn't say that that course would quantify somebody to be a fire risk assessor, I’d put my health & safety manager on it, not a fire risk assessor. That course is to give someone an overview of fire safety really. And the practical task is to do the fire risk assessment. I mean, honestly, I certainly wouldn't employ somebody with just that as a fire risk assessor.
PAUL WHITE This is very difficult because I suppose officially I'm not competent because I can't give you any certificates about anything that I know, I just hope that I know it well enough. But I've been on a couple of courses and they wouldn't be necessarily how I would have run them and they don't have anywhere near enough information as far as I'm concerned. And I think your point is that I kind of, at least I know what I don't know and I'll be honest enough to admit that.
RICHARD They had a very interesting discussion, actually, in the first tranche of meetings about how to pass on and evaluate acquired knowledge. Because you get these old guys who've been knocking around for 50 years, and then they know more than anyone else. But how do you pass it on? And it's the age-old story, isn't it? The answer is, usually you don’t.
IAN It’s all very well doing the training and it's important that people do the training. But then it's about the experience, but you’ve also got to temper that with there's a lot of people that have been doing it for 50 years that have been doing it wrong for 50 years. Just because people talk a lot and they've been doing it long time, doesn't actually mean that they know what they're talking about. It's just that no one else has ever challenged them or they perhaps knew what they were talking about 50 years ago, but it's changed. Things have moved on, technology has moved on. I mean especially with controls and things like this, it's a completely different game to when I started doing it and you have to move on. And so you need training to keep people updated, CPD, all of these things are so important and the concept of competence like we say is, it's not just a one term thing, is it?
GEORGE I think that's really where I'm coming from, Ian, with the point about the checklists because it's critical that we've got people that are trained, competent, but we can't be completely reliant on that.
There is one thing I would just add and that is that we're working on a large innovate UK project with Laing O'Rourke and one of the partners on that is an organisation that you may come across. called Dynamic Knowledge. Debbie Carleton heads it up, she’s advising MHCLG on competency. She’s a specialist in this whole are and she’s also working with direct Works and ACAS on their training schemes as well.
RICHARD Let’s move on to question 5 which is about change management.
GEORGE So this is one of the areas that I think is so important and it's an interesting one in that was talking to the manufacturer last week and he said, well, the whole thing about the golden thread is about change management. And I said, well, you're quite right that part of it, but it isn’t the only part. What he's frustrated about is what happens in the industry is that he'll work with designers to come up with a solution to a particular problem. They'll innovate around it, they'll invest quite a lot of time and effort, and then when it goes out to procurement, he gets swapped out for an alternative product that may or may not meet that specification. I've spent a lot of time really looking at how, let's say an NBS specification, is put together. I've sat down with architects who have used the NBS spec to be able to come up with what that performance is and actually when you look at what that is, it requires a lot of interpretation by people. And the only way really of doing it is to go to a manufacturer to see whether that particular specification can be met by a certain product. And it's that type of cyclical thing that that Paul's been talking earlier.
So what we therefore need to do is to have something where there's a rigorous change management process. I don't think we're gonna go back to a situation where a designer specifies everything. A designer will probably recommend things but then we need a robust way of making sure that when something is proposed, I can see the flashlights.
RICHARD An interesting point somebody made, actually. I think it's in question 5 somewhere in the notes that designers are very wary about recommending anything for legal reasons and fees etc. There not always very comfortable with that.
MIKE Okay, where do we start on this one? This has probably got lots of different directions it could take. So take let's go for starting off early designs. I think Paul earlier on has mentioned it a couple of times about how design processes go and about how the involvement of specialists can come at different stages. And again that probably runs very parallel with how we would specify things. So you're dead right. I mean for us clarity at the onset is is so helpful if we know whether we are performance specifying an object or actually naming a specific product, it helps us significantly early on in projects and we very rarely get clarity on that if we're honest. So some things we know are being named and we can go with a product and we can engage and other things we don't. And like you say we get a lot of challenges then if we invest a huge amount of time with a company only for that company then to be value engineered out because somebody else comes along with a specialist. The new BSR requirements which if they come into force from April of next year, I think will significantly help that for projects and buildings that come under its focus. Now as we understand it, what will happen there is you will get a building regulations approval for detailed specification requirements on all elements of work and should you then change or vary a product, you have to resubmit your building regs application.
Now that puts a huge emphasis on getting your building regulations applications correct and also puts a big timeline in your programme for addressing those concerns. So value engineering would or change management of objects will be significantly more time embargoed to make sure it goes through more rigorous process. Now I can't see there being many changes then post-building regs because the impact would be on prelims and costs for construction programmes if you're waiting for changes to be run through. So it's likely that more time is going to be invested at the detailed design to get it right prior to actually commencing on site.
PAUL WHITE This is the point. I mean the key thing that we're talking about here, certainly with ducts dampers, be they fire or smoke control, there's a very clear classification process and there's a very clear statement in the approved documents that it should be this, this, this and this. And as long as that’s specified with a little bit more information, then it's fine. The issue is that when it comes down to it, the product is clear. The issue is you can't install this product in that wall or there's not enough space for this product because it needs too much space and it's all about the coordination of the services. And I call it space, it’s the final frontier. If we put space in for all the services then we'll be alright. But the problem is that nobody ever thinks that you've got to run ventilation and pipes and cables round buildings when they design them. And then if you take lettable space, nobody likes that very much, so you get put into smaller and smaller areas which you can't install the products properly. So unfortunately it still does come back to this is the product and that's the performance, what size hole does it need in this type of wall or floor.
PAUL McSOLLEY The point to add to it is that the classification codes are different. A smoke control damper is different to a low leakage damper which you might refer to as sometimes an MSFD but it's a low leakage fire damper. The classifications are different, one's got operational classification one hasn’t, and the thing is when you look at consultants, and we’ve had this personally where we’re going to a well know consultants and the first question they ask is what is the smoke control damper? And these are the guys that are specifying it and no disrespect to them, it's just that the world has become so much more complicated. They don't really know what to specify anywhere. They know they need something to control smoke, but they'll mix it up with something that prevents smoke going through it. You see where I'm going with this. So you've got that kind of issue in there. The other thing I think as well to bear in mind is that we have PT slabs now. Compartments on horizontal have been pushed down to the hilt especially on resi. These details need space, PT shrinks more, moves more. When you look at, you said there yourself Mike, with the building safety regulator you're not going to change products. What will happen is if they class a product in a spec, we’ve had this recently saying you must have it to this standard. The fact it isn't drawn to that standard doesn't come up till it's too late. That's the problem.
And I think when you look at most of the contracts are design and build where we are responsible for the discrepancy and statutory matters, everything that's been done including the pre work of the consultant. If it’s drawn wrong at planning you're gonna get a regulator beating you up as well as a client with a contract because things aren't adequately to be installed to statutory compliance. So that's what we're going to kind of find. That's my fear with it. So just give you a bit of insight to that you know obviously with PT pushing the buildings down as well. PT is post Tension slabs. They bounce more. If you’ve heard about creaking buildings syndrome, the buildings creak like ships, it’s all to do with PT. Circular buildings are worse, but they twist them with the kinetic energy comes out of the top of the head track. It does sound like you’re on a sinking ship.
MIKE This goes round in the spiralling circle again, decisions being made about the primary structure and approach and the primary structural strategies, that then comes back to the types of walls, the deflection heads, the ceiling zones and you sort of end up with this spiralling challenge.
GEORGE What's just hit me there is that the structural risk elements of the building safety case in the golden thread, nobody's mentioned to me until you've mentioned it this morning, this thing about deflection. But what you and Mike have just been describing there is that about the twisting and that that movement, as it were, is obviously something that structural engineers will have taken into account. In various different conversations on this under the Golden Thread initiative with other…in fact the risk group that is looking at this type of thing hasn't mentioned that at all. So that's a very interesting one. Emma, have you heard of that at all with your safety case?
EMMA I haven't actually. I've just written it down to have a little Google of it. I'm just writing the building safety case for our first building, so just for everybody knows that we've got one building going to be in scope. So we're really fortunate and we're just like everybody else. We're just fumbling around in the dark trying to put it all together. So no, sorry, I can't add anything there.
MARTIN Structural engineers should have a full briefing of what they should be designing for. We we have this particularly with structural timber buildings where the deflection of those products can interfere with the fire protection significantly. It should be very much part of the structural engineering briefing pack and they should be taking responsibility.
PAUL McSOLLEY What you find with PT, it's a bit like if you design a bridge and you have eight different designers, that bridge is going to do one thing. Either wobble like the wobbly bridge in London, or it's going to fall down over a period of time. So what we found is with PTs it goes to a third party to design it. And what happens then is all their assumptions on lateral stability don't actually become true. So the thing moves more than it should do. Getting back to your point, Emma, I’ll send you some slides that talks about movement because you've obviously got dead loads, you've got live load and you've got fire load as well. So one thing you should never find is fire dampers installed through steel beams because there's no test method in the latest way of actually proving that they work so you have to go below them. And this is a common one we've had on jobs as well, having to move stuff away from steel beams because some of the stuff if it’s painted will deflect up to 50 or 60 mil. When they get past malleability of 450, maybe 520, they they start to move. So all that stuff has to be considered early on, otherwise you'll put stuff in which you'll get a reasonably hot fire and suddenly all the fire detailing goes out the window because it's not cognitive of it, especially dampers and ducts because they're not designed for movement anyway.
You can't put ductwork through beams on the compartment line because the standard supporting construction is stipulated in 1366 Part 1, everything else is called other. And the problem you find is if you put fire rated duct work through a steel beam which is encapsulated because that gives you insulation it’s only applicable to the type of beam and encapsulation that you've used. Then you've got to test it both ways around. Then if the beam's different, that's a new test. People shouldn’t put ductworks through beams. This is what I’m telling you about the safety case, the MEP consultant is not an expert on what’s been tested and the structural engineer says I want a performance of 550 on a beam and maybe they go 620, and that will be it. The fact that the MEPs coming through it the service is like your duct work and your dampers isn't something that tests and accounts for, so you cannot install them in it.
PAUL WHITE This comes down to my point of space and if somebody sees a beam with some nice holes in it, they stick stuff through it. But there is no test evidence for dampers and ducts going through those holes in beams. There could be, but there isn’t. But then as Paul just said, it becomes complicated because your field of application isn't very broad. So if you had a 350 diameter hole and you stuck a 300 damper in it that would be the maximum size you could go up to. You couldn't suddenly say if I go bigger it'll work because you're not allowed to do that.
GEORGE I'd like to pick this up in a separate session if we can, because this is really, really important, what you've just revealed to me anyway. This sounds to be something that we ought to flag up as being something that we need to look at separately. So coming back to the change management process, what we’re really saying is that what we need to do is to capture the baseline information set at each work stage so that before a change takes place we’ve got enough information about what the initially intended product would be. And then when it changes, that should go through maybe a technical submittal process. It was technical deviation that Audrey came up with. Audrey’s an architect that's been working on a number of the other work sessions and she used the term which I thought was very effective. And that rather than just being technical submittal it she called it technical deviation. I don't know if that's something you've come across? I thought it was good as it actually expresses it well.
MIKE The key with change though, it’s where change comes in a project. So in the early stages of projects, change can be very fluid. And it's part of the process of developing a building, it's an architect and engineer and MP consultant all managing to a point. But there's certain stages when the management of the change needs to become more rigorous because a process needs to be rerun to assess it. So in those early stages, there's lots of we're designing layouts, we've got structural engineers designing frames. We've got M&E people giving us zones. And then there’s those changes that then come that have impacts that need to rerun those things. So change management is an interesting one because it has different impacts at different stages.
RICHARD Well, change happens after a decision. If there’s been no decision made there’s nothing to change. What you're saying about within the design process, people putting their inputs and that's consultation, isn't it? But once the decision's made, then it can be changed. Before that there’s nothing to change.
MIKE That’s a really good point because quite often the hope is that we go through these, and again go back on BIM, go back on data sets and the stage approvals, the idea is that we submit information, there is an approval to it and then you move forward. Well regularly that programme and that procurement is happening at such a race that actually there probably isn't the right due diligence to check designs at the right stages. And then what's happening is it's already developing before it's really been agreed.
PAUL McSOLLEY Adding to what you’re saying, Mike, I’ve had a project where I’ve got dampers in the basement which are MSFDs on the drawing. Someone’s gone I want a part 2 motorised fire and smoke damper, it’s on the supply system to a big smoke control system in the basement. And you look at it and go we’re gonna change the damper to another one and another one comes in at part 2. The problem is the damper is the wrong bloody damper anyway, in the spec it’s the wrong damper, fundamentally it’s not right. The problem is you specified a part 4 system but you put a part 2 component on it. The problem is how does that get picked up. We’re gonna talk about change, the performance has got to be right for the situation. It’s got to be this is the standard you’re installing to, it’s right for the application, wall type is this and all that stuffs got to be ? 1hr 44mins 21secs because otherwise if you do like a technical deviation and you’re deviating away from something which is technically incorrect in the first place or you deviate to make it right, has the HSE picked up on it? Not sure they will do because we struggle as an industry to pick up on this stuff. That's why we use Paul and other people as experts to look at jobs for us. How does that work in the change process? That would be some fault about how we pick it up. Is the performance right in the first place? That’s probably the first question you need to ask.
PAUL WHITE That’s one of the points and we're talking about specifications and the specifications are fundamentally wrong. I think somebody mentioned the NBS earlier, I'm seeing a lot of specifications that were…they start NES so I assume that's either the current or the old National Engineering Specification. But then that's taken and then people cut it and copy and paste it, not knowing what they’re doing. And they put all the standards in at the end so that they can’t be wrong. We need BIM to help us with that to say you can’t mix this with that. If in your model your original one says it’s damper X and the hole size needs to be Y, if you get damper C and the hole size needs to be size E are those two at least compatible before you start. That’s your change management is how do you stop things just being changed just by being changed? Is there any security we can build into that to say, ohh hang on, you can't put that in this cause there's not going to be a big enough hole.
GEORGE I think the important thing here as well is that the change management that we've largely been talking about is during the design and construction process. And what we're actually looking at as well is the use of the building over the next 50 or 100 years. And therefore there needs to be the brief as to what the product was that was installed and also, as Paul was saying there, the context in which it was being used is critical.
MIKE I think a thing to pick up here though George. I mean again you just scroll down onto my image that I think you included. There is a big important thing here that we regularly find in in the BIM world that isn't necessarily fully understood or undertaken and that is the transition between PIMs and AIMs. So, if you think about it project information model, the multitude of Revit models that are produced to deliver a scheme are one part of a process. There should be a secondary process which is the transition of that information into an asset information model. Then it's used by clients to look after their assets afterwards. Now that's really useful because there's a whole dialogue that happens to the delivery of a building and then there's a process which is looking after an asset for the rest of its 50 year life. But at the moment that process is never usually done correctly, they just take the model and then they just say there it is. They don't do the process of extracting all the information and only giving the key things from that point forward.
PAUL OAKLEY Picking up on that, the issue is we have design and construction models and we've been talking about the changes between the two and there's also a liability associated with those models. I know particular projects I've worked where contractors made changes to specified products and asked us to update those within our models for delivery, but we refused because as far as we were concerned, those products did not meet the required specification. And it will happen vice versa. But it is clearly defining who has responsibility and liability for the information provided as part of that whole change management process.
DANIEL I was going to really echo what Mike was saying about the asset information model, the need to actually get that done because otherwise it just becomes out of date. The other thing we’re doing a lot of re-cladding projects post Grenfell, and even our models that we’re digging back, there made with old software that you’ve then got to scramble around to bring that information forward and it’s going to be even harder. i mean that’s our own stuff, we’ve actually been going out and getting a lot of surveys of buildings done because there is just no information out there what it was.
MIKE There really is no sort of mechanism truly in place to ensure that record information, as built information is actually correct at the completion of a project. As you said there's regularly different challenges that exist and that shows its case really well when you ask a client to provide you with information about their building and it's so out of date, not updated or so incorrect. That causes you initial problems from the onset.
GEORGE I'm cautious about saying this but because I don't want this to be a promotion thing but Active Plan does exactly what you just said there, Mike, and also, Dan. we're working with PRP on the asset information model side of things as well. I absolutely endorse what both of you have just said, but we've got some pretty robust ways of dealing with that handover between project information and the asset information and managing it for the next 50 years. The other point that I would just quickly make is that people perceive that when you go from PIM to AIM that’s the end of the process, but actually what you'll find is that the AIM has got lots of projects going on which also need to be captured, ideally using COBie, because you've got mini projects which are also going to need updating. So it’s a cycle we move through on that.
IAN What Paul was saying about products just being wrong, welcome to my world, it’s a very big issue. But we also work a lot on refurbishment projects, a lot on social housing and tower blocks and this sort of thing. And the number of times that we find there are issues because people have changed the building with no regard for fire safety whatsoever. And so whatever's installed just can't function because the whole design is now not fit for purpose anymore because the building is physically changed and it just doesn't get picked up. I mean, we've got lots of buildings we’re working on where the building was compliant when it was built with the standards of the time and then through the changes that have taken place and through it being done by people that had no regard for anything other than saving a bit of energy or a bit of comfort or something, they've disregarded fire safety completely and ended up with a building that is fundamentally unsafe with no records of how it's ever happened. A lot of these buildings have been local authority controlled at the time, possibly, so there’s no building control, there’s no records, no nothing. And there's so many buildings that have been created like that, it’s frightening.
MIKE regarding anything to add to question 5. The only thing I just wanted to add was this role of the accountable person under the Building Safety Act, which could be a really significant part of all of this discussion. So this accountable person that then becomes the sole responsibility of keeping information on buildings up to date, that could massively have an impact on then the whole workflow of information being correct and processes to ensure that aims and so forth are right at the time of handing over.
GEORGE Mike, from what you were saying earlier with regard to the new Building Safety regs, do you see that we may be moving back towards the situation where more products and materials are going to be specified at the earlier stage of the project?
MIKE I think the challenge at the moment is that the BSR and the Act at the moment will only be applicable to certain building types and certain building types of certain heights. So if the building falls into this sort of high risk category, then it will follow this new route and that will add these additional processes to it, which I think will lead to that more product specified information being much more detailed pre-construction and therefore the process through on site will be much more just delivering what was designed. I think where the challenge lies at the moment is that that won't be applicable to all buildings and so you could find that certain buildings will go down the BSR route and certain buildings wouldn’t. So you will have different processes.
GEORGE I’ve got a question on that, just in our little community here. I’m led to believe that the 19 metre rule is more of a political thing than the reality. And there is a strong likelihood that the regulations as they stand will start to evolve into buildings that are below 18 metres, because it doesn't make sense that if you're in a building that's 16 metres or 17 metres high that you should be less safe than one that’s at 18 metres.
MARK I couldn't agree more, George. I think it's a really difficult situation at the moment, this 18 metre and also the determination of where this 18 metres is measured from because there's differentials of guidance you can find about where that should be measured to. It causes so much problem with us in all of our funding applications for various buildings we're working on that we need clarity or the ambiguity removed.
PAUL WHITE I would tend to see the same thing is that people who are working on those buildings that will push its way down to all their buildings because they won't want to risk being unsafe anywhere and they will follow belt and braces. And I think that's one thing that we should learn is that now people are being careful they're going to be careful everywhere. It's not just gonna be, ohh, well we can get away with it for this, I hope, there will still be some people who are playing the game but I think that that's the case. And also we've seen changes in the marketplace and some of the issues that Paul alluded, some people are gonna struggle to get back onto some people's lists. So there's gonna be…this product suits this application and that product suits that application. So it won’t be a one manufacturer fits all scenario, people will say I know that that works in this application and this works in that application, so these come from them and these come from them, and people will do it now through their own integrity and wanting to keep their own businesses safe from doing something wrong.
GEORGE The other thing I would say is that the risks themselves, at the moment the whole focus of risk is on fire and structure, largely because of what happened at Grenfell. But when we were discussing this recently I was amazed that nobody had picked up infection control, just wasn’t on the list. Whereas ventilation and how that’s structured is something that clearly is a risk. I think the other thing is sustainability, environmental impact and all that sort of stuff, we need to be collecting that information as well because it will become part of legislation very soon. Therefore when we're actually collecting information, we need to be not simply focusing on the things that are a risk as far as fire is concerned.
PAUL WHITE When I started I mentioned changes are coming into Part L and Part F and we're sealing everything up but that means that we're going to have to get ventilation in. And your disease control, infection control is largely governed by ventilation because now people are going to say they want X amount of air change rates which is from an energy point of view it's really quite scary. But you’re right, we have to bear in mind that ventilation is going to change.
GEORGE Mike, I'd like to pick up with you on the asset information model side of things. If anybody else is interested in that we can give you some examples of the work that we're doing with PRP. actually. Daniel, are you aware of what we're doing with Andrew Miller and the team? So we've got a couple of projects underway at the moment where we're doing it with existing buildings and on a new build that we're just doing at the moment with on Higgs for Peabody. And again we're creating an asset information model through the design and construction process that then they're going to use going forward. So we've got a range of things there that I think it would be useful to share. So I'll send a note out on that one as well. And then if you're interested we can have a chat about it.
PAUL WHITE I would be interested in that as well, certainly from the fire damper inspection side and everything else, because this isn't just an install issue anymore, it's a lifetime of the building issue and and we've got…there’s going to be a lot of expense where stuff's not right now, and then hopefully going ahead then we'll have all the correct information and it will make it easier and more cost effective for people. But I went into a hospital the other day and the only dampers that were installed probably correctly were the original ones and all the ones that have been put in afterwards we're not even close. And they were dampers where they didn’t even need them which is even worse.
GEORGE Even worse than that, we're working with Skanska Ng and Sodexo Interserve, Mitie, on hospital projects and the crap information that they got when they took over these PFI hospitals, it doesn't even tell them where the fire dampers are.
PAUL WHITE That’s exactly what I found, I had to go and find them. The state of trying to find stuff, I was going into plant rooms with half an inch of water on the floor and goodness knows what.
IAN Something around as a result of the way a lot of the contracts are let, a lot of the contractors allegedly make sure there isn't any information for somebody that takes over the contract. A purely commercial thing. So they deliberately make sure that all the records are there are no longer there when someone else takes over.
PAUL WHITE And also I did I did hear on PFI contracts that potentially the way it works is they don't highlight errors because if they highlight errors they have to fix them under the rules of their contracts. Therefore they don't bother telling anybody about them and then when somebody from outside goes in. But there must be some recourse through contracts and law for the hospitals on that. But I don't know. But it's a great contract to have. If you don't find anything, you don't have to fix it.
GEORGE One of the problems as well Paul is that generally the general managers of these PFI contracts, their tenure is worse than a football manager. The point is their focus is on the tenure that they’re in place. So in other words, if they can push something on to the next incumbent, then they do so because they're never quite sure when they're going to get sacked.