BIM4 HOUSING ROUNDTABLES FIRE DOORS 20210727 MEETING 2
GEORGE What we’re trying to do is add to the information which is being required as part of The Golden Thread. The challenge is providing the level of detail that actually an accountable or responsible person needs to be able to get. We were asked to look at it from a POV of risks, what risk is it that particular asset supposed to be mitigating. Therefore the 1st question we’ve got is very much trying to look at that side of things: what are the risks, and if we can get them in a form that will be standardised and articulated that would be helpful. As part of that process we’re working with other people who are specialising in these different areas. We’ve got a couple of other working groups within the Golden Thread Initiative, one is looking at risk management health & safety, we’ve connected up with them and are getting some Therefore the 1st question we’’re getting information through from them, and also with the Regulatory group as well.
I’m going to show you some of the work that’s been done to standardise the way to standardise the way risk is described in Uniclass. George shares his screen. This is the way all BIM data is being organised and what the guys have been doing is looking at these aspects, adding them in to Uniclass (it’s being discussed with MBS). So, if we’ve got some risks that we want to say add to failure to extinguish fire and risk management, there might be a sub-risk that we actually can identify that can then be properly classified and the overall objective of this is just to be able to organised information so we can then come up with some solutions to satisfy the risks. Now we’ll move on to the risks that you guys have identified.
RICHARD The first question: What risks do fire doors mitigate? I’m going to work on the assumption that most of you will have already read these. Most of these come from the first fire door meeting we had last week, plus what you’ve augmented the list with over the last couple of days. Is there anything there, or not there, that you consider to be glaringly absent?
ED All fire doors will stop smoke, it’s just a matter of how much, so doors fitted with cold smoke seals will obviously stop a lot more smoke than a standard fire door. So it's not one doesn't stop smoke, it's just they have different levels of protection. Because the first one says if smoke seals are fitted, well actually they all stop smoke, it’s just how much. I'm not gonna quote the late litres per minute, but you know they do define that in the standards.
DEBBIE My question is how do we ensure explicit traceability to the specific reference in the standard that would say what the rate of spread is, are we going to that level of granularity from an information management, or what I would actually call a digital knowledge management perspective?
GEORGE The point Debbie is making is very important. Obviously we want to be able to reference the standard, but we also need to recognise that the people that are going to be consuming this may not have access to the standard or they may not be able to interpret it, so therefore I think what we need to have here is both. We need the reference to the standard and also the explicit information that is either in standard or it can be interpreted by an expert from the standard.
DEBBIE Yes, but that’s another layer and you have to be clear, have line of sight and traceability interpretation. The third factor that we should make is assumption as these standards will be digitised very shortly. So they're not at the moment, but in my domain, because I come from competency management, we already make machine readable standards, competence frameworks, all of this stuff, and no one thinks about our domain in this context, but that's what we do. So we should be assuming that we're seeing increasing digitisation of regulations and standards down to at least the statement level, if not lower.
GEORGE Yes, I think that's our aspiration. I’m not sure that the reality of that will be with us that quickly. I hope it will, but I don't think we can rely on it. I think probably having access to what does digitisation mean, is it a PDF, in which case for me that’s.
DEBBIE That’s e-content, it’s not e-knowledge. It’s not a utility, we want to get to the utilitarian level. But also I think a point is that we need to look out from an information management, and this is also a knowledge management issue, we need to look at other disciplines who know how to do this stuff and we're not. The sector isn't naturally doing that. GEORGE I think the specific point that Debbie's made there ought to be in question 2.
GAVIN When I read through the list I thought it was good. but no one's mentioned the compartment so in my my return I've put the fire door forms part of the compartment line and then should restrict fire and smoke moving from one compartment to the other compartment. When you have a fire strategy your building will be, you’ll indicate where compartmentation is by a line and it’s known as the compartment line. The outline of a singular flat maybe one compartment, the corridor maybe a second compartment.
AUDREY May I explain more about compartmentalisation. What it is in real life is a block, it’s a separate block from the next one. So if a room or a flat is compartmentalised or has compartmentalisation the whole building is divided into segments which should be independent of each other when it comes to fire safety and fire stopping. And it may show on a drawing by a thicker line or by a border on another layer.
ED I'd written a similar comment about Compartmentation in my little bit on this one that can be used if need be.I covered it in three things: It’s maintaining compartmentation, protecting means of escape, and affording some protection for firefighting operations.
RICHARD So I’m going to say question 1a is complete. Question 1b is a new one, we’ve only just started doing that these last two meetings. Initially we were just focusing on the risk that the fire doors mitigated, we’r now looking at what are the risks to the fire doors themselves, to their performance.
GEORGE Can anybody come up with any examples that you’ve come across where the fire door has been compromised, maybe by work that’s been carried out or things that might have been…we had an example on the AOVs where somebody mentioned they’d come across a settee that had been just placed in the corridor, that’s a big risk if it had caught fire. So, it’s not just about the fire door itself or even something which is joined to the fire door. Are there any other examples of things that you've come across that compromise the effectiveness of the door?
GAVIN I have hundreds of examples that I could rattle through, ranging from residents removing door closers, people painting over strips and seals. Innocently people not understanding fire doors and under our own workmen possibly shaving doors because they need easing adjusting and not realising the tolerance and gaps and stuff. The list is endless on communal doors, constantly find them propped open by residents. Fire doors are continually compromised, sometimes temporarily so if a door is propped open you can remedy that quite quickly, but quite often more permanent issues. Even Police forcing entry to a door and then trying to stitch it back together, replacing glazing on a door and not putting fire rated glazing back in - there’s countless ways that a door can be amended post-installation that will compromise its integrity.
EMMA The ring type door bells are becoming a bigger issue. They’re quite a bit bigger, some of them require some wiring, all of which are compromising the fire doors. So people are thinking about the security against burglary and scams etc but not thinking fire safety and building safety. We also had an issue last year about data protection with the door bells, i don’t know what happened with that. We asked a customer to remove their door bell when they were in a flat.
DEBBIE If all of these interventions have implications on the performance of the fire door, should they be categorised by different kind of risk levels or something? There's lots of them that have just been mentioned and I can see them easily happening, but they will also have different risks.
AUDREY To go back to what Gavin said about glazing being replaced, if the glazing is replaced but the correct glazing bead isn’t put on around the vision panel then of course the fire door is compromised because the glazing bead has got to meet the fire requirements of the door. Secondly, where you have different kinds of ownership, and some housing associations and some buildings they give a certain percentage to social housing clients and other another percentage to people who've bought their own accommodation. Now, instructing somebody who's under social housing to do A,B,C, or D might be a little bit easier, but if the person has paid for the house himself and owns the mortgage then of course they’d be less inclined to go according to what the regulations are so I think that needs to be within the housing management a way of addressing this issue so that people who have bought their own homes with a mortgage are able to know that they have to follow certain guidelines. I think that is a serious issue.
GEORGE About different risk levels, I think the logic of having those things in some way identified and classified would be useful. The most important thing is to actually have them as a series of standardised descriptions, even if they're not classified, so that people can relate to them in a common way. One of the things, Gavin, that we're looking to do within Bim4housing, it comes onto the next question which is about experience, certification and competence and that is just having some sort of qualification on its own needs to be supplemented with people's real life experience. What Luke Hazelwood from L&Q said yesterday was that one of their guys, he was retired at 67 and he was the go-to guy that knew loads of things and how can we bottle that.
What I’m saying is that the experiences that Gavin was just talking about there, these different examples, what we want to try and do is capture those in some way (on an anonymous basis if that’s appropriate) because people like and learn from stories, people learn from examples. We’re putting something up on Bim4housing where we can have a black box section where people can say I came across this particular issue and then we can use that as part of the learning process. We’ve got a number of people that have volunteered to provide that.
RICHARD We're now onto question 2, which is what information do you need to know about a fire door to ensure it performs correctly? I’ll assume you’ve all had a chance to look at this prior to the meeting. Anything glaringly missing from there?
GAVIN The only thing I would not is it says ‘door to be tested from both sides’. That’s become the common expectation, post Grenfell, but actually when you look at the regulations (the annex of BS476) it's only doors that are asymmetrical, non-asymmetrical either, it’s composite doors that need to be tested from both sides. Timber doors, technically you could test from just one side. From my experience you'd always be better trying to get that test done from the flat side rather than the corridor side. I think it's just become industry norm though that everyone is expecting timber door manufacturers to test from both sides as well because the government put that out originally post-Grenfell, but actually if you look at the regulations it’s only composite doors that need both sides.
ED The reason being a symmetrical door will tend to fail opening towards the furnace rather than the other way, so you say that’s the weakest side, we’ll test it on the weakest side. Obviously composite's different because they're not symmetrical. Timber's been pretty consistent because we know how it behaves. It's when you put it together in a composite you can't guarantee its behaviour.
AUDREY It seems to me that a lot of these issues have to deal with the real things that happen within a housing association or a block of flats or a managed block of flats. Because if you're building, if there's new construction and you're putting in fire doors the guidance is to go for factory finish fire door, because that's when you get all the testing that has been done and the door comes in the door sets the whole assembly. And fixing it on site, what has to happen on side is that the compartmentalisation that that far door is fitting in should meet the requirements. And it's often does because the wall is given, unless it's a partition wall, is often constructed. I think what happens is when people are living in and then they make adjustments to the door. Maybe the door closer gets a little bit damaged, or they want to change the ironmongery or the kicking plate etc. and the screws and the fixings go deeper than they should.
I’ve been thinking about it, what do you do in that situation? If you look at Grenfell and alll the flats at Camden etc there were so many instances of that anecdotally, but what could the housing association do? Does it mean that, every now and again, one goes around and replaces all fire doors, or are you going to have to take on the risk of replacing part of a fire door (closer, hinges or tumescent seal). It’s almost like a Pandora’s box. And I'm not quite sure what the answer should be, but the housing association or the management team ought to take it on the chin and go round periodically and assess the fire doors because that is the first point of safety and if the fire door has gone you need to have a robust defense.
In terms of this question we should caveat it in a way to say that these things apply to literally when the door is in use, it’s not new. A new fire door should be factory finished, it doesn't have to be, but the guidance is go and get a factory finished, tested fire door assembly, and you put it into the wall that has been built to structurally accept that and the ironmongery and everything comes from the factory. They are the ones who would have done all the testing according to BS476 to BRE and all the testing and will have the certificate.
GAVIN Just two things, one picking up on what Audrey just said, The Grenfell Tower phase one of the inquiry has made the recommendations about fire door inspection. So I think that's probably your answer in that we will be duty bound to inspect fire doors periodically over 11 metres (I think it is). So that will probably answer that and we will be constantly managing and maintaining doors from there. In order to facilitate that though, and you a project that my company are doing at the moment, is you need a log of where all your doors are, to be able to track those and log those.
The other point I wanted to make was just this section here for me is the most important section of all of this, when you know when you get in the door in and it's the test evidence. Everything comes back to the test evidence. So the test evidence, everyone’s put down the type of door, the material, all of that should be in your test evidence and then that is your go to Bible, your gospel that you look at on site and it needs to replicate that. I’m still finding, even post Grenfell, so many fire door manufacturers are relying on global certification with not supported by a primary test evidence. A global test is where a fire engineer will say that door, those hinges, that closer, and that door frame, if you put them all together it should last 30 minutes (from a theoretical perspective).
Now post-Grenfell, we’re meant to be moving away from that, the government have been quite critical of the industry. So you need primary test evidence that actually shows the door that you're going to get on site being burnt and lasting 30/60/90, whatever minutes it is you require. And I still find that test evidence is either not provided, is redacted (so you get it and half the information is blacked out) so when you're on site and you're making sure that your door installation meets what was tested, you can't tell because they blanked out certain sections. Or they've just given you a global certificate, that doesn't really give you the details of the door and the that is the absolute number one thing as primary test evidence because without that you can never truly be certain that your door that you're installing or having installed is fit for purpose. And I think there's this real misunderstanding about what is primary and what is global and i think maybe the industry needs to differentiate between the two and start insisting on that.
DEBBIE To me it’s the level of types and the level of specifics in modelling this, but the question I would say is that do we need to make a case that we think you need this kind of certification regime to support this kind of information management. Maybe that's another question for another time, but I think it's very complicated, the certification world, and I do do a lot of work in that world.
ED I totally agree with what Gavin said, we’ve got 3 types of certification, your actual physical testing, your assessments, which can be good in certain situations. You can't test every single size of door so you gotta say you've got to make some judgments on that. But the other one is also your certification or assurance of the manufacturing process so that we know that in 10-years-time we're getting the door that actually passed the test and not something that's gradually been changed over a period of time and we don't know how it will perform. So that's the other bit of assurance we'll be looking for I think is that manufacturing assurance.
GEORGE I’ve got a couple of points on this. One is to amplify what Gavin’s just said there about the importance of the primary test evidence. On the last workshop one of the fire door manufacturer specialists, he said what Gavin said that the fire door people don’t want to release their information about how they’ve done the testing. I can’t see any justification for them withholding that.
GAVIN I’ve had to sign NDAs to get fire door certification, the reason they always give is because it gives you f you get the full test, a 16 day 4476 test certificate report it will tell you exactly how to make that door. But what I've had many a conversation with if one of your competitors were that bothered they'd buy your door and just reverse engineer (you just pull a door apart and see what it is). But they just seem overly paranoid. You wouldn't buy anything else that had a safety requirement without seeing the certification and I just feel that still now there's lots and lots of clients that are bemused by the world of certification and are, it's quite confusing when you see all the different certificates to know because you can get a certificate from Chiltern or one of the big fire test places and it will say fire door tester. But then when you read it and you start to understand it, you understand that actually a door has never been tested, it’s just someone’s opinion of these products collectively could and should pass the test. You wouldn’t do that buying a car if someone said I’d never tested it.
DEBBIE How does the group that’s leading all the product data influence this? And there will be a product regulator,
GAVIN In the building safety bill, the building safety regulator is meant to have some powers to start regulating products, but how far that goes I'm not sure. We’re four years post Grenfell and I'm still seeing.
GEORGE just building on what Debbie’s just said, I'm part of that group that is informing what information should be going in at a product level and that's not because I'm knowledgeable about manufactured products, it's more the information management side of things. And I've been trying to go through and understand what is the information that is being provided. For example, Will's been showing me declarations of performance, which is an important element of the manufacturers legal responsibility to provide, but that in itself isn't adequate. Let me show you what I mean by that. He shares his screen.
One of the things that people say is let’s first look at the MBS specification. This is an MBS specification for a door. The process that typically is done is the architect will use MBS Chorus, which is a software application to generate this, but what they'll then do is issue this specification to a door manufacturer and the door manufacturer or door supplier will then come back and say this product actually will satisfy these requirements. And one of the reasons they do it that way is because the architects don't have the knowledge to be able to interpret the various different British standards and also the the fire strategy side of things to be able to come up with a product. So the workflow typically is that the specification is the first stage where the manufacturer gets involved.
If this then becomes the document that goes into the O&M, it means that the person that's going to be replacing that fire door in maybe five-years-time, they have to be competent in understanding what this specification means. And that's really quite complex, it’s far more complex than somebody that's just needing to go and buy a new fire door, A fire door set, by the way, I'm not suggesting that they shouldn’t be doing that. But it's also become clear from the meetings that we've had that they may need to buy one of the components that go to make up that fire door, because maybe the original manufacturer isn't available anymore. So we need to find a clearer way of understanding this.
So if we then look at declarations of performance, this is the declaration of performance for Assa Abloy doors and if you look at the individual components, here we've got a door closer size, and you've got to look here and interpret what the size of the leaf is, the weight of the door and that will tell you the class of door closer that needs to be used. Now this is important and valuable information, but actually if this is the part of the information that's needed to actually get to which door was picked. So coming back to what Gavin was saying, I think on top of getting the test information, we need to actually know what the door closer was for that particular door, that individual door instance and also how it was set up in terms of its pressures.
So, if we then look at the information, I'm part of the Housing Association data group and what we're trying to do is standardise the way the BIM data is being created. And if we actually look at the BIM libraries that most architects will use you'll find that the way fire rating, for example, is described is inconsistent. In some cases it will be described as FD-30, some_FD_30, some FD30. And if we want this information to be machine readable, I can assure you that's not machine readable, and you've also got situations where it's described in half hours or 0.5 hours. Therefore, that’s something that we need to sort out. This is BIM data that we've been working on for a door, standard IFC data, and when you look at this, you might say, well, that's absolutely overwhelming and it's a ridiculous amount of information there. But most of this information is used by different stakeholders for different purposes.
So, I've coloured it up based on what you might need if you're buying the door or if you’re doing a compliance check on it or maybe environmental requirements need to be recorded against doors as well. So if we're procuring this information from a manufacturer, we obviously want to know the stuff that we need for the safety case, but there's other information we actually want as well. And I just thought it would be useful just to explain in most BIM execution plans and AIRs that are going out I'm seeing it regularly where people say we just want the standard COBie data, we don't need attributes. And this is showing the information that's missing if you don't ask for attributes. And this is the information that, as Gavin was saying earlier, I think is absolutely critical to what we're doing here. What we're trying to do here is, is understand in that information section, what are the attributes that are needed as well as the documentation.
WILL I’m on exactly the same page as George and I wholeheartedly agree with the frustrations that we’re seeing out there. In terms of product certification for doors I’m familiar with the declaration of performance approach that comes from European standards. It’s actually quite a good system because it focuses on those characteristics of the product that are essential for its primary function. And the door will be the fire rating etc although clearly there isn't a standard declaration of performance for a fire door set, but by approaching that I guess what George showed which was the MBS spec, that's the closest thing to it as a starting point.
The beauty of that is the critical functions aren't actually that many, there’s only 3, 4, maybe 5, and so when replacements are needed, by simply focusing on those for the fire function, that means you can make sure a replacement product is fit for the purpose that it was designed for. So that's just a comment of it. It kind of works in other products that have recognised harmonised European standards.
RICHARD Question 3: The tasks/method statements/procedures required to ensure the asset is installed, commissioned, inspected and maintained properly. Anybody who's been through it already who has got anything to say in terms of additions?
DEBBIE From an information knowledge management POV it's always very sensible to model tasks, to have a task model which is separate from competence requirements, i’s a better way of managing information around that. If you take someone like the military, they have a very specific approach where they have task performance statements. So if we know the performance and functions of products, we can align the tasks and method statements associated with those to make sure that they explicitly align. So my only comment would be we need to model this and have a common task model. Also, there’s a lot oaf abbreviations, some of which I don’t understand because I’m not a fire person, so with abbreviations if we could put what the full meaning is in brackets it would be helpful.
I’ll give you an example of the model of the method. When you were in the military 20-30 years ago, you go on an operation and you’d be pretty sure you're going to get some steel of a certain specification and standard to build a bridge from. Nowadays you can be in an operation in some very nasty places and you've no idea what the spec of that bridge is. The tasks need to be more need to be more contextualised and you have to adjust risk, you have to adjust your performance assessment etc. So the military are very agile at doing all of these kind of things. I spent a lot of time in military transformation projects and learned a lot from that. I do think there's other sectors we can learn from and I think the military, in terms of when they train people the most important thing is the task performance statement and it’s very specific and granular.
GEORGE What we're trying to get to is a set of explicit tasks that can support a competent person in carrying out the work. So it's not a matter of de-scoping the importance of having somebody that's trained and qualified, it's just making sure that that competency is supported with a task list. One of the ways in which that's being done in the M&E sector, particularly in hospitals, is there's a requirement to give the person that’s actually carrying out the work an explicit set of of tasks that they have to follow.
GEORGE shares his screen to show an example. This is from something called SFG 20, which is the M&E sector, but it's for fire doors. This is a one monthly inspection of fire doors and they've got a weekly inspection and a 12 monthly inspection. You'll see here that we've got the criticality of that particular action, how long it's likely to take, it’s tied back to a reference code, so this can be tied back to the different types of doors in the in the project and also what the core competency is. I've already discussed with that this with Debbie and that's probably inadequate, but this is what the asset management industry has followed. DEBBIE It’s not a competency, it's a role, so a role relates to a competency. Again it comes to the modelling here and getting that granular stuff, but I can share all of that, that's not a problem.
GEORGE Here we’ve got the legislation and then individual tasks at quite a granular level: inspect the door leaf, make sure that it’s firmly glued etc. So this can then become a task list that can then be audited to ensure that that work has actually been carried out. What Pauline's already shared with us today is an example of how you can codify that. So what we'd like to do, not now, but if you've got examples of those sort of checklists that would be really helpful. And the other thing that we've agreed with this from previous meetings is that it's reasonable to ask a manufacturer, or a supplier to provide their checklist so that there’s some degree of…well, it’s not something that should be confidential. That’s another thing manufacturers want to sell training course on (some manufacturers, not of AOVs)
ED I suppose we just have to be careful in that obviously for the inspection of doors you need the specific manufacturer information because there's some variation between standards, although actually BS8216 covers quite a lot of it if you've got access to it. It's things like gaps underneath doors will vary and depending whether it's a smoke control door or not, there's quite a lot in there. Some manufacturers are better at providing that information than others although it can be a bit haphazard at times. So for instance Premdoor are not too bad, you can find their information, but some of the other ones it's a bit more…it depends whether they're a true manufacturer or they're just a re-manufacturer of a door blank, which is another matter.
PAULINE In terms of leaseholders, because their lease would have a requirement for them in terms of what they would be doing to inspect and maintain their fire door then I think whatever is agreed and whatever is come up with we’d need to consider that the leaseholders would need to be held to those same kind of requirements or how we would make it that if they’re having to employ their own independent fire assessor or inspector for their doors that they are complying with all of the requirements that would want to have complied with our own doors.
DWAYNE The only thing I would point out, going back to the SFG20 conversation, so where we're getting information in terms of the types of inspections and the frequencies I think it's worth noting that depending on the manufacturers in terms of their warranties, they may have slight variations in terms of their requirements in order for you to keep your products in warranty. So there's kind of a two-tiered approach if you're going to be utilising SFG 20. There's one which is understanding it and implementing it and being able to codify that, but I think also understanding what keeps your product in warranty may be in conflict to that.
GEORGE I’ll just reinforce that. One of the critical things is that people follow SFG20 blindly without having read it. If you read it it actually says you’re supposed to tailor the maintenance requirements for your individual project and secondly the manufacturers recommended maintenance routines for most of our customers…we work with the big maintenance contractors and variably their contracts with clients require them to follow the manufacturer's recommended maintenance regimes in excess of SFG20 so it’s the manufacturers regimes that trump SFG20.
What I’m going to suggest to the BIM for Housing Association group is that this is something that we might actually come up with a standardised set of procedures that could be endorsed by or used by all the housing associations. That seems a logical thing to do because we can then have something that is then you can use a standardised procurement. SFG 20 has been done for M&E and commercial, it's for all sorts of different sectors but it's largely for, it’s come out of offices and things, it's not residential let's say. So therefore the procedures that are there might be well over the top. So what I think would be useful is for us to as well as as part of the data standards that we're trying to produce for the housing associations under HACT it makes sense for us to have some standardised um maintenance procedures and maybe standardised installation and inspection and recycling and decommissioning procedures so that we’ve…GAVIN yeah, that would definitely help us.
RICHARD Question 4: The competency and training that should be in place.
GEORGE I think what's become clear from the other discussions is that there's the competency and accreditation of the organisation and also of the individual that's carrying out the work. It’s clear that all too often the former is considered to be adequate whereas I think, certainly that’s what Debbie’s working towards, is to have the individuals accredited.
DEBBIE I think what we've got, if you're sort of dealing at the coalface at this operative level or installer level, depending on what language you use, a lot of those actors,, some of them are subcontractors, they're not even direct employees and often they work under what's called competent person schemes, which is an anomaly because it’s actually the organisation that certifies competent, not the individual actors and there’s no traceability on the day that you had a competent person installing/inspecting/commissioning something. MHCLG are currently in the moment reviewing all the competent person schemes. It's not quite clear exactly where that will go, but it certainly it’s not going to stay the same, it’s going to become more robust.
My view is to be progressive here. You need to be sure that you've got competent actors who’ve got enough insurance, understand the product or the components or the system, understand the procedures, have the right level of supervision and understand the risk etc to do this. It needs to be a much more robust what I call competency profiling approach. But post Hackitt there's been a lot of focus on individual competence without any any understanding that a competence framework is nothing until it gets to the application level. So, I think our focus should be is what do we need, what's the information requirements around a competent actor at the coalface doing XY&Z related to fire doors. Perhaps flesh that out as a use case would be my recommendation.
GAVIN I’ll second that. There is definitely some differences between accredited schemes. I've looked into quite a few of them and there's some that I'd worked with and some that I wouldn't really be satisfied with. But also his question has been mainly answered from the perspective of installation. I think obviously there's also a competency requirement for people inspecting fire doors. So you've got the fire door inspection scheme and F-dip scheme that you can go for or other equivalent things. But also people project managing this, you know at 3 o'clock on a Friday you can still get a crap job out of an accredited contractor where they'll cut corners.
I think there's an onus on us as a client or those managing the works to have a demonstratable level of competence. That's much more difficult because there isn't a shiny certificate that you can hold up and say, well, I'm competent to project manage or be a clerk of works or one of the other functions that surround the installation, but we've got to try and think of something because those around the installer have to have some understanding of what the installer should be doing as well.
RICHARD Gavin, what’s the comeback? If you at 3 o'clock on a Friday afternoon have somebody installing something and they don't do a good job, what's the come back? GAVIN They'll be back reinstalling the door. I mean, I've had it before where I've had a door manufacturer pulling out over 200 doors because they used the wrong sealant that was heat proof rather than fireproof, and that was a very reputable door manufacturer. It happens in every trade and it will always happen…
RICHARD SO t's not just a question of they've come and installed it and that's it, you’ve gotta cheque everything?
GAVIN Yeah, absolutely, and I think that door manufacturer, I believe that was a genuine mistake by them. That happens all the time and there's no different than when you've got gas contractor installing boilers, just because they're Gas Safe doesn't mean that they might make a mistake. So your tiers of assurances, you’ve got the products are accredited, the installers are accredited, I’ve got competence, the people working for me on the site have got competence and through that you're putting all these nets in in the way and very few mistakes should filter through.
DEBBIE Dame Judith HackItt in her first report was very clear that one actor has to be conscious of the implications of its activities on other actors and also its responsibility. So it's about what duties and responsibilities are allocated down the line, what’s the project manager responsible for and what's the installer responsible for etc. That needs to be much clearer and you're right Richard, it is a mesh of of competence and competent actors.
AUDREY I am concerned and I think that this has got to be looked at as a critical industry from what has been happening because more and more people are going to go into high rise buildings, more and more people are going to be living in homes or units that have multiple occupancy, so this has got to be looked at. The project management role these days (and I’m not saying it because I’m griping), there’s no competency in many of them. When you look on a building construction half of the project managers do not come from the building industry, they have no competence and will never have any skill in looking at a fire door and even knowing what it does. Some of them have never seen a bag of nails or a bag of cement, so that has got to go out. You can't have them.
Competency of a project manager in the building industry today cannot be guaranteed because many of them do not come from the building industry, so they do not know. They are all working according to certain things they think they should do according to Prince2 or APM. So that’s something that’s got to be accepted and addressed. I don't support it, ’m totally against it as a traditional person from the building industry. but this is what it is. So therefore the whole of this competency and training that should be in place has got to be taken from the position that this is a critical industry, it cannot fail. If it cannot fail, what have other critical industries done? What happens in the oil and gas industry, for example. What has been a major accident and what did we learn from it? We have accepted that this is a critical industry that must not fail, so we go through scenario.
We’re in a situation where competency cannot be guaranteed, a lot of de-skilling has come in and then I think we've got to understand and appreciate that this is now a critical industry after Grenfell. And so now look at what other critical industries do to make sure that there aren't these accidents happening with such a massive loss of life and take examples from there and scenario.
RICHARD This is what George mentioned early on that we’re trying to do at Bim4housing. We’re taking a leaf out of aviation’s book which is one of the safest industries in the world. We’ve set up Bim4housing black box. Basically the aviation industry, if you make a mistake and you own up to that mistake in 10 days, if you’re transparent about it there’s no comeback, it’s treated as a learning experience. So instead of covering up you open up and it changes the culture. So we’re setting up black box where people from the industry can come on board and talk about their experiences, things that they could themselves have been culpable in, which can be totally anonymised, to share with the industry. it could be relatively small things, but they can all have major implications as we know.
GEORGE The important thing on that is if we can gather those scenarios, we can also feed those back up into the working groups and then back into workstreams. So we we've actually got within Bim4housing. I mean obviously we're all volunteers, but what we want to do is try and make the most of our volunteering efforts and bring together people that have got the expertise from across the sector to be able to do it. So building on what Audrey just said about project managers, and also what Gavin said, Das from David Miller said on the first of these sessions he believes that as an architect he ought to be doing some of these training courses as well. Not in the detail, but there ought to be a level of of training so Das can understand, for example, how AOVs work.
DEBBIE The things that oil and gas and the military is they have very, very good modelling of tasks and competence requirements related to performance etc. So they have robust models, we don't have any of those in the sector at the moment. And people muddle up what's training, what's experience etc. We don't have a rich enough way of profiling competence requirements and competent actors. But the other thing these organisations have is they have competent management systems, they have organisational management systems that deal with competence. The best platforms in the area in terms of competency management have come out of the oil and gas sector, for example. We don't have any of that and unfortunately there hasn't even been any acknowledgement post Grenfell that there actually is a UKAS standard, a UKAS standard TPS 69 for competency management system for organisations or trade bodies to develop schemes for organisational competency management.
So we're way behind. It's not its standards, its schemes, its platforms, its methodologies with as many missing components here. I'm working with Direct Works where we're hopefully finishing off a UKAS standard for a competency management system for social housing maintenance, which would be a good example. The thing is that it's better if you have standards as well as some digital capabilities, some platforms underneath them to do that. The bit I can help with is that we can then mine and make any sense of any competence framework or anything that's relevant so you can be sure of someone’s being trained to the right thing. A lot of the training at the moment is way off the mark. It's so far removed from the operational requirements and we need to have much better ways of assessing that. Training itself doesn't deliver performance.
RICHARD Question 5 How are changes from one product to another, and presumably any changes, within a product, are recorded? George, this isn't just one product to another is it? This would be if you’ve moved a product, any change within the product, if you've replaced something.
GEORGE Let me just explain the context. One is on a new build project where you might have something that is intended to be used, so that's what's being designed. Then it goes through value engineering and it gets swapped out for an alternative product. Now, there is in the construction process, at least there used to be and I think it's coming back again now, the technical submittal process where you actually go through and have that in quite a rigorous form. Unfortunately, the majority of the reason for doing that to its technical submittal process is financial. So that’s the comparison between the two. The designers are required to review what the alternative product should be, but they can be inundated with information.
So what we're saying is that there ought to be a far more rigorous and effective way on new build of doing that comparison between the two so that when a product is swapped for an alternative product, which inevitably is going to happen to a greater or lesser extent, that means it’s recorded. But that’s on new build. On existing buildings, that's far less likely to happen. And what we've been discussing, and on the previous round table sessions everybody's been I think on board with it, although it's more challenging, we ought to be following the same sort of rigour, the same sort of method whereby if you're actually going to swap out a door closer in five-years-time you ought to go through the same methodology as saying what's there already? How was it performing? What was its specification? And then when it gets swapped out for an alternative so there's a proper handover. That’s really what this is intended to cover.
PATRICK The reason I haven't got a great deal to add to this is because it's an area that I don't really, well, I have to deal with contractors on site and the motivations for them changing products are never clear. But it should be obvious because either they can't source the specified product or they can get a better deal installing something else. And the capacity at a moment to make a rational decision, which probably means that it's going to cause delays to a project that may is hopefully running correctly, but will cause a delay. There's a lot of psychological pressure and I think the contracts that we allow to go through don’t give is the right sticks to…About the recording of the change we shouldn’t be having to make the change to record, I think is the thing. And then once you get into a maintenance regime that is perhaps the point where recording changes is more likely to occur and and is more necessary because from over a 5 year period a lot of products will cease to be manufactured, or you have better ones available.
AUDREY I had my hand up because when he was talking about the psychological barriers, yesterday when I said that there's this competitive drive within the supply chain and everyone is going for the most economical or the least expensive product and that's what it's happening. So if a contractor who is not tended to the traditional form of contract, again I go back to saying we are where we are, we are where we are because the contractors now cannot be held…If they say that, well, we got in a better deal elsewhere, we got a faster delivery time elsewhere, we got this and it’s going to secure certain advantages for the client. Whereas traditionally you would have had the architects, or the similar person to them, fighting to ensure that their technical integrity was met.
That doesn't happen on many of these new housing builds. So we are where we are and I that the housing industry has got to accept that this is what we have created, this is what is happening out of our creation, but we cannot carry on dealing with massive accidents and incidents like this. So given what we have how do we address it? You know, how do we address it? And I think that would be a very good place to be, to accept it. Then you could insist, for example, an outcome of that could be to insist at the time of of handover I want the as-built drawings. We're not we're not just talking about handover are we, Audrey we're talking about about maintenance as well. It’s about commissioning and maintenance later on as well. But if you are at the maintenance stage and you don't have the as-built drawings, you are starting from a disadvantage. You will not get the as-built drawings if you don't realise that by the time of commissioning and handover the architectural team has left. So they are not duty bound by contracts. It's a matter of contract here.
What needs to be done to ensure that changes from one product to another are recorded, whether they had commissioning stage or handover operations stage, is to ensure that the as-built package is given to the housing maintenance team. The housing maintenance team cannot secure the as-built package because by the time the designers have left the contract, they've gone. So it needs to be built in right from the beginning as part of the procurement process.
GEORGE I think Audrey's hit the nail on the head and that is unless we've got a baseline to work from you cannot do a proper change management because you don't know what you're changing from. And that's true, exactly as Audrey said, from the POV of the building owner, LQ or Clarion or Guinness. You’ve got a responsibility, you have a need to know what quality of 1hr 26mins32secs materials are going in your building. You might think that you're getting that information, but quite frankly you're not, because a lot of the things that are being installed are being installed by subcontractors, a part of the design process. Audrey mentioned as-built drawings, they’re just one element of the process. A lot of the things that we actually need to track aren't going to be in the drawings, they’re going to be in schedules and the like (and that's even in the BIM world by the way). So what we need to do is make sure that we've got that proper baseline to say what has actually been installed. If we do that then we've got a chance. The other thing is we've got several architects on the group, are we seeing less or a reluctance to recommend a product?
So it used to be where you'd have a specification where the architect would specify something and then people would procure against that specification and with design and build that's largely changed. But from talking to designers (particularly M&E designers) there's a reluctance for them to actually say you this grendfoss pump 1hr 28mins 12secs would actually perform.
PATRICK George, you referred to design and build, it does depends on what the contract is and the contract form as to who's doing the designing. I know this is not in housing, but 30 odd years ago when I was working on shopping centres because of the scale and the time frame that the buildings were being procured on it was all under management contracts. We specified a performance standard and the products that were then selected were entirely down to the subcontractor. So choose your contract correctly and then you might have some control. But even if you’ve got a traditional JCT or RIBA 63 contract, the contract administrators are put under a lot of pressure by a contractor and by the employer from both sides to suit whatever the time and cost pressures are that build up within the contract. And Audrey's point about providing as-built drawings is part of actually…
When you're really close, when you're within site of the finishing everybody wants to get the job done and it doesn't matter who you are because you need to get tenants. If you’re building buildings for people to occupy, to change peoples’ lives, you’ve got to get them in place, in occupation. Immediately there is a pressure for people to cut corners and fail to deliver the information and that runs throughout the public sector and private sector, whether it's residential or commercial buildings. And who wants to be the one that says, sorry, you haven't provided the as-built drawings for this and therefore we're not going to give you sign off from practical completion and because you haven't already done it through the process of the contract, you're going to have an 8 week delay.
That’s where the problem comes with new build but imagine what the knock on effect is going to be on small scale maintenance jobs. Do they ever get finished, because the people who are making changes were carrying out the maintenance do not properly record what they've sourced. Regarding asset managers and procurement, I’ve been saying for ages that as designers we can’t possibly deliver what the employer wants if they don't know what they want and cannot communicate it. And the people who have the challenge are those poor individuals who have to deal with the tenants and the problems that arise after we've all walked away. And I still don’t understand why all asset management teams are not part of a procurement team. Those are the people that know their buildings that know their tenants. It's a complete no brainer and yet procurement and asset management are in different planets, not just different buildings.
GEORGE It’s even worse than that, Patrick. The reason I’m saying that is that working with Peabody and other housing associations, what I've discovered is that we talked about the asset management team and actually it's normally made-up of half a dozen different stakeholders who have got different requirements and different pressures. And part of this exercise that we're trying to do here, and generally in Bim4housing, is get those stakeholders all to draw together. Because you've got people that are bothered about compliance, people that are bothered about planned maintenance, life cycle replacement, they've all got a different set of asset management requirements.
Our ultimate goal with this is to get the distillation of your knowledge and then try and turn that into a data set that can then form a really rigorous set of asset information requirements which can then be used to procure new buildings or even to audit your existing buildings, Because the other thing that you've not seen is that we've created within the Golden Thread initiative a set of information requirements that are a housing association used to do self-assessment of how they fit.
PAULINE As George was saying the operations side of the business, we are made-up of disparate teams who have different asset management requirements and we’re not generally involved in the procurement in terms of the development schemes because that is done by our development divisions. But in terms of this question, it would be useful if there was some form of change management process where all the changes are not only recorded, they are approved and signed off and that the operational teams are made aware of the changes, the reasons and any impacts. Because although we may get the as-built drawings at handover, it may be that when we get those drawings there are things that we may have wanted to raise concerns about that we’ve then not had an opportunity because the change has already happened and been done. So we're actually receiving, t’s a fait accompli at that stage.
GEORGE Absolutely, and even if the as-built drawings and records are correct at all. The other thing with that is the likelihood is that the BIM models that you get and the O&M information will not be consistent. The things that are in the BIM model will not be the same as the things that are in the O&M, I can almost guarantee it. The O&M information, the health and safety information needs to come from the coordinated BIM model, and when I say model I mean the database 1hr 36mins 10secs. Those of you that know me well know that’s not just a 3D model.
I’d very much like to thank you all for the time you've put in. We've had about another 30 people who have added their time to this exercise and I think in general we had very positive feedback. I think we all work in silos and bringing together this experience and trying to do it in a reasonably structured way…follow what to do to now take this and turn it into something that is digestible. But it's a great information set. What we’ve also been asked, one of Ed’s colleagues Suzanne has suggested that the next one that we do might be sprinklers. So within the Housing Association data group we've got a range of different people involved in that exercise…I’ll just show you what I mean. George shares his screen.
What we're doing with the UK BIM alliance and also the BRE, a few of them housing and peabody are principle actors in this, we're working through the Housing Association Charitable Trust, we're trying to produce a standardised set of data templates that go down to the local detail that everybody can use and turn that into something that then becomes a reusable information set. Within this we've identified something like 170 asset types that are used in in housing and I think all of your firms have contributed, all the housing associations have contributed to that. But we've identified within that list about 20 or so things that are quite critical.And the ones that we've done, AOVs, cavity barriers and fire doors are the ones that were at the top of the list. But there's others like sprinklers and maybe dampers etc. that we will also be looking at. So if you've got suggestions as to the next.
And we're gonna broaden this as well. So if you if you know other people that can share the load because it's not right that we should be doing it all, then please recommend them. If you can think of the top five or so things that cause you a problem or that you’d like information on or you feel you’ve got knowledge on that you'd like to contribute, then please let us know what they are. Ed, you were saying within Clarion you’ve been doing something to identify a specific set of asset types that you were monitoring or that you wanted to gather during the process.
ED We’re doing a number of things around that. Another member of our broader teem Jack White is working on gathering information through 3D modelling and then adding other information into that, but also having a sort of relational database to gather all information, that's part of our Golden Thread approach. But then there's also something we're doing with gathering together all our different bits of compliance information into one place. Because you know in our industry we tend to do things what we call linear compliance. We do all our gas, we do all our lifts, we do all our asbestos, but we never focus on a building.
This is about actually gathering all that information together for a building and saying how actually are we doing on that building in terms of all these different risk factors together, because sometimes you see certain things combining so well. Actually we've got a few fire issues here because the fire-fighting lifts out and our dry risers problematic and there's an issue with the gas plant for instance which you wouldn't necessarily pick up if you were just doing that linear compliance. That's just really just mining the data that we already have and using it presenting in a different way. So our BSMs can look at a building and dashboard and think how’s it looking there, where do I need to focus. It’s building-focused rather than discipline-focused. That's how we've gone in the industry, i’s all about disciplines and the specialism of all the different disciplines and we rarely work together.
Our building safety team at Clarion are working on this, we've already broken ourselves up into the safety case bit, which I'm on, and then the actual operational building safety manager section. But we work closely together and it's the building safety managers that have been leading on that and we're quite fortunate we've got someone who's a software wiz who's liaising with our business intelligence team to try and gather that data from our existing systems. Clearly, we already recorded the information, we just don't have it in a way that's useful from a looking at specific buildings. I think it's Scott Greenshields and Neil Whittington that have been really focusing on that.
GEORGE Gavin, would it be useful form your perspective if we started building a better data set for the other asset types?
GAVIN Yeah, absolutely. If you’re doing others, I noticed that you've spoken about sprinklers. We've done about 20 or 30 retrofits now at Guinness so if you need someone to contribute to that session, I'd be happy to do so.
GEORGE And if you can think of specific, I mean for example one of the conversations we had yesterday was whether there are fire curtains and things like that in in residential and there were some instances of that but they weren't very common. But if we could identify what are the particular asset types that cause you problems, your top 5, that will help us focus the effort.