Contractual Workstream Session 5-20220912 Meeting
GEORGE refers to a paper that he has sent out to participants. I’ve been asked to do a report that Johnny Furlough can include in the work that he’s doing and so he can report back to the other nine working groups. The chair of BRAC is Howell from Sibsey. It’s Deluxe that contacted me and asked me to provide this for Johnny…The consultation on the Golden thread finishes in October.
MARTIN shares the Consultation document onscreen. I think one of our people has been volunteered to respond on behalf of the CLC (Construction Leadership Council). The feeling at the moment is that this is fine….apart from the grammar being atrocious. It says what we have been talking about, I find it encouraging.
IAIN McILWEE At the other end of it, though, is the information requirements for the customers as consultation, which is what it plugs into. There’s another consultation out now about the fire safety order, basically what FM needs from the golden thread, so we’re trying to match the 2 together. The GT is about the process, but there’s this whole other piece that’s quite output focused. I’ve scanned it…it builds onto the Building regs. There’s no obvious alarm bells there of something that will cause us huge problems. The issue for us isn’t about how we exchange information so much as what information have we got to exchange.
GEORGE There is a divergence of view I’ve recently become aware of about what is needed for the Fire Safety Act. On the deadline of 23rd January all the landlords are supposed to have fire plans in place. I’ve been trying to get a degree of consensus as to what that fire plan should look like - it’s by no means clear. Even the fact sheet that the government sent out, it’s got a link through to the FIA document (National Fire Chiefs Association) and the document that they refer to isn’t what is required, even though it was in the guidance. They are concerned about asking for too much and therefore they won’t get anything.
I’m worried they’re just going to get people to produce fire plans that then can’t be used for anything else. It might satisfy what the Fire Brigade needs but you want be able to use it for the building safety reports. We need to make sure that if CAD drawings are being produced that they are editable. Everybody is looking at it from the prism of the building is on fire, the fire brigades need some information that goes into a premises information box and they don’t want anything more complex than that.
This breaks the Golden Thread. Part of the reason for that…we’ve got three different regulators: Building Control (now part of the HSE), the Building Safety Regulator (also under the HSE) and then the Fire safety side of things which is actually under the Home Office. There are 43 Fire Brigades and there’s no alignment between them in terms of what information they need. Matt Hodges-Long (Building Safety register/ Track My Risks) has been poking away at this for a few years. He’s introduced me to the National Fire Chiefs Council.
Participants discuss whether the FBU (fire Brigades Union) speaks for fire brigades as a whole, the conclusion seems to be that they do not.
GEORGE but the Fire Chiefs Association appear to be an authoritative body. They’re producing guidance for all the fire brigades and they are joining our meeting on Wednesday.
MARTIN The competency thing landed last month, that’s caused more ripples than, I think, the Building safety Act. He shares the ‘competency’ Built environment specification document onscreen. It’s issued by Dlux (Department for Levelling Up?). There’s some serious minimum competencies in here. They are basically saying whoever runs a construction project is going to be accountable for making sure that it is handed over and all of the building regs have been adhered to.
We’ve started mapping out all of the requirements - each and everyone of our guys running projects are going to need help. We’re more worried about the competency than we have been about the golden thread or the building safety act etc. There’s a risk that people could fail an assessment of the competency of their people running construction sites.
PAUL MCSOLLEY Let’s just face it, construction for a long time has always favoured people to run projects that come from a planning background or a commercial background, and sometimes from a construction management background. The problem is it’s built on this predetermination that operational people are better than people that are maybe more technically competent. Actually, you can’t build something if you don’t know technically what you are building. That’s really what it’s saying, if you think about it.
GEORGE The more I drill into this the more challenging, or actually impossible it is the comply with the Building Regs. It’s impossible because of a number of standards that you need to have access to and you need to be able to interpret. With one of the BRE guys we actually just tried to follow a set of standards an element ( a lighting control switchboard). It referenced a European standard then a British standard and from there referenced 2 or 3 other standards and even when we drilled into the detail it still didn’t expressly tell you what the answer was.
IAIN it’s not impossible to build buildings that don’t fall down and don’t fail catastrophically. That’s effectively what the Building Regs say. Everything else is just standards and guidance. What we’ve got to get through is how to we demonstrate, to have more control through the process. People in charge of decision making in the process, whether the function be specification, procurement, design detailing etc, those functions need to know what they don’t know and ensure that they have surrounded themselves with…that’s where this collaborative system comes in.
MARK It’s about knowing where to look and knowing who to ask because you are not going to suddenly elevate these super technical people that have the knowledge into positions of managing projects because the simple fact is that the significant majority of highly technical people are not good managers, and they don’t need to be.
MARTIN I spotted when reading through the consultation document on the Golden Thread they introduced the term ‘as far as reasonably practicable’ into the language for the first time, that’s an HSE term that we’re all fairly familiar with, so you can see where the direction of travel is going. Agreeing with George when you drill down into some of these specifications you are just chasing your tail and ultimately you know, if somebody was minded to, ultimately they could prove that you had done something wrong. If you can demonstrate that you’ve assessed what’s needed and you’ve backed up the person who is in charge with additional resource they are not going to come after you…but it is a worry.
GEORGE And because it is now a regulated industry the difficulty is that insurers could approach you in 3 years time, even though the regulator themselves may not be pursuing it because they’ve got too many things on their plate. A challenge that the HSE has got is if it’s ramped up to too much then people will say there’s no point in us doing this and you’re going to get people pulling out of construction. When something does happen and you end up with one of the barristers (like the ones at Grenfell) drilling into the detail, that’s where it becomes a bit of a challenge.
MARTIN they’ve not just focused on the technical skills, there is quite a lot on the soft skills as well: you’ve got to be able to keep the golden thread up-to-date, you’ve got to be able to communicate with your customer.
GEORGE I think what it’s doing is just reinforcing the need for us to get this information organised so there is a record and that people have got easy access to the information to support the decisions because as I put in that paper whenever we talked to any of you guys and ask how you go about finding what is the right product for a particular circumstance invariably the answer is ‘it depends’. What Paul has started to do with that decision tree is a way of getting there and if we could start to get people who are subject matter experts to follow the same type of approach it’s a way of starting to document these things.
PAUL What I’ve said in that forum is that you need a globalised process that kind of goes if you are a fire engineer, and MEP consultant, a client you can understand how the passive (and active) fire argument all straps together at the various stages. You need a globalised Racie that says all the different parties at the various stages do the following parts - I’m not going into any detail on this one about what the technical aspects are because I think that’s where you’re ontology comes in for your subject matter where you go this bit is smoke control, this bits detection etc then you strap along together a process map which has your asset, digital. It’s just about how we get that BIM information in product libraries and in a workable format.
Then we’ve all got something that would just work for industry going forward. You can’t upscale everyone, you’ve got to give people a guide, follow this process with the consultants to get where you need to get because at least then you are mitigating your risks down to a smaller level. Everyone wants to be perceived to be operational but they don’t want to know the details, but you’ve run out of people that do the detail. This is the issue. And when you do the detail people are petrified of you.
IAIN Lets loop back to the start of this conversation that was about the ‘get it wrong’ process. This is stuff that needs to happen outside of each individual project rather than. Paul, I’m guessing that your time is spent looking at things that are already going wrong on a construction site? PAUL yeah, it’s like walking round a train wreck or a plane crash, that’s what I’m doing. X…IAIN It’s back to this gateway process and say what information do you need at each gateway to stop having to go through the disaster management plan during the project.
PAUL shares a document on screen. It’s all about the risk, the space, the risk of the operational types and then the ratings. When you look at the language it’s about the competency, about understanding the risk class. Once I’ve gone through this with the other lot I’ll bring you over (George) to see what is going on. It’s the digital part that everyone is underestimating. The 8644 doesn’t really work because it doesn’t do the ontology for each individual component correctly. It’s too generic, because I don’t think they probably appreciate how complex some of these subjects are.
GEORGE I think you’re right, I’m cautious about criticising it (8644) because everybody is criticising it…though constructive criticism is exactly what we should be doing. The BIM world are against it simply because they can’t see how they can put all this stuff in the models. The point is they don’t need to put it in the models, but it’s because they are thinking through that prism.
PAUL (referring to his document again) The big thing is it’s about getting the product libraries in from day one. Once you’ve got your global process you need sub-processes (dampers, ducts etc) then you’ve got those processes that people can follow through.
GEORGE My approach on this is that if we can actually document that these tasks are to be done by somebody it means then that you can allocate them as tasks and the person that it’s being allocated to can then… the competency sin’t just a general competency, it’s the competency to do that particular task.
IAIN It’s up to individual businesses to start saying who’s doing that task or who has that function within their role. The collaborative plan comes together when you say who’s accountable and responsible for these tasks, how are we making sure that they are communicating with each other. If you try and get too granular you’ll fry your brain and everyone else's.
PAUL agrees. Regardless of which procurement you’re doing everyone should be following the same process for passive fire (and active fire). Fire Stopping is a rubbish term because it’s actually a combination of many different requirements. As long as you’ve got a flow for how you assess risk, interface compatibility and do builders work, for those sections you are OK. But then it comes down to knowing who should be strapping together, who is doing what at what point. It’s best to fail early, before you get out of this gateway. All those other tools do is give you a method of checking the key parts.
GEORGE talking to IAIN who has previous experience in manufacturing: In manufacturing there are standard operating procedures for almost everything. They don’t rely on people doing the right thing at the right time, they’ve got a very granular level. IAIN What you’re looking for is optimum repeatability. If you look at what its doing in terms of generating a lean manufacturing process as something goes through the factory you’re interrogating how many people touch it, how far they have to move in order to touch it. It’s an output driven system. In one place you’ve got one supervisor. You are always looking at your changeover times.
MARK Manufacturers of cars have an opportunity that we don’t have in terms of you can build a car, track test it with a set of criteria and away you go. We don’t get the opportunity to put all these components together (though the components have been individually tested in situations) but we put them together in a building and when it fails it can be catastrophic.
GEORGE I find it tedious when people are comparing manufacturing, particularly car manufacturing, with construction. The point I was trying to get to is that in other industries they do have quite detailed task lists that even competent people are expected to follow. Therefore the complexity that we’ve got in the industry (and also the clear lack of adequate numbers of competent people) does suggest that we need to document a lot more of these things so we can support people doing the right thing.
MARK The military work with standard operating procedures so when something happens you know use that SOP, away you go.
GEORGE That’s the direction of travel we need to move towards, it may take 3 to 5 years. If we can do it around the critical products we know (like the ones that we’ve done with the golden thread) I think that’s a starting point.
MARK picking up on your other comment (George) about comparison between manufacturing and construction, it surprises me how few people you come across within our industry that have worked within manufacturing, or even the military at certain levels. I think we’re a bit of a closed shop and we should have more of these people from other cultures to learn from.
IAIN Construction is effectively a manufacturing process, you are building a building. One of the missing pieces of the jigsaw is quite often who is the fabricator. At times the process of fabrication is isolated in construction and as a consequence who’s taking responsibility for the finished product as it’s fabricated, and that’s something to interrogate quite carefully.
Automated construction is more off-site, actually what that is talking about is the fabrication process: where is the product being fabricated and then how is it being assembled. Those processes of construction have become overlapping. We don’t optimise where we fabricate very well as a supply chain (he cites a dry wall example) because we don’t think about the time frames.
MARTIN And also I’ve noticed with modern methods, in terms of language, we struggle to talk with the ‘manufacturing industry’ from a construction point of view and they struggle to talk to us when it came to quality control and quality assurance. We’re using ITPs, checklists, quality plans - they’ve got a whole different way of doing things which is right for their industry. So there was a disconnect there and we’ve been struggling to work through this the last 6-9 months in terms of people making stuff off-site and bringing it onto our construction sites. Asking ‘does this comply with this particular standard?’, we’d get the brutally honest answer ‘no’.
PAUL A manufacturer can do certain things with a minimum level of information they need to know before they can go and make it and we’re not even fulfilling that obligation as an industry. He shares a document on screen. We’re talking about the coordinated BIM sheets. All the asset key data for a smoke control damper is that, it’s everything you need to record and you can’t avoid it - that’s how complicated one smoke control damper is and you have to know all of this stuff to put it into a model.
We put together the flow and when you take in your risk groups you’ve just got to know which one you’re following. I’m not saying everyone can follow this, you need a minimum level of competence to do it. If you’re a fire engineer, architect, MEP consultant you’d be surrounded by the likes of us you’d get there pretty quickly, we’ve run it on a couple of jobs and it works quite well.
These flows do the whole thing from the damper, the wall system to the builders work scheduling at the end, but it’s not in isolation of itself. Somebody has to make the judgement call about how the whole system approach works, you’re never going to get away from that. One of the hardest flows to do will be a 1364 symmetrical system.
GEORGE The data that’s behind that, it’s relatively straightforward to capture that information as long as we can identify what it is. But you literally can’t do it simply by putting it as dumb metadata in a model because you need to be able to provide to each of the different people, the information that they need for their purpose, otherwise it’s just overwhelming. But the technology (that’s what we’ve developed the Templater to do) is available to do it. It’s straightforward to do as long as we can identify what the data is.
What you (Paul) have done here, if we could do that same methodology for the different asset types then we’re starting to be able to know what questions need answering. It’s not a matter of deskilling anything, quite the opposite, standard operation procedures are a way of working that through. And when something does go wrong you can actually simulate what the decision process was to see whether the products that have actually been picked have actually been tested against this.
Coming back to what Iain was saying earlier, you can start with at a high level you need a compartment and then what goes to make up the compartment are these asset types and then what information do we need to know about that door. You then need to be able to drill down to the next level of detail (after 60 minute capability) and see what the hinges are. That’s all very simple and doable in the information management world, but what we’ve got to do is to create the data libraries in a way that then helps that.
IAIN You might not need to drill down to that level of detail because if someone has taken responsibility for the door set and you’ve gone through process to identify the interface and that it’s worked within the wall system, you don’t need to know about the hinges because that’s covered by the door set information.
PAUL You are right, Iain, but it’s the whole change process as well. If someone wants to change a hinge later on because there is a problem with it, you’ve still got to be able record where that was, you can’t ignore it. Dampers and smoke control aren’t like doors, we had to go through all the key components of a smoke control damper before we got to the wall interface, we even had to draw out simple frame types for the dampers.
GEORGE The manufacturer’s IP is obviously an issue, but we’ve also got to recognise what is it that is actually needed to do to be practical. So, maintenance people will need to know what type of hinges/door closures/locks etc were actually used to get that accreditation.
MARTIN When we started you (George) were saying it would be beneficial to start with the asset information register to feed the model, that the industry needed to look more to the right, the end game. What you’ve detailed there, Paul, is much more a shift to the left - like Mark was saying, before you get to site make sure it’s right. Do the doomsday scenario and what could possibly go wrong modelling before going on-site. Most Tier 1s are adopting that model and putting more resources into re-construction and design.
Most people in the industry supported the major findings of the Act, to get your act together before land on site. The bit in the middle becomes the less sexy part whereas it’s always been where all the focus is and where everybody’s talked about, where everything goes wrong, it need not necessarily be the case if you’re going to focus on how you are going to manage the building, how you are going to design it, so shift to the right and shift to the left.
PAUL The big thing is you get jobs built that have no management operation plan at the start, it’s a key fundamental. Things like student blocks, how you manage people. All we tried to do with these, all these classifications affect how you run a building as well. Nothing’s infallible and it all comes down to how they want to operate it and you’re absolutely spot on.
GEORGE I think you’re right, Martin. When we started basically we were looking at the end and saying what is it that the asset managers need to be able to run this building effectively and safely and then let’s identify what those attributes are. We simply put them into the AIR at the beginning and procure it - now what’s wrong with that? But what we’ve actually found is that the design and delivery process is actually much more complex than that, and that’s the whole reason for the golden thread because…especially when you get value engineering you get a completed break up of that process.
We’re trying to address how can we make it easy for those decision point to be taken, because the FMs aren’t going to want to go through this because they are not redesigning the building, but this is a way of ending up knowing what type of door closure was used.
MARTIN The golden thread consultation document does start indicating that the agenda, the golden thread framework, should be set by the people who are going to manage the building. Regarding setting up language or software, it should be something that is applicable to those who manage the building.
GEORGE That’s absolutely right, but what we need to recognise is that the supply chain that is managing the building is as complex as the construction site. Let’s say, for example, you talk to…your old Balfour Beatty workplace, there’s different people in that organisation doing very different things. And also there’s life cycle replacement, planned maintenance, compliance, and all of them have different objectives and they need different information.
PAUL sharing the same document on screen again. If you’re doing a prescriptive replacement you just go back to what you were originally on, you’re digital record or asset information. If you’re doing something that changes the spatial…category then you are going right back to the start.
MARTIN My thinking on this so far has been along the RIBA stages which basically say switch off once you’ve handed it over, and we can’t, we’ve got to go beyond that in terms of thinking. PAUL That’s the reason why we’ve worked our way from the end backwards.
For your next report upstream, George, to Mr. Furlong, you need to say we have some interesting discussions on this group, but there is no output still. In terms of outputs of this contractual workstream, what’s your view George?
GEORGE We carry on. One of the things I really want to try and do is see how we can engage the procurement people in this process because although that’s what we talked about doing a while ago and I know that you’ve tried to do that. The procurement people who work for the Tier 1s. For example, moving the detailed design into work stage 4 (or the contractor design portion). That’s a matter of getting the procurement community to buy into that approach. MARTIN I don’t think that would be a problem, they’d be up for it.
MARK if you are talking client side I would say that would be a problem because that means spending more money. In a lot of cases we step aside from the development side of the business in a position where we can start procuring CDP elements.
GEORGE I appreciate that, what I’m trying to do is try to eat this elephant in bits. Part of it is looking at how from a procurement point of view we can make sure that products and materials are procured and managed and change management process can be managed. Also, we need to go back to the development side, to the client end, and help them understand why that’s important.
MARTIN We need to educate the clients that, basically, they are going to need to be spending more money up front. That’s the ultimate output of this group, isn’t it.
PAUL If you’re going to do fire dampers as a CDP, this bit is not CDP, it’s descriptive, it’s got to come from the original consultant, and actually most of this here is descriptive, it’s still; got to come from the original consultant. Hence the reason why you’ve got a global process and then you’ve got sub-processes because architects don’t understand walls, MEP consultants don’t understand dampers and the fire engineer doesn’t understand the products - a perfect toxic combination. I keep trying to sue that wording, descriptive and prescriptive, get that right and then you can specify anything that you want.
A New In Occupation Regime
Consultation is also taking place on concerning the in-occupation regime for
occupied higher-risk buildings, whilst most of this is not on the surface directly
relevant to the construction process and FIS members, it does include some
important information related to O&M Manuals and the requirements of the Golden
Manufacturing is typically prototype, type test and then optimise repeatability and efficiency of
process and remove scope for error (i.e. human choice).
They have AVCPs where we have ITPs - never the twain shall meet! Language.
Manufacturers IP is a consideration!
Some of this ties into the fabricator comes in. The FM company need to go back to the fabricator
of the element for information about replacement parts and maintenance