Contractual Workstream Session 9 Meeting
MARTIN Someone else has written reached out to me within the industry, a guy called Anthony Brophy. He’s doing something on a data dictionary which I think lines in with what we were talking about as we came to a conclusion at the end of last year. Martin shares screen displaying the document ‘Define – Construction data dictionary now available in the UK market’. So he wants me to get involved in this, but I said no, hang on, I’m doing something similar but we should try and align our thinking or our working. I said I’d ask this group whether or not we should, has anybody come across this yet?
GEORGE Yes, I’m well aware of it and they’re very commercial and they’re very non-collaborative, unfortunately. If it’s free and if the data templates that they produce are open and free then I think that we can work with it, but they’re trying to own and control the whole process, to be honest, Martin.
RICHARD We tread quite a fine line because obviously virtually everybody’s part of the commercial organisation and I think we’ve all done very well in not abusing that, to be perfectly blunt. And I think we have to have level of care that we continue with that ethos throughout really, don’t you?
GEORGE With the Lexicon initiative that we did with the BRE and the CPA, Code Builder, about five years ago, asked us if they could partner with us on it and we were obviously receptive to that because if they’ve got something to contribute, they could do. But we provided them with information but they didn’t provide us with any. And they then went and set up rival organisations in Europe branded Lexicon, which the CPA was quite cheesed off about it. They’ve got a bit of a history, to be honest with you Martin, of of doing things that are…I’ve got to be careful here how far I go with that. But all I’m saying is that our ethos has always been to try and make this information as open and available as possible, because the fact is that there’s too many individual organisations that are creating their own silos. And in fact, Code Builder have done a deal recently with BSI where they’re commercialising BSIs digital content which sounds a good idea, but there’s already quite a lot of objections to the fact that everything now that you get from BSI is behind a paywall.
MARTIN Does that include, because they had their BSI Identify, that was their answer to product data and information. Is that a commercial operation as well?
GEORGE Yes it is, and it’s not doing…what BSI Identify is doing is fine, but it’s not actually holding any data it’s just providing a register.
MARTIN If you were to have the conversation with Judith Hackitt she’d be put out that people are seeking to take advantage of this need that’s developing in terms of readily available data to all. Is there a governing body that that should be controlling this sort of thing?
GEORGE The CPA set up something called the construction products index, but that now seems to have lost its way. The chief executive left midway through the year.
IAIN The code for construction products information isn’t…I think this is one of the issues. There’s so many things operating in and around this space that the CCPI’s function is to validate information. So the point of CCPI is it’s effectively it’s a pledge to expose your marketing information to an artificial intelligence system that basically tells us how honest it is. The CCPI is more about, I think there’s 11 core requirements within the pledge and you pledge as a manufacturer, declare your information against those 11 criteria and then it’s supposed to be this magic AI in the background that checks your test evidence against those marketing claims to check that it’s valid and realised.
An awful lot gets chucked in that basket of artificial intelligence will solve it for us without anyone actually really understanding what artificial intelligence is or does or how it. In terms of where we sit with CCPI, we’ve been supportive of the initiative. We’re very cognisant of the complexity of actually validating test evidence. We do it in certain areas like acoustics, and it’s a lot more complex than people think it is to validate that the acoustic claim is the same as what we tested over there and I guess that’s the problem it’s trying to solve. So our ambition is always that our acoustic, we do acoustic verifications and we’d like to roll that into the CCPI eventually. It’s nowhere near ready for it. And I think all these things are kind of touched on in my new bit of paperwork and I’d just like to get your thoughts on it. In the basis of it’s an initial set of musings around what’s actually going on out there.
Martin has shared Iain’s document on screen. A lot of this is based on the stuff from the IET who did a really good piece of research around the seven steps, this kind of builds upon that. If you scroll through it, Martin, because some of it is notes I’ve put in once place for me really, because that looks the types of data, what’s a product, what’s the system, what’s the component that we all struggle with and then mapping that back so we’re not just thinking this is about, that’s all the stuff on material passports which is very similar to the stuff we’re talking about products system component etc.
MARTIN Just as a bit of feedback, It was around about data models that you lost me, Iain. And I know most of your readers will be more intelligent than I but I started losing it here.
IAIN Yeah, this is it, it gets so much more complex and then you start getting into what structured data need to be organised, it’s a myriad of different standards depending on who you’re talking to. So you got your sustainability people talk about material passports you, you’ve got your people talking about digital twins. You’ve got people talking about BIM templates. You’ve got people saying that BIM templates aren’t a thing anymore and they’re not referencing the standards and it’s just becoming so complex. I tried to put everything in one place and then draw a logic out of it. So some of it is a bit of a dump at the moment.
If you scroll right to the end, this is the bit that I’m trying to sort of work through, which is if you map it all through, effectively what we need is product data sheets which tell you everything you need to know about the product, and into material passports which tell you everything about where the products being used, how it’s maintained. And then sort of sets it up for a digital twin model, which means that you’ve got that real live as built, so you’ve got a live version of the building living in the digital world. And it’s how do we get from here to there. Lexicon’s effectively setting the framework, so this is how we create product data templates. We’re going to look back to that now and then starting to say look.
And this is a very crude image at the moment, but who needs what data? And then where does that live within that mix of other stuff that’s up there. What’s the difference between IFC, what the digital object identifiers, which is what BSI identify is based on. I must have read over Christmas about 30 different reports all coming from different angles about data and trying to make sense of it.
GEORGE I think the thing, Iain, that that I’ve discovered in being quite closely involved in all this, but nowhere near as bright as some of the academics that are involved in it, is that there’s a lot of obfuscation where people actually make things really quite complex because they keep referring to standards. And this is in particular one of the things that Code Builder does. When you ask them specific information they’ll say we’re complying with all the EN standards and Sense standards and they’ll quote the committee that was actually defining all of this. And you immediately get in the weeds of how do you work out what that parameter actually is. Whereas what we’ve been trying to do with the Templater and Lexicon is make it far more explicit because otherwise you don’t get anything that’s useful.
PAUL McSOLLEY All the key criteria that you need, I think probably the stuff that we’ve done George, we’re probably the only few people out there that actually bothered to break it down into what’s actually required rather than go, oh, it’s just on that classification, not the rest of it.
GEORGE That’s absolutely right. And so the proposition that I made and I think we’re sort of agreed on in principle. And so I’ve also discussed it with, you know the thing about just having data sheets? Just having a product data sheet that’s properly referenced with a classification wrapper that’s free. So therefore we’ve got something there that’s at least a baseline that everybody can work to. The content of that data sheet, making it all machine readable and well structured, is something that I’m passionately keen to do. And that’s what we’re trying to do with Lexicon and the other initiatives. But the fundamental thing, first of all, is just getting a data sheet. So if we’ve actually got a data sheet that the manufacturer is keeping up to date and therefore we actually know what the product was that was installed and then possibly what is its proposed replacement in in five-years-time. And I think if we’ve got that, that everybody’s using the same data set (and emphasise again it needs to be free) then that’s something we’ve got at least a baseline to work from.
IAIN That makes sense. I still think coming back to though it might be easier just to focus it on fire for now. If you just understand the data declarations around fire, it’s probably a bit we can go at which is going to help us get through these gateways. That’s going to be a lot easier to manage than this full wider gamut of properties that we need to declare. If we just did this for fire everything else can catch up.
GEORGE I think I mentioned we’ve been discussing with Lloyds, they’re actually offering a service to manufacturers who want their product information to be validated. So that’s something that people can choose to have or not. But just having the product data as a data sheet I think will help. I’ve also been discussing this with GS1, they’re the people that do the barcodes internationally, they’re keen to have product barcode in them. The manufacturers pay them, but my understanding is it’s a very low fee and they manage the barcoding. That’s not necessary for what we’ve been talking about, but it’s something that can help join this together. And the GS1 codes, that would also support what BSI is trying to do.
PAUL McSOLLEY Did I show you all the passive slides? I can’t remember. I know this is going to sound like I’m being a bit simplistic but it’s so simple, and I think you made the point there very well earlier yourself, Martin, that everyone quotes all of these standards but no one just goes, well actually, for a door it’s just this and for this and for a smoke control it’s that and getting it onto one sheet. I think I’ve got a project I can do a bit of this with you at the moment. I’ll just show you this quickly, I’ve got a meeting with the PFKG at the end of this month and I want to get agreement with them before we make it something that’s a bit easier and more freely available.
Paul shares screen displaying ‘The process required for descriptive fire dampers’ doc. i was doing this example around fire dampers and protected corridors. I said forget that, let’s just break it down into a system approach. I’m doing this thing in relation to one of the wall type, because all these things have got to be considered, but I was just doing it on the basis of a damper, first of all. This was the charts I’ve sent out previously, which tells you everything you need to do if you were a chartered consultant in relation to building services of fire, how you can follow an architect. But these are the five key parts, whether it’s the type of risk of the building, the operational type of the system. I think I’ve said this before but a fire doors transient because you can go through it. When you open it’s breached, when it shuts on its own it’s then compartmented. A damper opens to either shuts or closes. Things like smoke control is is dynamic, it’s extracting something. Different ways of looking at it.
But then you’ve got classifications of those products, then you’ve got wall types, then installation and maintenance tasks. I tried to break it into these parts, but what I said previously was is obviously a fire engineer can do building safety type, not always the space risk (generally they can but not always) The consultant should be able to do the operational or static type and the classification. You can get it from a manufacturer and you know same thing for the wall type but not one party can do it all. So what I try to do is to say let’s look at a way to bring that into simple fashion where you can go what does it actually look like. So if you look at it from the safety and the building type I’m looking at disabled refuge or a protected corridor. If you look at the building safety types, if it’s a 1A, 1B, 1C, all the different group categories you’ve got with the shape and the form of the building, the heights, and all the different space risks that you’ve got to sort of bring it out.
I sort of went, well, that’s the example to look at if we’re looking at one of these. It’s less than 900 metres square. Let’s say it’s bigger than 50 metres, it’s the type 2B. It’s a refuge, it’s got smoke, it’s got fire in that particular risk category, just to make it easier to kind of follow. Then I went, well, if you look at the operational types of it whether it’s staying transient, dynamic, that’s what I’m looking at, it’s one of these. Because the thing is about product information, it’s also about whether it’s the blade type, whether I’ve got the keys down, whether it’s parallel, opposed, single blade, fusible link. This will affect pressure drop, which is your approved document part L, you can’t mess with that, it is what it is. If you’ve got to do 2 watts s a litre of fan power delivered you can’t be 2.2, you can’t be 3, you’ve got to be below 2 watts a litre. So this has an effect on what that things going to be doing in air flow terms, it can affect the product you end up with. So I’m kind of trying to break it out so you can look at the obviously fire risk, there’s a smoke risk any rating from approved document B that because it’s an S rating you’ve gotta have it activated by fire alarm you can’t ignore it. So you’ve got power and fire alarm to face there as well. So you’ve got an idea of what we’re looking at.
So I went down the descriptive of it and went if you look at the description in a different way, it’s ES which is your fire and smoke. I’ve got an opposed blade type in there because in reality that’s probably about 50% free area, that might give you a 60, and that will give you about a 70% free area, but you can’t use fusible loop because it’s ES. It’s got to be method 4…fire alarm activated damper. Classification insight about VE, I’ve kind of explained all these down here what it is. And the cycling up to C 10,000 that’s how many oscillations you can do them up to if you want to do it. That’s the kind of product I’d be looking for. Then I wanted to look at the wall interface as well to say these are your two types of standard supporting construction that you’ve got. These are all the blade types that exist for fire dampers.
What type of wall construction am I looking at? What’s compatible? Well, those are compatible with that, that’s compatible with that, that’s compatible with either, generally. That can be done in a way that only works in that, that only works in that, and that works in either. This is all the classification stuff you’ve gotta have on data sheets so when you’re selecting it. Then you’ve got your seal type, these are tEN520 boards and mineral wall, sand and cement. So kind of put it all in there, but for the wall thickness you’ve got to check with the manufacturer, the DOP compared with the other wall system products DOP to ascertain the thickness of all the system components, the door, the ducts, the flues, whatever was going through that wall to make sure you got the right thickness or what you need. It’s an easy way of portraying it and you go, well, I’ve gone for a flange, it’s gonna go in that, I need to check that, but I’ve got a mineral wall infall, but then I’ve got to look at the next part, which is installation, access and maintenance.
So I went, well, this is all the key classifications. It’s s a flange, it’s opposed blade, it’s in a vertical installation and a wall. It’s that type of wall. I’ve gotta check it with all the other components and that’s the seal type EN520 mineral wall. Then I’ve got installation. If it’s in the wall here, I need to allow sufficient space either side. I did a nice little key here as well. And you go the distance between that and that is a minimum, so the distance required by the firewall for its testing requirements. I’ve kind of even put the TR 90 and access doors. You can kind of see what it looks like in practise, breakaway joints, everything. And that’s how you end up with a final classification for what you need for a damper. So it was a kind of trying to portray a different way. So when you look at the key information for a data sheet, it’s not just that number, it’s all the other bits that you’ve got to consider: that part, that other part etc.
IAIN Within there have you done anything on tolerances? So if you get through extremes of tolerances are we likely to get problems within any of those…because that’s another one we see, I was having a call this morning about the tolerance of a building, they couldn’t install it. By the time the tolerance was as far out as it was allowed to be…PAUL McSOLLEY That’s all concrete standards, that’s plus or minus 25 mil from line and linear and 25 mil for deviation IAIN This was actually a brick tolerance on the outside, but the same rule applies.
PAUL McSOLLEY The thing is with all of this it’s about trying to bring it all together as a system. What does it look like in practice? That’s just what a damper looks like. But you’re right, there is building tolerance as well. There’s so many things you need to get on a product data sheet that classification doesn’t take account of. With a damper, and I will do it in a more simplistic form.
MARTIN Can I just ask, Paul, that classification you ended up with there on that slide, was that what it will look like or was that what it is currently?
PAUL That’s what it will need to be for that particular instance. All I’m saying is that that’s the classification but this is the other things you need to know, This one causes absolute havoc because consultants are still going to people like Mandy Trocks and going can I have a fire damper please? And they go here you are, have one of these. Oh, that will do, I’ll stick it in me spec. They’ve not gone through that process to get to actually what is it and how does it work with everything else.
GEORGE Paul, when you say it’s classification, what is that classification?
PAUL This is what you get on the DOP (declaration of performance). You’ll get integrity, 120 minutes, vertically installed inside to out. SC 10,000. OK, what you don’t get is bits being checked, all that being verified and seeing whether that works. Because it’s all about that as well (referring to diagrams).
GEORGE So the classification, that’s a complementary classification to a Uniclass?
PAUL Yeah, this is the thing I need to spend some time with you, George. I need to see all the different Uniclass that exists and actually whether…you kind of need its own fire Templater so certain things can be linked back in.
GEORGE Yeah, in essence that’s why the Templater approach…Templater is a data dictionary, it allows you to have multiple classifications against a thing, in this case a damper. So you’ve got the classification. You’ve probably got two or three different classifications, even within Uniclass, so you’d have a product classification, you’d probably have a system classification and you might also have an entity classification. So that’s because they’re looking at things from that particular perspective. Whereas what you’re doing here, you’re looking at it in the actual context of where it’s being installed. And therefore that carries a different level of classification, which is more explicit to that particular circumstance.
MARTIN Yeah, what Paul’s been through there is a designers classification, isn’t it? So you’ve done the design, you’ve gone through the design process, and you’ve picked a solution.
PAUL Yeah, it’s a regulation 4 so it’s appropriate for the circumstances. It’s just trying to make that case example to see how you actually get to that point.
GEORGE I agree with Iain’s point that if we can do this properly for a few products like the fire critical products then a) it’s going to deliver immediate value for people and b) it will also help people get their heads around it, because it is complicated.
PAUL It really is. Martin, you said it before, is that I don’t think people really how complicated it actually is. And I’m not trying to make it more complex, I’m trying to dumb it down as best I can. Fire doors are interesting because if you at the same PowerPoint (and I’m gonna do something possibly around it) is that you go, well, you got to consider the security. You’ve got to consider the Doc M side of it, how you get in and out, the push-pull forces and the rest of it. It becomes ever so difficult just to go I’m going to buy a door, screw everything else, security is getting secured by MEP 6 months later, that’s their problem. You can’t do it, it’s a procurement stop.
GEORGE I was talking with a housing association last week and they were telling me that a very high percentage of the replacement doors that a qualified contractor is putting in at the moment our failing. I think they’re having to replace 3,500 fire doors. The cost of fire doors now has gone up from something like £800 a door set to anything as much as £5,000 which starts making it hugely significant. On a project that we’re doing with another big tier 1, they did an audit of a scheme that they were carrying through and 75% of the doors that had just been installed when they were inspected, they failed.
MARTIN Was it dimensional tolerances? GEORGE They did show me the detail, but I didn’t really understand it. But yes, I think when they did the inspections of the doors only 25% of them passed, and this is from an approved installer on new buildings. MARTIN I’m not shocked. We looked at the percentage of flat roofs that leak within 12 months of being installed and that was 50%.
MARK What you were saying there was interesting but I suppose there is a lack of detail of what the reasons for the failure is, so it’s difficult to comment: is it design? Is it workmanship? Or is ti poor design leading to poor workmanship which is the other link between the two. GEORGE Yeah, I’ll try and find a bit more, I’m sure they’ll be willing to share.
PAUL We’re in this kind of world where we believe it’s an architect, we believe it’s a building services engineer, we may blame the client. The issue is the person for me that ends up with the contract is the one that’s got to pull the finger out and bring it all together. There’s not only one person to blame, it’s a collaboration of all of them not coming together, because everyone is petrified. They’re looking at some of this stuff now because they don’t really understand it. I’ve got to the point where I don’t think you’ll ever get back to maybe an architect (and hopefully you can quote me in years to come with this that I’m wrong) will ever be able to pull this together because they don’t have the knowledge of the building risk, the space risk. The fire engineer may know the height and the shape and the form of the building, that’s in Gateway one, but they can’t tell you the applicability of a product to meet the shape and form.
And that’s the bit that I’m kind of trying to portray and say, look, actually that is all really the problem is. If you’ve got one tech sub data sheet that says this is a damper, this is a door. These all the things that need to be checked (hence that list I had in the Excel), please tick off what you want for that location. It’s got to drive change just by doing that and it enables the manufacturers to go ‘before you buy my damper or door, please tell me what you want. Because if any of these I can’t make it’. Even in my business, and I don’t mean to have a go at it, it’s a knowledge loss thing and it’s a maturity thing now that’s gonna take a while to get it back, is that we sign contracts where if something’s discrepant employer gets to choose. Here’s an example, I’ve got a power critical system in a building which is a resin bar. Resin bars are used because they’re inherently fire rated. They don’t burn, they don’t melt, it’s just a lump of resin on a bar that doesn’t do anything. But they’re not EN tested, they’re still 476 because electrical test.
But when you look at the heights of these buildings have expansion bellows for the bars that riser is too small. I said to the guys on site have you classified at all the things that go with it or to understand what it was. They go, no, we’re just going to change it to a HP system and I’m going no you’re missing the point is that the employer can instruct the riser to be bigger or instruct you to do something completely different. It’s all the things that come into it and it all comes back down to is that we still think that this issue lies with manufacturer’s supply chain. It doesn’t, it lies with us to bring the picture together. n a CM job, wherein the client is responsible for design they’ve got to do it, but if they can’t do it we can help them. Generally we get roped into construction management contracts. But you still need a code of practice, then you need the tail-off workbooks like the guide that was done on part 3 (you could call it purple book) is fantastic for part 3, but you need a part 2, a part 1. You need workbooks for all of them in very simplistic fashion to go if you’re doing a wall, and it’s a wall on Level 5 in a big commercial office (it’s got a flue, a door, a glaze panel, a damper, pipe work etc) this is how you do the system approach on it. The last thing you select is the wall because the wall needs to be selected to meet the minimum or maximum thickness (depending on how you want to look at it) of all the components that sit in the wall. Then you’ve got to look at access and installation, every needs access both sides to form the seal, so shaft walls are pretty irrelevant if you’ve got seals that need access to both sides.
GEORGE I showed Paul a couple of weeks a couple of weeks ago something that I’ve come across about a month ago, which is a standardised inspection tool for fire doors. I’ll just put the context behind it. I attended a workshop that Sodexo had because they’ve got 10s of thousands of fire doors that they’re managing and they they needed to make sure that their own internal people had a pragmatic way of inspecting them and also deciding what needs to be done. So they pulled in an expert called Alan Oliver, he set up something years ago called Checkmate, and he then went to the BRE. He worked with the NHS a few years ago and he produced a standard inspection document or set of guidance for fire doors in healthcare and he’s keen to do the same for residential. So what I’ve agreed to do with him is set up a little work stream within Bim4housing to actually look at what he’s done and see how we can modify it to reflect residential.
So the reason I’m raising it is that that this could be quite a useful tool, not just for fire doors, but the methodology. So if I just show you what he’s shared with me. This is his company, another golden thread.These are the people he’s had involved in developing the original one. And this is the way it’s sort of structured and he’s got this where it’s compliance inspections for new doors, existing doors and then ongoing inspections and then putting together a robust fire door management system. I think that probably a lot of these activities, the copy is probably going to be fairly common for resin, but it would be a matter of replacing the photographs with something that’s a bit more suitable. I don’t know if that type of methodology might be something that we use on the other asset types that we’re looking at.
PAUL I have seen it. The interesting one with this was the Part Q part missing from it, the security piece, not the end of the world. Where I was trying to get to earlier, dampers is probably an easier one because I’ve done the work on it, you’ve got 4 types of blade which I’ve described. The fire doors, how many types of swing have you got, how many types of leaf have you got. This is the kind of microcosm of stuff that needs to be listed out. I’m working on the basis that the specifier doesn’t know how to specify, because that’s what I’m seeing. And I’m kind of like asking a manufacturer to pin a tail on a donkey in the dark and wonder why it’s all going wrong. So I think if you can get like a general template that works for everyone where you know that if it’s a fire door you can get single leaf one way, single leaf two ways, double leaf one way, double leaf two ways – you can get it all. Then you’ve got the security element on that door, is it a bracket, is it a mortise lock inside the door. You’ve got to make it so hard for the builder to select the wrong thing.
GEORGE I think there’s two aspects to this. As Martin said earlier, what you showed us was something that was principally for the designers. Whereas what I was trying to look at it is for the installer or the person that’s ding the post installation inspections as well and also the ongoing inspections. So if we could perhaps look at this from a POV of both the prescriptive specification (which I think is what you’re looking at there, Paul) and then how do we then inspect what’s already installed.
PAUL shares screen. When I was showing these, whatever one I’ve selected what I’ve got corresponding, this is about building up in the right way with these. So that is a flange damper, that tells you everything around the inspection of it and the installation of that you needed to know. That’s a back damper, that’s the plastered in one, that’s reverse deflection, curtain (like the fabric curtain types).
GEORGE If somebody’s being asked to do that inspection looks to me as though you’re asking them…this would be for an installed damper, wouldn’t it?
PAUL Well, not necessarily, because the hard bit is…this is off the record. With the national occupational standard of fire dampers one of the debates is when does installation not become cognitive of how it was designed for its appropriateness in the first place. Because when you think about it in this context if you’re doing an inspection on a fire damper, a drop test is the easiest part. Someone still gotta check that the seal and the rest of the things that go with it are still there in the same work and order for the component that was chosen in the first place.
MARK Is an inspection validating the design? When you’re inspecting something do you need to be in a position to be able to make an assumption, rightly or wrongly, that the design was correct in the first place?
PAUL This is where the debate is raging on, so I’m not saying what I’m saying is right, wrong or indifferent, but if that is what was designed, chosen and installed, if you’re inspecting it, you’ve got to be able to inspect that it operates correctly, the powers on, it’s still in the right type of wall construction it was designed for. It’s obviously still certified for VE and it’s still the type of damper that was installed because what happens in relation to time on jobs is things move. Someone may do some rework. So I don’t think it’s just a case of inspecting the physical, you’ve got to inspect all of this part as well. And that’s the debate that’s going on, hmm. Because traditionally if you just look at this from other people’s eyes is that the problem with fire dampers as an example is they’re mistaken with smoke control all the time, they’re two different inherently different products.
But also is that the ventilation contractors have seen dampers as one of their products, but actually it’s not. It’s a compartmentation device that sits on a wall that allows the air to go through it, transfer from one space to the other in a safe manner. It’s not really a ventilation device, is it? And it’s the way we treat things in silos rather than in systems. That’s the bit I’m getting at is that if you inspect it the first thing is you need that space to get in a look at it anyway. You need the access doors, you need all of this stuff.
IAIN That’s the point I’m struggling with when I was trying to put the papers together and it’s so it all over the place at the moment, but the data journey has to be a product data sheet into something which is a live embodiment of what’s actually happening in the real world into a digital twin, which is sort of that final version of that building. And this data isn’t all going to get on the material data sheet, is it? The next bit is the material, or whatever you call it, whether it’s some kind of product passport material passport has to be that as we installed it, who installed it, how it was installed. And then the inspectors job surely is to look at has anything happened to it between then and now that renders it useless? So this shouldn’t be looking for what’s there, because that should be a matter of record. They should be looking to ensure that what’s there hasn’t been compromised.
PAUL This is where I came from this originally where I need some help getting these into proper templates is that if that’s what the requirement was, which is that flow chart made simple. That’s the stuff that affected the geometry, that’s the asset information that you need to record and the PDF held stuff is really just the certification of the DOP of the damper and maybe the test results of it.
IAIN The information held should be the product data sheet and that product template should include product data sheets should include everything that’s required for the declaration of performance because they’re in a way, the product data sheet, the Declaration of performance should be something that’s produced for regulatory purposes from the product data sheet, surely. Because the product data sheet should be that single source of all the truth about this product which is a regulatory document that we have to produce. The data sheet is everything from it and that’s why we want to go back to all of our data templates now and ensure that it’s aligned with the characteristics from the declaration of performances plus the EPD’s, plus everything else you might ever need to know about that product.
And that core data sheet has to be everything and then in a way the manufacturers passing all that information across and then that gets checked through some kind of ? 52mins 41secs system when once you’ve actually determined from a main contractor point of view, who’s responsible for fabrication of that system. Because then the person taking responsibility for fabrication of the system has to then start to check the interfaces and junctions. Or it’s done by the main contractor because it’s handed out as a construction only contract with no design and build aspect. There’s a really horrible court case that dropped just before Christmas. It’s not been published yet, but the lawyers have started to talk about it.
It’s a cladding DMB contract subcontracted through a cladding DMB contract and the specialist has copped 100% of the responsibility. And there’s definitely something odd that’s gone on because they’ve tried to caveat out the vertical firebreaks, saying that they thought it should have been built with vertical fire breaks because they had a design and build, that’s been overruled. And they said, well, if they should have had it, you should have put it in. I think anyone who knows the construction process will see that for whatever reason they are under pressure to remove those breaks. They thought it was a bad idea, but thought they’d get away with it by a caveat in it.
PAUL It’s interesting because one of the worst things you could ever do in caveats is to say you’ve not allowed for something because it doesn’t mean you haven’t got to it. I’ve been there with that one. And that’s probably what it sounds a bit like bit like it. This is why it’s also interesting all this because really it always comes back into my head. It’s just really all this is just procurement.
IAIN Surely our job here, this working group. is about making sure…Checkmate, I’ve got some history working with, George, I put them in the same category of people previously discussed in terms of how much of a team player they are. But the simple fact is whatever systems are developing, we’ve just got to make sure that the baton of data is being passed effectively so that we know that they’re plugging into a wider system. And what’s really important is that that central core of data has got to be defined better. It doesn’t matter how many data dictionaries or whatever we use…we’ve just got to get that structured data journey right through the middle of the industry so that everybody’s got access to it.
PAUL That is where I’ve got to, Iain, it’s just literally to get the Templater done with all of the information on it and get that out to a few manufacturers and go, this is what we think you should be asking people to verify that when they’re buying your product, would probably resolve 90% of the issue because then it’s out there.
IAIN Yeah, it’s just everything else is then you just gotta ask that person for that piece of information, that person for that piece of information. There’s additional packets of information that sit beyond the product data sheet…
PAUL I just don’t think there’s the ? 55mins 40secs to do it. My issue is, and you know, I’ve been around the block in a few different big builders and what I’ve seen is even with this one here is that we’re more of a management company than we are design and build. I don’t mean that to be derogatory to the business. The problem is we’re still going let’s get the information from the console, let’s check the spec, go and procure that for the MEP and you go what dampers are they buying? Fire damper. Well what is it? I don’t know they’re gonna go and do it on CDP. Well, that’s no good is it? Because the wall types have been procured through BDL or someone and I don’t know if thats; compatible. When’s the doors coming? By the joinery contractor 9 months after. What about security? God knows, that’s way in the distance. It’s a recipe for disaster.
The wall is the common denominator, everything’s gotta feed into that system approach to the wall. So one for dampers, one for doors, one for flues, pipe works the hardest one because it’s material based. It’s not just classification, there’s more nuances to go through, but you can get enough there so you can go well before I select the one I need all this information for this wall data sheet. We’ve got a damper, it’s gone through that process, the door has gone through that process: this is all the asset information that’s required for me to set the wall.
IAIN Asset information is the keyword here.
PAUL Yeah, the industry, unfortunately, has not got the skill to bring it together. It’s too siloed. Massively too siloed.
MARTIN And too bespoke as well.
PAUL Yeah, it is. My energy is going into trying to do practical workbooks for each individual subject because it’s the only way I could kind of fathom that I could get an architect, a building services consultant, afire engineer going, oh geez, OK, Now I understand. And the worst one for me is the structural engineers because, God, you fire the starting gun, they’re off, aren’t they? They’ve gone into their distance. I ain’t changing my structure, mate. And you go but your tolerances don’t work. You slabs like jelly, the drift is enormous. I can’t make this work for anything that goes in the walls anyway. They’ll set a structure out with all of these products where we’re talking like cracking a safe in relation to blooming tolerances here and they’re like, well, I’ve got plus and minus 25 mil line and linear and I’ve got plus and minus 10 on deviation from a horizontal slab plus 5 for the nuances on the crustacean of it. And you go that’s no bloody good to me is it? I’ve got big examples where drywall’s been selected and it should have been brick and block because the products are too big for drywall to house.
MARTIN I want to separate what people should be doing in terms of design from what they’re capable of, I’ll take on board your comment there, Paul, you’re having to do all this because you don’t think there’s a lot of people out there who are capable of doing it themselves and that’s probably true. But from the product data sheets, the data sheets won’t be able to contain, they’re not design solutions, they’re just bits of information. It’s for designers to say what I need here gets satisfied by that product according to the data sheet, rather than that data sheet will give me a solution. And the manufacturers are going to be reluctant to share too much data about their products, which is why we are where we are at the moment, I think as an industry. Because if you if you bear all and put all of your information on a data sheet, then our friends over in China are going to copy it, aren’t they? And sell it to you for half the price.
I think we’re right to focus in on fire related types data sheets. I’m not sure what the parameters are, how far we’re going to get with this because we won’t get all of the information, we’ll get some of it. And it’s bloody hard, like Paul says, every time you go into the detail it just growsa arms and legs and you need all this and all that.
IAIN Is that where the data sheet becomes a passport? Because you’re then looking at how that data was validated in the process. So if the all of the data is not available to everybody beyond a certain point because of intellectual property, whatever it is, you need to record how that data was validated, which is where you’re starting to move into the world of a material passport, or a product passport, system passport, whatever it is.
MARTIN But I can’t see how it would ever replace a designer saying I need this performance. That iterative approach, if you like, he goes and selects…when you and I go and buy a TV we have our preferences and our foibles and our sort of specification we’ve got largely in mind in terms of size and what have you, but we don’t go and select one based on all of the information that’s available.
IAIN Does Paul’s spreadsheet not start to set that down? To say this is the process that was gone through to validate the…in situ…
PAUL I think it does. It’s horrific when you look at it you go is it really that complicated and the answer is unfortunately, yes. But then you’ve got to look t the compatibility of a VE flexible wall with a product. And this is about installation, 3 sided, 4 sided, the rating of the wall, the interface. You’ve got to be able to know that if you’ve got that right you’ve still got to make sure that that is part of the systems compatible, which is really what I was trying to say with that diagram there.
IAIN That’s when you’re going to start to move, I would assume, in terms of main contractors, they’re saying, look, we’re not prepared to deal with that level of choice, so we’ve got to start constraining it down to these are the 5, 10, whatever it is, common types that we’re going to use because the inefficiency of the process is undermining the whole of the construction industry.
PAUL Part of the problem is that the inefficiency of the process stats before gateway 1, so that’s where this whole passive fire knowledge piece comes into fruition.
IAIN But that’s where the ? 1hr 03mins 40secs stuff comes in, there’s only so much it can do, it then becomes a lobbying piece by the passive fire knowledge group to say this is the biggest model you’re creating by these choices therefore…that’s where you start to drive modern methods of construction, not necessarily just meaning off-site structure, but more of the design work being done before the construction process begins that way you’re back to…so all of this, it’s almost like the complexity is the reason to change, isn’t it? Because we can’t go through this, we’re gonna have to do it for a while. But at some point there’s gotta be a jumping off point to say, well, you know, actually we’re going to work into these effectively, like robust details.
Common sense would tell you that it’s all too fragmented. So there needs to be some kind of mechanism for rationalising all of that lot so you don’t have to go through that process every single every time. I would imagine with that sort of 80/20 rule, just say that 80% of our buildings are built using these standard details. And then standard details, effectively your own system builds that each main contractor would probably have slightly different versions of. And then within that there will be 20% of the industry which is still building off sky hooks, but doing it by testing and having to sort of push the envelope in order to deliver that vision from whatever architect, which would be a more expensive building process because it will be outside of your standard details.
MARTIN Which comes back to it is amazingly complex and you do have to do it every time because of the bespoke nature of what we build. Everybody wants their own thing and you have to start again from scratch each and every time.
IAIN The problem is sets are already changing, you know the new hospitals trust they’re looking at more standardisation and it might not be this wave of hospitals we landed but we learn from this lot and we do it better next time round. It’s that iterative improvement that looks good and I think that’s where for me the passive fire knowledge group, Paul, gives me some hope. It’s not going to be able to solve everything in that group, but it will be able to add a little bit of context and help to create a stronger lobby to change the problems at source.
GEORGE The standardisation piece is at 2 levels. One is if we can (and one’s easier and that’s data standardisation), so if we can have data standardisation for these elements, then that’s even if the products aren’t standardised, the data standardisation should be achievable. But what I’d like to do is just differentiate between the hinge that I’ve spent the last seven or eight years on, which is trying to get standardised data templates against just getting a data sheet. And the reason I’m suggesting that we just initially go down the track of just getting what manufacturers already published and are willing to provide. It starts us off down the track where there’s at least something to work to. I’ll now show you what’s underpinning Lexicon and just briefly the challenge that we’ve got there.
IAIN I think the problems with Lexicon now are political, not practical, aren’t they?…of authority. So we know pretty much from what’s described in Lexicon already what a relevant authority looks like. Now that means FIS would likely to apply to become a relevant authority in certain areas because it would make sense. So realistically, I think working with BIM4housing and FIS together then you should be able to effectively assume relevant authority…somebody tells me what other hoops and jumps I need to jump through, but we can get ahead and actually do some of the bloody templating work now, rather than worrying about whether I needed to include the widget and sprocket Manufacturers Association in the conversation or not. That’s not me trying to land grab because wherever we need to assign and work with, happy to do it. I don’t care which trade association, which industry group it is. Nobody’s off bounds for us to work with, right? And we would happily put anything past any other group out there, but I think getting those templates laid down has got to be the next critical step.
GEORGE Yeah, absolutely. And the way the Templater was designed, which is the underpinning technology behind Lexicon, it was done using an open data dictionary standard. So therefore anybody that is producing information in a data dictionary that could have these things connected can do so, so there’s nothing restrictive on that. If I could just show you a couple of steps in this process. (Shares screen). So this is for a door. Any type of door, it’s not a fire door, it’s not a balcony door, whatever, it’s any type of door. And these parameters here are only they’ve been parameters, they’re IFC. Now there’s other parameters like he parameters for environmental performance and things like that, which may not be IFC related, but these are the ones that are IFC related. So if we look here at the common attributes that some experts have decided are critical to describe a door. You’ve got here fire rating, acoustic rating, etc.
Now, there’s a corresponding set of information requirements that are fire integrity or fire insulation rating, so that’s a slightly different way of approaching that. Therefore there’s going to be lots of different perspectives. So this property set here I think is principally put together for designers, but it’s unclear. What you’ve then got, that can then be generated as a data template for people to fill in. What we do with that within Active Plan, we pull that into an asset information requirement data set. So we’ve got those same templates here, but we’re applying them this time to a fire door, so you can differentiate between a fire door and just a standard internal door. And what that can then do is produce for us a data template. But you can also see here all of the parameters that are defined in IFC and you can also add a custom parameters as well. So the purpose of this is to then create something that then becomes a machine readable set of information and you can then produce this as a Word document or as a spreadsheet to be filled in.
So, these are the COBie data, but these are then the additional attributes that have been defined through the template. So the reason I’m explaining this is that the attributes for a door are going to be different than the attributes for a fire damper. They’re going to be different than the attributes for an AOV. And that’s the challenge. But we’ve already got a load of those already built in a master library that we can share. I’m just saying it’s a way forward. But the key thing here, determining (that’s the challenge that that Lexicon and everybody’s got) which attributes do you actually want to use? Because different people will want them for different purposes. Designers will want certain information, procurement people will want certain information and installers and inspectors. And you can’t get all of that from a manufacturer because the manufacturer wouldn’t know.
MARTIN He’ll know his product though, George, won’t he? GEORGE Yeah, he’ll know his product, but that’s where what Paul’s doing is so important, and that is knowing what it is in that particular context. MARTIN Yeah, he won’t know where it’s going to be installed. You know, what the design parameters are in order that it satisfies. That’s for the designer.
MARK Is there a reason here to maybe have a small workshop with a kind of an invented design team and an invented very simplistic scheme and work through the process to try and understand what might be required? PAUL I think it’s probably going to be easier, Mark, because you try to do this stuff internally, mate. I mean, you’ll get shot down. Even my lot internally can’t process it.
GEORGE Should we therefore have two? Should we have one that is design focused and one that is inspection and asset management focused? ΜΑΡΤΙΝ Yes, I think you do need to separate the two because we were getting confused when we were running the two scenarios, weren’t we? You could look at it from the gateway point of view, couldn’t you really? GEORGE That’s a good idea.
PAUL We can use the thing I’ve done for the PFKG around how you look at what Gateway one is. Do you know what I mean? You can look at it. That’s what I tried to do that example around. So it’s a better way of trying to embed it in people’s heads the importance of it.
IAIN What effectively you want is somebody to sort of act as an independent clerk of information through this process. Mapping that data and ensuring that there’s an independence and there’s a consistency of where the data is coming from and where the data is going. We could reach out. If we did this through the Passive Fire Knowledge Group would be a good place to do this, Paul, I think because you’d be looking at it and then you could throw back the challenges through housing and different other groups. I wonder if we could get a building inspector involved.
PAUL Just to give you the history, the thought process initially was it was a builders work issue. And I’ve kind of said it’s not a builders work issue, it’s a descriptive to prescriptive problem. But it shows its face at that stage of the work when nothing bloody fits because of ill selection of products and wrong performance characteristics, whatever, wrong seal types and the whole thing. So I think to get it to that point where I can get it to work, the most important component for me, and I’m going to say it again, is still the BIM side. The BIM Revit files, Templater’s assets, what’s going to solve 90% of the problem because it’s going to force people to get stuff given to them, but they’ve got to select things appropriately. That’s my panacea, if you understand what I mean.
So yeah, the PFKG is where we’re going to do it, Iain, but I will need to bring some of your expertise, George, on board with it as well. Getting a project, and I think I may have one, where I can kind of get the two to marry up might be a good thing as well. I want everyone to get the benefit of it, it’s no good just one person, one organisation getting it right. Everyone’s got to be able to get it right. Supply chains have got to come on board.
MARTIN Just thinking about a willing designer or two. An architect and an engineer. Services engineer. We could tap into the boys and girls at WSP, no doubt.
PAUL Yeah, we do special relationships with them as well. So that that’s a good one because we use them for a lot of the things…as a starter because, not being facetious, we took them on a big exercise on two big jobs and they come out of it a lot better than they were before, which is good for them, so I’m all for that.
MARK Who’s in the design working group? As there’s people already onboard, as such. Because I suspect that that group has possibly lost a little bit of focus, so maybe this could be something to join things up. GEORGE Well, certainly David Miller would, I think, contribute. I’m just trying to think who we’ve got from an M&E point of view. Max Fordham used to be very active, but I’m not sure.
PAUL I’ll run it back past Will (chair of the PFKG) because I’ve already mentioned this group to Will. The BIM side of it is my Achilles’ heel, it’s my final piece in the puzzle. Will is head of Biza Technical and he’s the chair person with Joe on the PFKG. He works for Laing O’Rourke, they do design and build, he’s a technical leader for micro services, the engineering side.
MARK We want to surround ourselves with the designers, not the leads and the heads and the strategic people. The people that are nuts and bolts, hands on. MARTIN I think WSP would be a better shout, unless we’ve got somebody on one of the other groups who’s working for Alcro or somebody else. GEORGE Let’s look at who we’ve got and we’ll make some suggestions. And we’ll do the same on the inspection and maintenance. I’ve got ISG interested in joining, buy the way. And also Willmott Dixon. It’s Jack Dearlove from ISG.
PAUL I know Ben Elliot and I know Charlie Versey who’ve come over from Multiplex to ISG. Ben’s the lead for innovation for the business and I suppose Charlie’s like the other director that’s doing the innovation and and moving forward with it. So Charlie’s a good asset to have onboard because around the quality pace, he’s epic, he’s brilliant. He does a bit of speaking around it as well. He’s a good guy. So just bear his name in mind, George, I’ll send you his details over.