BIM4Housing Operations Working Group Meeting-2022-08-24

BIM4Housing Operations Working Group Meeting-2022-08-24

GEORGE: We’re looking at the requirement to deliver floor plans by the 23rd January. We’ve been approached by a few of the housing associations looking at how best to achieve that. We’ve done some research on the different ways that different people are doing it. We had a group with Housing Associations (Kelly was a part of that) a few weeks ago where we looked at these different ways. Ed Costa was on the call and he explained the method he’s approaching. Ultimately it’s probably a good idea to coordinate things.

One of my concerns is that we deliver just what is needed for 23rd January, the basic floor-plan that doesn’t include any detail about what rooms are in each apartment. It’s just saying there is an apartment there, which may satisfy the immediate need of the fire brigade but it will not satisfy what we need going forward for either the safety case or carbon etc. It’s useful to try and agree specification of what those different levels are. From conversations we’ve had we’re trying to maybe create a bronze, silver and gold standard specification, Just focusing on plans that are needed, those can be procured and specified, but the information can then be added to.

E.g. we’ve had a conversation with Gerda (premises information boxes), they provide a service that some of the members have been using to actually create the floor plans, which are clean and simple but they are produced in Visio and provided as PDFs, therefore it is quite difficult to add information. It has to go back to Gerda - the workflow needs to be more flexible than that, it’s great if the information can be built upon. that’s the methodology we are following with that.

GEORGE shares a document on screen. This is the requirement that needs to be delivered by the 23rd January. They’ve referenced the ‘Code of Practice’ document, this is the sort of information the fire brigade are looking for. There is a sectional view of the individual units. We’ve then got simple plans at a base level of information that incorporate some of the key elements e.g. dry risers. They’re also saying they want to have this highlighted where there is people at risk. That’s what they are trying to have as a standard data set that can then be built on. That’s fine, but what we need to then do is make it so when e.g. we want to collect the information about what wall type it is that can then be added.

Kelly will give an overview of what Orbit are doing. They’re going from the aspect of creating a comprehensive model and then deriving from that the information that is going to be needed for different purposes which is a sensible way to do it if you’ve got the financial capacity. For others that have got maybe 100 or 200 blocks, that’s actually quite difficult to fund. We need to have a way of looking at this that is progressive, a methodology where you’ve got maybe remediation taking place on a building so there is value in doing a detailed model. At the other end there is just a matter of having something pretty basic that’s just a place holder that we can add enough information that just satisfies what the fire brigade needs.

George asks how are people pursuing it at the moment? PATRICK FLYNN: We’re employing Gerda - we’ve had a contract with Gerda for floor plans etc for several years. They’ve recently updated to include the other elevations they didn’t have on their basic plans so we are purchasing those plans. Going in and creating building models for our stock is not really feasible at the current moment. We haven't completely outlined how our golden thread of information is going to work yet for occupied buildings. Those a lot of investment in new builds and we’ll probably roll a load of lessons learnt into our existing stock over the next 12 months.

The conversations we are having around the safety cases, the system is not getting away from escaping going down to the site and testing the safety case to make sure it is working. Having a basic system that works will be just as powerful as having a platform that works that maybe cannot be accessed operationally on the ground and demonstrate to HSE during their audit process.

GEORGE is speaking to Gerda and suggesting to them that what they produce they can produce in a machine readable format. It’s just they are choosing not to because they perceive that…there’s obviously a financial side for them. I’ve made the point to them that there is a much bigger market for them if they can be part of the wider eco-system. If they are producing things that nobody else can add to then that becomes a blocker. PATRICK thinks that will eventually be the direction of travel but they will probably need several big clients to talk to them about it before they look at doing it. He agrees there is definitely a need to be able to update stuff.

STEVE WYPER: We’ve got basic plans from things like structural surveys, we had Gerda boxes in all of our tall buildings in advance of this. We are now auditing to see what’s the gap analysis between what we’ve got and what they now want. We have a small portfolio of 18 metre plus 7 storey plus buildings, however we’ve got an eye on what we are buying from development and how information comes in and we are trying to educate everyone in the business.

We are doing some internal CPD sessions to say golden thread is a reality, digitisation of information coming in, when we buy stuff we need to develop units in a way that is going to be serviceable and compliant, not just from the building but from the information, safety case, golden thread etc. We’ll try and makes sure everything comes in in the right formats as we develop and as we acquire. Retrospectively, our big issue we’ve got a lot of stock 11 to 17 meters. We should be able to handle that and use those (8 buildings) as almost the pilots for what we are going to do across the rest of the business as legislation hits us and things progress forward.

GEORGE: from talking to people I’ve found out something that I wasn’t aware of. A Housing Association told me they’ve had to do something on lease holder protection Act. They’ve had to collect a whole lot of information about buildings that are over 5 storeys (below the safety case). You’ve got a lot of different pressures that are demands coming from different areas. Also, about the new provisions for NEC4 for developers and contractors to demonstrate that they’ve taken due account of carbon. If they don’t they get penalised for that as well.

STEVE: We’ve got a massive PAS 9980 program running across a load of lower-rise blocks just to understand more about how it is built.

JACK WHITE: There are quite a few things coming in under the fire safety regulations and we probably want to be in a good position when they come in but I think some of it e.g fire door checks, we’ll probably be happy enough having started out on our work and having a plan to

demonstrate when we will meet that by rather than necessarily meeting it on the 23rd January.

Ed is a colleague of mine and they’ve got an app where they’ll be creating very basic floor plans but my team will be continuing to scan buildings and create 3-D models from them, looking at that golden thread part and not diverting our resource and creating plans that would not allow us to do the full work that we want to do onsite.

We'll be splitting the work on it as in part of the team doing work to create the basic floor plans and then we’ll be continuing on with that golden thread work. We’ve got about 80 HRBs where we are the responsible person of which just over 20 have been scanned and modelled. We’re always happy to share what we are doing if everyone wants to see.

NICK ISHERWOOD: We’ve only got 4 HRBs, 2 of which are brand new build so obviously there’s plenty of development plans there. The other 2, I’ve asked the local fire safety assessor to make some local arrangements. All I plan to do at the moment until we get any greater guidance is simply to follow the guidance document shown by George which is fairly simplistic and nothing too technically challenging for the hard copy and then wait and see what comes out for electronic transfer and do what we ned to do then.

The 2 I’ve spoken to the fire assessor about, they are the only 2 we haven’t got existing floor plans for so whether he gets his scale rule and a pencil out or something a bit more sophisticated I’ll wait and see.

LEE REEVELL: We’ve been looking at floor plans for a couple of years, as part of a project we’ve pulled in a lot of floor plans and we armed our maintenance technicians with laser measures and an iphone app which when they go into property for any reason they capture that information and then we tag it to an archetype, if there is a number of homes or buildings like that. More recently I’ve done a 14-storey building (we’ve only got 1 building that will be impacted by the building safety bill) and we’ve modelled that in an application called sitedesk. I’m happy to share what we’ve been doing. The guys in our assets department are using that information that we’ve pulled together in the past and some of the newly modelled information to deliver documentation required for that building safety case, but it’s not finished yet and i’d be interested to take some pointers from you guys as to where you are up to.

GEORGE: In terms of those fire plans it’s become clear to me that we’ve not only got different pressures, we’ve also got different regulators that are asking for this information. The fire side of things is with the Home office whereas the Building Safety Act and building control are under the HSE now.

Everyone seems to agree, in response to George’s question, that the requirements for the 23rd of January is only for high risk buildings/in=scope buildings. JACK says for things like fire door checks it’s 11+ but then for floor plans that’s HRBs.

DAVE WILLIAMS: We’re no different to what everyone else has said. We’ve got a bout 3 o r 4 new builds which we’ve got plans for so we’ve sorted those out. The historical ones at the moment we’ve got a guy doing those plans for us. Our surveyors were already doing plans for units using an app so we’ve just expanded out for the other 19 buildings that we’ve got to get full floor plans done. The new BS8644 turned up last week so that’s another gap analysis I’m doing.

FLEUR BOWEN: We have nearly a hundred HRBs and so ultimately we are just keen to hit the January deadline and focus entirely on that requirement initially. In terms of floor plans our records aren’t dreadful, we do have plans that include floor layouts etc. What’s harder to come by is the more specific fire equipment and the specific guidance for the PIPs. We’re trying to deal with those things separately because trying to deal with a hundred buildings’ comprehensive floor plans by January is probably ambitious. Gerda is one of the ideas that we are exploring but I think we are looking at a number of different providers at the moment.

My main focus is actually on new builds coming into the portfolio, trying to make sure that we’ve got all of that information in an accessible format and making sure that RERs have those requirements very clearly and where it’s not covered under our existing contractual arrangements to make sure that our fire guardians are supporting us in delivering those requirements and that we’ve got the plans and the PIP boxes in place already on those new schemes before we accept handover.

GEORGE: We’ve set up another workstream to look at this floor plan exercise. Our workstreams only run for a few months - you’ve got a particular problem, let’s see if we can address it. Through the workstream we’re trying to get from people what the requirements are so that we can actually agree a consistent set of requirements then provide that to survey firms and the like so that they’ve got a clear brief.

It concerns me that people just go out and buy a matafor scanner without having all of the knowledge they may need to produce a really good output from that. We’re speaking with some of the big providers so we can agree what information they need to be able to put together a clear offer but also to agree what the quality of the information needs to be thus avoiding a situation where we get back information that isn’t properly reusable. I welcome people to participate.

KELLY LEE begins a run through of the approach that Orbit has been taking: We took one of our estates where we’ve got three 18 metre + buildings there. (Similar to Jack) we scanned the whole site and looked at everything on that site. I’ve got a short internal presentation and I don’t have a lot of the modelling at the minute, but I’ll quickly run through our approach. She shares a document on screen.

This was the BIM briefing document, our plan is to retro-bim all of our buildings to understand them from a POV of knowing what they are, what they are made from etc as they are very old buildings and they were stock transfer so we don’t have a lot of information on them. Obviously that will go into building up drawings, plans and anything that we need - once it’s within a model we can pretty much provide everything that we want. We did that by laser scanning which was done through drones on the outside, all of the different types of scanning on the inside.

We went into every part of the buildings, apart from where we had the flats, so we did example flats. We did utility surveys to see how the site interconnected with each other and we also added in thermal drain scanning, so yes we’ve got EPCs but we wanted to have a look at where these older buildings with pebble-dash cladding, we wanted to understand where the heat loses are coming from and to inform us at to how we are going to manage the buildings in the future.

Intrusively we did core sampling of all of the structure, so we drilled through the structure of walls, floors, ceilings, basement and went off-site for lab testing so that we could really see how the internal and external walls were built up to fully understand the compartmentation, the structure, the cavity barriers etc. We did that within the flats as well, 4 to 5 flats in each building we drilled through walls etc, we’ve got lots of data on that.

We did the energy assessments (the heat stuff), intensive fire safety inspections which obviously worked in conjunction with having done all of the intrusive works. The outcome of that is we will look at what the options will be on these types of buildings for the future. The research side of it and the consultancy, we’re now looking at different ways to manage the asset of information, how we can hold all of that, so we’ve looked at all the different standards to kind of understand what we want to do and where we want to be.

The initial findings. This is one of the 3 buildings (they are identical from the outside). We didn’t know that this area was actually an extension to the building, there was no records to show this building had a major extension which has led to additional works to do around the structure to make sure that it’s all tide in properly. The pebble-dashing was, overtime, added separately and we’ve also had some structural strengthening on the building (done after Ronan Point).

We can do these drawings in 3-D or 2-D, whatever we want, we’ve built up what the whole building looks like. Fire risk assessment: by understanding the building had had an extension and understudying the external walls a bit better we’re able to do a little bit more in-depth fire risk checking. We’ve found within the extension (we’re assuming was put in for a second lift) there is potentially open steel beams at each floor that wouldn’t have been fire protected so we’ve got to go back and have a look at those beams to see what we need to do.

Heat mapping was interesting because obviously from a golden thread POV and understanding structure and fire safety you think about it as not a particular impact, but actually this was really beneficial, not just regarding net carbon etc, it prompted us to think of the building as a whole as we should be thinking about it. As part of this project we assess all of our property improvement works for the future so we can see what it is that the want to do to these buildings and how to manage requirement changes.

They wanted to replace all the windows and you can’t do that in isolation anymore on these buildings because the pebble-dash was overlaid over the top of the windows and around the frames so you are going to damage the external wall. You’ve got to go through building control consent because the window types will slightly change on these types of buildings. You’ve got to retro put in cavity barriers which we found we didn’t have around any of these windows. The heat loss stuff, we found that yes, the windows were at the end of their useful life, but the heat loss is coming from the external wall.

So it doesn’t matter how many windows and balcony areas we replace, we’d probably cause more of a problem to the building by doing that because we’ll create cold spots and heat spots in different locations. This building does have a slight problem with damp and mould and the windows was the idea our improvement teams had for replacement to fix that but it would cause more problems. Now we’re waiting for a varied listing of what we could do to this building to be able to think about it as one particular structure, to see what we need to do and how much it is going to cost us.

The amount of redundant equipment that we have in these types of buildings is annoying, contractors can be generally lazy. Replace stuff and leave wiring in - that is not around the golden thread and maintaining stuff and understanding your building. We’ve now got drawings to show where redundant equipment is and we’ll be stripping all of that out. We’ll have really good plans about specific equipment, where it is and what it does, instead of having bits of old kit that you’ve got to put on there because it’s mapped in the building but actually it’s not usable.

The modelling is still under construction, we’ve got the initial modelling and are building up a picture of what we want to see. We’ve gone for the highest level of modelling so it looks like the building looks. I’m working with the external guys to build up the asset information. As a business we are very interested in adopting HACT. We want to have that flexible journey on our asset information so that as assets are defined by those working groups we will adopt those.

Active H is our database management system so we are also doing comparisons against that system and how we can hold the data in the system that we’ve just been provided. We know we cannot get all this information and the management of the modelling in our current systems so we’re just looking at the common data environment platforms to be able to manage this long term: accessibility for our contractors, our staff, customers, fire service, HSE, it will be a combined common data environment that we want to do everything. The modelling will hold in there, it will API into our systems and we’ll still have that one source of truth.

The information will be led and updated from our database systems that will update our common data environment. Where we don’t have the information sat in our database systems that one source of truth will sit in the common data environment, but there is only going to be (in effect) one place where all of our information will sit. We’re just now building up what that common data environment will look like and what the workflows will be and how we want that to be a continuous updating.

We’re creating our Golden Thread Management Plan. We know the GT is more than just data, it’s everything: it’s your interactions internally, and we’re just defining in our management plan what we believe our GT will look like. Data is a major point of it, that’s things like floor plans, PIB boxes and how they’ll be updated, who’ll manage those, inspections etc. It will also be the interactions with the departments. Anybody who has an impact on that building across our business will be in that GT management plan.

As an example, we’ve got a new team that manages aids and adaptations. We’ve got a lot of elderly people who need adaptions doing so we’ll have those kinds of information and how we’ll be updating that. Customer improvement, that will be part of our…management plan. Lettings: we can give people access to portals showing them information - drawings, plans, escape routes.

Our next step for our PIB boxes is we will create from our pilot project a kind of suite of all of the drawings to meet all of the requirements out of the back of the modelling because we will have that information. That will be our utopia moving forward as we do all the other blocks. We’ve got basic floor plans for everything but we’ll update those as we define this is what we would expect to see. The element of that we’re working on is the disability side of things and how we capture and show that data, how we communicate with our customers and keep it updated.

Our idea from the drawings, instead of just having dots and colours, is actually having people in there. We’ll be looking at GDPR to see if we can have links to people to show a little bit more information. We’re not sure we can do that, but once you’ve got the modelling in effect you can do anything. It’s costly, but once we get the management and the updating in place it’s beneficial in the long term.

GEORGE to Kelly: from your experience what would you flag up that you might do differently? KELLY: I’m not sure I would do anything in particular differently. It was interesting to talk to people and say ‘what could we do that is more than what we’ve already done’. The heat scanning stuff actually gave us results that we didn’t expect to see. Is there anything else while we’re on site that we can capture that might be of benefit. The communication and consultation with customers was really worthwhile and we’ll be presenting them (most of) our findings.

PATRICK FLYNN: each organisation has to look at their costs versus benefits analysis and that obviously worked out for you. Are you able to share cost information? KELLY: Approximately 40,000 a block. Currently we have 23 blocks but we are merging with Swann Housing so we’ll have another 50 something and we will do all of them. It’s value for money. With the pilot project, you are building up your organisational and asset requirements at the beginning and you’re never going to have to do that again. It’s been hard work getting to this point but half of that I will never have to do again, it’s done. The benefit of adopting something like the UK housing data standards for the asset information is you’ve got professionals from every area defining what requirements are needed so as they come along we’ll just adopt those.

GEORGE: The surveying company Ulti Vista have got an interesting ? for scanning and using AI to pick up where penetration seals are, it could be a good thing to be able to use.

IHSAN HOQUE from Guiness responds to how he’s approaching fire safety plans for the 23rd january deadline: We currently have 36 in-scope buildings, we have developments in the pipeline that will then bring it to a lot more. From a development perspective we have another 17 schemes (with maybe 4 blocks in each) which are going to be considered in-scope.

DAVE WILLIAMS on BS8644: The first thing e do is an organisational gap analysis against the requirements - technological gaps, skills gaps, resource gaps etc. We take that approach for all the different Acts. We often find there’s an overlap in those documents where we’ve identified the same resources or skills gaps etc. Also there are often contradictions.

GEORGE on BS8644 sharing on-screen document: It’s shaped around the Cobie schemer. For anybody that’s familiar with Cobie you’ll recognise these sheets. They’ve added on to each of the existing Cobie data sets some additional information e.g. competencies has been added. The building level has maybe not been changed, certainly on the floor level there are 4 new attributes against floors. There’s new attributes against spaces and also against zones, types, I don’t think they’ve added anything against instances which we think is a bit of a shortcoming because there are things you probably would need to know about the individual instance.

On connection there doesn’t seem to be any changes, they’ve added things on spares. We’ve actually gone through and done an analysis on this and we’re putting these into data templates now. he big change is that they’ve added some new tabs in. They’ve added a tab for packages which is new, competence, and they’ve produced a set of additional attributes - things like electrical power, back-up type etc.

These aren’t prescriptive, they’re suggested safety properties, so the principal idea here is that the client who (in this world) is determining what everybody should be doing…this information should be added into the asset information requirements.

One of the challenges…there’s quite a lot of industry engagement with people talking against it, they are feeling feeling from a workflow perspective, they’re expecting all of this to go into models because the way a lot of people are producing Cobie is from the model using IFC. There are no definitions an also no placeholders in the 3-D model to accommodate that. In our view that doesn’t really matter. If this is information that Fire people have said they need then it’s really a matter of delivering it.

So the approach that we’re taking is to simply add in the new attributes, take the existing Cobie and then add them in as attributes and then add new tables. That means that rather than people having to produce 2 different data sets or 2 separate workstreams they can both come from the same data. I’m expecting that Active Plan will have this cracked by the end of this week so that we can generate the Firey data directly from the system. Once we do that it means that we can then populate whatever software application people need that competency information in.

My concern at the moment is that the BIM community is coming at this from the POV of what they can do with their existing processes whereas the people that have actually pulled this together, they are saying what do they need as fire engineers/fire safety etc. My view is that we shouldn’t be letting the technology that we are using be the barrier to providing the information that is needed.

Do you see responding to this standard as being relevant to you as Operations teams?

STEVE WYPER: On Sovereign’s POV I think it would be great. In many of these presentations I am made aware of how far we have got to go and how many people internally we’ve got to garner and sell the vision of time investment in this.

GEORGE: I’ve been told that there’s at least 30 regulations coming out of the back of the building safety act. It’s frustrating because people seem to take a view that once they’ve produced the document/paper/piece of guidance then it’s done without thinking about how people are actually going to deal with it. We have to come together and say, OK, this is what you are asking for, this is what we are practically able to deliver.

As Jack was saying earlier, if the regulator comes and looks at what Clarion are doing and he can see what progress is being made then arguably they should be satisfied with that. Also regarding the Active Plan approach, if somebody’s got 20/50/100 blocks then it’s a matter of doing something on all of them, not waiting until you can do something perfect on everything. It’s a matter of prioritising, but also being able to do something pretty basic.

Also, we’ve done work over the last 18 months or so on the Covid testing centres and we helped to mobilise those within a few weeks, almost 200 sites within 4 weeks. The people visiting the sites just did hand sketches and we used those as containers/placeholders for putting the information that they could collect and the you could build on it. I think that’s a logical way of approaching it, even if you’ve just got a simple matrix of what the layout of the internal flats are, just as a placeholder. With 360 cameras you can now record very cheap ways of pulling together asset information.

You can then look at it from the other end (the work that Jack is doing) proper scans and creating models from that. My point is that we ca come at it from both angles and then you end up with something that you can work with and also it means we can align it with the documents…I don’t know if you’ve seen what we did at the Golden Thread Initiative to actually identify what documents are needed, what information is needed to support the safety case. So you can start to use it to gather together the information that you need. It’s a matter of doing it in a structured and progressive way. If anybody’s interested in the little workstream that we are doing on the floor plans then just drop us an email and we’ll include you on the next session.


Lee Reevell

We're using MagicPlan and a fancy laser measure on an iPhone to capture existing building floorplans. Export as ifc format.

I'd be keen to understand how everyone is setting out those requirements for new developments. We essentially get a huge PDF file which has to be disseminated internally when that information must be available digitally at some point in the process.