BIM4HOUSING OPERATIONS WORKING GROUP MEETING 26-09-2023

BIM4HOUSING OPERATIONS WORKING GROUP MEETING 26-09-2023 

ALEX OLDMAN Welcome to this quarters Bim4housing Operations working group meeting. I’m Alex Oldman, the Operations team leader. This is going to be an interactive session and the meeting is being recorded. George Stevenson has sent his apologies as he is at another event. We’ve got 90 minutes to run through some key points, we’ve had some suggestions on discussion points from a member which is going to be really interesting, so that’s probably going to be the bulk of our discussion today. I’ll start with a quick update on the sector that we work in and any significant changes that have been made, these are notes I’ve made in the last couple of months since our last meeting. 

We’re going to have a major building safety discussion today which is going to be focused on five or six questions raised by David Poat. Then there’s a general update on other matters, an opportunity for members to update on any interesting projects or progress that you’ve been making, any information that you feel you want to share with the group. The point about Bim4housing is to have a discussion and to share best practice and if we don’t have an idea on where those best practice might be to develop an understanding or discussion as a group about best practice operations. I’m also going to be stepping down next meeting from my role as the Operations team lead having done it for nearly two years, it’s somebody else’s opportunity to do a step forward, so if you’re interested in getting involved in the Operations working group in more detail, chairing these meetings is the principal responsibility, but also facilitating outside of this connections, making sure that people are networking and talking to the right people. I’m not stepping back from the group, I’m still going to be very much involved. 

Some quick updates from the world, the first thing is that back in June and July Bim4housing ran a series of roundtables which resulted in sets of publications which have now been updated where appropriate and available at https://bim4housing.com/. These are the working notes and guidance notes on specific practices, there were 12 or so meetings. Specific guidance on information requirements around things like automatic opening valves, sprinkler systems, fire doors for example. So if you’re looking for information requirements, data capture and management requirements that are going to help you maintain your properties in good order and manage information sets to demonstrate compliance then those publications are a good source of knowledge and information to expand on that. 

I always talk a little bit about mergers, the only merger that I’ve spotted is that Stonewater have announced a merger with Mount Green Housing Association back in August, that’s a 1600 home housing association going into Stonewater, so that’s good news. And obviously we’ve got the looming deadline on the building safety register which is going to be up next week, so the 1st October is upon us and I’ve seen in the press the last couple of weeks lots of excitement about people making sure that their buildings have been registered in time. So hopefully we can get some updates from group members on how that’s progressing and, with a week or two to go, are you nearing the completion of that process or have you only just started, does it seem likely that you’re going to meet that deadline (it’s always been quite an ambitious deadline). I’ll just make a general note that the regulator for social housing has generally been flexing, Mr. Gove has been stirring things up a little bit with the work that he’s been doing in the Department for Levelling Up. And so we are obviously coming under greater regulatory scrutiny and it seems that those regulators are prepared to use their powers a bit more as well, which I think is a good thing for shaping the industry. 

And so we’re onto the next point, this is the general discussion point, I don’t know if David’s had a chance to join this discussion (he’s not on the call at the moment). He framed a set of questions for general discussion…I’ll open up on these individual points, all to do with the Building Safety Act and the Fire Safety Act. So which buildings are considered in scope? What are the impact of the recent changes to Building Control and Duty Holders? What about the impact of the competency requirements? And I suppose that’s talking about the levels of training, as well as competency for certification of contractors. What are people doing about the two staircases matter? i.e, the requirement for buildings over 18 metres to have two staircases. I know that letters have been written to government about that from groups of individuals, but not necessarily from professional bodies, so there is a bit of a tension in there. But what’s going to be the impact from our perspective of operating these buildings in terms of the requirement for two staircases. And do we have any ideas for David to help around the lack of detailed guidance around fire exits and evacuation lifts. I don’t know the specific matter sitting behind that so comments on those would be useful. 

Let’s start off with a discussion about which buildings are in scope. I’m not an expert on this, my view is that anything over 6 storeys or 18 metres is in scope and I think that’s pretty clear, but are there any grey areas or other matters that would bring a particular building into scope under the Building Safety Act or the Fire Safety Act? 

RICHARD There was something raised in a meeting last week that in the supplementary guidance they’ve changed something to do with the basement ceilings and how far they were allowed to protrude or not protrude. A lot of people are finding that their basements now count as a storey, purely because of that recent change, so suddenly there are a lot of extra buildings that are now in scope which two months ago weren’t. So that’s obviously quite a significant move…It was to do with the depth of the ceiling or the floor between the basement and what would be the ground floor, if that was protruding slightly then that basement would now be included as a storey. 

ALEX OLDMAN OK, so you’ve got something above ground level, it could be starting just a metre above ground level and you could be going up to the ground floor up some steps, but that’s a storey so now you’re into the 6th storey even though you’re only counting five 5 sets of windows. The other angle on that, of course, is the 18 metre, which obviously hasn’t changed, but it’s the storeys which is the problem there.

RICHARD No, presumably they would count that height as well, wouldn’t they? 

ALEX OLDMAN Well, yes, but I’m measure that from ground level no matter what, so the building is this tall from the floor., I wouldn’t count from that line…

RICHARD Yeah, but would that be the case if the basement now counts, would that count as the depth for depth as well? 

DAVE WILLIAMS The diagrams that are in Approved Document B and what was used also for the 11 metre measurements was from ground level, not anything to do with the floor and ceiling. So when it comes to 18 metres it’s the floor level of the highest habitable floor to the lowest ground level, so the basement being counted as a storey means that you could end up with something that you thought was 6 storeys is now 7 storeys and therefore is included as an HRB. Because it’s either 7 storeys or above or 18 metres plus, so yeah, there is that risk that you’ve got a 6 storey building with a basement that’s higher and therefore it becomes a 7 storey building and then falls under the regime. 

ALEX OLDMAN I suppose the message then is it comes back very clearly to understanding exactly what measurements you've got on your building and if you've got a CAD drawing to be able to go off and actually measure these things with the idea that maybe the rules have changed a bit. So it’s going back to that detailed drawings idea of being able to go and measure that information. I think the second part of that question was also who's going to be doing the reviews. I don’t know which specific reviews we’re talking about, are we talking about the initial risk assessments, are we talking about policy deciding which buildings are in scope on the property management side, or something else. What do we understand in terms of who’s making the decision on this? Is it the landlord who’s making the decision? And I’m assuming that’s the case. 

Is it true that the landlord is going to be making the assumptions about the buildings that are in scope and then applying to the building safety register to bring those buildings onto that register? Or is somebody else going to be responsible for that? For example, a local authority, or maybe the fire service. 

DAVE WILLIAMS My understanding on this one as well is the principal accountable person that registers the building. We have a few buildings where we are the responsible person, but not the principle accountable person. So although we are supplying information to the PAP on out areas of responsibility, the PAP is responsible for registering and for the safety case report. 

ALEX OLDMAN The PAP is self-declared, effectively? 

DAVE WILLIAMS Yes, sort of, the criteria is the PAP is the person that’s responsible for the exterior structure of the building, so you could have someone that’s responsible for the maintenance of the interior of the building, like communal areas and flats etc, but if they’re not responsible for the exterior fabric of the building, so the external structure, then they would be classed as a responsible person, not a principal accountable person. At least that’s the way we’ve taken it. Without naming names, there were some buildings where we actually had to go down the legal route to convince them that they were the PAP, so hence why I know that I’m fairly on solid ground that having had legal advice on it that we are classed as a responsible person. But it doesn’t absolve us of responsibilities because obviously we still have to contribute to safety case reports etc, we still have to deal with mandatory occurrence reporting, compliance issues and all of that, but yeah, we wouldn’t be classed in the letter of the law as the PAP. And I think Ellamae has probably just confirmed that in the chat. 

ALEX OLDMAN …KBI, key building information handed over to register. Steve is asking if the question is related to the inspection of the buildings, so who’s responsible for the inspection of the buildings? We know that the principal accountable person is going to be responsible for pulling together all of the information and making the registration with the Regulator on the building safety register, but who’s actually going to be doing the inspections of those buildings, presumable in terms of risk assessments. I’m assuming that the responsible parties will be appointing appropriately qualified assessors and contractors to work on the buildings required standards. 

DAVE WILLIAMS For instance, with some of our buildings we’re responsible for the fire risk assessment of the building, even though we’re not the principal accountable person, but obviously we would supply the fire risk assessment to the PAP. For instance, if the PAP is responsible for the external walls, the chances are for the safety case report they would commission a structural engineer to provide them evidence to prove that the building is safe from a structural perspective, and then rely on the responsible person where they’ve got responsibility for certain areas to do either a fire risk assessment or get a fire engineer t provide a report on the fire safety of the building. 

STEVE WYPER I’ve just posted in the chat from the BSR site right now an advert for a fire engineer and if you look at the salary on there it’s £55-61,000, I don’t know any fire engineers that can afford to work at that level, so I’m wondering what quality of inspector we’re going to get. 

DAVE WILLIAMS I think I agree, Steve, fire engineers are like unicorn shit at the moment, qualified ones are being snaffled up by consultancies for inflated amounts of money and I can’t see anyone taking a pay cut to go and work for the Regulator to then go and do inspections based on other peoples reports. 

ALEX OLDMAN A thought that popped into my head whilst Dave was talking, in complex setups it’s likely that most landlords are going to be in complex environments where you’ve got potentially different responsible parties collecting information and registering. What provisions are people making for either capturing information or sharing information with other responsible parties? And does BIM have a role in this? So say that you’re only a responsible party but not the principal accountable party in a block, you’ve got a private landlord and you’re putting tenants in to this block and providing a social landlord service in there. What information are you getting from the landlord about the safety of the building? or do you have to double everything up and do all of your own assessments and capture all of your information? 

FLEUR BOWEN For us the main focus is working out who will those other principal accountable people are for our buildings, because first of all we were focusing very much on where are we responsible and now it’s we are not responsible but who is and opening up those lines of communication. Making sure that they agree that they are responsible and then trying to open up those lines of communication because obviously they will expect to receive information in certain forms, we might not produce it in that format and so it’s about opening up those lines of responsibility. Interestingly there have been a couple of cases where people are like, oh no, we’re not responsible or so and so is responsible, and we don’t agree with them so we’ve had to have discussions over who is responsible there. 

But also identifying if you’re the principal accountable person how are you going to communicate with us as your leaseholder, how are you going to communicate with us and our residents, and making sure that those lines of communication are open so that we are understanding and able to pass on those communications if they’re only communicating with us and not the residents in the building which we don’t think would be right, but obviously private sector and management agents will often use mailing lists and those types of things which will always be leasehold-led and therefore that communication directly with the resident is a slightly more challenging one for that sector as well. 

So it’s very much just opening up those conversations and understanding how each of those parties will work and hopefully trying to find some coherence. And very much saying come to us and tell us what you need in order that we can support you in your role, but where we have responsibilities where we’re carrying out fire risk assessments, where we’re responsible for internal areas, even if we just have tenants in buildings and they want to know that we’re visiting them and carrying out our due diligence with regards to the residential properties that we’re responsible for, making sure that we can provide them with those records on demand, rather than just off the cuff. So, it’s commutation, ultimately. 

DAVE WILLIAMS Yeah, I agree. That whole resident side of things is definitely one where the responsibilities can sometimes be split or the PAP doesn’t have any communication with the residents. So when it comes to resident engagement strategy, resident satisfaction measurements, resident complaints, all of which are part of the Act, then there has to be an agreement of how those lines of communication are dealt with. Whether it’s use talking to the residents but informing the PAP, particularly when there is resident complaints, because we’ll need to be reporting to the Regulator at some point, either they will ask us for stats or it will come via NROSH (National Register of Social Housing)

FLEUR BOWEN It’s a big thing of interest to me because I’m about to move from public sector into the private sector at the end of this year, so I’m gonna have a whole new perspective on it. 

ALEX OLDMAN Moving on to the next point about impact of changes to building control and duty holders. Richard, are you able to pick up at this point with your laser display device?

RICHARD I’m actually doing a presentation that I’ve had sight of for about 10 minutes, George was intending to do it but he couldn’t make it, so you’ll have to bear with me. The initial presentation that George put together was 68 pages, I’ve cut it down to 8. (shares screen). As we know, the Building Safety Act requires a golden thread of information. It’s primarily about risk and the implications of those risks and the challenges that those risks present. Clearly defining the information that’s required is of paramount importance, it’s also important to verify that information, coordinate and integrate, but how do we make user of it? The Building Safety Act isn’t actually coming up with much new in terms of what we should be doing, because we should have been doing it anyway, it’s more about clarification, though some might query that, and putting it into a format where it’s enforceable. So, designing in line with building regulations, selecting products that satisfy specifications, recording what was installed and that it was done properly, record when things change. 

Now we’ve all heard different at different stages, don’t worry, everything will be in the O&M, it will be in the BIM, Regulation 38, building control sign-off - it won’t. The reality is it won’t be in the O&M, it won’t be in the BIM. So what does the Building Safety Act do to change that? Firstly, transferring risk is no longer possible. Responsible and accountable persons, effectively the landlord, client/responsible persons must confirm information as received. This is an important part because prior to this my understanding is that the FM had responsibility that they had to ensure that they had the information. Now it’s the landlords responsibility to make sure the FM has information. The client/responsible person must maintain that information, that is a responsibility that’s ongoing and there are significant penalties. The responsible person must confirm receipt. 

The Building Safety Act requires you to sort information digitally and this is key, it must be digital. Why? Because it needs to be auditable, validatable and easily updatable. It’s manual vs automation. And here’s an example of what happens when it’s not digital. All of the information is on that diagram, but could you extract it? It overlaps and it’s virtually useless. There’s too much information to check manually, it needs to be automatically updated. Fire door inspections, have you done a fire door inspection? Yes. What failed? Fire assessments, have you done your fire assessments? What actions? It’s like an accounting system. Double entry - does it balance every day? There must be a building regulations compliance statement. This is interesting, where information is not available you will have to show what you’ve done to try and find it. There again, as I’ve said, onus on the client, onus on the client. The client submits. 

ALEX OLDMAN I think David’s specific questions, that was very interesting, but it was about changes to the building control, new duty holder roles, client roles, principal designer and principal contractor. So I think that’s laid out some of the client duty holder responsibilities, but what about this principal designer and principal contractor new duty holder roles? Is anybody able to elaborate what changes have come about recently that have changed any roles in terms of principal designers or contractors? It’s a shame David is not on the call, but the context of the question, we can put a lot of spin on it but is this about have there been changes to what were the understood previous ways of operating for principal designers and contractors and the client responsibilities? And have those been understood and communicated? 

RICHARD I’ll just read from notes of what George explained to me. Hackitt, coming from an environment where design for projects was undertaken 2 or 3 years before ground was broken defined the role of principle designer as coming to an end when construction started. At this point all design work ceased and all responsibility was handed over to the main contractor. Until the design was fully completed it was not handed over. This completed design was sacrosanct and to be followed to the tee. This view was enshrined in CDM 2015. Now what the Building Safety Act, however, recognises is that crossover is likely and gives a more flexible, if wooly, timeline. When there is still design work being done during the construction phase, then the principal designer still retains the title and the responsibilities of principal designer. So, that’s the shift, it’s kind of a bit of a grey area shift, but there’s a very clear shift. 

ALEX OLDMAN I note with interest that those responsibilities that have been defined since 2022, I don’t think there’s been any changes in 2023 in terms of health & safety guidance, for example, building safety regulator guidance. I don’t know if anything has changed in recent months. 

RICHARD With the supplementary guidance, I don’t think any of that has changed. 

ALEX OLDMAN Going back to the question, the question that David posed was the impact of changes to Building Control and to new duty holder roles. So is there anything that’s changed in Building Control in the last few months? I’m sure that’s something that probably changes frequently. I can’t see any guidance or regulation changes using my advanced googling skills, but this is an area I’m definitely deficient in in terms of technical knowledge. 

STEVE WYPER I think Building Control is being phased out for construction of in scope buildings and being handed over to the building safety Regulator for those buildings. So for the taller buildings, because of the gateway system that’s in the Building Safety Act. For those buildings it will go over to the HSE as building safety Regulator for the taller buildings and into the gateway system for projects that qualify. 

ALEX OLDMAN Yeah, as high-risk buildings, as we’ve said previously. Now we understand that, that’s a very useful angle on it. But I think we understand the roles in terms of the duty holders, the client, the principal designer and principal contractor, we understand what those are. I don’t think there has been anything changed since those notes have come out (before this calendar year), so I don’t think we’ve got any changes there. Apart from the point which Richard’s highlighted which is the responsibilities of the principal designer can continue even once construction commences, you’re still the principal designer. The third question on this list is the impact of competency requirements and the need for standard work instructions. How are you satisfying the competency requirements? And what are you doing in terms of issuing work instructions to contractors for regulated buildings for these high-risk buildings? 

DAVE WILLIAMS From our perspective, we’ve set up a contractor portal where the contractors fill in the information about the areas that they work in, the staff that work for them and the competencies of those staff. I think you’re right in the fact that there is still a lot more to do from the Regulator’s side of things regarding what those competencies should look like in certain areas, particularly with existing buildings rather that new builds as such. Because new builds have tended to have a sort of competency regime in place anyway, how effective it is is another question, but for work on existing buildings where you’ve got just standard repairs contractors going in and knocking holes in walls etc, that’s where those issues, particularly around things like competency and fire stopping. 

FLEUR BOWEN I think we were fortunate to have recently had a framework in terms of fire safety works and those types of things, so that formed part of our framework consultation process, making sure that there were certain competency requirements that were included within contractor selection and meeting those competency requirements. The bigger challenge is on that day-to-day repairs contractor element is almost getting them to stop at the point at which they’re veering into fire safety works where we won’t necessarily have assessed their competency of those individual trades for workers. That’s probably the bigger challenge, certainly for our fire actions, for our maintenance, it’s much easier to control the contractor use, it is that general repairs area where it’s more of a challenge. 

ALEX OLDMAN And how can contractors demonstrate competencies to you? Are there certifications that you’re looking for? Are you looking for them to evidence that they’ve got systems in place? Are you auditing them at all? So if I’m a contractor wanting to work in one of your repairs frameworks and I want to get a job, what might I need to do in order to demonstrate that? 

FLEUR BOWEN It is certain qualifications, so accreditations for the organisations, for the individuals, but also that ability, that training regime, making sure everybody stays qualified. They need to demonstrate the competency of their staff, ongoing training and support to those, but it is also very much that part that they need to tell us what they are accredited to do and to understand their limitations as well. Certainly moving forward, we do intend to audit, in a certain way I suppose, I don’t think we’ve quite there yet, but the intention is there. 

DAVE WILLIAMS Part of the thing that we’re doing with our contract portal is issuing authority to work,  a permit to work basically. So they tell us 8the job that they’re looking to do and then we then review that to determine whether we think that they’re competent to do that job and then issue authority to work before they can do it. It’s not a catch all because you can always have a leaseholder with a BT or Sky engineer turning up that we don’t even know about, so we’re trying to put that within QR codes in buildings to say if you’re coming in to do work here’s the link to the portal, fill in the authority to work form, we’ll confirm whether you can do it or not whether you’ve got the competency etc. With compliance contractors and with new contracts and things like that, yes, with competencies it’s very much part of the contract details nowadays and if you’re contracting to maintain fire doors you’re expecting specific competencies for that, or AOVs or lifts etc. But it is the general repairs contractor that goes in to replace a kitchen fan and then fills the gaps in the hole with pink foam that’s flammable, it’s those sort of things that you struggle to catch without putting a process in place. 

ALEX OLDMAN Question 4, this one is controversial, the impact of two staircases. So for high-risk buildings there’s an idea at the moment that you might need to incorporate two staircases, two fire exits, into your buildings. What are people doing about that? 

FLEUR BOWEN On that we’ve issued a directive that on every new scheme we expect there to be two staircases on every building over 18 metres, unless there is an incredibly good reason as to why it can’t be achieved. We’ve even gone to the extent of pausing a plant room adoption to an ESCo in order to retrofit a second staircase to a building which is mid-construction which is extremely disruptive, but we think it’s the right thing to be doing. 

ALEX OLDMAN Anybody else on buildings under construction or under design at the moment? Is anybody not doing that? Is anybody carrying on regardless that you want to fess up? No, OK, I’ll take confessions later. But what about retro fits? 99% of buildings already exist, so what are we doing about those? Does the guidance apply to those buildings and what can you do to accommodate that requirement. I guess it’s a case of having a sensible risk-led discussion to say if as part of the fire safety case you put forward the reasons why evacuation down the main stairwell is going to be possible, or if that area becomes not available then presumably we’re back to other mitigating strategies, however you design those controls. 

FLEUR BOWEN Certainly on new schemes it does push the criteria for financial viability quite considerably, having to accommodate a second staircase. I don’t think we’ve come up against a scenario where a building risk assessment has required us to put in a second staircase. I’m assuming that potentially could come out of the building safety case, but actually if you find that you don’t have provision to evacuate safely due to the size I think it would create other issues. 

ALEX OLDMAN OK, and it only does relate to new builds anyway, but that’s interesting. I’m also trying to work out if there is a gap between the 18 metre and possible 30 metre rule, I think the original proposal was for buildings over 30 metres to have a second staircase, so it might not be necessary for properties up to 30. Has this actually made this through…is it actually required yet? 

FLEUR BOWEN No, it’s talked about, but we made a decision internally to go with the expectation that we needed to have two staircases over 18 metres. Where it has become more of a challenge is on Section 106 opportunities for purchase where it’s a done deal to a certain extent that there isn’t quite the same flexibility if there is no second staircase for them to explore it. But what we are looking at there is opening up cross-corridor access into other cores and that type of thing, and that’s something we’re looking at in our other buildings where you do actually have the opportunity to have that cross-corridor traffic to see if that’s something that we can explore. It’s very much dependent on design. 

ALEX OLDMAN The interesting takeaway from there was your point about looking at the viability deal of projects on the basis that the numbers simply might not work for the density that you need for properties for income versus the floor space taken up by those additional staircases. The last one here is the lack of detailed guidance around fire and evacuation, around the detailed guidance for provision and operation of fire evacuation lifts. Interestingly I don’t think we’ve got a working group publication on Bim4housing about lifts. 

RICHARD No, we haven’t, it’s been mooted a number of times and we’re trying to get something done this year, but to be honest we’ve been so full up with the roundtables for the existing…so that’s not actually been done yet, but it is on the agenda to do. 

ALEX OLDMAN It’s interesting because I was at a local authority in the last couple of weeks visiting a customer, it was a council headquarters building and I noticed that they had these recycling bins for batteries which were clear plastic towers and they were placed between or by the push button above the lifts, so in the lift lobby. The guy I was with, we were talking about building safety and I said I’m not a fire risk assessor but I’m looking at that massive load of batteries you’ve got there thinking that’s really not a good place to have that particular recycling. Lithium batteries being a potential problem for example, if somebody puts those into that kind of thing, so if they gut crushed or damaged there is definitely an issue there. 

But specifically around fire and evacuation lifts, I don’t think there is any guidance around this, it’s a very good point, but again it might be something we can pick up as a group and perhaps provide some recommendations on what those should be. Does anybody have any specific technical knowledge on fire and evacuation lifts that’s any different to standard passenger or cargo lifts? OK, not for this group, but if we do a round table on that sounds like that would be quite useful. That was an interesting discussion, so thanks David for the discussion points. 

We’ll move on to the next agenda item which is updates from group members, so does anybody want to share anything you’ve done in the last 3-4 months regarding building safety, fire safety, asset information management, the use of BIM data, to satisfy these requirements? Have you moved anything on this summer? And also particularly around getting stuff through the process to register with the building safety Regulator for the registration of new buildings. Has anybody successfully been through the process of registering a building yet? Is anybody still struggling with that process? 

STEVE WYPER Payment issues have been a real pain. We couldn’t make the credit card system work at all and when they came out with the invoicing requirement, my own local government authority has a criteria because of a near fraud incident where they need something separate to just the details on the invoice because if you fraudulently provided a fake invoice you could put your own bank details on there which is what the near fraud incident was. The Regulator is a little inflexible about that because they are the central government so they say we’ve told you what to do and we’ve given you our details, your policy isn’t our problem sort of thing. So we’re trying to work through that impasse at the moment. I don’t know if anyone else has had payment issues, what I’ve just done is logged a list of the attempts to get it resolved and the conversations with the Regulator, so if they come back to us and say why haven’t you completed your registration on time, that is the only barrier and it’s a new thing. I think they’ve got different bank account details for this part of the HSE to other parts that we have on our systems, so maybe a little flexibility on their side wouldn’t go amiss.

ALEX OLDMAN And the payments in question, this is a fee to use the service the registration? 

STEVE WYPER Yeah, to register each building separately it’s £251, it’s a separate invoice per building, you can’t just group them together. And they all have individual references, so it’s labour intensive depending on how many you’ve got, but that’s one of the issues for sure. Generally there’s good definitions on the site and there’s also a sort of don’t know. Obviously if you put ‘don’t know’ you’re gonna have to explain why you don’t know about your buildings and what efforts you’ve made. 

DAVE WILLIAMS Just following on from what Steve said, it was a pain. We registered all of our buildings, including doing the secondary legislation bit where we provide more details. The guy who was doing all of the registration and had all of the details to put into the form had to go and get someone else who had a corporate credit card to then go and do the payment which was a pain in the proverbial backside. But we managed to register all the ones that we’re the principal accountable persons. We also managed to meet the NRoSS deadline for the 11 metre plus stuff which was 15th September. For those of you that haven't registered already or want to know the questions, there is a template floating around which a company called 1Engage provided for free. I heard about it after we’d already done our registration, but there is template if that’s any good for people. 

A couple of other things, one of which we’re doing an exercise with Active Plan at the moment where we’ve taken one of our new builds and basically getting all the information together in order to have that all in one place. As the slides that George provided that Richard talked you through, it is a complete pain in the backside as well because finding missing information, doing a gap analysis and finding out that the manuals don’ hold the right information, or they hold the information but against the wrong unit, all of this sort of stuff. So it’s a far bigger task than people may think. Another thing, the HSE have got a couple of portals which they’re trying to get off the ground, strangely before the 1st of October and they ain’t gonna do it, one of which is around registering a building, making changes to a building, turning an non high-risk building into a high-risk building, constructing a high-risk building as a staged application or applying for multiple high-risk buildings under one application. 

I tested the portal and they had a brilliant function on it where they had to send you a verification code once you’d logged on. The verification code lasted a minute and it took 10 minutes to come via email, so by the time you got the email it was no longer valid. So I’m waiting for them to fix that, but sufficient to say with a week to go I don’t think that’s going to be live in time. Similarly I’m also going to be testing the mandatory occurrence reporting portal and I’m not even going to see a wireframe of that until the 19th of October so there will be nothing in place on the 1st of October to cover off the mandatory occurrence reporting. So although that’s part of the Act and we’ve taken steps to get the process in place for doing that internally, but there will be nowhere to report it I’m guessing until at least November/December. 

ALEX OLDMAN Just going back to the template you were talking about, 1Engage, I’ve found what I think is the organisation you’re talking about which I’ve put into the chat. Alex, just going back to your question, what software are others using to record information for high-rise buildings? Dave is using Active Plan, but I don’t know if others on the call are using other systems. It would be slightly remiss of me not to mention Civica, that’s who I work for. 

DAVE WILLIAMS Funnily enough that’s one of the things, I forgot to mention I’m doing a little bit of work with the HULC around collecting information for the golden thread and defining what sort of information we’d need to make available and one of the things that we’ll find is whereas some of it is in document format, some of it is data format. So for instance servicing and inspection sits in Keystone with us and there is no APIs that can link that to a sharepoint or dynamics or anything like that, so for that sort of thing we’d have to pull out an export into a CSV or a PDF and supply that on a regular basis to our central golden thread repository, wherever that ends up sitting, so that we can provide that information in a document type format to the Regulator or to anyone that needs to see it to say here’s our plan maintenance on fire doors, on AOVs for this building etc. And then obviously recording where inspections have taken place when they haven’t taken place within the timescales that they’re supposed to be meeting. 

I think the HSE, to be fair, have said they’re not expecting people to have one system that does it all, they understand that there’s multiple systems that are going to be involved, but from an internal process perspective you’ve got to know where that information is held and in which format it’s held and be able to supply it at the drop of a hat if it’s asked for. So you sort of have to assess where all the information is, which systems it’s in, what format can you get it out in and where are you going to stick a repository that the Regulator can access in order to pull that information at a point of calling or at the point of an incident etc. 

ALEX OLDMAN Just from a Keystone support perspective, there is an API available if you need it, Dave, give us a call and we can talk about that. So, are there any other softwares or systems that people are using to record this high-rise information internally? Apart from spreadsheets. No, OK. Does anybody have anymore updates on work that they’ve been doing? I’ve see Ellamae’s note in the chat as well. OK, so in which case let’s just quickly talk about the fantastic opportunity you’ve got to become the next team leader for the Operations group. By Christmas I will have been doing this for 2 years, and I said I would just do 1, so it’s all been a delightful extension of the chairmanship. The responsibilities don’t stretch much further than chairing these meetings, the topics or discussion areas of activities are driven by a number of people across the group. Generally speaking I’ve been involved in Bim4housing for 5 or 6 years and through that time I’ve always got out of it what I put into it, which is to say if you get more involved then you can definitely get a lot out of it. 

If you are interested in helping out then please get in touch with either myself, Richard, Jiss, or George Stevenson and we can talk to you about what it required and I’ll help you through, I’m going to continue involvement in the group, but I thought I’d give the opportunity for someone else to steer the charge. I then want to talk about any other business, is there anything else that anyone wants to talk about? 

RICHARD This meeting we’ve just had is kind of preparatory to a big meeting we’ve got on the 23rd of November. We’ve got guesting on that a guy who is an advisor to the Levelling Up committee, so a lot of the grey areas and issues that are unclear with the Building Safety Act and particularly with the secondary legislation that’s coming through. If we can pull that together into something digestible he would actually pass that through directly to the committee, so it gives a very good in to actually get something tangible from government with our influence. And also if you come up with anything in the mean time that is really a bugbear to you, let us know so we can get it all down and up for discussion on that day. 

ALEX OLDMAN The 23rd of November is also the second day of Homes UK and Unlock Net Zero live at the Excel Centre in London. I think we’ll be looking to do the next Operations meeting in about 4 months time, so probably we’ll be looking into the new year for the next meeting. Thank you very much for everybody's contributions. It's been a good discussion as usual.

CHAT

Fleur Bowen

For the lifts question - I think its about the responsibility for the evacuation process in operational management. Eg. If there is a decision to evacuate a floor / area of a building - who is responsible for operating the evac lift?  With consideration to a manned / unmanned site.

Ellamae Fullalove

I had thought only from habitable levels

Another query would be “complex buildings” that are under the height, but with other issues
such as buildings that have been made a temporary simultaneous evacuation (FRS tend to ask for the full SIB plans as per the FSA, but FSA only states over 7 storey/18m)

Alex Oldman

Ellamae Fullalove

Usually PAP responsible for external walls - we have a lot where we own the communal areas/ equipment so we supply certain parts of the KBI and handover to them to register

Steve Wyper

I wondered io the question referred to the inspection of the buildings?

https://www.civilservicejobs.service.gov.uk/csr/jobs.cgi?jcode=1878054 

Alex Oldman

https://www.hse.gov.uk/construction/cdm/2015/principal-designers.htm 

Dave Williams

Guidance and regulation - GOV.UK (www.gov.uk)

Alex Normand

What software are others using to record the information for Highrise buildings? 

Alex Oldman

https://www.one-engage.io/

Ellamae Fullalove

For numbers of detectors/doors / fire equipment etc and to get SIB plans ready for the FRS portals..

We have started an asset tagging project for the equipment / doors side of things.

Using Riskbase we upload floor plans then the asset tagging team opens the app and adds the pins of the locations which turns into an exportable plan (a bit like the one Richard showed us)

Riskbase are working on improving the editable functions of the plan exports so they’re digestible and not crowded!