BIM4Housing Operations Working Group Meeting Recording 25-01-2023

BIM4Housing Operations Working Group Meeting Recording 25-01-2023

GEORGE We've got quite a lot of topic that we've already identified and we've gone out to the wider membership as well to get their feedback. So we're asking people to complete a questionnaire so that can inform our thinking. I hope you think that's a worthwhile thing to do. The purpose is this working group is looking at things from an operations perspective to identify what are the key things that people that are involved in this part of the process that are going to be focused on. But obviously we need to share that with the other working groups, design, construction etc. So that we can then determine what workstreams we're actually going to be working from that. For example, a lot of the activity in the past six months has been around the deadline that has just passed on Monday for having all of the information ready for the premises information boxes, or secure information boxes as we now need to call them because Gerda have patented, I believe, the term premises information box. That’s why we now use the term SIB rather than PIB.

Obviously that’s been front and centre on a lot of people’s radar, but the people that are involved in the building safety side of things, there's quite a lot more that needs to be accommodated and that there is a concern that I think we've all had that we could be simply focusing on what is needed for the the secure information box for the Fire Rescue authorities without looking at the wider regulatory issues. What we’ve proposed is that we look a things from some sort of prioritisation perspective to say what should we be focusing on and therefore we can get our plans in place for this next year. So I've got a couple of guests that have joined us, two people that we're working with now. One is Jon Holt, a fire specialist and what he does is fire door inspections and also recommendations for what work needs to be done. Jon will be giving a run through of the methodology is team offer later on in the process. Were’ also lucky to have with us Alan Oliver who is a specialist in in fire doors and fire door inspections and he's done a lot of work with the NHS to come up with standardised methods and processes of doing fire door inspections.

One of the things that he's done with the NHS is produced a guide that can be used to educate people around that process and that's something that is being used in the NHS. Now I know Jon also does work in the NHS, so this might be new news to you Jon. So I appreciate your perspective on it as well. But the reason Alan's here is that he's offered to provide that resource to BIM4housing so that we can bring together our experts in fire doors to actually identify a standard set of methods of being able to identify what doors need to be done, what needs to be done to them so that we've got a a way of grading that. So Alan's going to give us a bit of a run through on that later as well. So what I'd like to do, we we've got quite a few landlords in the group here today…oh, there’s one other person who’s joined us and that’s Paul Bray from Plymouth. He’s working as a landlord, but he’s also a member of CROSS which is the reporting organisation and I think it will be useful for us to understand a little bit more about CROSS.

First I’d like to get a quick update from people as to where they are on the journey, what have you been doing these last three months, where are you in that process? What are you planning to do?

BEX GIBSON (Live West) On the list that you sent to me, my main focus is the Fire Safety Act and the Building Safety Act, those are the elements I concentrate on in my role. So there's SIB documents for the Fire Safety Act, we’ve got them all in place. We’ve sent them to the Fire Rescue service using the relevant online portals, which has been an experience, but not an overly negative one. The ones that we've used haven't had the same…I saw the thing on LinkedIn about the London one and how bizarre that was. But the ones I've used have generally made the use of the Microsoft forms, and they've been quite easy to navigate. And the only comment I have is when you click submit, there's no record of what you've submitted so if you've made an error, you can't double, you know. But we’re in really close liaison with our officer anyway so we've run everything past them. We’ve had our measured surveys undertaken for our HRB's as part of the building safety case activities, but they've been very useful for the Fire Rescue service because they have asked for that too. So that's been quite handy and they have all of the details of the fire equipment included on them as well.

And we’ve also done a cover page where we've done the access and then just an overview in the SIB box of that building has: how many storeys, how many residents, who looks after it, what the external wall construction is. I can show you an example one if you if you'd like to see that. It’s kind of what we’ve done internally, they’re not overly complex, but they’re not designed to be. They are the first thing that the fire service would see When they turn up at site. The thing I'm about to show you was created internally by our team, but we have had measured surveys undertaken as well. What I’m about to show you us information that we've gained from on site and things that we think would be good for the Fire Service. (Bex shares screen). This is what we’ve shared with the Fire Service as part of the PDF document pack. So this is one of our high risk buildings and what it does is it just gives you how to get in, where the hydrants are, where the dry risers are, the basic stuff that the fire service are going to need. And we’ve basically taken it from, it’s not the Google Maps, but it's from one of the OS maps sort of websites and put the red lines on. And down here we’ve got all of the key info that they’re going to need: So what is it made of? How high is it? How many flats has it got?

So it's very basic, but we think that it's gonna be incredibly useful and then following on from that, this isn't one that I've had the measured survey back yet (bad example), and following on from that, I've attached the measured surveys that we've had for other buildings, for example, and they look a bit like this. We’re going to make this clearer, but it’s got your key fire detection, riser inlets. When we commissioned the measured survey, we asked them to do all of these specific things, just to support our building safety case and the fire regs too. So in terms of drawings and plans, that's where we are. And we've sent them via e-mail to all of the services, some of them have upload stuff because we've got three different Fire Rescue services, we've got Cornwall, Devon & Somerset and Avon & something else. They all have slightly different ways of receiving information so we’ve just been busy doing that. In addition, we’ve installed fire-fighting signage in all levels, and they look alright. We’re quite lucky in that our higher risk portfolio isn't large. We've got six that are under the Act. But we've got 12 that we're kind of looking at as our own higher risk, you know, because of the occupancy. We have quite a tight rein on them, which were quite lucky to have.

GEORGE I've got one question that we're experiencing because we're working with Tower Hamlets and Origin on this. One of the questions is that the people that doing the measured surveys that they may not have the expertise to actually identify which which lifts are fire lifts, for example. And even which doors are fire doors. Because although it’s a door and it’s an entrance door, they certainly wouldn’t be able to identify whether it’s a 30 or a 60 minute. Is that something that you're looking to do sort of incrementally?

BEX Interesting you should say that. We have a few of these surveys and projects in the pipeline and part of what we’re using the measured surveys for is so we have them done by a company who have then appointed a fire engineer because we want retrospective fire strategies for each one of our HRBs. Buildings change a lot during their life cycle and we just needed that line in the sand. So we said let's get everything in place from when we receive that info. And the fire strategies have been very interesting actually, you look back and you think OK well that explains what's going on there. They are measured survey/employer’s agent and the fire engineer working very closely together which we’re also lucky to have because I think that’s a rare connection.

ELLAMAE FULLALOVE (Metropolitan Thames Valley Housing) I’m the waking watch contract manager but I’ve been working with our team, mainly the prep for SIBs. We’ve been focusing on the boxes for site so we’ve moved from stay put fully evac? 15mins 47secs we’ve had to deploy waking watches and put new alarms in. Bex, thank you, that was really useful looking at some of the stuff you’ve done. We’ve been using the guidance I’ve chucked in the chat (see addendum). The stuff I’ve been making with the FST team is essentially the on arrival information sheets. We’re a bit behind with the nice key pas, so we’ve got the land reg, quite a lot of floor maps, but you can’t imagine the FRS on arrival going through some of the maps we’ve got so we definitely need to look at the stuff that you’ve done. Bex, did you outsource the really nice key one that looks really easy to read?

BEX That was actually internal, me and, well, the head of building safety sort of designed that and we went through it. But it's designed because, like I said, we have a real grip on our HRB's because we don't have a huge portfolio of them. So actually we were in the best place to design that document and also we could get it done fairly quickly. You know, the lead in time for something like that and trying to get that kind of simplicity from an external contractor is sometimes challenging.

JACK WHITE Some kind of fairly similar experiences, I’ve not done the actual submissions themselves, so that's quite interesting that they're a bit of a pain. We created half of our floor plans quite roughly from existing floor plans that we found on planning portals etc and just kind of marked them up and the other half from the scans that would turn into 3D models and then use the NFCC guidance to put them into a format that we thought would be acceptable. We didn't necessarily put a huge amount of time and effort in getting them…some of those were a lot more detailed that we just saw from Bex than what we did. We work across a number of different AHJs 18mins 38secs and we don’t know what they’ll come back to say we’d like more information on this or more detail on that. So it’s fairly basic in terms of lifts, control panels. And that was quite easy to do because we do have the model, so we’d used models and our 3D models created floor plans for structural surveys and then it's just a case of creating some new ? 19mins 16secs to fit with the NFCC guidance. So we managed to turn that around and quite quickly and then we'll update those lower quality floor plans 2 or 3D models as we continue to model the rest of our buildings.

CLARE WILLIAMS So since the last meeting I've switched seats from London Borough of Hackney to now London Borough of Enfield and feel like I've gone back in time a bit. There’s not been anyone in post for the last year, near enough. Although the portfolio is smaller, we have 54 high rise blocks and plus about another 11 to add to that if you go from 11 metres, here's less has been achieved due to various different issues. So what we're doing at the moment is searching out the information mostly so we haven't uploaded anything yet to portals and really trying to work fast with trying to catch up with everyone else. So, not in such a good position, unfortunately.

Hackney have a very big portfolio of high-rise blocks, so I don't know if they've been able to actually upload any drawings yet, but they were so much further ahead with the production of them when I left before Christmas. So I would imagine that they've been able to…all the site boxes were populated with information. The actual drawings, some were produced in a ready to go, but I don't know whether they've been able to to get those ready for all of the blocks yet. But yeah, they're a lot further forward. For example with Enfield, we haven't actually got any site boxes up yet, trudging their way through the post, apparently, to be ready to be screwed to the walls. And so yeah, we're definitely much further behind.

Paul just asked in the chat if anyone bought non Gerda and hackney did, they went to LFS who produced their own design of boxes which were significantly cheaper but met pretty much the same criteria. They have got a different key.

PAUL BRAY It's very interesting hearing this experience of trying to get compliance with the fire safety mechanisms that came in on Monday, I sometimes feel that I might have been walking in treacle or chasing my tail trying to get everything done by Monday and we haven't. We're not in as good a place as Live West. I’ve been furiously taking notes and I may get in touch with Bex later just to get a consistent approach. I like the on arrival template. I've got quite a good contacts within Devon and Somerset Fire and Rescue service. So we've been working closely on the information that's been in the secure information boxes, our SIBs have been in place for a long time so it’s just making sure the information is correct. The problem we’re getting at the moment is getting accurate plans to download to the site that Devon & Somerset have set up, which only went live on Friday. So there’s a lot for us still to do, I think we're in a reasonably good place. We're quite well advanced on the fire door checking, I'll be interested to see where the fire door stuff comes from there. About the Gerda boxes, I think that's quite interesting because those Gerda boxes are really expensive and the keys for the Gerda boxes, over £1000 it costs us and they've got to be bespoke for every area that you serve.

So the key is for the Fire Rescue service, not for the box, so they’re looking for a universal key for the fire and rescue service, so you can’t just plunk in any Gerda box in any area that you think. So I'm interested in price, even though we've already bought that. George, I'm more than happy to carry on talking about where we are with PCH, where who are working for the community homes. But I think I'm in a really similar place to to everybody else: we’re at a place, we're not where we want to be, but we're getting towards that and it's trying to make sure that the information is consistent across all our buildings. We've got 6 high0rise that come within scope, but we've also got 7 sheltered schemes that I want to bring into a similar standard. I was interested in the measured survey, who did the measured survey and how did you commission that? I'd be interested in no, because we're just using information that we've already got.

I wanted to try and promote CROSS. I was invited to become part of the expert Panel for Fire Safety of Cross Back in September by Neil Gibbons, who was the international chair of the IFE for a while, was still with heavily involved with the IFE. So through my links with that and the fact that I've been involved in fire safety for many years through the fire service and then my role in housing. I bring a different aspect, and CROSS has not been involved in housing. They spoke at a building safety managers forum yesterday which is chaired by people from Trafalgar Housing. CROSS stands for Collaborative Reporting of Safety Structures and there’s a group set up in the UK called CROSS UK. It was first set up in 1976 to deal with issues around safety in structures, but after the Grenfell tragedy Dame Judith Hackitt said there needs to be more information passed between organisations about fire safety issues found in buildings and an ability to whistle blow where there might be some issues that could be resolved.

So from that enquiry Hackitt invited people from CROSS to assist on the expert panel and then she recommended the setting up of the fire safety branch of CROSS and that's where we are now. Initially it was an an expert panel of 20 persons on the structural side to deal with building safety, and now there’s an expert panel with 20 fire safety people involved. I’m no way as expert as some of the people there who’ve been involved in writing British Standards, fire tests etc. it brings together quite a useful DNA of people that can contribute to the reports that are received. What’s important to emphasise about CROSS is that it’s all confidential. So if you’ve found a problem that’s worth sharing you can send your concerns to an email or a link within CROSS if you go to their page about any concerns you might have. It might be about construction, a material used within fire safety, an issue around fire doors, there’s no limit. Then they'll make a decision about whether or not it's worth investigating further. There's only four people within the whole across that know who the original…confidential…safe in making a report. It’s best if people look at the CROSS website and read the about you section.

So it’s about supporting safety concerns, and if you think about the air industry where they report safety concerns and try and find a remedy to prevent anything from happening, such as near misses and incidents. It’s basically a no blame culture, it’s not about blaming people it’s about prevention. There’s a good connection between CROSS and BIM4housing, and you’ve got your black box reporting which links up really well. I’ve asked Neil Gibbons from CROSS to link up with George and maybe give a better representation of what CROSS does. I’ll put a link to the CROSS website on the chat (see addendum).

GEORGE It’s probably worth doing a specific session just with CROSS because one of the things we’re trying to get to is where we can actually make a difference and have actions. So the publications that we're producing obviously are good in terms of guidance, but actually being able to get that that sort of reporting back, I think it's going to be immensely useful.

JUDITH KELEMEN I'm with PRP. So an architect, not the landlord side. So we do visit the landlords, but we are not them so we are more focusing on the fire remediation at the moment in our team. So I think you may know Scott Sanderson from the architecture department. But n my team. at least we're dealing with the fire remediation external following the Grenfell. Going back to cross, I just automatically thought about the two staircases one staircase for a second and I don't know what is, is just as a question.

MATT FRANCIS I’m from Civica, so I'm taking Alex Olwens place today. He couldn’t make it, but he didn't want to miss out because he's very passionate about this. So he asked me to come along in his place and I've been working with him in the background anyway, so trying to keep up. I’m from a software provider POV so not a landlord.

ELLAMAE About the PEEPs and how we display those, I can show you how we’ve made a bit of progress of how we visualise the PEEPs. (shares screen). This is an example where we’ve got quite a lot on the block. In the NFCC guidance, it does say to kind of have this RAG rating of PEEPS. so we've made this is just a bit of an example where they do look a bit better when we're putting them in there in the boxes and it's just showing floor by floor how many people on the different RAG rated of the PEEPs on the floor. So that's just something that we've been working on across our full Evac sites where we want the LFB to be able to quickly identify who's there and how many waking watch wardens are there to help those people. So that's just one example of something we've done.

GEORGE That's really helpful and it actually brings me on to one of the questions that we are having at the moment. What you've shown, Bex, what I think most people are doing. They're focusing on the floor plans, but in the in the guidance there's also sections and the type of thing that Ellamae has just shown there. But I get the impression that most people aren't delivering that at the moment. I just wondered whether stairwells and things like that.

ELLAMAE This is just an example of a care and support scheme where pretty much everyone on site has got a PEEP or or needs some kind of need. So that's slight improvement of, we're trying to split it up kind of on each facade and make sure it kind of makes sense for the floor plans. The only other thing I thought of is is actually having this on top of the floor plan. So at this particular site we started to put the wheelchair symbol on the floor plan and make sure that the LFB knew exactly where they were because even though these plans are in the guidance, just to have a quick snapshot of where the PEEPS are, it doesn’t help them say how far away is it from the door to the stairway. So it’s a quick snapshot of numbers of how many people are vulnerable on the site. Even internally, they’ve been quite helpful just so we know quickly how many people we’re looking at that need support. But there’s definitely some stuff like your more visual key plan, Bex, that we’ll probably start working on and have the PEEPS included on top of that as well so they can see on each floor where these people are.

PAUL HAYLES One of the things that we've done is to consider putting a SIB in a building that wouldn't necessarily need it by virtue of its height or use. But where we have got a customer that has become recently sort of bed bound and doesn't want to move. So we've done our percent fire risk assessment and they are relatively low risk. But we spoke to the local FRS, which in this case was Kent and they thought it was really good practice, but it's not necessarily something that people would do by right, but it would tell the fire service attending a fire that's visible, oh, that's got an SIB, I wonder why that's in there. And if they open it and perhaps we would have the PEEP information at the top. Sounds more relevant. Yeah, it's an idea worth sharing. But as all of you know, it's about £1000 per SIB if you go with the Gerda route, which we have, which does seem a shame because it is quite a simple concept to have a secure box. But I think this time around we just we ran out of time, like a lot of people.

GEORGE Dave Williams from Origin, I just wondered if you could just give it a summary of the Origin strategy. We we've talked about basically I think you're in the same place as most other people and that's getting something there into the SIBs and then having a process of updating it. I think the principle idea is that most people don't have everything 100% yet, but it's a matter of doing it progressively. I think that's the approach that you're taking, isn't it, Dave?

DAVE WILLIAMS Yeah. To be honest that's the thing we're sort of going with what the guidance is requiring first off, but basically not painting ourselves into a corner. So we're picking up other information as well with the view that we’ll then use that to enhance the maps and the models with 360 photographs and things like that, that will be useful for other purposes rather than just doing it specifically for the guidance. So we're covering off the guidance is our key priority but giving ourselves that option to enhance everything going forward. So for instance with the building plans and the floor plans, although we're providing them in PDF format to the LFB and Hertfordshire fire brigade, which are our two big ones, we’re also getting them in CAD drawing format which then allows us in the future to be able to edit that as things get enhanced or things change rather than just being stuck with the PDF and then not being able to do anything with it in the future.

So that's one of the things that people might take away from this if they are getting these plans done, that having them in in both formats will come in handy in the future, particularly if there's changes to a building etc. I mean we've got buildings where we're at the moment removing cladding and so that will make a change to the plans of the building when we finish that remedial work. Everything else, everyone sounds like they're in the same place as as we are. And, in theory, shouldn't be a surprise because we're all following the FSA legislation and guidance. Just one interesting thing. I had a conversation yesterday with our development team because we got some new developments coming online that are over 18 meters. And discussing the Gerda boxes and the keys and the padlocks. And one of the issues that they had that took a good 20 minutes of conversation going around the houses was not necessarily around the keys to the SIBs, but the keys to the riser cupboards. Obviously with the riser cupboards in an ideal world we’d have them locked off with proper Gerda locks, we’d have the one master key that would do everything. However, the riser cupboards in quite a few cases also have the residents gas and electric meters in it, which have to be read or in some cases we’ve got residents with the top-up cards.

So they need access to those things and invariably are not particularly good with keys or remembering to lock the thing afterwards. And then we get ASB because of it, or we get people sort of doing dodgy things in there, charging up their electric mobility scooters from power coming straight out of the riser cupboard. At the end of it we ended up deciding we'd probably go down the route of having a master key and a suite of keys for the riser cupboards so the residents would have access if they needed to get to their meters. But by the same token, we weren't spending shed loads of money on Gerda keys, because obviously residents tend to lose them and issues with the keys floating about and not knowing where they are. Keys and fobs management is a pain in the arse for us and probably is for a lot of you guys as well.

GEORGE I’m now going to move onto once we've got all these floor plans in place how do we then enhance them and enhance the data. So I'm gonna be asking Jon Holt to step in in a moment to just explain what they’re doing. Just before I do I’d just like to sort of position where what our thinking is. So, as everybody I think knows, I wear two hats. There's my pro bono stuff here with BIM4housing, but also Active Plan. We’re providing support to people like Origin in terms of having spatial models. (George shares screen). We’re working with this approach of having a QR code that can go on to a door that can then open up immediately a spatial plan in Active Plan, which then has the unique object on it. So that's taking it to that particular door in a floor plan that allows you to see the context of where that door is. And also it can automatically test to see if it's got the information in it that was required and it can also go out to a product library which can then connect back to the manufacturers data, which in turn can then also tie back to the spaces and the zones. So that's the journey that we're taking with that. But obviously this is only part of the wider ecosystem of different software applications that landlords can use. So for example, this is what I'm going to hand over to Jon in a second. This is Plan Radar which arguably is a competitive system to Active Plan, but that's good, there’s different systems.

What Active Plan’s doing is providing the live interactive model whereas Plan Radar is using a PDF, but what it's very good at is data capture and on site. Now in addition to that there's also other applications that are going to be used in terms of fire door inspections, fire door management and planning, like Keystone and CX. And that’s the conversation that Matt just mentioned, we’re working with Civica to do the same type of integration because different fire engineers, for example, are going to be using different software applications to capture their data, so it's important that we can keep this in an open and transparent way. And then just to show what Jon’s given me, they've got the 34 point inspection that they go through and you he can go into this in a bit more detail. But the point is what we’re then doing is there's a lot of rich information that is captured along the way.

JON HOLT I’ll just give you a quick introduction to what we do as fire consultant specialists. I know George has focused on fire doors, but we're a lot more than fire doors, fire doors probably makes 10% of the business. Interesting I’ve heard this morning already retrospectively fire strategy reports being mentioned, but I’d say 40 to 50% of the business is built on independent fire inspections and that’s providing that independent scrutiny and advice to Tier 1 contractors or social housing or any client. We give independent reviews, inspections and results. We work along with Tier 1 contractors to hold the subcontractors and installers feet to the fire in certain aspects to make sure clients get the correct service they should do. Fire doors, compartmentation, damper inspections and fire risk assessments, we complete all those on Plan Radar.

The reason for we use Plan Radar is because of the transparency it provides to our clients. So it's a live active system that's as I've sat at the desk here I can see all the operatives around the country doing at the moment and their last inspection report. Transparency to the clients is really important thing to create that trust. They can see what's happening live on site and also it allows me and my management team and quality assurance team to provide that high level of quality to make sure that as the operatives are on site we can focus on what’s happening and we can actually question it in a live forum.

We’ve used Plan Radar for last 18 months and one of the things that George and I have been talking about over the last couple of weeks is collaborating together to try and provide or produce a golden platform really for clients. And we talked about the measured surveys this morning and the creation of 2D drawings etc. And then there’s the information on the asset capturing which George is heavily involved in. And side by side is those fire inspections and how we can put them all together in an envelope that we can provide to a client as a gold plated solution.

And this is more along the line of the building safety case reports. It’s a scope we’ve been creating over the last 12-18 months as a business and we've been developing this along with other specialists in the fire safety field and our fire engineers to try and create a scope that we can provide to which is efficient, provides value for money )it’s cost effective). We know that new builds are going to have to have retrospectively, buildings over 18 metres. So it’s putting together a scope that can provide this level of information so the clients, especially in housing associations, to then to be able to submit to the new building regulator when required. And I'm not really where we're at, I don't want to go into too much detail.

We mentioned earlier about the data capture and the surveys. What we found with plan Radar that’s really good is the adaptability and flexibility to it. So we have some clients, for instance, who’ll say, yeah, I want you to ??? 52mins 19secs survey, but at the same time, can you record this for at a certain time so we can alter the inspection ticket report as per the client. So if a client needs to specify or capture certain information we can add or delete things from the ticket. That can be captured by our inspectors as well. It’s a really flexible system so it’s really adaptable to the clients

GEORGE The other thing that is probably worth mentioning, Jon, is that within our community we've got quite a lot of different subject matter experts and you're quite right… was mentioning fire doors earlier and we're gonna go on to Alan in a minute. So we're gonna have more fire doors, but clearly that's not the only asset that we need to be considering. On the call here, we've got Paul White, who's one of the subject matter experts on dampers. So you and I were talking about dampers yesterday and that might be something that we…I’ll set up a an intro for you to talk to Paul because Paul, apart from being a specialist in that, he's actually involved in writing the guidance and things like that so. So the reports that we've got in the black box with the publications, the sort of guidance that came out of the round tables, Paul did some major contribution to to that. He's working with the Paul McSolley at Mace, Paul's working through taking that to the the next level making it a risk-based approach.

If I just explain how I came to meet. We do a lot work with Sodexo who are a Hard FM company and they've got a lot of sites where they're responsible for doing fire door inspections, either doing them directly or outsourcing that to somebody like Jon to do. And in fact Jon does work with some of the Sodexo sites. What Sodexo were looking to do is to make sure that their own internal asset management team are competent and proficient in doing further inspections, so Alan did some training for them. And in doing so, he showed us the work that he'd done with the NHS to create standardised inspection processes, which I felt were very impressive and he's interested in taking that and modifying that guidance to reflect residential, so it's in that context I'd like to introduce you, Alan.

ALAN OLIVER I found today's meeting so far really interesting because obviously you know I've got a passion for what you're trying to achieve at the moment. Just want to give you some background as to how I came to write a reference document on how to inspect fire doors in healthcare. I was actually going to retire in 2017 at the age of 63, having been in the passive fire protection industry for more than 40 years. But then, of course, the Grenfell Tower fire occurred in in June and like other people who've spoken today, I was really sort of passionate and really impressed by what Dame Judith Hackitt had to say. So I wanted to stay around because I could see that changes were going to happen and I wanted to contribute to those changes, no matter how modest my contribution might be. So it was in that context that I attended a NAHFO (National Association for Health Care Fire Officers) meeting in 2018. And as such I challenged Mike Ralph who’s the principle fire engineer for NHS improvement. I said how is it that the NHS, which is certainly one of the biggest owners of fire doors in Europe, they don't have systems for inspecting fire doors? And he said, I take your point, Alan, but we don't even have standardised systems for fire risk assessing our buildings. He said I know you’re passionate about this subject so why don’t you join NAHFO, why don’t you set up a steering group and why don’t you write a paper on how to inspect fire doors.

So that's what I did. I joined NAHFO, London. I set up a steering group of seven people. We wrote a paper on how to inspect fire doors and we came up with three different systems which I will briefly outline. We had it peer reviewed by more than 50 individuals and organisations, including Aviva Insurance, London Fire Brigade, the National Fire Chiefs Council. It was actually the National Fire Chiefs Council who said this is a brilliant book and they wrote a foreword to it and they said that actually, 90% of what you've written in this document applies to every fire door in the country. So why don't you create a generic version? And then why don't you sort of use it to write other specialists? So it was in that context that I met George and fully agreed that it would be a great idea to sort of let you take on this paper, which has since been turned into a reference document and why don't we create a dedicated version for HMO's, which is what I'd really be pleased to do.

Now, just coming back to what's in the reference document, there's basically three different systems that are recommended as to how to inspect fire doors depending on the life cycle and where that fire door is. What we're saying is you should have a type one inspection that's very prescriptive on brand new fire doors and that's when you’re comparing what's been installed with exactly what was specified, what was manufactured, just to ensure that everything is right. Because clearly that's the critical stage if you get it right, then you're onto a winner. If you haven't installed it correctly and it's not used the right ironmongery and so on, you've got real massive problems to monitor and maintain it from a default position. At best you'll be monitoring and maintaining it in a state of permanent noncompliance, which clearly isn't a good thing. So type one inspection to really prescriptive and it should be very easy, it’s comparing what should be there with what is there. A type 2 inspection is far more pragmatic. You've got to try and identify what's there and sometimes the only thing in front of you that can inform you what is the fire door is the actual fire door itself. There's unlikely to be a perfect golden thread of information.

So we've created different systems and the interesting thing about that is that you are tying it in with how to risk manage that door. Sometimes it's a question of what the location is of the door, the usage of the door and to what extent you can risk manage it and to what extent it can be suitable and sufficient for its location. It doesn't have to be a perfect fire door to meet the requirements of the fire safety order. So that's a type 2 inspection. And then a type 3 inspection is how to monitor and maintain it for ongoing functionality, having been either type 1 or type 2 inspected. Now I've already supplied George with a stripped down version of this in Word document, it's ready to go. I hate to use the term that it's oven ready because Boris Johnson said that about Brexit, didn't he? But essentially what we have is an oven ready Paper of about 13,000 words that I think can be easily adapted and made bespoke for BIM for housing and for HMO’s. And I guess what we need and what I'm suggesting and I think what George would like is volunteers to join a working group to create that adaptation. And I'm really, really interested in in doing that because there I say the NAHFO reference document. it’s very good, it was created with a team of ex fire officers of an average age of about 65. And I can see here there’s probably a lot of tech stuff we can put in and whatever.

GEORGE That’s very helpful and we already have quite a few experts from other parts of the industry and other parts of the BIM for housing community as well. So for example, we’ve got several manufacturers willing to contribute their time. We’ll have input from manufacturers, but obviously if people like Jon and other fire engineers, that’s going to be absolutely critical. And we’ve also got maintenance organisations as well.

SHARON McCLURE I was just gonna ask if the ASFP could be involved as we are primarily trying to collect a lot of the information across the board for all passive measures within the property. You don't want to reinvent the wheel, so if something could be merged together or if…just to make sure, they may or may not already be involved, I'm not sure.

ALAN OLIVER My company Golden Thread Fire Delay, we are members of the ASFP. The ASFP did get involved in peer reviewing the original document and I'm sure that they would be very happy. I know a number of contacts in the ASFP and I'm sure that they would like to get involved.

GEORGE First of all let’s share the generic document that’s got photographs in it. I think probably a lot of the text is going to be common, isn't it? Hopefully. So let me just show you what Alan’s already done. (George shares screen with document ‘Systems for Inspecting & Managing Fire Doors’ displayed). That’s the community that had obviously put into it, and the NFCC. But this is the way it's structured, so it's a substantial piece of work, 72 pages, but it actually is really well broken down. So there’s compliance inspection of new fire doors, existing fire doors and then the ongoing work. And then how do you put together a robust fire door management system. So the copy here Alan's issued to us in a word format, so we can review that. But what we obviously need are photographs that are going to be residentially based rather than, in this particular case, in healthcare. There’s some really powerful stuff here that we can work on and build on.

One of the things that Alan explained to me was that the CE there may well, on certain products that have come from China, actually might not be the European standard, it stands for Chinese Export. It’s a slightly different way of writing it but it’s close enough that it might mislead people. As a community, as a group here, do you think this document would be a useful resource for us?

PAUL HAYLES Absolutely. We’ve gone the accredited inspector route so we’ve got 3 staff that have gone through that training course and obviously they’re then gonna have to then build up their competence. But reference documents like that, they explain that weird beast that is a fire door in its many forms and and what is acceptable up to the point where it's not acceptable and there's a repair or replacement.

JUDITH KELEMEN I think it's also when we do the five remediation, even though it's facades, sometimes we do end up and looking at the buildings internally and we do have fire engineers coming on board to do an assessment. But it is very useful for us to have an initial idea what are the doors in any case. So I think it's a really helpful guide for the intermediation team here because yes, you can, you can see a door you can estimate, but then it's good to have a better understanding. What exactly am I looking at? What I should be looking at and what can I see and what can I not see on a door that should be there essentially. So it’s not just waiting for the fire engineer report, but then if you have an understanding then you also cannot advise the client better and you can communicate with fire engineers as soon as you get the reports back on different solutions on what can be done if they need to be replaced, or is it just a signage missing or little details that we tend to miss. I just saw a picture in that report where you were measuring the thickness of the screw, I think, I don’t think that’s something that you think of when you do go on site to have a look on these elements. So I think it’s really helpful to have the report.

ALAN OLIVER Regarding participation, I think there’s two levels of participation required. I think we need a working group of no more than 6 or 7 people, bearing in mind that 90& of it is already there it shouldn’t be too difficult to get the other 10% in place. I think then we nee to send it out for peer review. If you go back to page 1 of the document, you'll see that when we peer reviewed it, we had about 50 or 60 names in there. Now we can do the same. Potentially everybody in this group could have their name there as having peer reviewed it and I don't think that would do any harm for people to help people in communication with Fire and Rescue and so on going forward. I think if people within Fire and Rescue were to see the level of commitment by this group to get it right and also dare I say you can send it to your Fire and Rescue and say have you got any thoughts on this, would you like to contribute. i just think there's absolutely no negatives there. It's a total win win. No one could accuse you of not having taken this subject seriously and not tried to do your very best to to get it right.

GEORGE Absolutely. If you're interested in participating, if you could just drop your details into the chat and then we can pull this together. I’ve already got quite a few people who are keen to contribute, so we, myself, Richard and Alan, can work together to actually put together a workstream to basically look at this, review it and then come back. If anybody would like a copy of what we've already got, again, just ask for that in the chat and we can send that over.

ALAN OLIVER Can I just point out, George, the document you showed was the generic document, which isn't really the full monty. I would prefer people to to be shown the healthcare version, that's the one that's probably more like the finished article that we're looking to replicate, I would say. Another thing I'm actually now writing a reference document on fire dampers, fire stopping and cavity barriers with a NAHFO London working group and I was very interested to hear that Paul White is involved in this group and if you could introduce me to Paul White, I'd be very pleased to to ask Paul if you could contribute for the peer review.

PAUL WHITE Absolutely. I’ve got very clear views on a lot of this.

GEORGE Paul’s also got a community of people that he works with as well, because it's not just a matter of that it's also a matter of where this sits in design, where this sits in installation, isn't it? It's not just the the product itself and also how it fits into a compartment and how it’s going to perform as part of a complete set-up. That’s critical.

PAUL WHITE We have some of the issues that doors have and we have the issues that quite often you can't see what's gone on behind the frame or in the solid wall or whatever it is. And there seems to be a bit of reluctance with regard to inspections about commenting on the penetration seals and the compartmentation, which if you go and inspect it, you have to tell somebody because they’ve not got a clue. And if there's a hole in the fire stopping or if the dampers not in the wall, then it's a problem. Just because it opens and closes like the door doesn't mean that it works…sorry, it works, but it doesn't work as part of compartmentation.

GEORGE I think as part of the getting this whole golden thread together there's a lot of enthusiasm and support from the manufacturers and installers community. The challenge is that some of the things that they're putting in place are going to break the golden thread. And what I mean by that is that if, for example, you've got a door manufacturer, a number of the door manufacturers are putting RFIDs or components into their doors so when they install it, it goes off to a specialist service that is tracking that particular door and it's got all of the contents and all of the information about the door, which is fantastic. But the problem is that it's a closed system. So therefore, on a normal development, you might have 2 or 3 different door manufacturers unless they each have a subscription to a different service it means that the organisation (whoever is doing the maintenance on that particular building) won't have access to some of that information because it's provided in a locked up way behind it, a different application.

Whereas what I believe we need to do is to make sure that information is open and available so that the person that's actually doing the needs to know about all the doors in the building is able to get that information. Now obviously that's got to be done in such a way that is protecting people's IP and all that sort of stuff. But we do need to, in my view, make it open data, open to people that have got the appropriate clearance to to get it. Does anybody have a contrary view on what I've just said there? Because it is something that I think is quite important. I’ll take silence to be acceptance.

So I think that the last thing I really would like everybody to do is to answer the questionnaire in terms of…(Jiss shares the questionnaire on screen). What we’d like you to do is just go through these and it’s quite interesting, Ali Imam, who couldn’t make it today, he’s actually completed it and his number 1 priority is decent homes, and his number 2 priority was mould. He’s head of asset management at Phoenix and one of the things that will be interesting is whether some of the other people at Phoenix maybe have an alternative set of priorities. I could quite imagine they would have because if you’re responsible for the building safety, that probably is your priority. And energy, for example, might be less of a priority for you. But what we'd like to do is get people's views on these things, not just perhaps your view, but if you're able to share this with other people in your organisation, it'll give us a little bit of a strong feedback that we can work with. If I could ask you to do this today so we have something effectively to work with.

The more people that we've got that have got a view, it's gonna make our task easier going forward. And we obviously want to try and respond to what you consider to be the priorities, because mould certainly is something that…In he five minutes we've got left has anybody got any any views on that as to how they're managing it? I know, Dave, you've got a team within Origin that are looking at mould, haven't you?

DAVE WILLIAMS Yeah, it's definitely jumped up the priorities since that case before Christmas with the young lad up North. And the thing is for housing associations, unlike local authorities, it is not a legal responsibility for us to do full HSSRS assessments and obviously damp & mould being one of the 29 HSSRS criteria. It meant that we almost had to look at doing an HSSRS assessment just to cover some of the key things like damp & mould. It still gets picked up in stock condition surveys anyway, but not necessarily reported on as it should be. So we’ve sort of gone down that route. And obviously where we've got these repair cases we're doing validations to make sure whether it’s a decent homes failure or not. But then, once again, even within decent homes failures, providing you can decant the tenant or you've got remedial work in place and being done, it's not necessarily a failure. It’s only if you leave the tenant, you’ve recognised and validated that there's mould issues there and then you don't do anything about it.

Which was the case with the case before Christmas and also it’s quite high priority in the news. There’s a lot of people jumping on this. There's a few ambulance chasers out there pushing people to report damp & mould and ask for compensation. So it's definitely something that's been kicked up the agenda at exec and board level and we have to respond to that.

GEORGE One last thing that I’ve come across that may or may not be of interest is in hospitals one of the things that they’re introducing is a new interesting technology that goes in with LED lighting replacements. It replaces the sensor that's in the lighting which is there to control the LED lighting and turns it into a mesh network for the whole of the building. So it's a very low cost way of making an existing building a smart building where there are sensors in every space. Those sensors can measure things like condensation, temperature, the conditions that would lead to mould etc, and also a presence. What it's being used for in hospitals is to be able to identify which rooms are being used and which aren't, and the levels of utilisation and also using that to then tie back to energy consumption and the like. But I'm wondering whether that might be a useful thing, whether in residential developments, whether there's re-lamping exercises going on, perhaps in common areas, that we could take advantage of this type of technology. It’s something we could arrange for a presentation on if people are interested.



Ellamae Fullalove

Are we still using the layouts as the previous NFCC guidance? Guidance publications/Protection/PIBS_Guide 06 21 V2.pdf

Paul Hayles

anyone buy non gerda boxes

Bex Gibson

And we uploaded the EWS details too

Ellamae Fullalove

I think ours are on FB padlocks, not gerda boxes

Paul Hayles

Those are quite easy to obtain - so you may find contents go missing

Clare Williams

LFS boxes are £750

Paul Bray

Dave Williams, are your dry/wet risers in the same cupboard as the meter risers? 

Dave Williams

in some of our older buildings, yes

Paul Bray

That is a challenge then. To allow residents to have access to their meters they will need a key. It may be expensive to change all the cupboards to key-a-like but worth it, so long as you keep a record of the locks and key serial numbers to replace. Then the fire service can have access to key/s in the SIB. With regards to doors being left unlocked, we install self-closers on all 'fire door keep locked shut' doors, where ever the residents need access. 

Dave Williams

interestingly we also had a similar discussion yesterday about self closers as we are looking to move to semi-automatic as residents keep forcing and breaking the fully automatic closers.

Paul Hayles

Orbit created a task force on DMC

It has impacted other teams so we are all flat out