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Insights from the Building Regulations Advisory Committee, Golden Thread Report

Last week the Building Regulations Advisory Committee published their report on the Golden Thread of Information. The report touches upon the definition of the golden thread of information, how it can be adopted in the industry in future and what the industry needs to be doing now. Here are some of the highlights from the report:

Legislation with Regards to The Golden Thread

The report states that the legislation for the golden thread will be released through the primary legislation, the Building Safety Bill, the secondary legislation, the Golden Thread Regulations and the Golden Thread Guidance. The Ministry of Housing, Communities and Local Government (MHCLG) will be consulting on the secondary legislation and guidance in due course.

Official Definition of the Golden Thread of Information

The report clearly defines the golden thread of information in the built environment so as to clear any confusion on what it means for the industry going forward. The report states that:

1. The golden thread will hold the information that those responsible for the building require to:

show that the building was compliant with applicable building regulations during its construction and provide evidence of meeting the requirements of the new building control route throughout the design and construction and refurbishment of a building

identify, understand, manage and mitigate building safety risks in order to prevent or reduce the severity of the consequences of fire spread or structural collapse throughout the life cycle of a building

2. The information stored in the golden thread will be reviewed and managed so that the information retained, at all times, achieves these purposes.

3. The golden thread covers both the information and documents and the information management processes (or steps) used to support building safety.

4. The golden thread information should be stored as structured digital information. It will be stored, managed, maintained and retained in line with the golden thread principles (see below). The government will specify digital standards which will provide guidance on how the principles can be met.

5. The golden thread information management approach will apply through design, construction, occupation, refurbishment and ongoing management of buildings. It supports the wider changes in the regime to promote a culture of building safety.

6. Building safety should be taken to include the fire and structural safety of a building and the safety of all the people in or in the vicinity of a building (including emergency responders).

7. Many people will need to access the golden thread to update and share golden thread information throughout a building’s lifecycle, including but not limited to building managers, architects, contractors and many others. Information from the golden thread will also need to be shared by the Accountable Person with other relevant people including residents and emergency responders.

Principles of the Golden Thread of Information:

The report also talks about the principles of the golden thread of information. It states that the golden thread needs to be accurate and trusted, aimed at ensuring that residents feel safe in their homes, supports culture change, is secure and promotes accountability, is simple to access and share, and is the single source of relevant information.

Adopting the Golden Thread of Information Industry Wide

According to the report, the UK BIM framework could play a role in supporting the implementation of the golden thread along with other existing standards related to the housing sector. Additionally, it states that digital standards will be key to creating and maintaining an effective golden thread. It also states that Accountable Persons and dutyholders will be required to have strong, standardised and holistic information management systems in place throughout a buildings life cycle to ensure that the golden thread meets the legislative requirements.

Next Steps for the Industry

The industry needs to focus on cultural change as it is pivotal for industry reform. The aim should be to shift building safety to the forefront. This culture change will ensure smooth and successful implementation of the golden thread. To make the transition smooth and navigate the culture change, companies need to communicate the definition and principles of the golden thread and develop digital competency in the industry. The industry also needs to promote development of a culture where building safety is the core priority for those involved with a building throughout its lifecycle.