There are many reasons for changes to be made to elements of a building’s design during its construction. At tender stage, there can be different interpretations of the design and performance specifications, and during construction, changes can occur due to the client changing scope, logistics or supply problems, detailing or interfaces that don’t quite work, ‘value engineering’ or insolvency.
The problem comes when these changes – and the reason for them – are not properly recorded and approved. The building owner can be left with gaps in the information about their asset which will make maintenance and replacement more challenging. And, as the Grenfell Tower fire illustrated, changes that adversely affect the structural or fire safety of a building can be catastrophic.
This is why we need the golden thread of information, a concept introduced by Dame Judith Hackitt in her report that followed on from the Grenfell Tower fire: a clear way to digitally record, store and hand over all the information needed to allow a building to be safely used and operated in the future. Visit 3drepo.com to read white paper: Digitising Health and Safety.
Few people would argue with Hackitt. However, as we wait for secondary legislation, following on from the Building Safety Bill, uncertainties how the industry will deliver its golden threads remain.
A survey¹ of 906 professionals from the built environment about digital construction, published in October 2021 by the NBS, found that 49% of those surveyed were not clear on how they would manage information to play their part in delivering the golden thread. However, there was a strong recognition that digital tools were vital: 78% agreed that they needed to be working digitally to deliver the golden thread and 70% agreed that it was necessary to adopt BIM.
Aside from uncertainty about detail, there are hurdles to overcome, not least the contractual environment in which projects are procured. In a survey² of 156 professionals by i3PT Certification and the Chartered Institute of Building (CIOB), published in December 2020, 75% of respondents identified culture as the biggest blocker to implementing the golden thread.
What is certain is that the golden thread is coming – and that it won’t always be limited to highrise residential buildings. In this white paper, we will look at what we know so far about the golden thread and offer advice on what organisations can be doing now to prepare themselves for the changes ahead.