Q3 – How do we ensure continuity and the relationship of asset safety information throughout the asset lifetime ?

Q3: How do we ensure continuity and relationship of asset safety information throughout asset lifetime?

GEORGE (shares screen). This is the culmination of work that was started a year ago where we were looking at the key things that were potentially acting as barriers to the golden thread. One of them is about the selection of products which we did this morning, we also did this one this morning which was the incomplete building services design. These events have been taking place over the last year, this was at Digital Construction Week and we’re planning to do another one this year.

The result of that is these documents which at the moment are still in draft. This is going to be passed back to DLUHC and it’s the recommendations that we’re going to be talking about today. The final thing is we’ve had 147 people contribute to what we’re going to cover today, the people who are on the call now, but a lot of other people as well have contributed over the last year and we thank you for all of that contribution.

GEORGE One of the reasons that we’re doing this particular question is the continuity of asset information through the life of the building. And what we’ve found from projects is that there’s information that the asset management systems are often used to record what people do to assets rather than the assets themselves. Now, that’s not a reflection on the software, it’s how people are using them, which is understandable because the people are recording what you need to get paid for.

But from an asset management point of view, if you’ve got let’s say some fire stopping, you actually want to record for the next 5 or 10 years against that particular fire collar what its condition is, rather than just recording the inspection. So, that’s part of the reason for this particular topic.

  1. Considerations Overall

    1.a. Implement Golden Thread Principles

    1.a.i Implement Golden Thread principles, ensuring suitable business systems, processes and competence/duty regime integrity, so clarifying ownership and responsibility around AI (asset information). This approach establishes a seamless narrative for asset safety information throughout its lifecycle.

    1.a.ii The absence of a Golden Thread standard causes confusion for suppliers. Establishing clear standards and guidelines fills this gap and improves consistency in data provision.

    1.a.iii Different Golden Threads should be consolidated through different information windows. This consolidation ensures a unified and coherent view of asset safety information.

    1.b. Digital Platform for Asset Safety Information

    1.b.i Provide a digital platform for uploading and tracking asset safety information throughout its lifecycle, including inspections and maintenance. This fosters a dynamic and easily accessible repository of asset safety data.

    1.b.ii Use a suitable, future-proof asset management tool that is universally usable, simple to use, and does not require specialized training or equipment. This ensures the longevity and adaptability of the chosen asset management system.

    1.c. First Understand End-User Information Needs

    1.c.i Understand the information needs of the end users. Tailoring asset safety information to meet the specific requirements of stakeholders enhances the usability, effectiveness and helps to ensure the integrity of the data.

    1.d. Address Organisation’s Cultural Imperatives

    1.d.i Promote honesty and clarity in communication. Transparent communication practices contribute to better collaboration and understanding among stakeholders.

    1.d.ii Organisations may be apprehensive about the data provided by system manufacturers. Open communication and collaboration help address concerns and build trust in the reliability of provided data.

    1.d.iii Regularly check and test your organisation’s fire safety products, considering enhanced products for improved monitoring. Fostering a safety culture at the managerial level reinforces the importance of continuous safety checks.

    1.e. Build Firm Foundations

    1.e.i Develop specialised training and competence development and testing, appointing dedicated positions or teams for effective asset information management. This will foster collaboration with authorities and other organizations, ensuring that personnel are equipped to handle and manage asset safety information effectively.

    1.e.ii Increase company control over installations, improve inspections and audits of subcontractors, and avoid price-based contracts for critical elements like fire doors. This ensures a higher degree of accountability and compliance.

    • Ensuring continuity in asset information throughout its lifetime.
    • Initial focus is on implementing Golden Thread principles for clarity in ownership and responsibility.
    • Importance stressed on defining and structuring asset information uniformly.
    • Various users have different purposes for asset information, requiring explicit statement of its purpose.
    • Emphasis on identifying stakeholders and their roles in storing asset information.
    • Need for consistency in management systems throughout the building's lifecycle.
    • Proposal for a flexible platform for transferring ownership and data relevant to stakeholders.
    • Distinction made between asset information and project information, highlighting the need for updates.
    • Lack of understanding among property owners about their assets' maintenance requirements.
    • Challenges discussed in tracking the lifecycle of assets over time.
    • Emphasis on practical strategies for implementing asset intelligence, including unique asset IDs and focusing on asset function for risk assessment.
    • The discussion begins with the necessity of providing context for understanding the functionality of certain items, especially in terms of fire safety features.
    • A system has been implemented to record the history of assets like fire doors, including repairs and modifications, to ensure continuous maintenance and management.
    • Interfacing between different systems like Bolster and Keystone is designed for flexibility, allowing for retrospective addition of data and reports.
    • The importance of unique IDs for assets is highlighted, emphasizing their consistency over time and their role in linking data across various platforms.
    • Concerns are raised about verifying the performance of products lacking European harmonized norms and the caution needed in dealing with such elements.
    • Efforts towards establishing clear standards and guidelines, particularly regarding harmonized standards, are discussed, though accessibility remains a challenge.
    • Difficulties arise in standardizing data due to variations in measurement approaches across different standards, necessitating clarity and accessibility in establishing guidelines.
    • Clarification is sought regarding the definition and scope of "golden thread" principles, including references to the Hackitt report, BRAC golden thread report, legislation, and the role of standards like 19650 and building SMART's IFC format.
    • Different standards and data dictionaries serve various purposes, such as design, construction, and manufacturing, highlighting the need to consider the intended audience and purpose of information.

    Smart Attributes and IFC Compatibility:

    • At BRE, efforts were made to implement a concept similar to what Daniel discussed, but limitations arose due to the necessity of smart attributes in harmonized standards, which IFC doesn't support.
    • Smart attributes would require accommodating various units of measure depending on applied standards, which the present schema lacks.

    Data Standards and Regional Variations:

    • Custom data standards facilitate exporting to IFCs, exemplified by fire resistance requirements varying regionally, represented differently such as "EI30" in the UK and "-/30/30" in Australasia.
    • Automation and compliance checking tools must be region-specific and configured accordingly.

    Challenges with Harmonized Standards and Product Classification:

    • Harmonized standards primarily apply to product standards, not design or test standards.
    • The challenge lies in interpreting classifications and standards for older systems like smoke control, where guidance is lacking on whether partial replacements suffice.

    ISO 19650 and Standardization Efforts:

    • ISO standards become more generic as they ascend from departmental to national and eventually international levels.
    • Clients can enforce standardization by providing clear templates for deliverables, ensuring consistency across projects.
    • Implementing QR codes or identifiers on assets aids in maintaining continuity of information, preventing unauthorized modifications.

    Addressing Existing Building Standards:

    • Surveying existing high-rise buildings is imperative, especially given the lack of standards for many older buildings.
    • Establishing clear guidelines for information gathering and documentation from the outset streamlines the process and ensures compliance.

    Managing Existing Building Information:

    • Developing a "golden thread" for existing buildings involves comparing historical standards with current ones, identifying gaps, and addressing weaknesses.
    • Fire risk assessments mandated by the Building Safety Act necessitate action or justification for non-compliance, with all decisions documented.

    Replacing Obsolete Systems:

    • While the past approach might have involved makeshift solutions, current practices prioritize compliance with contemporary standards.

    Replacement decisions depend on the building's suitability for modern systems, sometimes requiring bespoke fire engineering solutions rather than strict adherence to regulations.

    Digital Platform for Asset Safety Information:

    • Provide a digital platform for uploading and tracking asset safety information.
    • Utilize a universally usable, simple asset management tool to ensure longevity.

    Concerns on Software Suppliers:

    • Interoperability key to address concerns in the industry.
    • Sustainability emphasized for long-term viability.

    Understanding End-User Information Needs:

    • Tailor asset safety information to meet stakeholder requirements.

    Promoting Honest Communication:

    • Transparent communication promotes collaboration and reliability of information.

    Building Trust in Collaboration:

    • Trust essential for effective collaboration; legal bindings may lead to gaps.

    Addressing Apprehensions about Data:

    • Open communication and collaboration address concerns and build trust.

    Regular Fire Safety Product Checks:

    • Regular checks and tests enhance safety culture and reinforce continuous monitoring.

    Clarification on Checking and Testing:

    • Semantics discussed regarding practicality and methods of fire safety product checks.

    Specialized Training and Competence Development:

    • Develop training and appoint dedicated teams for effective asset information management.

    Increasing Company Control over Installations:

    • Enhance control over installations and subcontractor audits for accountability and compliance.
  2. Considerations at Design Stage

    2.a. Start the digital record early.

    2.a.i Ensure the digital record starts at the design stage. Early entry into the CDE (Common Data Environment)/asset management tool, linking data/RFI to the assets using a unique identifier establishes a foundation for comprehensive data integration.

    2.a.i.1 This enables continuous monitoring and comparison of past and current inspections or modifications.

    • Design Stage Considerations:
      • Commence digital record early in the design stage.
      • Utilize CDE/asset management tools for data integration.
      • Importance of accurate data for ongoing compliance.
    • Handover between Design and Construction:
      • Emphasizes the need for a smooth transition between design and construction phases.
      • Stress on the importance of a well-written BIM execution plan to avoid data loss.
    • Procurement and Implementation Challenges:
      • Aspirations versus practicalities in implementing processes.
      • Need for appointing information managers for effective execution.
      • Considerations on how procurement mechanisms can drive project outcomes.
    • ISO 19650 Standards and Detailing:
      • ISO 19650 standards discussed as a framework for processes.
      • Emphasis on detailing within the standards and the need for templates.
    • Client Education and Expertise:
      • Recognition of challenges in having educated clients.
      • Proposal to appoint information managers as experts for efficient execution.
    • Golden Thread Concept:
      • Expands the discussion beyond asset data to encompass broader management processes and safety considerations.

    Emphasis on documenting decisions and processes for building safety.

  3. Considerations at Construction Stage

    3.a. Importance of the Preconstruction Phase

    3.a.i The preconstruction phase will gain importance and require more resources, competency, and planning transparency for regulatory compliance. Accurate, current data at this stage sets the foundation for ongoing compliance.

    RICHARD We’re going to start at the end because we didn’t finish the document in the first meeting. 2 Considerations at Construction Stage. What considerations at construction stage should be made to ensure continuity of asset lifetime? Now, we’ve only got talk about the preconstruction stage, requiring resources, competency and planning transparency and accurate current data at this stage sets the foundation for ongoing compliance. so I would have though there is more to go in there.

    STUART SOUTHALL Following on from the last meeting, this covers what I said that it’s to do with the checklist of the installation. So, you’re installing the product in the construction stage based on the design that’s gone through, recording that information, how that information is recorded. There’s another point about what is a digital recording of that information as well: is it a photo or is it a picture? How is that information stored and then it’s actually checking that information that’s uploaded onto the system to ensure that it’s correct and then continuing through the steps.

    So, you’ve got the competency aspect in there, is the product suitable for application, are you recording test evidence and ay other information through that whole process of the construction so that you can go back. When someone is then maintaining that building they can go back and view the information and see what was installed and how it was installed. I’m talking from a passive fire protection system. We’ve set in those checklists and what an inspection looks like throughout that process, that’s how I see that.

    GEORGE The important thing here is to recognise that the element, whatever it is, starts as you say before construction, so you identify, for example, that you need a door. At that stage you don’t now whether it’s a fire door or not because you don’t know where the compartments may be, but you know that you’ve got two spaces and you need to be able to move between them. So therefore the first element is probably having a unique ID for that door which then should live through the whole process. So initially you’ve got a door with a specification perhaps, then it becomes recognised that it’s going to be part of a fire compartment. The key thing, the preconstruction is fine, then during the construction phase you go from that information.

    So what Stuart was talking about there about having the evidence against the asset, it’s got to go against something. So what’s typically happening at the moment, people are taking photographs, they’re recording things they’ve got certificates, but they’re not actually being tied back to a unique asset that is going to live there for the next 50 years. So that’s why it’s important from…it’s not a BIM thing, although obviously BIM can help with that, it’s about making sure that you’ve got a unique ID for those key assets. And the same with product information, so when the product then is selected that satisfies that particular asset requirement, you’ve then got that product being installed, but again, it’s linked back to the asset.

    And then when the product itself gets swapped out for a new product, it’s still the same door or the same asset that’s being replaced by a new product. So, I agree with you, Richard, what we need to do is add another couple of paragraphs in there that covers construction.

    RICHARD We’ve got the construction phase that needs fleshing out big time. Considerations at commissioning stage, we’ve got something there but there is nothing after that. We’ve got nothing on this question on facilities management. It’s down to the people that we had in the meetings, and we just didn’t have anybody dealing with that. So let’s see what we can do with construction, what considerations should be in there?

    ANDY BELL We’ve just been given 16 buildings to survey that are less than five years old and at the present moment from the fire engineering perspective and on the passive side of those surveys it’s estimated about £250,000 worth of remedial actions are required against the original construction phase of the buildings. So the actual structural compartmentation, the sealing off of linear gaps, the sealing off of services, where you’ve got underground car parks, none of the sealing and the penetrations have been actually implemented in that time. So at construction stage phase, surely there should be some sort of remit for the sign off of the building before commissioning.

    These are PFIs, these aren’t small buildings and to be honest they are actually fire stations which is quite amusing. We’re coming across this more and more where we’re actually getting new builds, we’ve just been to a new build in the Manchester area that’s had 360 fire doors installed. We’ve been asked to go in as inspectors to sign off the fire doors, we’ve gone in to sign off the fire doors and all the licences have been removed from the doors. And a generic spreadsheet has been supplied to the client that doesn’t actually identify which door is which. So, there is literally nothing there.

    GEORGE That’s exactly what we need to address.

    Abdullah Gulabi In a previous role I was more involved with RIBA fabrication and things like that, and the whole traceability and tracing it down to the site, as it applies to other products more so with fire and other safety critical elements. And then capturing these as they happen, the example that Andy just gave is important there. As an industry we should look at the other industries with the whole product life cycle managements and systems engineering approaches and the technologies that enable those should be better looked at and better integrated into our practices as well. Because we do have these practices happening and they deliver spaceships and planes and trains and whatever, and why aren’t they employed in delivering safer buildings where the golden thread of information is established in a robust way.

    STUART SOUTHALL Just coming on to Andy’s comment with the project, obviously 5 years down the line and the systems are not suitable for the actual intended purpose. It’s a case of in the construction industry have you got the information from who actually installed them systems. What was installed, is there information available. Obviously under Regulation 38 it should be there, nothing has changed in that regard, you should have the evidence of what has actually been installed and how it’s been installed and by who. But I suppose what we need to emphasise in the document is having someone check the process of construction. Whether it be a third-party, or whether it be someone who is made responsible in that process that they’re checking to ensure that the linear gaps, everything that has been installed has been installed correctly by the correct people.

    RICHARD Who should that be, do you think?

    STUART SOUTHALL I don’t know, Tier 1s are employing consultants inspections to come in, you’ve got third-party certification as well in that process, checking the work of contractors. But they’ve been employing other companies to come in and go through and do a survey as the project is in process to make sure that by the end of the project and it’s coming up to sign off, that they’ve got that information and they can go to a certain wall, an area of fire stopping, location tagged on a system and check and see actually, yeah that’s correct. Rather than having to do destructive tests, examinations and things like that. So, it’s kind of that process that probably needs to go into this section and I can send you some information on that, some points of where we’re coming from as an Association and our members. It’s still a work in progress for us…but we’ve got those checklists already.

    Abdullah Gulabi I want to contribute one more thing. For example, in a large project where we have lots of subcontractors we have this practice of time keeping onsite where each operative is tracked on what work they’re doing. But obviously that ties into a work breakdown structure. The main contractor was incentivised to track who does what, but to a certain level that enabled our cross-allocation of costs between subcontractors. So when there is an incentive to make sure you allocate costs efficiently the industry has come up with ways in managing and tracking to that level. So we do have practices of tracking who does what, but up to a certain degree and then now there is a question of do we need further tracking of who exactly installed what and keeping this. So, there is an aspect of incentivising the industry to take the next step in doing that a but more.

    RICHARD Yeah, it sounds like there is some sort of infrastructure there already, or some sort of methodology, it’s just enhancing it.

    ANDY BELL Just going back to what you were saying before about who’s job it was or is to sign off on the final construction phase. I actually come from a building trade background, but I’ve gone into fire engineering late on in life. For me it always used to be Building Control’s responsibility to inspect each stage of the building in the construction phase of the building to essentially sign off the building. That’s fallen now in a lot of cases to Approved Inspectors, is that not still the case that these people should be responsible for signing off the works to an acceptable standard?

    GEORGE The answer to that is no. In fact the whole process, Building Control are there as a sort of an auditor, but they’re not responsible for the work. So, in answer to your question, I think that person that’s responsible for that will be the principal designer or the principal contractor, in the new regime.

    ANDY BELL A second point. If I could send some of the information over to yourself or whoever is interested, we’ve actually just developed our own asset tagging application for construction phase. It’s essentially at the moment just on fire doors, but it is going to be going on to other equipment as well. It’s an NFC tagging system, so it’s a permanent tag, and it’s got all of the documentation awarded and the relationship for all construction phases for installing fire doors, frames, and the compartmentation.

    GEORGE Certainly we can take a look at that. Is it an open system though?

    ANDY BELL It is, yeah.

    GEORGE So if, for example, Alex who provides software for overall asset management wanted to connect via an API or something like that to pull back the information, then that’s OK?

    ANDY BELL We can make that available with no cost. I don’t agree with closed protocols or managed protocols on any system.

    GEORGE OK, we’ll definitely have a conversation on that. As Active Plan we would want to encourage that and we can promote what you’re doing.

    STUART SOUTHALL I’m coming in on who’s responsible. Obviously the emphasis for a high-rise building now is with the client submitting all of the Regulation 38 golden thread information to HSE to ensure that they get the right to occupy. So the information now on a relevant high-rise needs to be collated by the client, now it’s up to the client to appoint the Tier contractor to gather the information in a way that they can submit that to the HSE that can be dissected however it needs to be looked at for them to make a judgement on whether that building should be occupied.

    So George is spot on with who’s responsible with checking the work and ensuring it, but obviously the actual submission of the information is the client’s responsibility on a high-rise building and that will obviously filter down to all of the other projects as it progresses as we get to understand how that process works.


    ALEX OLDMAN I’ve just dumped a lot of thoughts into the chat that I’ll briefly talk about. So this is on the potential new Section 5 I guess. I think we need to understand that the operational phase responsibilities. So as a building is being handed over often there is complex legal arrangements about sections of the building, you might have tenant responsibilities, landlord responsibilities, there might be contractors involved. So those need to be captured and understood, particularly around communal areas and shared spaces. We’ve got to make considerations for what I call plan maintenance, so that is the life cycle replacement of components that wear out naturally. Doors will need replacing in time, windows will need doing, HVAC systems will all need to be replaced, and I’d call that plan maintenance.

    We’ve hopefully brought across all of the maintenance schedule from the preconstruction phase so we know what the maintenance schedule is going to be, so that might tie up with SFG 20, for example and that would inform us the maintenance schedule. And 4 and 5 here are actually merged, so need for holistic inspections and risk assessments. As part of an ongoing maintenance process, yes, stick to the implied manufacturers schedule, but also understand the context in which your item of plant or asset is being deployed and used because that might change its requirements around the need for inspections and assessments.

    We’ve talked about responsibilities earlier, but I want to look at the contractual side and talk about the legal side, it’s just something to cover off, I’m not clear in my own mind if I’m building here a checklist or guidance. But certainly a consideration to be made around the legal side of things in terms of contractual enforcement and responsibilities. We’re hopefully wrapping everything in a safety management system, so some of these later thoughts will come out from that, but a change control process, this for me is the golden thread. So this point, it’s the end of the golden thread, but where maintaining here the who, the what, the when, the where, the how, so that we can look at every critical component of a building and understand the context in which it’s being used, who’s responsible for it and any changes that have happened through.

    So we need a proper approval process, we need change control process on that, responsibilities, evidence and that sort of stuff will drop into there. Information requirements as well in there, updating those. That’s just sort of putting in place an operational system.

    RICHARD That’s fantastic, that’s helped me no end.

    GEORGE I think the other aspect, just to build on what Alex has been talking there, is scenarios. So being able to look at how the building is being used, and what is likely to happen to see whether the assets are going to perform in the way that they need to perform to run that. That’s the other thing that we ought to be trying to start documenting. It’s also that we need this information to be machine-readable because if it’s not machine-readable then humans have got to read it and interpret it and that then becomes problematic a) because the vast amount of information that they’re being expected to read; and b) the lack of knowledge or expertise because increasingly obviously you’ve got fewer people that have got the experience, they’re going out of the industry and we’re not doing enough training to bring new people on. So therefore we are going to have to start relying more on AI to be able to add that knowledge into the process.

    JAREK WITYK I’ve added some comments related to 2 considerations at construction stage. This is all starting from assessing and agreeing on asset information requirements, that’s the first key document which is missing most of the times. And without that document, without clearly established requirements, you don’t know what to deliver and what format and so on, it’s a massive problem. The going back to management of the facility, what needs to be considered the management company or client would have existing systems in place and they might be obsolete and they may not be willing or it may be cost prohibitive to replace them with new systems. And somehow we need to integrate this new information into the existing system. So to consider that in what format, in what way will you provide the information, COBie information and all other information.

    GEORGE That’s a very good point. It’s worth mentioning given the fact we’re talking about assets, the point about COBie, for anybody that doesn’t know, COBie is the international standard for asset information handover. It’s been designed to be neutral whatever software application it’s being used, but it isn’t defining what the information is that’s required, it’s a format for determining how the information should be structured. It’s got structure at the high level, but not at the detail level.

    Nicholas Nisbet I would argue that COBie is a complete definition of the information required. It can be requested and delivered without any further examination, apart from a few optional fields. Now, people have made a dog’s dinner of reinventing COBie with more and more additional requirements, but it’s there to be used off the shelf and that’s the whole point of it. There’s no need to specify what objects are included, there is no need to specify what properties are required because it’s all in the standard.

    GEORGE The detailed information about each property, about each item. I think probably we need to take this offline, Nick, but the information that’s needed for an FM system includes attributes about products and attributes about asset types that is in the COBie schema, I absolutely agree. But they need to be populated and I think all to often people go for the bare minimum of information about COBie and simply to tick the box to say that they’ve got some COBie delivered. What’s been delivered, though, doesn’t actually satisfy the requirements, so that’s my only point on that. We should definitely be using COBie, I don’t think we should vary from that at all, I agree absolutely, Nick.

    RICHARD Nick, is that what you wanted to say.

    Nicholas Nisbet It was just an advisory to say the point of COBie is that it’s the one information exchange that’s been fully specified for us. Now, we can regret that no one has specified the architectural information exchanges or any of the other professions haven’t engaged, but it’s one that’s available off the shelf.

    GEORGE Yeah, I guess what I’m saying, an asset manager would want to know what the fire rating is of a door. Now, fire rating can be added into the COBie requirements as an attribute, but unless somebody does it, it wouldn’t be provided.

    Nicholas Nisbet But it doesn’t give you the fire rating of the wall, so it’s not suitable for making a safety case.

    GEORGE I didn’t say it was.

    Nicholas Nisbet OK, fine, then we agree.

    DARA KHERA I think the point being made is it seems to be a case of all or nothing. Either the request is for everything, as in COBie, you do it all and you have all of the relevant information. Or you’re going to get a mixed bag because the employer doesn’t know how to specify the information requirement, so the default is to give you the least information. And perhaps really the conversation should look at the top of the funnel at realigning how the employer’s information requirements are structure or how they’re sent out because it’s a responsibility that the employer simply doesn’t know how to tackle. They’re not quick to do it.

    GEORGE I agree and that’s something that, as Jarek has said earlier, the asset information requirements are a critical part of this process. COBie is the schema for moving the information. COBie itself is not the determinant of what information is needed, it’s a framework to be able to transfer the information.

    DARA KHERA I think I’m just with Nicholas that there is a framework there, if it were fully employed then you have it. It’s a top of the funnel problem and as we fix the top of the funnel problem, potentially we’re here forever going around in a circle because even though the frameworks are set up to allow us the have everything, the direction of travel does not allow us to solve the problem and thats what is frustrating about it.

    ANDY BELL 80% of our work is done with FM companies, we support FM companies going forward. So we maintain fire dampers, we maintain fire doors, we maintain fire alarm systems.We were given a new build, less that 2 years old, we were given the dampers to maintain, we were given the asset register that had been given with the O&M manuals for 100 dampers on site, it’s an estimate. The dampers had been fitted behind plasterboard ceilings, one of the dampers was actually in a concrete floor slab. So from and FM and a maintenance perspective when the buildings are handed over to people like ourselves to go and do the work, the lack of information of what is where and how to get to it, there is just nothing there for us. So you re asset registering a building from scratch.

    JAREK WITYK First of all to respond to Andy, there is a massive problem in establishing what is where partly because on a lot of projects towards the end of the project clients change the space naming or numbering. That’s a massive issue because then all of the information produced so far is just you can’t cross reference, it’s kind of a waste of time. What I wanted to stress, George, you touched on this, consideration at construction stage, I think that’s a key element which should be actually placed there is cause and effect which should be checked…and then during commissioning stage validated whether it works or not.Because in the end we need to think about the purpose, why are we doing whatever project that we’re doing?

    A building, there is a purpose and it needs to achieve certain requirements, the purpose. Why are we providing the information? There is a purpose, so don’t just throw in all of the information in there because a client may only be able to use 20% of it, or what to use 20% of it. So that’s why the asset information requirements are so important and first of all everything that we’re doing is supposed to have a purpose otherwise it’s just a waste of time.

    RICHARD Anyone else on the construction stage or the facilities management stage?

    Enzo Labrosciano I probably want to come at it from the client’s point of view, while everybody has been complaining about clients. we ask for COBie, and I realise I’m talking to a small section of the industry, but trying to get people to deliver it is actually a real problem from our end. Some say that they know what they’re doing, but then when it actually comes to it they clearly don’t and get third-parties involved that then costs are horrendous. We’ve had on one project costs to deliver COBie coming in at over £500,000, additional to their project fees. They’re essentially already delivering us that information, just not structured in the same way.

    I hear what you’re saying and I do believe clients can be a lot clearer in a lot of things, particularly early on. I’m not saying clients don’t have any responsibility in this, but I think it’s a whole industry issue, not just client end. I’ve tried to get it on lots of our projects and I have meetings on live projects and simply the quickest way for us to do it and the most economical way is essentially get a third-party to do it at the end, to go through our O&Ms. It’s a bit of a kind of backwards step, but essentially if we want COBie that’s our most proactive way of getting it which is really frustrating.

    GEORGE Yeah, that’s definitely not the way it should work, Enzo.

    Enzo Labrosciano (Guinness). Oh no, completely, but the thing is that we want it so that we’ve got that single place for it and also we want it so then we can push it straight into our asset management system. So we want it structured that way so that we can use the data, otherwise it’s people manually filling in forms. So I completely get you, it’s a completely backward way, but the problem is that supply chains aren’t in a position to provide it on projects. And that’’s not all the case, but I’d suggest probably about 70% aren’t.

    GEORGE I’d agree with you. Perhaps we’ll pick up separately, Enzo, because it’s an area that’s very close to my heart

  4. Considerations at Commissioning Stage

    4.a. Build Firm Foundations

    4.a.i Establish practical baseline standards and explore future alternatives to PDF for sharing information. Modernizing information-sharing methods enhances accessibility and collaboration.

    4.a.ii Implement continuity and COBie data with O&M/HSE manuals, potentially appointing a champion to stay with the building from design stage onward. This ensures a cohesive flow of data from design to ongoing asset management.

    4.a.iii Fire alarm systems are well-regulated, but other products lack regulation and standardized information expectations. Addressing these gaps ensures a consistent approach to safety across all elements.

    4.b. Centralised System with Regular Reviews

    4.b.i Create a centralised system accessible only to relevant staff (enhancing data security and integrity) with responsibility for data management.

    4.c. Digital Platform for Asset Safety Information

    4.c.i Interoperability between systems and different datasets is crucial. Implementing standards that facilitate interoperability ensures seamless integration and data flow.

    4.c.ii Open API integration is important for these systems. Utilizing open APIs enhances the compatibility and connectivity of different software systems.

RICHARD Let’s look at commissioning. 3 Considerations at Commissioning Stage. 3.a.i Establish practical baseline standards and explore future alternatives to PDF for sharing information. Modernising information-sharing methods enhances accessibility and collaboration. I don’t think anybody will be disagreeing on that, anybody got anything to say that expands on that?

GEORGE I think we should be looking towards more standardisation in the way that the information and the documentation is being collected as well. Mostly people are using COBie for the machine-readable information, whereas what we should be doing is having much clearer definitions of what documentation should be being provided and how that should be structured and delivered.

DARA KHERA We do small scale projects and one of the things that we’ve been working on for years is handing over an accessible digital viewer with all information provided within the model, you touch on the light, you touch on the switch, you get all the related information. A very easily accessible situation for projects that are sub 10 million pounds, so a community centre or something like that, somebody wants to change a lightbulb, they simply just touch on the model and it will give them that information. It will have a URL link as well to the manufacturer to the technical sheets and so on. That’s something that we use and we find it very effective, it’s not perhaps an industry-wide solution, but technology does allow you to do it.

I suppose the other thing that we do, this really comes off of the PDFs,. The PDFs are all available via the model too, so when you have the model you get a list of all the PDFs, should you want them. But they are all interactive, but the step that we have done to make the model PDF-free if you like is that we created a separate Mongo database where all of the design professionals could input their datas. so it’s really like segregating the information input away from the BIM model because you have a bottleneck at the BIM model stage.

You can’t get all of the parties to put the relevant information in to the BIM model unless you segregate that and then sort of re-inject it into a viewer and then you kind of have the output that you require. You can’t get them all to fit at design stage effectively because of all the troubles associated with interoperability and the problems with IFC, but you can certainly inject it if people use an external database to put that information in.

For example, an M&E engineer will send along their specification in PDF format, where if you want to inject that information in you either have to link that PDF or you have to retype it and put it into a model. However, if they had an interface as we have where instead of sending us a PDF they typed their information in to an interface that we give everybody on our professional team, then we’’re gathering that information at the top of the funnel. we mange to hold on to that information rather than it getting dispersed before the building is handed over..

RICHARD I’m wondering if the key words you said was someone has to type this information in.

DARA KHERA You see what happens, if they send us a PDF then they’ve had to type it in, but they’re sending it over in a format that somebody else has then got to type it in. If we give them the interface for the database rather than ask them for a PDF, at the point at which they’re creating the document their input is captured. So, you’re never double inputting, if you like.

GEORGE Basically, the principle that you’re talking about, Dara, in having the data in a database and not in a model is something that I absolutely endorse and we’ve been doing for many, many years. So, what you just described that you’ve done, we as Active Plan have been doing that for 20-odd years. The challenge though in the process that you’ve just described is that you are talking about designers manually typing in information that’s probably being generated in something like NBS Chorus where the specification that you’ve just been talking about is probably generated as a 1,000 page PDF. And having people then manually interpreting that and typing it in I think is a challenging workflow.

RICHARD I think what Dara was saying was when the PDF would have been generated if they type it in to the database. When somebody is putting the information to go into the PDF, instead of putting it into the PDF they put it into a database system, that’s what he was saying.

GEORGE The PDF is being generated from another software application, that’s the point.

DARA KHERA I agree, if it’s an NBS spec, you can just get it and it’s general. But if you are very specific and very detailed about what’s going in and not giving a general spread then at the point that it becomes specific somebody has to decide that information. I’m rally talking about the point when it becomes specific, away from general. That's the distinction, because then it is actually correct.

DANIEL O’DOWD I actually think this is an interesting problem here, I think it was Dara that mentioned the detail of it, that it becomes really important here. Because back in 2018 I was working, admittedly in Australia, with a door manufacturer to get all of the door information, specification and whatnot. And we needed to ask them for a big long set of PDFs on what all of their information was, we filed in most of the ironmongery details and fire rating requirement specification etc and we just needed to get their information so we could cross fill that. At this point I tried to be smart and just say, well, why can’t I just give you a door schedule because I can just import that straight back in to my data model. And they wouldn’t have it because that’s not exactly the way that they write their data.

And this is where the problem comes in, it’s the beauty of a PDF, but it’s also almost the most horrible part of it that it’s like completely universal in terms of I can send you a PDF, you can send me one, it doesn’t matter. But the horrible part about it is that I can put anything I like in there and it can just be slightly different from yours because that’s the way my company does it. And so even if it would be great for me to enter the information that I was going to put in the PDF directly, instead of using Word, and the making a PDF and then you take the PDF and then you transpose it into your database. Instead of doing all of that, great question, why not just put it into the database. And the reason is because there is no standard set of information a lot of the time on exactly, and I mean down to the data cell, what needs to go in to that PDF.

And so each company, each design team on a project, will decide a slightly different way and go ahead with that. And sometimes because of various reasons including scope and fee or whatnot, you get to s stage where you want to do something clever like that and everyone is just very rigid on it and saying, no, we can’t move on the way we’ve decided to do already because it would require a complete remobilisation phase on us learning how to use the database. I don’t really agree with the argument, but relearning how to use the database, adding a new piece of software and so on. And plus you guys don’t have this extra thing that we like to add in and so we end up back in PDF land because they can add exactly what they want and we can take exactly what we want out of it. I don’t agree with any of this, I just think that that’s the kind of reason for it.

GEORGE Yeah, that’s the principal reason why we developed the Templater and what the Construction Products Association calls Lexicon which is a standardised way that all product manufacturers can take control of the publication of their information in a standardised way. And that’s universally available and it’s free. The challenge is that a lot of manufacturers don’t really want their information to be standardised, there’s all sorts of reasons for that, not just commercial, but that’s a big challenge. we’ve been on this journey for 8 years trying to encourage that.

DANIEL O’DOWD Absolutely, but I suppose, given what we’re doing here, does the question become should there be a sort of minimum? We’re not saying standardise everything, but should there be a minimum standard set of information that requires each product manufacturer to give structured…let’s just say that we don’t have to force them to give it, but it allows the sending and receiving of certain pieces of key structured data that would allow that connectivity from design phase. And of course, I was thinking about this in a completely selfish way, who wants to sit there with thousands of doors entering in 10 columns of door schedule when it’s going to be done by someone else, you’re duplicating the work across the entire project. Of course there is connectivity issues between design phase and operational phase that go way beyond that in terms of savings.

GEORGE The logic of what you’re saying, Daniel, is something that I fundamentally believe in and I’ve spent 8 years trying to make that happen. All I would say is that the resistance from the industry has been significant. And there are some good reasons for that, people will talk about harmonised standards, for example, which are the European standards, but to get hold of what those harmonised standards are, even what the property sets are for different asset types, is impossible. It’s incredibly difficult, staggeringly hard. But that doesn’t mean that it can’t be tackled and certainly the CCPI and their requirement, there is now a requirement for them to use industry standard templates. So in other words, if you’re going to get your product certified under CCPI then you are going to have top provide standardised data templates. We need to get there, you’re absolutely right, but we’re on a journey.

Abdullah Gulabi I want to circle back to an earlier point. I want to contrast this recent discussion with the previous session where we ruled out or steered away from on platform approach. You’re talking about all of this different data, different handover requirements, standards fitting in, stuff missing. And also on the other hand you’re ruling out a one platform or forcing, perhaps from a commercial point of view, the client paying the money can use that commercial power to force the stakeholders on to a platform thereby at least within the project scope facilitates many of these points here.

GEORGE I’d be fascinated to understand technically how that would be possible given the range of different parties that are involved in design and construction and the thousands of software applications that they use on different projects. If you’re going to, no matter how big the client is, if the client imposes a system. Let’s say, for example, a CAD system or a building modelling system or a design system, there isn’t something that that organisation is familiar with, then where does the liability lie with that? It’s hard enough getting people to standardise, as Nick and I have been doing over the years, on producing standardised data. If you’re trying to get them to all use the same software application, I think it’s impossible.

DARA KHERA I’d say that people using the same software application, if it has a fatal flaw in it, like Revit is widely used in the industry, but it runs on a single processor. So it finds it very difficult to mange all the data that’s coming through, it has a very difficult time doing that. And I do think that BIM modelling has that fundamental flaw, whereas if we do separate out the graphical and the non graphical I think we get to where we’re going a lot more quickly. That’s been my experience and I’ve probably been modelling for over 20 years and we do it to a nuts and bolts level now. It’s been a long journey, but to actually marshal and gather that data and have it and hand it over has been a long term pursuit and you can do it.

I think what is difficult is that you’re often sent around the circuit a few times pointlessly, but if you can capture the data at the point that you have it, really capture it, even if that takes a little bit mere work at the point of capture, you can then maintain it all the way to handover. What my journey has taught me is to finish the design before you start building and you have a very good chance of maintaining not only clear instruction to the workforce and monitoring the building, but also having the relevant data at the end of the project.

Further Thoughts and Experiences from Our Experts In their own words

On Point 1.c: Understanding End User Information Needs

  • Understand the information needs of the end users. Tailoring asset safety information to meet the specific requirements of stakeholders enhances the usability and effectiveness of the data.
  1. So, it’s quite difficult to match what we’re able to provide the building safety managers with and what they actually need to create their reports. We’ve found that they tend to collect a lot of data they need. then it’s not really up to them to change around how data is managed, they can only pass that on to somebody else. So, the needs of the end users, people writing the building safety case reports, are a bit different from people who think in terms of data sets and a platform of bringing together data from different sets: asset data, safety data, repairs data etc. So, I think we’re just getting to know what the building safety managers need from data management tools at the moment.
  2. Organisation, methodology, and touching on competence And also contractual commitment as well
  3. It’s a process diagram - You almost have to spell out what has to be done, by who, at what stage and proving that person is competent. It can start off as a very simple framework that we can all feed into, you can base it on the RIBA work stages or the BSRIA work stages, but some gateways that take the emotion out of it and drive this consistency in what we’re going to get, a predictable outcome at the end of each stage. I think the other thing with that is the handshake between what information is being produced, who is receiving it and has that baton been properly handed over.
  4. I think the challenges for organisations longer term is how do you make your asset information available to those people who are working on behalf of our organisations at the point of use. Those people who are handling that equipment on a day to day basis who are closest to the information, who are probably most qualified to verify and validate and collect that information whilst they’re handling that equipment.
  5. Talking around process is that data doesn’t exist, doesn’t have relevance outside of process. I’ve been looking at processes and thinking about how it would be possible to take each of your data items and pin it to a process, so you understand what its relevance is to the organisation. If you can’t pin a data item to a process then you have to question whether you should be collecting it and managing it at all.
  6. The Project Information Requirements is now recognised as a vital area.
  7. Can I just add something about BIM, when it was first mandated. When BIM was first mandated there was a five year horizon for it to be implemented and I recall four years in people were still discussing what the acronym BIM meant. So there was a lot of BIM maturity that had to be levelled up in the design and construction teams and I think we’re now on this journey. The idea was that the project information model was supposed to be stripped out and it became the asset information model. Now that the Building Safety Act has come into play there is no kind of timeline or horizon, it’s all been very sudden, and I think we need to take a similar approach to the implementation of BIM where it unfolded over a number of years. It had Level 1 BIM and Level 2 BIM and Level 3 BIM, and at Level 1 it was unstructured data, at Level 2 it was 3D models and some semi-structured data and Level 3 was the integrated BIM If we had a similar wedge for the golden thread of information then people could start talking about, well, we’re working at Level 1, you’re at Level 2, so that would help us to understand the information exchanges. And then underneath those levels the documents and the standards associated that you would need to understand in order to meet those levels. In kind of put some framework around everybody, maybe moving at different speeds, but towards the same goal. It’s basically like a bit of a gap analysis.
  8. How are all the property managers and property owners going to get on board? Where is the diagram that shows them the way?
  9. The information that’s gone into the manufacturing space is that they need to be doing something in order to provide the data to the end user of the building. What information that is has not been clarified, how that is to be put to the end user has not been clarified. So I think the industry collectively has gone in and made up their own set of rules, so you’ve got various platforms that store and hold the data and also transmit the data to the next stage, but there’s not one thread. This is the critical problem that we’ve got, as a building owner, potentially, for one of the local authorities, how do you know the information that you’re getting is current and up-to-date? Because potentially there could have been a further inspection done and that inspector might still be on paper. we do need to understand what information is required and there needs to be those standardised platforms in which you can collate the relevant information.
  10. One of the biggest issues we have within the industry is that there is no consistent way that things like designers are applying accurate information and different software deals with it differently.

On Point 1.b: Digital Platform for Asset Safety Information

Provide a digital platform for uploading and tracking asset safety information throughout its lifecycle, including inspections and maintenance. This fosters a dynamic and easily accessible repository of asset safety data.

  1. The challenge is how do you define what objects in each system represent and how do you give them equality in all of those systems in order to be able to say that this in this system represents the same thing in that system. And then that will help you to have that golden thread of reporting across systems in some sort of reporting or common data environment.

On Point 1.d: Honesty and Clarity in Communication

  • Promote honesty and clarity in communication. Transparent communication practices contribute to better collaboration and understanding among stakeholders.
  1. I think there is an awful lot that we can learn from the aerospace industry about how to manage and maintain assets reporting and things like that. If I was going to pick an area that you could learn a lot from I’d say aerospace is one of those because it’s purely a safety driven culture. The end game is to make sure that people don’t die using your products and when things do happen there is a full and open enquiry into the whys and wherefores and feedback into you manufacturing system to improve your products and your supply chain. So, these are the principles that we’d be endeavouring to engender into the things that we’re doing around building safety.
  2. All the fire information should be included in the operations manual but this information always fall short on detail because the persons or company tasked with collecting the information are not fully up to speed with what is requiredWhat really strikes me is that other industries that require accountability (Aviation, Automotive, Food) maintain a relationship with the manufacturer who designed and procured the initial solution/product. Within AEC this never happens and i am not sure the Golden Thread will change this. Its almost like asking BMW to provide you as the vehicle owner ALL the details of every aspect of the cars design and manufacture. This would make no sense at all and yet within the AEC industry this appears to be what we are trying.


By adopting these strategies, organizations can establish a robust framework for helping ensure the continuity and relationship of asset safety information throughout the asset's lifetime. This approach enhances safety, compliance, and overall efficiency in asset management.


[Yesterday 01:34 pm] Sharon McClure

Richard Freer could this be amended from AI intials - to avoid confusion - think we all went to Artificial Intelligence

[Yesterday 01:42 pm] Alex Oldman

1.a.iii We need to define what is meant by "information windows". This whole consideration is non-sensical without that definition. I think by "information windows" we are eluding to how asset information requirements change with the level of detail, through the RIBA stages.

[Yesterday 01:46 pm] Spacy Bondarenko

have you explored digital twin applications? There are some more bespoke solutions that deliver tailored to predefined requirements

[Yesterday 01:57 pm] Alex Oldman

I agree standardised asset information templates are required. These should be defined as early as possible in the BIM process. When in the Operational phase, there must be a provision so the information standard can be updated, so gaps can be spotted in existing information, as new information requirements come to light.

[01:59 pm] Edward Coster

The Higher-Risk Buildings (Management of Safety Risks etc) (England) Regulations 2023 (legislation.gov.uk)

[01:59 pm] Alex Oldman

There should also be requirements in Q3 for Training, and for Audit, as part of a continuous improvement process, to ensure longevity of this process.

[Yesterday 01:59 pm] Edward Coster

The Higher-Risk Buildings (Keeping and Provision of Information etc.) (England) Regulations 2024 (legislation.gov.uk)

[02:05 pm] Daniel O'Dowd

yes exactly! couldn't agree more with this!

[02:05 pm] Edward Coster

The two pierces of legislation attendant to the BSA (part 4 of the act) that cover "golden thread"

Worth noting "golden thread" not only covers asset information.... The Higher-Risk Buildings (Keeping and Provision of Information etc.) (England) Regulations 2024 (legislation.gov.uk)

[02:08 pm] Martin Oates (SE Controls UK)

we didn't adopt hEN's via CPR until 2013

[02:16 pm] Alex Oldman

1.b Would it be helpful here to list who might the end users be?

[02:17 pm] Alex Oldman

1.d.iii Is this practical? I would expect "the industry" to support product testing and not the Client.

[02:19 pm] Daniel O'Dowd

1.d.iii - assets should be used in this instance instead of products to avoid confusion with product testing. I do think though that testing is correct as smoke exhaust and alarm systems do need 'tested' and 'inspected' at intervals.


Alex Oldman My thoughts to add on Operational Phase (for a possible section 5 in our document):

Considerations for operational phase

Define and manage responsibilities

  1. Information requirements for Planned Maintenance Component replacement
  2. Maintenance schedule O&M/HSE
  3. Need for holistic
  4. Inspections/Risk Assessments
  5. Contracts and responsibilities
  6. Change control process with approvals, change definitions, responsibilities
  7. Define and operate management information requirements within building safety/risk management system
  8. Update building/property/asset information with changes
  9. Understand the implications of any changes in terms of how it changes the design and operation of the building safety system

Jarek Wityk

Consideration at the Construction Stage

A few ideas


  • Is the equipment installed as per design
  • Can the equipment/system be maintained?
    • is there sufficient access?
  • Is there a sufficient level of lighting required for maintenance?
    • Confirmation by measurement
  • Is there a valid Space ID
  • Is there a valid Equipment ID
  • Is the asset information in line with Asset Information Requirement
  • Have risks associated with maintenance been identified and considered?
  • Cause & Effect

Jonathan Akisanmi

It would help to understand the point Nicholas was making, as information that would be in COBie has to be specified somewhere, in an IR.