The Golden Thread: Existing Buildings

Its never too late to start constructing your Golden Thread

The Golden Thread requires a Digital Record to be created and maintained for both new and existing buildings. The Activeplan platform has been delivering this for many years, and we have the experience to deal with the inevitable complexity it entails.


  • Provide explicit, auditable information requirements

  • Enable direct connection to the authoring applications

  • Propose preferred product for key assets

Step 1

Use Activeplan’s Asset Information Requirements Library (AIR) to define exactly what information you need for each key asset type (e.g., fire rating, DoP or EPD of a door) and generate data templates or online forms for specialist suppliers to complete.

Note- Although contractually, a version of the AIR for a specific project will be produced, the client team may learn of other things they want supply chains to deliver e.g., environmental or safety-related information. Additional versions of the AIR can be produced, so the enhanced “required” information can be requested/procured and gathered progressively, even long after handover.

Step 2

Use Activeplan’s Product Content Library for the selected products that you would like to see used on your project, to compile manufacturers documents and key data, which is automatically validated against the AIR requirements, reporting any deficiencies so they can be corrected.


  • Create basic data containers for each property in each estate.

  • Different teams upload the information they have against buildings and spaces inc 360° photo

Step 3

Create a basic Activeplan estate model from a spreadsheet that includes data for each property in a portfolio. Integration with OpenStreetMap locates each building and provides a great interface to encourage different teams to share their knowledge about portfolios, types of buildings and individual buildings.

If floorplans already exist, upload them to Activeplan’s Asset Information Model (AIM) to create an “Active” plan, an interactive 2D spatial database model that provides data “containers” for information, files and documents, that are related to each individual space.

Step 4

Upload documents to both the Estates model and the individual buildings, starting with the as-built records, H&S/O&Ms, compliance documents and any documents that have been gathered to support the going fire and building safety management plans.

Step 5

Identify any schedules and related plans and use those to create and asset list of the products that should be in the building.

Step 6

upload 360° photos to individual spaces in the PIM and either connect them to the assets that should be in that space by “tagging” them in the photo, or record new assets you can see, via the asset type libraries.


  • SMEs add detail like fire plans and asset specifications.

  • FMs add their special detail to connect with their other applications

  • Use 360° to identify and add asset data

Step 7

The project team now has a spatial data model that anyone on the team can access and, subject to permissions, add to or correct. These updates can be made during construction, or after, allowing key information to be added as it becomes available, or is identified as being necessary. This prevents too much information being “required” too early in the process and enables subject matter experts (SMEs) to see the context of an asset or system and contribute directly.

Step 8

When products are replaced, the new product model is added to the Product Library, compared with the product it is replacing, and a record retained of both. If this is part of a “technical submittal” process, Activeplan provides the information to inform that decision.

Step 9

After handover, the PIM becomes an Asset Information Model (AIM), which provides asset management teams with an interactive digital twin, in which they can create their own views of the information supplied by the construction team and add their own specialist information.

They can connect the assets in the AIM with the many other software applications they will use to manage the facility – planned maintenance, compliance of fire, water, helpdesk, lifecycle planning, project management, repairs, IoT – using the unique asset ID in the PIM to connect the different data and remove the silos.


  • Validate the asset data

  • Report any missing information and assign responsibility

  • Compare 360° with asset lists and inspections

Step 10

Although we still await guidance on what the Regulator will expect the Digital model of the building to contain, it seems very unlikely it will be explicit.

At the beginning, it might be that a collection of documents in CDE would satisfy the gateway review, but the legal duty of the accountable/responsible persons is to ensure the asset information is adequate to demonstrate that buildings are safe. Incidents will happen and litigation will kick in to assign blame, in which case duty holders will want to be very confident that the models, schedules and documents they have been provided are all aligned and include the “required” information.


Insurers are likely to want the same from landlords and contractors to assess risks and premiums, so getting through handover is just the first hurdle.

The PIM validates all the delivered information and produces reports that can be directed at those responsible, to correct.

Activeplan’s Asset Information Model provides an interactive digital twin that allows those doing risk assessments to model scenarios and demonstrate that the assets and systems forming mitigations are fit for purpose.


As explained above, it integrates the 3D models, the COBie data that was generated from them, the schedules that were provided by specialist not using BIM including photos/records installation, the manufacturers data/documentation, H&S/O&M and Fire/Building Safety reports.

All this interconnected information has an ifc/COBie structure, so is machine–readable, in which case it can be automatically validated, and any “digital defects” identified.