The Golden Thread

How Activeplan helps create a 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.

What is the Golden Thread?

The Building Safety Regulation’s concept of the Golden Thread is simple. Define what is required and create a digital connection or handshake between every step of its delivery, through design, procurement, construction, commissioning and operations. And retain a record of what was done.

The challenges in creating the Golden Thread

Despite the growing number of software solutions who may claim to do the for you, unfortunately the creation and management of the Golden Thread – or more importantly hundreds of golden threads – perhaps filaments – isn’t simple.

On both new and existing buildings, there are dozens of different firms, using different software in different ways, to deliver the information they need to fulfil their contractual obligations. Digital asset information is seldom delivered.

The industry is based on risk-transfer but the new regulations cut through that and make firms, and even individuals, directly responsible for delivering what is required, even if it wasn’t specifically asked for. The Accountable people must ensure risks are managed – and demonstrating to the Regulator that the measures they have in place will deliver.

This is a seismic change for both the construction and the property management industries and cannot simply be addressed by contractual clauses that seek to assign risks.

It also cannot be addressed through pdf drawings and documents that people need to read, interpret and manually check. The validation of this amount of information and the required level of detail, has to be automated – and that requires the data to be digital.

How does Activeplan help create and manage the Golden Thread

Activeplan has considerable experience in supporting FM firms who have inherited the result of previous attempts to manage this through contracts – PFI Hospitals.

We transform into a Digital Asset Information Model, the as-built records and any records of changes that are made during operations.

We also do the same on new-build, providing machine-readable asset information requirements in a platform that can directly integrate with the software used by design, construction, procurements and asset management teams. Every single asset and product is automatically validated and any missing information reported.

Just as a double-entry accounting system records an in-balance, Activeplan does the same for asset managers – and Regulators.

What should the Golden Thread contain

Activeplan’s in-depth knowledge of asset managers, and the software they use, provided us with a great starting point.

L&Q asked us to lead the Golden Thread Initiative Asset & Survey Information Working Group which provided industry feedback to the UK Government.

100+ subject-matter experts shared their knowledge in Round Table workshops – both online and in-person:

We focused on 12 key asset types

And asked them:

  1. What risks does the asset mitigate?

  2. To what risks is the asset, itself, susceptible?

  3. What information is needed about an asset, to ensure it performs as required?

  4. What tasks/method statements/procedures are required to ensure the asset is installed, commissioned, inspected, and maintained properly?

  5. What level of competency/training across which dimensions needs to be in place ?

  6. How should product changes, and requisite levels in competence, be recorded?

This has provided a rich set of information that can be translated into machine-readable data that can be procured and automatically validated.

Read the Golden Thread Initiative report?

Golden Thread Initiative Asset and Survey Information Working Group 09-10-22

The ”early adopters” who had already produced Safety Case reports shared their experiences. They explained that much of their time was taken searching for the key documents and data they needed to complete the Safety Case.

We turned this into an online tool for Landlords to use.

Landlords online tool

Compliance or Building Safety

Although ensuring individual asset types are compliant is critical, that alone will not deliver a safe building – or satisfy the Regulators, both Fire and Building Safety

To understand what is really required, we gave the Experts a scenario and asked them to consider what information they would need to ensure residents are protected.

This approach has informed our understanding of what those producing safety-case reports will require.

The individual assets need to act together to ensure that the measures (or treatments in HSE-speak) like compartmentation will perform if called on.

And that the other measures – smoke control and detection – will also perform.

Activeplan has taken this learning and built the functionality that allows fire and building safety teams to interact directly with the spatial model, and the assets it contains, group them in any way they wish, and thereby test the different scenarios.

Risk managers follow a Claim, Argument, Evidence methodology.

Activeplan will help that the production of a robust Safety Case Report by either demonstrating that all of the required information is available – or identifying what is still required.

We are not promising a silver bullet – just a really robust way of delivery.

How does Activeplan support new-build

We provide machine-readable asset information requirements as reusable data templates in a platform that can directly integrate with the software used by design, construction, procurements and asset management teams.

Every single asset and product can be automatically validated and any missing information reported back to the author, so they can address it and resubmit.

Autodesk’s BIM360 platform is built into Activeplan , so it creates “intelligent” spaces that provide the fundamental framework for the collection of all the asset information.

Design and construction teams can focus on delivering what they would normally expect in their 3D models, while the rich asset data is being created in Activeplan’s Cloud by the specialists, many of which would never need to use the 3D models.

Uniquely, Activeplan is able to use COBie (the international standard for asset data exchange) for information that isn’t created in any 3D modelling solution and produce a fully complete Asset Information Model.

Activeplan can also transpose into COBie, the data from the many different applications that are used on the project -perhaps inspections, commissioning and ongoing defect management.

360° photos that are captured during construction and handover can be held in Activeplan and used to create the assets that were never modelled or missed from schedules.

How does Activeplan support existing buildings

Creating a Golden Thread for existing buildings represents a big challenge for any solution that has been based on 3D models.

Although Activeplan included the integrated BIM360 platform, it doesn’t require it.

Budgets are always tight so owners and FMs can get started with the very basic information they already have and use that to create Cloud-based data containers for any documents, drawings, schedules they already have.

These can be directly related to buildings, systems, asset type and assets, making navigation and updating much easier.

Just as an estate as complex as a hospital with hundreds of buildings, thousands or spaces and millions of assets is easily managed in the Activeplan Cloud platform, a social landlord with dozens or hundreds of buildings can simply upload them to Activeplan and get started.

Different stakeholders, compliance, fire safety, building safety, maintenance, customer service, projects and decarbonisation can contribute their knowledge and also integrate the software they use.

Activeplan provides those creating drawings for the Secure Information Boxes with the “intelligent” CAD blocks that can automatically create interactive objects that can be updated with additional information, as specialists become involved.

How does Activeplan support Change and the construction control plan

The updated Defective Premises Act places greater liability on developers and contractors

So Activeplan has worked with its contractor clients to develop a more robust Change Management process.

It is supported by the Product Library Network that allows clients and contractors to know what has been installed, and where.

Next steps

We are all on a journey.

Both the Fire Regulator and Building Safety Regulators are new to this and are not providing any explicit information about what they will require.

However, as we have explained. This is not simply about compliance.

The teams – clients, designers, contractors and asset managers – are all responsible for their part of the jigsaw.

The key is the getting the underlying data right.