The introduction of the Building Safety Act 2022 has ushered in a new era of accountability and safety in the construction and management of buildings in the wake of the Grenfell tragedy. Central to these amendments is the concept of the “Golden Thread” – a robust and transparent flow of safety information throughout the entire lifecycle of a building. In this blog post, highlight the key aspects of the Building Safety Act amendments and provide insights on how compliance and safety managers, as well as C-suite stakeholders, can navigate the evolving landscape effectively.
The Building Safety Act 2022 in a Nutshell:
The Building Safety Act 2022 sets out safety requirements for landlords of higher-risk buildings. Phase One of the Act will impact an estimated 12,500 buildings in England, with Phase Two planned to include a larger number of buildings by 2025. The Act introduces measures to address breaches, including extended legal liability, fines, and potential prison sentences of up to two years for non-compliance.
Higher-risk buildings are defined as:
- At least 18m or 7 storeys high,
- With 2 or more residential units
- The new rules don’t only apply to residential buildings (including Student Accommodation), but will also apply to care homes and hospitals.
The safety rules cover the different stages of building:
- Design stage
- Planning stage
- Construction stage
- Operational stage: whilst tenants and leaseholders live in a building
Who is Accountable?
The Building Safety Act 2022 introduces two important roles: the Building Safety Regulator (BSR) and the Accountable Person:
The BSR will oversee the safety and performance systems of all buildings, enforce regulations, and set more stringent rules for high-risk properties. Their main functions include overseeing building control bodies, promoting industry competence, and implementing the new regulatory regime for higher-risk buildings.
The Accountable Person, typically the building owner, freeholder or management company, will have an ongoing duty to assess and manage building safety risks. They must provide a Safety Case Report and ensure residents’ safety. In complex ownership structures, there may be a Principal Accountable Person.
Compliance Complexity for Existing Buildings:
Complying with the Building Safety Act 2022 is more straightforward for new buildings, as required information can be collected and stored centrally from the design and construction phases. However, existing buildings pose unique challenges, as much of the information will need to be retrospectively organised and stored according to the “golden thread” of safety information – this is what Spinview specialises in providing assistance.
The compliance process involves a four-stage approach:
- Review – the buildings in your portfolio to determine their scope and collect the existing information on these buildings
- Enable – identify who is the account person(s) and empower them to do their new responsibilities. Further establish resident engagement and incident reporting systems
- Create your building(s) golden thread – house all information about your building(s) and set processes to keep information up to date
- Maintain the golden thread and engagement program – by applying for and maintaining building safety assessment certificates, demonstrating safety and compliance, submitting safety case reports when required, and reporting significant safety issues to the Building Safety Regulator.
So What Exactly is the “Golden Thread”?
The “golden thread” refers to the complete and updated information that must be maintained for high-risk buildings. It encompasses vital details about building design, construction, and the products used. Specific information that falls within the golden thread includes:
- Design and Construction Information: This involves architectural drawings, specifications, fire safety plans, and details about the building’s materials, systems, and components.
- Fire and Structural Safety Information: This includes fire risk assessments, fire safety systems, structural calculations, and certificates of compliance with relevant safety standards.
- Maintenance and Testing Records: Documentation related to regular inspections, maintenance activities, and testing of critical building systems, such as fire alarms, sprinklers, elevators, and emergency lighting.
- Safety Cases and Risk Assessments: Detailed assessments of potential risks, mitigation strategies, and emergency plans for the building.
- Change Control Information: Records of any changes made to the building, such as renovations, refurbishments, or modifications, and how those changes affect the overall safety of the structure.
- Occupancy Information: Details about the building’s current occupants, their activities, and any specific safety requirements associated with their use of the premises.
The golden thread of information aims to ensure transparency, accountability, and effective management of safety risks throughout the lifecycle of a building. It helps duty holders, such as building owners, managers, and regulators, to have access to accurate and up-to-date information necessary for effective oversight, maintenance, and compliance with safety regulations.
This information is crucial for duty holders to effectively manage building safety risks, especially during modifications or refurbishments. To comply with the Act, the “golden thread” must be stored digitally and kept up to date, ensuring easy accessibility when needed.
What Needs to be Done by this October?
- These accountable persons must register with the new Building Safety Regulator created under the Act before the deadline of October 2023
- Begin steps to become compliant, with requirements such as having a golden thread building and safety information
How Spinview Can Help You Get Ready:
Spinview can help you create the “golden thread” for your entire building(s), simplify building management and foster greater collaboration. Spinview’s digital twin technology provides a simple intuitive web-based platform for storing, viewing, and sharing all your building information. We can also help you capture missing visual and data information on your buildings.
Spinview’s visually intelligent digital twin can help you to unlock the full potential of the Golden Thread. Here’s how our platform can revolutionise your building safety practices:
- Comprehensive Visualisation: Our platform creates a virtual replica of your building, capturing every detail and allowing you to visualise the entire lifecycle of your property. From design and construction to ongoing maintenance, our visually rich representations provide a comprehensive view of your building’s safety features, potential risks, and compliance status
- Real-Time Data Integration: Seamlessly integrating with your existing systems and IoT devices, our platform captures real-time data to continuously update your digital twin. This ensures that you always have the most accurate and up-to-date information regarding your building’s safety performance, enabling you to identify potential risks and address them proactively
- Risk Assessment and Mitigation: Leverage our advanced analytics and simulation capabilities to conduct thorough risk assessments and identify areas of concern. Our platform enables you to simulate various scenarios, evaluate the impact of safety measures, and implement effective risk mitigation strategies, ensuring that your building remains safe
- Collaboration and Compliance Tracking: Foster effective collaboration and communication among stakeholders involved in the Golden Thread. Our platform provides a unified space where architects, engineers, surveyors, contractors, and safety managers can share information, track compliance milestones, and collectively work towards meeting the Golden Thread requirements.
- Streamlined Reporting and Documentation: Simplify the reporting and documentation process required by the Building Safety Act reforms. Our platform helps you and your team generate comprehensive reports and documentation, ensuring that you have a clear audit trail of your building’s safety journey, compliance efforts, and ongoing maintenance activities.
As the Building Safety Act 2022 places increased emphasis on the Golden Thread of information and accountability, embracing visually intelligent digital twins is essential to work towards compliance, enhance building safety practices, and foster a culture of transparency and excellence. With Spinview, you can navigate the complexities of the Golden Thread requirements with ease, leveraging real-time data, advanced analytics, and immersive visualisations to ensure the safety and well-being of occupants throughout your building’s lifecycle.
Reach out to our team of specialists at [email protected] to discuss how we can support your buildings shift to visualisation and a Golden Thread of building information.
Note: This blog post is for informational purposes only and should not be considered legal advice. It is essential to consult with legal professionals and stay updated with relevant regulations and guidelines.