Creating the Golden Thread

The Building Safety Bill is expected to come into effect in 2023 and will ensure accountability for everyone involved in the lifecycle of high-rise residential buildings over six storeys or 18 metres. It includes the requirement for a “golden thread of information”, which details how a building was designed, built and maintained throughout its lifetime, recording decisions made and creating a distinct trail of accountability to support building safety.

These regulatory changes will have major financial and practical consequences for the residential sector. For example, New buildings will need to be registered and approved by the Building Safety Regulator before they can be occupied. An Accountable Person must be appointed, who must conduct and maintain a safety case risk assessment for all buildings in scope. A Building Safety Manager must be appointed to oversee this on a day to day basis. The Bill also introduces the concept of duty holders that have statutory responsibilities and will be accountable for managing all risks across the building’s lifecycle.

Maintaining the golden thread

A formal definition of the golden thread has now been approved by the UK Government’s Ministry of Housing, Communities & Local Government, which includes a nine-point annex of golden thread principles:

  1. It must be accurate and trusted
  2. Residents will feel secure as they will have accurate and trusted information.
  3. It will support culture change and be an enabler for better and more collaborative working.
  4. It will provide a single point of truth by bringing all information together.
  5. It must be secure to protect personal information and maintain building security.
  6. It will record when changes were made and by who, to help drive improved accountability.
  7. Information must be understandable and simple to access.
  8. Information must be easily handed over and maintained.
  9. Information must be relevant and proportionate.

The golden thread brings many challenges, not least ensuring the competence of those designing, constructing, operating, and repairing buildings, and how this is checked and reported. Also, keeping an accurate and up to date record of any changes made during repairs and/or alterations will be challenging and labour intensive. The cost of aggregating golden thread information may also be expensive, particularly for organisations responsible for a portfolio of existing tower blocks. Legacy IT systems create gaps in essential data and can cause delays, as the information required for the golden thread must be digitised.

This is where TÜV SÜD’s Building Advisory Service can really help. Our new Building Asset Portal will be a major support, as it can be used to gather, consolidate, store, manage and provide 24/7 availability of data with controlled access. By effectively and efficiently collecting, managing and analysing asset data, information gaps or inaccuracies can be easily identified. Decision makers can then work with more accurate and detailed information, which improves decision making, and improves productivity.

Our Building Asset Portal creates easily navigable and secure dashboards for all relevant stakeholders, for real-time review. These will include fully integrated BIM models and could progress to the creation of digital twins. Our scan to BIM capabilities using smart drones and 3D scanners facilitates the creation of these models. Our portal consolidates all health & safety, quality and sustainability data of a built asset in one central repository. Artificial intelligence will further enhance this process to deliver real insights, which add value and enable better informed decisions to be made about the asset.

The Building Safety Bill’s new requirements present a significant challenge for the owners and operators of high rise residential buildings as they will need to be compliant within the next two years and failure to do so can lead to significant financial penalties, possibly imprisonment. Contact TÜV SÜD Building Advisory Service to discuss how we can support you on this journey to compliance. Together we can reduce the risk for building owners, managers and occupiers.

Click here for the Building Regulations Advisory Committee: Golden Thread Report

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