Written by Désiré Roberts
Following the Grenfell Tower tragedy, the construction industry has been focused on tightening regulations to ensure it never happens again. Their answer is the Building Safety Bill, which hopes to overhaul the existing regulations and replace them with clearer guidance on how residential buildings should be designed, constructed and maintained to ensure the highest possible safety standards at every stage of a building’s life cycle.
Fire safety should not be restricted to the fire protection industry, but should be something that every sub-industry within construction should think about. The golden thread does just that.
What is the Golden Thread of information?
Golden thread was once 24 carat gold thread used to make clothing for royalty. In business, it took on the role of being the singular thread that brought the many strands of work together, allowing businesses to be more strategic, but in the construction world today, it has a whole new meaning. According to the Building Regulations Advisory Committee (BRAC), “the golden thread is both the information that allows you to understand a building and the steps needed to keep both the building and people safe, now and in the future.”
In essence, the golden thread aims to ensure that all safety information regarding a building is up to date and easily accessible and traceable, so that there is a much clearer line of accountability and responsibility. This works in tandem with the traceability and transparency policies that many within the construction industry are already working towards or have already implemented. This is where digital systems, such as Onetrace’s fire protection app, can support an organisation. While fire protection operatives are doing work on site, they can simply use the Onetrace workflow, which, if used effectively, will keep them working to the current 3rd party accreditation standards.
How will the Golden Thread work?
The ultimate goal is to ensure that all information regarding building safety is available to the ‘end user’ or building manager. This is currently unfeasible for two reasons: first, building data overall is typically out of date; second, there is a lack of residency engagement.
From a building data standpoint, this begins from the planning stages, and requires a widespread cultural change, whereby engineers and architects are more prepared to hand over plans and documents to building facilities managers. While some information is readily available, it’s not always in a central space that can be accessed easily. Onetrace’s fire protection app supports this move towards a more transparent, digitally focused, accessible information pool.
Then there is the responsibility of collating that information, which is where building safety officers or managers come into play, with their role focused on ensuring that all relevant information regarding building safety is where it should be.
Developing residency engagement is another hurdle, but it will empower residents, especially those in high-rise buildings, to play a more active role in building safety and what to do in an emergency. By understanding how building safety works, residents will understand how they can get involved and raise concerns, as well as understand what are their responsibilities, and their landlord’s. By adopting a culture of transparency and developing residency engagement alongside residents themselves, it will ensure their needs and expectations are met.
There is a long way to go before the golden thread of information is adopted across the industry, but following the Grenfell Tower tragedy, there are many businesses that are leading the way, with some companies already implementing these processes internally, making them mandatory throughout their workflow and ensuring that they are ahead of the curve.
About Onetrace Fire Protection App
With transparency and traceability on the horizon, we have developed a platform for fire safety operatives, fire door installers, dry liners and everyone who performs any form of fire protection works that works in line with the existing 3rd party accreditation standards.
From a mobile device, operatives on site can take photos and markup drawings right from the app and it’s immediately synced once the device is connected to the internet; and if your operatives are working in a connectivity dead zone, they still use the app and the information updates as soon as they are connected. It’s simple to use, massively reduces their admin work, reduces human error and makes them more efficient and effective overall, so they do less paperwork and spend more time doing the job you pay them for.
Take a peek and see how it all works. All you need to do is simply get in touch or request a demo. If you’re not ready to commit, that’s okay – you can try Onetrace completely free for 14 days with zero obligation or commitment.