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United Kingdom, Are You Building Safety Act Ready?

By Eva Obermaier

March 24th, 2023

London skyline with construction projects

Following the catastrophic fire at Grenfell Tower in 2017, a regulatory framework was set out for creating and maintaining safer buildings in the United Kingdom. New legislation requires a so-called golden thread of information—a digital audit trail describing the design, construction, operation, and maintenance of higher-risk residential buildings (HRRBs). The Building Safety Act is designed to fix historic and ongoing building/safety issues, to hold building owners more accountable for the same, and to hold the construction industry to higher standards of building product safety.

The new legislation will require:

  • Prioritization of building safety throughout all phases of the design, build, and occupancy.
  • A simplified regulatory framework with clear accountability at each stage of design, build, and occupation.
  • A golden thread that contains the information needed to demonstrate compliance with specified building regulations (required through the gateways/stages of construction/refurbishment) and which will be handed over to the accountable person on completion.
  • A strengthened construction products regulatory regime.
  • Stronger regulatory oversight and penalties for non-compliance.
  • Widespread adoption of digital data systems to create a permanent, live record of a building’s design, construction, and maintenance.

What will be held in the golden thread?

The golden thread refers to information collected, retained, and shared throughout a building’s lifecycle. It is recommended that a “robust golden thread of key information” should be “passed across to future building owners to underpin more effective safety management throughout the building lifecycle.” This would entail “the creation of a digital record for new HRRBs from initial design intent through to construction and including changes that occur throughout occupation.”

Transition to the new regime

Gateway one came into force on August 1, 2021. It ensures fire safety is a consideration at the design stage and requires a developer to submit a fire statement in order to get planning permission.

Gateway two and three for new builds are expected to come into force in October 2023. Gateway two ensures applicants demonstrate how they will comply with the golden thread requirement. Gateway three will occur at completion when all relevant documents and information are handed over to the building owner.

Getting Building Safety Act ready

In a recent survey, 85% of respondents agreed a golden thread would improve decision-making and accountability. More transparent collaboration between owner, designer, contractor, and subcontractor needs to become the new norm. This cannot happen without real-time, high-resolution visual records of the build linked to relevant design and specification data.

OpenSpace provides 360° visual documentation of the progress of your site, so your teams can remain informed and accountable. To learn how OpenSpace can help you on your journey to becoming Building Safety act ready, request a tailored demo of OpenSpace.

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