PFI FOCUS – CHANGES IN RESPONSIBILITIES/LIABILITIES FOR FMs FOLLOWING RECENT LEGISLATION

PFI FOCUS - CHANGES IN RESPONSIBILITIES/LIABILITIES FOR FMs FOLLOWING RECENT LEGISLATION

RICHARD A lot of people here will be wondering why they were getting invites and connection requests from BIM4housing. That will be explained. I want to give a quick overview on BIM4Housing, it’s been going for a good few years. They used to meet and have a beer, have a speaker and ask a few questions, and it was all very nice. And then two and a half years ago George Stevenson took over and totally changed the methodology and the aims of BIM4Housing. It’s now very much delivery focused, we’re not talking shop, we have significant outputs and that’s what we aim at, that each meeting produces something at the end of it, even if it’s only partial and has to be completed in subsequent meetings.

BIM4Housing was mentioned by Dame Judith Hackitt in her report, and when her department was looking for industry input onto the golden thread, George was actually asked to lead the asset and survey information working group. We ran dozens of workshops wit specialist subject matter experts and we continued to provide feedback. Just a few months ago we had a big meeting, 150-200 people attended, where we had as the guest answering questions one of the advisers to to the Levelling Up committee. It was very valuable and we have output from that which I’ll come onto. Now just a bit of housekeeping, if you're a bit shy to speak or you want to make a point, put it into the chat. This meeting is recorded and after the meeting we make available the recording and also high point notes of what's happened during the meeting. That will include the chat.

I’ll show you a couple of things on the BIM4Housing website. This is our design working group, we have 6 working groups. You can see that we’ve got for all of our meetings, meeting notes and meeting videos, they’re all available. We’ve actually got on here getting on for 200 one and a half hour meetings, so that in and of itself quite a resource. This is our events, again, the videos and the high points. Most recently, we've been getting our heads around the new responsibility of the principal designer and exploring that with people who actually have that responsibility. George Stevenson is the chairman of BIM for Housing and CEO of Active Plan. Active Plan have been sponsoring a lot of BIM4Housing activity and I’m hoping they’re going to be continuing with that with this initiative wherever this meeting decides it’s going to go.

GEORGE (shares screen). I took over about 4 years ago and I basically recalibrated what BIM4Housing was doing, because a lot of it was around 3D modelling which is great, but I’m particularly interested in asset information management. And to be frank that’s what BIM was put in place to do as far as the government is concerned. We focused on the information side of things rather than the software and we set up 6 working groups to look at each of the different elements of the life cycle. We used that for each of those working groups to identify how things could be improved by better information. They concluded that there were things that needed to be done and essentially a couple of people from each of the working groups formed a workstream to tackle certain topics. One of them, fire doors, we worked collaboratively with Alan Oliver to produce a standardised fire door inspection regime.

We had a data workstream where we came up with standardised data templates and standardised information requirements. A lot of stuff around classification and processes. Fire safety has been huge, we’ve had well over 100 meetings on fire safety. We’ve produced detailed information sets on 12 fire safety critical assets. We helped start Zero, which is around sustainability and carbon and also digital records. The purpose of this is to try and find ways across the different activities, disciplines and interest groups to get people working in a more joined-up way. Part of that…I was asked to lead the Golden Thread Initiative asset group and there was other groups doing different elements, and this is all part of the golden thread. And then we ran various different Teams workshops and also some in-person ones at Excel. For example, a design working group, manufacturers around that table, this one are all in the construction sector, they’re in operations. And the purpose of that, we gave them real life scenarios to share their knowledge. The idea of these workshops is to bring together people who may actually be competitors, but they’ve got similar problems and by bringing them together (without the commercial drivers, as it were) they’re able to share experiences and share solutions.

For example, this came from Mace. This is some student accommodation where the scenario is that a fire breaks out in the kitchen and the question is what measures are in place to protect the residents, and also the fire fighters. So, for example, compartmentation, the important point about this that the HSE have made is that it’s great if you’ve got good fire doors, but if the penetration seals and fire stopping doesn’t work…they all need to be 100%, then you’ve got smoke control and detection. So all of those systems need to be in place. So we started to look at what information do we need to know, for example, about the compartment walls to ensure that it’s going to be a safe building. And that then lead in to the gateways. The gateways are principally for high-risk or high-rise buildings, but it feeds into the fire safety orders and the amendments to building regs which obviously is impacting on everything now. So, that’s the sort of process that we’re following through.

And to be able to get certification at the different gateways you have to now be able to demonstrate that you’ve got that digital record of what’s been done. We’ve tried to identify what the essential digital asset information is and a simple way of looking at it is what asset types were specified, did the products that were chosen meet the specification, where were they installed, who installed them, was it done properly, who inspected them, what product was used and if manufacturers test evidence is needed where is it. And then when will it need replacing. Those are the key things that obviously most asset managers would find very helpful, essential really, to manage going forward. And it’s having that as an auditable digital record that now is part of the legislation. We’ve then drilled into a bit more detail to say what products are important from that perspective, because you can’t have the detail on everything, but these are the things that are in building regulations and that’s where the legislation comes in.

Then Regulation 38, which obviously covers the fire safety side of things, that’s coming under much more scrutiny. For example, you need an as-built plan of the building. Now, that may be obvious, but certainly we come across lots of existing buildings where there isn’t an as-built plan. You’re lucky if you get design drawings. And then we’ve drilled into a bit more detail and said what information is needed for compartmentation or other things. This is Approved document B of the building regs. There’s all sorts of things coming through now with carbon as well, but if we just look at the safety side of things this is what’s legally required. And then there was a revision in August where although that Regulation 38 stuff has been around for a long time, what has happened now is that the legislation has been added to say that the responsible person, which is probably the client, has got to confirm that they have all of the necessary information to understand, operate and maintain the building and its fire safety systems effectively after building work.

In my experience of going through O&Ms, both existing O&Ms and O&Ms that come through on new projects, that information is seldom provided. But under the new legislation, if a Trust, for example, don’t sign that off they won’t get Building Control approval. If they sign it off and they’ve not got it then basically they’re committing a criminal offence so this is quite a substantial thing.Then on the other end of it, the principal designer and principal contractor, I’m reliably informed that this could be ward fit-out, for example, so this isn’t just about new build, it could be anything where there is more than one contractor engaged. If they’re doing things that could impact on safety there needs to be a principal designer and principal contractor and they need to confirm that they’ve provided all of the information necessary and also that they’ve had notice from the responsible person acknowledging that they’ve had it all.

I can’t see how that’s going to work unless people are much clearer in terms of what information is needed. We’ve been doing some digging through and we’ve got a number of subject matter experts that are involved in this that are helping us. As an example, this is a residential block that we’ve been doing as Active Plan, doing an audit of handover. What we’ve done in quite a systematic and methodical way is go through the information that’s handed over as the health & safety file in the O&Ms to see if the information that was needed has been provided. Not surprisingly, the stuff that was needed for Building Control has actually been there, but then as you drill into the detail you can see that there is missing information, there’s not good information on quite a lot of the key assets which are the assets that are mentioned from a safety perspective. The red ones are the missing ones. And then when we’re drilling into the detail, there’s also comments and things that need to be picked up.

This is the Regulation 38 example which is shocking, but not surprising. The client wasn’t at all amazed that it didn’t have this information, but this is now something that’s going to be audited. I guess my question really, we work with Equans and Sodexo and other FM companies on projects and we know how many changes and projects you’re having to deal with. One of the things I wanted to understand is how do you see the new building regs affecting you? Is that something that’s on your radar? Who is the responsible person? And what are they responsible for? I was talking with one of our clients the other day and they were saying on this hospital they’ve got three different fire risk assessments done by different parties because the Trust will have one, they’ll have one because they’re the FM and there’s also what’s the situation with the retained estate, who’s responsible for that, is the SPV also engaged in that as well?

What are they responsible for? What information do they need to provide to people that are carrying out work? And what information do they need to collect? Are you on top of that. The big one at the moment is competence.

RICHARD I want to quickly mention culture. We’ve developed an environment whereby competitors will sit in the same video call and share to the benefit of everyone. It’s also an environment where a cat can look at a King. A significant company can be sitting figuratively next to the guy who’s installing a fire door, and they’re all equal and we get the view from the coalface and the view from the boardroom. So everybody here, whatever your position, everybody is the same and we want to hear from all of you. George, can you put your questions back and we’ll see if anybody can chip into some of those. The first one: How do you see the new building regulations affecting you?

DANIEL O’DOWD I’m senior BIM manager and global BIM sales lead at Arup. I’ve been helping develop standardised properties, workflows, ways of working and kind of improving the collaborative process for fire safety in BIM with ourselves and other folk who we’re working with. I guess that really that work is integral to what we’re talking about here today in terms of collaboration and creating that kind of culture. Because I think it’s the culture here within the working groups, but I also think that once we step back out of the working group into ‘the real world’ things can be a little less collaborative. What I’ve found successful is actually talking about what the responsibilities are in terms of getting that to work is everybody making sure what their responsibilities are when you put new things like fire safety into the mix In should be in the mix already, but…

Let me give you an example. Right now people think of BIM as 3D models, so it’s a good place to start with people normal. Then you’ve got the structured data that lives inside that 3D model, and at the moment in terms of the granularity we divide up the responsibility based upon elements. So, let’s just say I’m the architect, I own the walls and therefore I own every single property to do with the wall.Now, even just saying that out loud, you kind of immediately see that it doesn’t really make sense for that to happen and really what there ought to be is a finer granularity in that ability to divide up responsibilities. Technologically it’s almost quite frustrating because we’re almost there, but we don’t quite have anything that does the whole package yet. So what we do, we usually agree a set of, I’ll say parameters because we mostly work in Revit these days, but Properties or IFC or Building Smart Data Dictionary would also work.

We agree that and we agree it for the whole project for its entirety and that way we can actually, even though at the moment we have to agree that the fire safety team will remain responsible for their part and the architect for their part, because contractually and technologically we’re not quite there in times of dividing that properly, the fire safety team is actually able to transfer across some of that requirement information. So turning some of that information in reports into structured data is something that we’ve been able to achieve in Arup. We’ve found it’s really good because if we can set things up right, and it does take a bit of working, what we try and do is make sure that the fire safety team doesn’t get any more work than they signed up for, but the result I find is usually that coordination of that information across the project is made more efficient, so it ends up saving everybody time.

RICHARD So you’ve got the processes set up and you’re quite happy with where you are?

DANIEL O’DOWD That’s one of those things, you’re never quite happy with where you are, but yeah, I think it’s going really well. 99% of the folk that we’ve worked with, even external persons, have said they’ve been happy to get onboard because…in then beginning we mainly target structural engineering and architecture because the thing that people get mostly is the visual stuff and the visual stuff is mostly compartmentation. There’s far more data within the real use of the BIM that can be structured, but at the moment we’re pushing early stages, making sure that people are comfortable and getting it through because there’s lots of other information.

GEORGE Is there is somebody from Eguans or Sodexo that could give their take on things at the moment?

CAROLINE HAYHOE I’m an asset manager with Sodexo. My role is not an operational role like some of the folks on this call where they have an operational responsibility, so I can’t comment fully on how it’s affecting things, but for me it’s really understanding how it effects the older buildings as well. I have an experience of working across different types of PFI, Blue Light PFI, schools, and I’m currently working on a project for one of our MOD clients, we’re collecting all of the asset data. We’re at the backend of that now and it’s obviously looking at well, have we collected the right information in terms of the fire doors to make sure that when we load that into our CAFM system that everything is there that should be there so we can recall that information for contractors working on any particular aspect of the thing to make sure we have everything we should. So unfortunately I can’t give you an operational standpoint, but I can from an asset management standpoint. Just trying to understand particularly for the old buildings, we probably have a really good steer for the buildings that are being built now and the refits perhaps, but making sure that our existing properties are safe, are the way they should be and making sure that we apply everything in the right way.

GRAEME FLINT I’m an associate at Arup working with Dan on the fire side of things. I just wanted to build on what Dan was saying. George, thank you for those slides, what you set out there is very much how we view the world. As a fire engineer that’s the information that I think should be passed across, those are all of the same questions that we want to ask of our clients to make sure that they understand the responsibilities. Going back to what Dan was saying, the technology is there and the capability is there to understand how this information can be structured. There’s obviously a bit of a contractual flap that needs to get sorted down, but from our point of view the greater difficulty we have in actually achieving this is making sure that our clients see the value of us doing this work. Historically and traditionally we write a PDF report which some people might read in which we set out the performance requirements and say where we want to get to and all of the stuff that Dan’s been working on.

It’s providing us with the tools and understanding and the frameworks and workflows to enable us to take that information out of orphaned PDF reports that no one ever reads and actually get them back into live shared information. And the difficulty with doing that is that the clients are keen, the call comes through, oh, can you just do a quick light touch strategy for this one and a couple of marked up drawings and a couple of bits of text to show…building regulations and that will be 5 grand please. There are some clients where the value of actually a bit more investment now gets all the information sorted out upfront when it’s the best time to do it and then they have it.

MARTIN STEWART (Equans UK) This meeting invite came via our design manager and our operational manager, but just to give a bit of context as to why it’s come over to myself. We currently look after a social housing PFI project in Leeds which went through the initial refurb stage and we’re now at the maintenance, the repairs and lifecycle side of things. So obviously the changes in the Fire Safety Act, we’ve had to respond to that in terms of fire door checks, provision of information. At the moment we’re currently trying to gather a greater understanding as to each parties responsibility, so from a client’s responsibility in terms of responsible person, the principal designer under the building regulations, not the CDM, who is going to undertake that role effectively. So to be open and honest, at the moment we’re in those kind of wider discussions that have our design manager input in for his knowledge in terms of the wider regulations overview, then myself from a commercial perspective and obviously our operational team.

There’s meetings ongoing at the moment with our client and I think our client it’s fair to say is also fairly fresh in terms of the changes in the legislation and their understanding as to what is required as well. My initial thoughts was this was going to be a bit of this is what we see as coming out in terms of the approach to take in the industry. But yeah, I really appreciate what’s going on here in terms of the collaboration.

GEORGE Your design manager, he’s contracted me and said he couldn’t make it this morning, but he’s very keen to know more and I’ve sent him some information through. The interesting thing at the moment is that the definitions of who’s got to do what and what information is needed. Everybody has been expecting the department or the Regulator to provide that information and clarity and it will not come through because of two reasons: One is I don’t think that they want to leave themselves exposed, and secondly I don’t think they know. The knowledge really comes from the industry and therefore that’s why these workshops are particularly important because we’re the ones that can drive what the requirements are. If they’re asking for things that are daft then that’s something that we can practically feedback on.

I was talking with somebody that was managing a hospital until recently, he said that when they did an inspection of fire dampers they discovered that literally half of the fire dampers either had never been inspected or they didn’t even know, in some cases, where they were. I know from my experience that’s not at all uncommon. We’ve got people like Paul White on the call, he’s a specialist in smoke control. Smoke is obviously one of the things that the regulators are going to be zeroing in on. And the important thing is that it really, really isn’t just about new build. This whole thing, because it’s under the Fire Safety Order, it applies to all buildings. So, I think we’re now into a regulated industry, although I’m not sure that most people appreciate that that’s the case. The fact is that nobody has got good quality information, if the Regulator had the resources to actually check everybody then there would be huge problems, but the whole point is that we need to put in place something that can then gradually get to where we need to be.

PAUL WHITE I’m probably even more of an expert in fire dampers and fire safety and ventilation (than smoke control). As George said unfortunately there have been a lot of people going around giving people reports saying that their fire dampers are OK, but they’ve not been looking at the install, they’ve just been checking that they open and close. But there’s so many things wrong with fire damper installations that I don’ know where to start. Smoke control, I can show you pictures and you’ll laugh, but the problem is I could probably come to any site and find exactly the same thing on any site. The other point is with smoke control systems, hopefully people are getting those inspected at least once a year by an independent third party, but when you start to look into it, if you look at BS9999 or BS999-1, you should be going and looking at the control panels once a week or once a day to see if there’s any faults.

It’s a difficult thing with smoke control systems, although they’re called an active system they’re actually passive, they don’t do anything until you get an alarm, so you won’t see any faults f somebody hasn’t triggered them or tried to test them, they just sit there. And of course there’s so many more components in a smoke control system. So yes, it really comes down to records that say everything is alright is just as good as records that say something is wrong because it does show evidence that you’re looking at it. And certainly we still await the Grenfell Tower report on smoke control, it was supposed to come out before Christmas. I suspect it’s going to be such a mess, that’s why it’s being delayed.

RICHARD Something that keeps coming up in all our meetings is competence and what we can do about it, once you’ve defined it, of course. I think it’s not limited just to the industry.

GRAEME FLINT Just to go back to the point that George made about what the Regulator is expecting. The point is that the legal requirement is to take all reasonable steps and where we are just now is that it’s certainly for existing buildings, it’s not clear yet what reasonable counts as, there is a massive lack of information. But equally the requirements of the Building Safety Act aren’t actually anything new, it’s been in the RRO since 2005 to have all of this information. The Building Safety Act is an enforcement of things which is an enhancement of requirements that was already there and all of a sudden everyone building owners are scrambling around trying to find all this information that they already had. I think this view of what is reasonable to get doesn’t need to be viewed in the light of what information actually should have been available already and I think all building owners  do need to do quite a bit of catchup.

There will be some things that it’s not really feasible to understand, things that you have to deconstruct big chunks of the buildings to try and find out exactly what’s there, but there’s a lot of low hanging fruit: doing cause and effect testing, when you get works done making sure that the certs get added into the building manual etc. I think it’s just that for the building owners it’s not been a high priority yet and all of a sudden it will be, it is now.

GEORGE I have a question for Graeme. One of the things that Graeme has just said, which is what I believe, is that the ultimate responsibility on having the right information rests with the client. One of the challenges that people like Sodexo and Equans and others have got is that if they’ve been looking after the building for ten years the client may come back and say well, why don’t you already have that information? The fact is that in most cases it was never provided because O&M information is normally so poor anyway. And therefore to some extent what I’m hoping that we could do collaboratively is come up with a way that we can help health trusts, for example, get to a situation where they do have the right information because otherwise we’re not going to make any progress.

Under the new legislation the other major thing is that you can’t transfer risk. They used to be able to transfer the risk on to the SPV or down to the FM, but that’s no longer an option. So, I’m not suggesting that we…clearly it’s a difficult question for an FM or an SPV to ask because you could be opening yourself up to a major claim, but this is now the law and therefore if people aren’t complying with it then that’s an issue.

DANIEL O’DOWD Building on something that Graeme was saying, people are now scrabbling to find information and I can’t help but think about how the entire 19650 series is pretty client-driven, and rightly so because they are the owners of all of this information. It got me wondering though, because obviously I’m not on the operational side of things, if Part 3 which is BIM in the operational stage needs to be pushed more because a lot of the buildings that we’re seeing issues with are already in operation and so I wonder if that’s something we could kind of push and get people thinking about that information model as a single thing if that would help some of this.

PAUL WHITE I think the issues, if they’re residential buildings ventilation obviously isn’t that concerning. I can give a couple of examples where people have with a smoke control system have played with it and changed it. The issue with that is that now somebody has done some design work and this sort of thing is worrying me because if you’ve simply just replaced like for like, the trouble is I’m talking about buildings that were completed in the 80s. All I can say is that if you’ve changed that component for something new and it works in a slightly different way, albeit probably safer, in fact the one I’m talking about was safer in the fact that people wouldn’t fall out of the building when they were trying to reset them, is that in theory you’ve not replaced like for like, you’ve just changed an actuator. Instead of it just being a magnet that allowed something to spring open, you’ve now put a drive open /drive closed actuator on it, you’ve integrated it with the system and for all of the right reasons, but if you look at it now you should probably replace the whole thing. So many people have done stuff for the right reasons but have probably ended up with the wrong result because they’ve now taken a design decision. Fundamentally, also looking at a particular building, I’m fairly certain it should have had a stair-top vent as well as vents on the floors. That’s not even there, I don’t even know whether they could put it in.

RICHARD They are design decisions, and that segues perfectly into the next question which is who is the responsible person?

PAUL WHITE Yes, and I can’t see that in this situation at the moment. The problem is that I’ve now told somebody about this so this is there in the background, it’s in emails and reports, going ahead (and i found this out at Grenfell) an email that I’d sent in 2009 turned up in the Grenfell evidence in 2019. I don’t even work for that company anymore. Nothing disappears anymore so you do need to be careful what you do. As it happens I can’t afford the insurance to do design, but obviously I know design and I’ve had to say you’ve got to go and get a company with design PI to come and look at this and tell you how you’re going to refurbish it.

RICHARD We’re going to make this a quick fire round, who is the responsible person?

JIM WATTS In brief, we all are. I feel like the enemy on this call, I come from a contracting background so I’m a builder, not part of the FM fraternity.

RICHARD That’s very much part of what BIM4Housing does, we don’t want everything in a silo, we want all stakeholders to contribute because they’ve often got a different perspective.

JIM WATTS The reason I took the call is because actually a large part of our business is ion the FM world and they’re always bitching at me that I don’t understand, so I thought I’d get a bit of background and independent information by coming on the call. I’m an operations director, i work with the Waites Group and I’m part of the building safety team which is one of the things that have come to light since Grenfell. And I’m also part of the team preparing our business for the implications of the Building Safety Act. In short, the phrase somebody used earlier was good, we’re a regulated industry now, so all of a sudden we’re all responsible persons, whether that’s responsible for saying no, I’m not qualified to make that judgement, or whether it’s in mandatory occurrence reporting or just being professional in what we’re doing.

JAMES REID I agree with Jim, it’s everybody (is the responsible person) and the answer to those questions will be opined upon by the courts. This working group is really important, m world is about risk: legal risk, insurable risk, investor risk. I’ve been taking some notes about all of the different stakeholders and their comments, things like new, things like regulations, things like responsibility, processing data retention, data capture, definitions, dictionary. This is all about information and having joined-up conversations between those that have the money and those that want to spend the money and those that are going to eventually take hold of the risk. The difficulty is the education piece that you were talking about for clients, understanding that that is a body of work and, as I’m poacher turned gatekeeper, trying to keep it out of the hands of lawyer and setting an agenda that the industry can dictate their own playbook or have their own dictionary definitions that everybody agrees with.

Because terms of art are very important and this is a multidisciplinary solution so we need to work together in order to find that commonality so that lawyers are not picking over definitions that disciplines have different views on.

GRAEME FLINT To speak to what James said and maybe going back to what Jim said, who is the responsible person, that’s a legally defined term. Everyone is not actually a responsible person, but we all do have duties in terms of information management. That goes back to that definition thing, but it is really important to be very clear that who is a responsible person, it’s whoever has control over that part of the building, they’re responsible for the information in that area. And they have to coordinate with all of the other responsible persons who are employers, who are other organisations who have control of different parts of the building. There was a point made earlier that certain buildings have got three different risk assessments done by different people for different organisations, and that’s borne out of the way that contracts are currently written.

Maybe more focus needs to be given to Article 22 of the RRO that says all responsible persons need to cooperate and coordinate, at which point you don’t end up with multiple risk assessments, you end up with a coordinating body between the different responsible persons and one risk assessment gets done that addresses all of the different areas. That’s where I think the safety case is leading us because the safety case for certain buildings has the principal accountable person put at the top deliberately so there is one party who does actually have to push through that coordination. There is an expectation that it’s not just a case of coordination, they are legally obligated to get information from other parties, other stakeholders and other duty holders in the building and synthesise all of that information together and come up with their argument that says, yeah, all reasonable steps have been taken for safety on this building.

ALAN OLIVER I wanted to agree with what’s just been said in that I think the responsible person, if you’re looking at a hospital trust, it’s probably the CEO. I think the idea that there’s like 627 responsible persons within a hospital trust completely muddies the water. If the CEO was to be told that he has the ultimate power and responsibility in the budget that would be a wakeup call. In my experience there’s a lot of senior managers in hospitals who think they’ve got a fire department who take the responsibility, but they don’t have the budget and they’re reporting to an estates director who tells them that there’s no money for it and things like that. I think it’s a very straightforward thing, the responsible person is the CEO unless you can prove otherwise, or he or she can prove otherwise.

RICHARD That’s very good and very clear and I think you’re right, it is defined in law.

PAUL WHITE You’re right in terms of that can be an organisation not an individual, but that organisation then has to define their authorised person because that’s the key point. But again, authorised persons have to have access to budgets because this isn’t going to be cheap, even the bits that I see are not good. I offer opinion reports to try and help people out to solve these issues and to highlight what issues I think they have, I can’t solve the issues for them and I see myself as a duty holder. As Jim says, different people can be different responsible persons throughout the design and the construction and when the building is occupied. But when somebody is coming in and giving you a report that they’ve done for you on certain things like fire stopping, dampers, smoke control system, they become a duty holder and because we all live in a contractual world and if you give somebody bad news they tend not to use you again, even though they’re trying to help you.

As a duty holder there’s also some discussion about at which point do you have to tell somebody what you found, so also be aware of that. For instance, if you did a fire damper inspection and the suggestion has been made that 11 months later you say are we coming to inspect that again, have you done any work on what we’ve done. And if we don’t get the contract we feel that we’re duty bound to actually tell somebody what we found last time to see if anything has been done about it. Also, somebody was talking about risk, in everything i do I keep telling people to say and make sure that your authorised person passes this on to your risk assessor because the clue is in the name. However, I’m not convinced that risk assessors have got the experience in the areas that I work in.

RICHARD So, what is that responsible person actually responsible for? What does that mean?

PAUL WHITE That’s defined in law. The responsible person isn’t an individual and can be a company. The authorised person represents as a name the responsible person, which as I say might be a company or might be a person. Somebody said the CEO, that’s right.

RICHARD But what are they responsible for?

PAUL WHITE For the fire safety of the building, it really is quite that serious.

GRAEME FLINT There’s 15 specific fire safety duties and other things that they’re responsible for. For the definitions of what the responsible person is responsible for you need to go and read the RRO, directory of Fire Safety Order, because that sets that out. And then you’ve got the principal accountable person and the accountable person under the Building Safety Act who have similar, but not exactly the same duties. Where this leads though is that a lot of Building Safety Act and a lot of the RRO is intended to make sure that the people who have the information and who have the control of the areas are talking to each other. The idea is not that it’s not feasible to retrofit sprinklers in every single building, for example, but however the different people that have different control who have the lived-in knowledge of the building are supposed to be communicating reasonably regularly to make sure that there is not some sort of outlandish risk that’s likely to appear to the occupants.

It's where a lot of refurbishments go wrong in that things happen and information in the building doesn’t get updated and doesn’t get passed to people who know who the vulnerable people in the building are and those people are at an elevated risk. Speaking to Paul’s point earlier, I recently had a building where it’s a natural smoke ventilation system, but it was upgraded to become a combined smoke ventilation system and environmental ventilation system. But the dampers weren’t upgraded so all of a sudden it means that the system is effectively not certified anymore and there are consequences of that that need to be recorded in the risk assessment and the building needs to be operated slightly differently.

GEORGE I think one of the key things that most people still haven’t got their heads around is that this isn’t something that you can transfer on to a specialist and they take on the liability for it. The responsible person needs to be aware of, that doesn’t mean that the chief exec has got to really understand about smoke control and things like that, but their ultimately responsible for ensuring that the people that they put in place are adequately informed, that they’ve got the right information to be able to make the right decisions and that comes back to the O&Ms. And also that they’re suitably experienced in doing to work and also they provide the information at the end of it which feeds back into the golden thread. So it’s this thing that under law you can no longer transfer risk, that’s what’s been hammered home to me.

JIM WATTS The point I wanted to make was the Building Safety Act isn’t all about fire. I agree in the world of ductwork and when it comes to fire dampers I feel your pain. There are some disadvantages of working for a contractor that’s been around for 126 years, that’s a lot of legacy. The point there is we mustn’t lose sight of the fact that it isn’t all about fire.

RICHARD Let’s move on a little bit. So, we’ve got the responsible person, what information do they need to provide? And where do they get it from?

GEORGE I think that, on an existing building, that needs to come from record information and if the record information is incomplete (which is often the case) then there needs to be a course of action to actually get it to be complete. And that doesn’t mean it needs to be done…one of the things that we’ve experienced is that people will collect information for a purpose and then somebody else will collect almost the same information because they’ve not been joined-up. And we’re seeing this currently because of the Building Safety Act and the fire safety and then people are then looking at things from a carbon perspective because there’s remedial works and things like that. What needs to happen is that that’s got to be coordinated and joined-up.

RICHARD So it’s not just about having the information it’s about making sure it’s not duplicate.

GEORGE Yeah, you really need the whole common single version of the truth, as it were. It doesn’t have to all be in one system, but there needs to be some sort of structure…

RICHARD It needs to feed into each other.

GEORGE Yes, absolutely.

DANIEL O’DOWD Obviously my opinion is a little bit biased on this. Primarily in terms of what’s out there, it should be coming from your golden thread which is your digital repository of information. 19650 isn’t mentioned by name in the golden thread but if you haven’t already what I would do is go and read that golden thread thing and then have a read of 19650 Parti 1. It is shocking how similar what’s being asked for in that golden thread comes across in 19650. In terms of getting more specific that information should be coming from either an archive, hopefully not, nut if we need to pull up something for legal reasons that should be coming from an archive state of that information. It should be coming from a common data environment and getting more specific still, when new works are started (on an existing building it doesn’t really matter very much), but that information should be provided as part of the reference material to whoever is doing those works.

That could be works to do with maintenance and to do with new parts of the building or whatever, Part 3 and Part 2 both equally apply in that regard. I think what I’m saying is I feel there is a pretty good answer to this out there already if you link up golden thread legislation with 19659 Part 2 & 3 in terms of where we ought to be storing this, how it should be stored, how it should be linked up and things. Because then by following these principles you do avoid that duplication of information, or unnecessary duplication of information.

ALAN OLIVER I’ll just introduce myself. I’m a director of a company called Golden Thread Fire Delay and I’d like to link two phrases that have been said today with the reference document. The first phrase is people are scrabbling for information and obviously that’s because there is incomplete O&Ms, we all know that. And people are saying if a building is 50 years old what do you do? Well, what do you do if a building is 5 years old? Especially if it’s related to things like fire doors that might have been the wrong specification, they might have been bashed around and maybe people have removed them or changed them or heaven knows what else.

That’s the first thing, the second one is that the knowledge should come from the industry. It was on that basis, because that’s what Dame Judith Hackitt said in her report on Grenfell Tower, that the industry shouldn’t be waiting for people to tell them what to do, they should be just getting in there, rolling up their sleeves and getting on with it and finding out the solutions and imparting the knowledge. It was on that basis that I spoke to the principal fire engineer of the NHS in 2018, a guy called Mike Ralph. I said to him how is ti that the NHS which is arguably the biggest owners of fire doors in Europe don’t have standardised systems for inspecting them? He took it on the chin and said we don’t have standardised systems for fire risk assessing our buildings, but if you’d like to write a paper on how to do it why don’t you join NAHFO (the National Association of Health Care Fire Officers) set up a working group and write a paper on how to do it.

As you know that’s what I did, from January 2019, and we created a paper on how to inspect fire doors in the NHS. We then turned it into a reference document and I’m currently working on the third edition of this reference document. And just about the whole of last year BIM4Housing were working on adapting this for residential buildings and that’s now signed off and about to be printed. And at the same time we set up another NAHFO working group on how to inspect fire dampers, fire stopping and cavity barriers and I’m pleased to say that that’s now been signed off and about to be printed as well, so the information is out there. Just to explain, we said that there’s three different ways of inspecting fire compartment elements, whether it be fire doors, fire dampers, fire stopping or cavity barriers.

You need a Type 1 inspection for a brand new building and a brand new installation where you’ve got this golden thread of information. And you should be able to match up what’s being installed with what’s been specified and fire tested and then make sure that there is this golden thread of information. But if it’s in an existing building where this golden thread of information doesn’t exist, you’ve got to have someone competent to do so to inspect these elements, not in terms of if they’re perfect because they’re unlikely to be perfect in a 20 year old building if it’s a fire door, but whether it’s suitable and sufficient for its location. So rather than focusing on the building regulations you focus on the Fire Safety Order and the requirement is it suitable and sufficient to protect people and to ensure that they’re safe and they can evacuate the building.

And the Type 3 inspection is for fire compartment elements such as a fire door or a fire damper that has either already been Type 1 or type 2 inspected, you then Type 3 inspect them in terms of functional ongoing PPM maintenance, So I’d suggest for people who say they’re scrabbling around for information in an existing building, if it’s more than a few years old I wouldn’t even bother looking for the O&M manual, I’d get somebody in to inspect it competently and create a new golden thread of information and then you can move forward with it.

CAROLINE HAYHOE It’s just a point around the data element, from my experience working with Sodexo is we work with different organisations and our primary contract  may be with the FM team. But then the estates team goes in and does a whole load of work on a part of a building, doesn’t tell anybody that they’ve done it (not even their own FM team). And then we go along the next time and there is a whole different set…the building has completely changed. Sometimes within an organisation that our client is they don’t talk to each other and then we have to come along and fix everything and redo all of the information on that side of things.

So that’s the challenges we’ve had certainly in the past is that estate teams will come in completely gut a building and redo it and then say oh, by the way, we’ve done this, and not give anybody any information and then you’ve got to go and redo fire risk assessments because they’ve changed the structure of a building, they’ve added new assets in . We think we’ve got a great piece of information and all of a sudden somebody else comes in and we don’t find out until probably 6-12 months later when our suppliers have gone in and done a maintenance on part of the building.

GEORGE Well, hopefully that’s what this new legislation is going to impact on.

CAROLINE HAYHOE Yeah, hopefully, but probably sometimes it’s the clients understanding their responsibilities and getting those two parts of the same organisation, particularly the larger the organisation is, to talk to each other and make sure that when they’re making these decisions they involve the FM teams as well to make sure everything goes forward the way it should. Not just, oh, this is in our plan to do this, we’ve gone in and done it, tick, it’s all yours now.

MARTIN STEWART I agree with you, we’ve been quite lucky in the context of what we’re doing is auite close knit and quite limited in terms of the scope of the buildings, but just that communication and detail being discussed between parties for third parties entering buildings. We’ve got FM obligations, for instance, statutory authority works, BT fiber installations within high-rise buildings in social housing obviously breaching compartmentation, rectifying that, all of that information needs to be passed through to us in terms of the remedial works that have taken place. We’re quite lucky in that we’re in that position, we have come across a few barriers to get that information, but we’re now in a position where we have that level of communication, it’s probably because the context of it is quite small, we’re not looking after vast estates.

But again, sprinkler installations that are being undertaken by a third party, not part of our FM obligation under our original refurbishment, but now being delivered. Again, any breaches any changes to the structure, all of that information record keeping needs to come through to us as an FM contractor so that we’ve got that information as well to work with.

KIERAN DOWNES I think I can probably build on what Caroline and Martin are saying. I’ve been on a few sides of the fence, I’ve worked for principal contractors, I’ve worked in housing associations, new build development and now I’m leading things with surveying at Sodexo now in asset management. But essentially there is definitely a lack in understanding across the industry and it’s very difficult to obtain documentation, sign-offs, when I’ve seen it through new builds, refurbishments, any stage of any construction. Getting the information and holding a liability over a party is really difficult, I’ve seen contractors take fines instead of handing over documentation providing O&M information as a preference. I’ve seen all sorts of difficulties to make new contracts difficult to set up where documents won’t be handed over, things go missing, and to go back to what Alan was saying, the approach is probably to create a new golden thread of information, but where does that get funded from? And there’s situations where you may be operating in a building, somebody else has a freehold, who is the RP? Is it the operator? Is there a joint responsibility there as well? There’s difficult conversations around who’s going to fund obtaining new golden thread.

GRAEME FLINT Just speaking to what’s happened before, it’s really boring, but a lot of this starts from clients actually having a strategy. Whether a building safety strategy or a fire safety strategy or a fire safety management strategy because that’s where you set out what are our objectives, what are the components in the building that need to be checked, who’s responsible for them when we bring in contractors and what does the contract need to say. Because there’s a few things that have been mentioned, who’s responsibility is it to get this information? People who are responsible persons legally, people who are principal accountable persons need to be writing their contracts with their appointees in such a way that they can contractually demand the information that they need.

Up until now it’s all been very ad hoc, it’s yeah you are doing this so we’ll get this O&M and then someone has to try and comb their way through the O&M to see whether or not it’s got the information that they need. Whereas they should do it the other way round, it should be that the asset duty holder should say right, this is the asset, here are my legal obligations, here are the systems that need to be maintained, here’s the information I need and therefore this is what I need to ask for from my suppliers so they don’t get landed with an unknown thing of we’re not quite sure what information and somebody will get angry when we don’t give it.

RICHARD A lot of the work we’ve been doing in BIM4Housing over the last couple of years is to identify what the different stakeholders actually need. What do you actually need and what should you have to fulfil your function legally.

GRAEME FLINT George had a great list and a great framework. That information exists and it’s not rocket science, it’s identifying what are the key…

ALAN OLIVER I want to come back on a point that Kieran made about the fact that creating a new golden thread of information might be expensive and unaffordable. If you’ve got the sort of building that I looked at last week, an 18-storey hall of residence where none of the doors are fire compliant and they’ve got to submit a building safety case, clearly they’ve got to do something about it. I’m not talking of creating a new golden thread of information just for the sake of it, but clearly what you would do is rectify all the fire doors that are critical to a minimum standard to comply with the legal requirement of the fire safety order that you’ve got suitable, sufficient fire compartment in place. And you then as part of that create a new golden thread of information based on that, so it shouldn’t cost any more money that the minimum legal requirement to keep people safe in buildings.

KIERAN DOWNES I think it's more about upscaling those responsible persons in a lot of situations to be on the ball about actually, and like Graeme’s saying, having that strategy in place in the first place, I've seen a lot of places that it doesn't exist. So it becomes a bit of a reactive situation without a strategy where you're having to upskill and maybe people didn't know what to ask for in the first place, so it could have been missed from contractual obligations. But I definitely see a gap in knowledge and this kind of I think it's more about upscaling those responsible persons in a lot of situations to be on the ball about actually and like Graham's saying, having that strategy in place in the 1st place, I've seen a lot of places that it doesn't exist. So it becomes a bit of a reactive situation without a strategy where you're having to upskill and maybe people didn't know what to ask for in the 1st place. So it could have been missed from contractual obligations. But there's, yeah, I definitely see like a gap in knowledge. Just falls through the net all of the time.

ALAN OLIVER Yeah, absolutely, people have got to risk manage their buildings and if the person responsible for risk managing the building says that they need something they need to do it. I think that the new legislation means that people can’t just sit on it and do nothing year after year because that’s going to hang them legally.

PAUL WHITE The difficult bit is one of the key things that you have to find out is what the hell the fire strategy was in the first place. I quite often see fire strategies which say, oh, we know that this is supposed to be a maximum 7 1/2 metres for this escape distance, but we’ve got a couple that are 9, that will be all right. And unfortunately that’s written in the fire strategy, if you were yo get somebody to provide you with a new fire strategy they might look at it and say this isn’t right. And then what do you do about that? And so therefore this trail of design and responsibility, and even that worries me now because a lot of these are design & build contracts.

And I’ve sat in meetings where the contractor has been speaking to the consultant and saying we don’t think this is right, and the consultant has just said well, you decide now, you do what you want. Even on new builds the contractual part is so convoluted and pushing everything down to the bottom of the heap that you’re still ending up with people doing stuff that they don’t really know what they’re doing. Or they’re accepting a fire strategy that they haven’t actually commissioned and these things kind of worry me, but there’s not a lot I can do about it.

GEORGE Just building on what Kieran was saying, one of the big challenges is educating client organisations to their responsibilities, and more importantly giving them an easy way to address them because at the moment in most cases they’re overwhelmed. So part of the objective, if you find that this group has been worthwhile what we’d like to do is set up some more sessions to follow on from this because if we can come up with something that is, it’s not coming from Sodexo of Waites or Equans to the client, it’s actually coming from a collection of industry professionals that are saying to clients this is what you are now responsible for and this is how you can get there.

What we’ll perhaps do is look at, the BIM4Housing presence is very powerful because we’ve got a fantastic community but it’s a bit distracting as well because if you go and talk to a health trust, well, who are BIM4Housing. So we’ll probably set up something called BIM4Assets because that’s then generic, it’s another way of presenting it.

RICHARD It’s across the industry, this is the point, and we’ve got getting on for 1500 active members now and many of them work across the whole industry, not just in the housing sector so we’re kind of wasting that resource to some extent at the moment.

PAUL WHITE Firstly, yes George, that’s a really good idea because even though I’ve been looking at it as BIM4Housing I’ve always been looking at it as BIM 4 everything. The other point that I have to make is that i go and give people opinions and I’ll go round and I’ll have a client, but there’s 2 or 3 things here, I’m trying to protect everybody. So when I look at it I’m looking at obviously occupants of the building because they don’t know anything about any of this and therefore they are the completely innocent people, but if I give an opinion I’m also trying to protect the client so that they don’t fall foul of the law in any way.

And then I’m also looking at the fact that you’ve got the individuals that are doing some of this stuff and they need a level of protection if they’re going around and inspecting things. But if we lose a business then we put a load of people out on the streets so this whole thing really ties together in quite a social way n the fact that if you leave your organisation open then you’re putting your employees at risk because they may not have a job tomorrow. We haven’t seen any litigation yet, but if there is litigation it’s not going to be cheap.

RICHARD Yes, in all ways, not just financial.

GRAEME FLINT In the interests of common data environments and things other organisations are looking at similar things. I think it’s just to make sure that if this is a forum to be taken forward and expanded and to produce industry guidance that it’s not contradictory or in too much competition with others like FIA, ASFP, IFE, they’ve all got committees looking at this kind of thing.

RICHARD Absolutely, we had those discussions in the early days of George’s chairmanship of BIM4Housing.

GEORGE Are you talking about different CDEs? Or are you talking about different organisations that are promoting CDEs?

GRAEME FLINT It’s the latter, just to make sure that if there is a difference or a conflict or something. There are now a number of different groups who are trying focusing on this same problem. It’s going back to the Building Safety Act and the RROs, about cooperation and coordination, if the industry is creating a position ideally it’s a collaborative position that stakeholders have agreed on as opposed to having 3 or 4 different versions of the same thing that no one necessarily knows which one should take primacy.

GEORGE Yeah, well, we’re part of Nima so on the BIM side we’re very engaged with what other people are doing as well, so I don’t think there’s anything that’s contradictory on that. But you’re quite right, we have to ensure that there’s one message. Next steps: I think let’s have a follow-up, we’ve now got a basis of a discussion to go forward.

RICHARD Thank you all for coming, we’ll be in touch very soon with the video and the high points and date for moving this forward. if anybody has got any ideas of what they’d particularly want to cover in a meeting, send those through to us and we’ll bear those in mind.

CHAT

[11:44 am] George Stevenson

How do you see the new Building Regs affecting you

Who is the responsible person

What are they responsible for

What information do they need to provide

What information do they need to collect

How do we confirm Competence

[11:55 am] Graeme Flint

FRom the RR(FS)O

Meaning of “responsible person”

  1. In this Order “responsible person” means—

(a)in relation to a workplace, the employer, if the workplace is to any extent under his control;

(b)in relation to any premises not falling within paragraph (a)—

(i)the person who has control of the premises (as occupier or otherwise) in connection with the carrying on by him of a trade, business or other undertaking (for profit or not); or

(ii)the owner, where the person in control of the premises does not have control in connection with the carrying on by that person of a trade, business or other undertaking.

[12:11 pm] Daniel O'Dowd

more of a side note specific to BIM but it would be worth looking into whether or not this criteria can be turned into model (both graphical and alphanumerical) validation automations for at least finding if the information exists