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Golden Thread Construction - Everything You Need to Know
What is the golden thread construction? This article explores what the golden thread means for you and how you can achieve it across your projects...
The golden thread has become somewhat of a buzzword when it comes to upholding greater safety and quality in construction. The question is, what exactly is the golden thread? What does this mean for you, and how do you actually achieve the golden thread across your projects?
This article will deep dive into everything you need to know about the golden thread.
What is the golden thread in construction?
The golden thread of information refers to detailed information about the management and safety information of a building. It refers to both:
- The information about the safety of the building
- The management of this information
The golden thread promotes the storage of structured information in digital form to help promote the accessibility, accountability and transparency of information throughout the building's lifecycle.
The golden thread should:✔ Use digital tools and systems for effective storage and use of safety information.
✔Support for duty holders and Accountable Persons throughout the building's lifecycle.
✔Incorporate all necessary information for building understanding and management.
✔Easily provide information to the right people at the right time.
✔Create a higher standard of information-keeping to support building safety regulations.
What does the golden thread apply to?
- Those responsible for the building must maintain an easily accessible, reliable, up-to-date, and accurate golden thread of information.
- Applies to buildings at least 18 meters high or with at least 7 storeys (during design and construction).
- Includes care homes and hospitals meeting the same height threshold (during design and construction).
- Legal responsibilities on duty holders during design and construction.
‘Accountable Person’ responsible for safety during occupation in higher-risk buildings.
Note: Want to easily create the golden thread on your construction projects? Sablono makes it simple. Schedule a demo here.
Why the golden thread?
The Grenfell tower disaster was one of the worst modern disasters in the UK. A total of 72 lives were taken after a fire broke out in the 23-storey tower in West London and rapidly spread due to outdated flammable exterior cladding.
The London Fire Brigade described it as having been “of a scale and rapidity that was exceptional; preceded and precipitated by a complete failure of the building’s fire safety measures to perform effectively”.
This tragedy was just one of the many incidents which highlighted the need for greater regulations around building safety.
Dame Judith Hackitt's Building a Safer Future report
Dame Judith Hackitt published her Independent Review on Building Regulations and Fire Safety in May 2018, after the tragedy of the Grenfell Tower. She sought to review the circumstances that led to it and in-depth research into the construction industry.
She identified several issues with the construction of High Rise Residential Buildings (HRRBs). This included a lack of resident engagement, competence, and awareness among those working on these buildings. In her report, she also introduced several measures to overcome these barriers and avoid disasters like Grenfell in the future.
Benefits of the golden thread
- Higher standards create safer buildings
- Well-documented evidence for building owners' risk assessments and safety arrangements
- Clear evidence for claims management
- Easier management of safety information
- Assurance to regulators and residents.
Principles of the golden thread
The following are the ten principles on which the golden thread is based on:
1. Security of the residents
Security is one of the key aspects of the golden thread. The golden thread is supposed to make residents feel more at ease regarding their home's safety. Moreover, it should also provide a way for them to hold the responsible people accountable in the event of a mishap.
2. Significant change in culture
A Building Regulations Advisory Committee (BRAC) report states that the construction industry will witness a significant culture change if the golden thread is made compulsory to be used, developed, and maintained. In addition, it sets higher standards for the stakeholders by requiring more competence, information management, working practices, and capability from them.
During compliance assessments with building owners, the golden thread is the major source of evidence. Additionally, the golden thread is also supposed to be passed down to the next owner and the management of the building. This is why the information contained within the document needs to be as accurate as possible.
The golden thread database systems should be compliant with the General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR). In addition, the business stakeholders should also add an extra layer of security to protect the information from unauthorised sources. This is because it should not be vulnerable to cyber attacks, compromising the security and privacy of all building residents.
5. Single source of truth
The golden thread contains all the information about building safety, making it the master database for all relevant information about the building. To maintain the authority of the golden thread document, all accountable persons, safety managers, and duty holders must not provide updates through emails or any other means.
Since the golden thread is a collection of all information on the building, it acts as a validated record of all information to maintain and improve the security of the building. To implement the golden thread successfully, the security managers, duty holders, and all accountable people should ensure better communication.
They should strive to overcommunicate so that every individual understands the existing issues about the building and what they should do to resolve them. It can also be used to track the actions of everyone.
The document clearly states the duties and responsibilities of all the stakeholders. This way, they can be held accountable for their actions or inactions and their effect on the structural integrity and the safety of the building.
It is essential for the information on the golden thread to survive throughout the entire lifecycle of the building. For this, the golden thread should comply with open data and interoperability rules. As the information will be available on different platforms, new building owners and contractors using different software will be able to access the golden thread document.
Due to a general lack of understanding and miscommunication between the stakeholders, there is a wide barrier against information empowerment among the construction industry workers. Therefore, to make the information in the golden thread document even more consistent, the BRAC recommends using standard terminology, processes, and methods to develop and maintain the golden thread document.
9. Easily accessible
The BRAC recommends the stakeholders store the golden thread like a library to enable a systematic availability and structuring of information about the building. Future regulations from the UK government will also contain directions regarding how documentation and accessibility can be improved by implementing digital standards.
To keep the golden thread relevant, parts of the document should be edited. For example, information that is no longer relevant should be removed. In contrast, information that is more relevant to the building's current safety risks and issues should be added to the document.
Golden thread gateways
The new Building Safety Bill has introduced three 'gateways' to timely obtain and validate information about the building:
Gateway 1: prior to achieving permission for planning
Gateway 2: before beginning construction
Gateway 3: before handing over
The gateways are hard stops for the duty holders to demonstrate and convince the new Building Safety Regular (BSR) that they are actively managing the risks involved. If they cannot, the BSR can halt the project from proceeding to the next stage.
Download the 2-minute Golden Thread Guide free infographic 👇
Legalisation - Building Safety Act
As of April 2022, The Building Safety Act was passed to help make buildings safer. The golden thread sits within the Building Safety Act. The act aims to enforce stricter management, construction, design, and operation regulations for buildings over 18 metres or 7 stories.
The golden thread in legislation:
- Primary: Building Safety Act
- Secondary: Golden Thread Regulations
- Guidance: Golden Thread Guidance
How to prepare for the golden thread construction
To comply with the latest building safety regulations, you’ll need to establish the following:
- A culture of building safety should be emphasised in your organisation. You should accentuate the importance of data in decision-making and the promotion of industry and individual ownership.
- Your team should be familiarised with the UK Building Information Modelling (BIM) Framework to learn how to manage digital information appropriately.
- You should extensively start using digital tools and systems and consider adopting a platform to support the golden thread of information.
How Sablono simplifies the golden thread on projects
With Sablano, creating the golden thread on projects is simple. It allows you to create a fully accountable digital trail of information that can be accessed with ease whenever you need it. This promotes better accountability and ownership amongst trades and provides greater transparency across the entire project lifecycle.
All compliance data in one place
Relying on paperwork and email is common practice in construction, but this often results in inaccurate, mismatched data and a can be headache when it comes to reporting compliance. Sablono's construction compliance software digitises the management of information to help simplify processes and store all project and safety-related data in one place.
A single source of truth
Sablono provides a digital system where all execution data is stored, managed and updated in real-time and in-line with golden thread principles. It brings everything that happens on a construction project into a connected, centralised system to give a single source of truth at all times.
A digital record of everything that happens on a project
Sablono provides a semi-automated digital audit trail that makes it easy to keep track of all safety-related information. Trades report in Sablono as they complete tasks which creates a clear record of everything that happens on a project - from the company executing work, QA assessments, the time of sign-off, who signed off, photos and more.
Plus, this audit trail runs for decades to provide on-demand access to data from previous project which is invaluable for claims management.
Standardised activities and workflows
Create standardised sequences of works to ensure that all work is carried out in line with building safety standards and set up predefined QAs to ensure that all data is reported consistently.
All digital QAs are directly linked to units, and trades first need to fill in relevant information and photos as evidence before this can be signed-off. This ensures that high standards are kept at all times with clear evidence to back it up.
Download the How to Comply with the Golden Thread free infographic 👇
Start creating the golden thread the easy way
Sablono makes developing and maintaining the golden thread of information across your construction projects easy. Book a personalised demo to discover how Sablono can help your next project.