quality

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 construction?

The golden thread of information refers to detailed information about the management and safety information of a building. It refers to both:

  1. The information about the safety of the building 
  2. 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.

Which buildings does the golden thread apply to?

The golden thread applies to all High Rise Residential Buildings (HRRB) - buildings with a height of 18 metres or more. In the future, this may extend to also include asset-specific information and smaller buildings.

Note: Want to easily create the golden thread on your construction projects? Sablono creates a fully accountable digital audit trail. 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 A total of 72 lives were taken after a fire broke out in the 23-storey tower in West London and rapidly spread due to outdated flammable exterior cladding.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. 

Purpose of the golden thread

The primary purpose of the golden thread construction is to make the critical details of the building available to everyone involved, whether directly or indirectly, in the building's management and safety. This is done so that they can help to identify, mitigate and assess the risks. 

Additionally, putting the golden thread to legislation significantly reduces the severity of the consequences on the residents' lives during fires or a structural collapse of the building.

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.

3. Accuracy 

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. 

4. Security

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.

6. Accountability

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.

7. Longevity

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.

8. Consistency

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. 

10. Relevant

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.

 

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. To be included within the Building Safety Bill's scope, buildings must include at least two residential units.

The Act will create a clear framework to promote safer, high-quality homes in the years to come.

How to prepare for the golden thread construction

To comply with the latest building safety regulations, you’ll need to establish the following:

  1. 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.
  2. Your team should be familiarised with the UK Building Information Modelling (BIM) Framework to learn how to manage digital information appropriately.
  3. 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 your building's golden thread 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.

Digital construction quality management system

Relying on communicating through paperwork and email is common practice in construction, but this often results in inaccurate, mismatched data. Sablono digitises the management of information to help simplify processes and store all project and quality-related data in one place.

Digital QA Checklists

Construction projects commonly sign off projects with critical criteria and evidence that the job has been completed according to standards missing. With Sablono, digital QAs are directly linked to units, and trades first need to fill in relevant information and images as evidence before signing off a project. This ensures that high standards are kept at all times with clear evidence to back it up. 

Activity Tracker

To ensure the creation of a golden thread of information, automating activity trackers is a very important step. Sablono's Activity Tracker provides customers with a centralised, single tracker that provides real-time and accurate data. It gives you an out-of-the-box matrix view of your construction activities and automatically updates all information to the cloud. This also means that project managers no longer need to chase after and update information manually.

Standardisation

Sablono helps create quality standards and gives you complete control over the structure and framework of the thousands of activities that make up a project. You can standardise processes across projects to streamline project workflows and avoid costly and dangerous mistakes.

Bird's eye view

Site walks are usually the only way to properly understand the status of a project. Sablono offers visibility into even the most granular details of a project without even going on-site. Understand what issues need to be fixed, identify potential hazards and see what tasks are in-progress and finished from a single app.

Integrated quality control and assurance

With Sablono's central platform, you can instantly analyse the implications of defects, ITPs, sign-offs, and hold-ups and identify the root causes for recurring problems. Sablono's platform is used to monitor and analyse everything regarding the complete project delivery. This includes envelope production, substructure, superstructure, installation and the fit-out of the units. 

With its central platform, Sablono's integrated construction quality management software allows you to carry out your project with greater efficiency and promote better project outcomes. On top of this, detailed project controls and digital task management also ensures that information is automatically captured to effortlessly produce the golden thread.

A single version of the truth

Before Sablono, construction firms would commonly report inaccurate information. However, with a digital audit trail and a centralised system, Sablono upholds transparency and keeps everyone involved in the project up-to-date. Sablono's Activity Tracker bases its reports on collaboratively collected information and the confirmed status of deliverables. It reports directly from the field using reliable, structured information.

 

Start creating the golden thread the easy way

As the world’s first construction execution software, Sablono makes developing and maintaining the golden thread of information across your construction projects easy. Book a demo with Sablono to discover how it can help you on your next project.

 

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