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Reducing Fire Risk, and the Role and Significance of the Golden Thread of Information

The Hackitt review was carried out by Dame Judith Hackitt to independently review the building regulations for fire safety, following the tragic Grenfell Tower fire. The report, published in 2018, made 50 recommendations to the government to ensure a sufficiently robust regulatory system for the future, and to provide further assurance to residents that the complete system is working to ensure the buildings they live in are safe, and will remain so.

One of the main findings of the report was a lack of information, making it difficult to hold the right party responsible and accountable. To deal with this lack of sufficient and updated data, the report introduced and recommended a ‘golden thread of information’, to be maintained throughout the life of a building.

This golden thread of information would be an important way to regulate the industry and would be essential in order to hold the right party accountable in the event of future mishaps. In our talks with leaders from the construction industry, we discuss this golden thread of information and what it means for the industry. Here are some of the highlights of the discussions.

What is the Golden Thread of Information and What Role Does It Play in Reducing Fire Risks?

In construction, the golden thread of information is the term used for a live document or a set of data providing an accurate and up-to-date record of a building’s history. At any point during the life of a building, a reader can see how it was designed, how it was built, and how it is being operated. The objective is to promote complete transparency and accountability in the industry. The golden thread is a live document, held digitally and updated at every stage, from the design stage to construction and then throughout the management of the building.

The purpose of the golden thread of information is to give the regulator and a building’s residents a clear accountability trail. It is possible to go back in time and see what decisions were made, when and by whom, at all stages during the life of the building. Through the golden thread of information, the way in which the construction industry stores and passes on essential information will be standardised and regulated.

Based on the Hackitt Report, the Fire and Emergency File (FEF) and the digital record are two key items that form part of the golden thread of information that is to be transferred. The FEF would be essential to the collection of critical fire safety information for the building. The report suggests that this document would have to be initiated and updated throughout the design and construction phases by relevant duty holders, and then passed on to the owner of the building.

Once the golden thread of information is enforced, the design and construction of a building will not progress without relevant duty holders initiating and updating the golden thread of information for each section of the work. This will ensure that designers, builders, and building owners provide all the relevant data, updated throughout the process, including the weak points and any problems that may arise along the way. The data can be accessed at every stage, when required.

To learn more about this golden thread of information and its role in fire safety, tune in and listen to industry leaders such as Tim Hill from Sapphire Balconies, Harem Hussein from Efectis, Vicki Reynolds from i3PT, Nick Haughton from Sapphire, and Paul Unsworth on Safety Fire Rescue. They will give their opinions on this new standard, and on how it will affect the future of the industry.

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