The following blog post was written by one of our Property Managers, Aaron Brooks, as part of his Trainee Programme. This blog post is in relation to the Golden Thread of Information, a term first coined in the Hackitt report which was an independent review of Building Regulations and Fire Safety conducted in 2018 during the aftermath of the Grenfell disaster.
This blog post is in relation to the Golden Thread of Information, a term first coined in the Hackitt report which was an independent review of Building Regulations and Fire Safety conducted in 2018 during the aftermath of the Grenfell disaster.
The findings from the Grenfell disaster highlighted the need for further investigation into the materials used in the construction of buildings.
The findings from the Hackitt Report also identified the need for a digital record of all documents associated with the building. This would include, without being limited to, documents relating to:
- Process of construction
This would, in turn, will help the buildings to be designed, built and managed safely.
This record has become known as the so-called Golden Thread. In this account, we take you through what we believe are the most likely questions that leaseholders may have on this topic.
So what exactly is the golden thread of information and how does that impact me as a leaseholder in a pre-existing structure?
In a nutshell, the Golden Thread is a digital record, (the record must be digital to ensure it is easy to update and access), of documents. Specifically, it is all documents relating to the building construction and fire safety from design stage all the way until completion and beyond.
This record includes key documents such as what materials the building is made of and why those materials were used.
The Building Safety Act 2022 (“The Act”) places the duty on “duty holders” – the Act places a duty on the persons involved with the commissioning of the building work as well as those that play key roles in the design and construction of the building to create and update the thread ensuring a contemporaneous record is kept.
Once the building is occupied, the duty for updating the Golden Thread is placed upon the “Accountable Persons” who are then responsible for ensuring the digital record is updated.
Buildings will be required to have a Golden Thread digital record. The Act puts into place a number of “Gateways” – key steps in the timeline of a buildings design and construction, that must be met before proceeding with the next step. Further information regarding the Gateways is detailed further below.
As the Gateway process was not in place during the design and construction of pre-existing structures, the information will likely not be available. As such, the Act places the responsibility of developing and coordinating the Golden Thread on the Accountable Person.
Can I, as a leaseholder, access the Golden Thread?
Leaseholders will be given information about the building and do have the right to request further information on the building from the person responsible for the building (known as the Principle Accountable Person).
This information will likely form an integral part of property sales in the near future.
Who will regulate the Golden Thread?
The Act has created three new bodies who will be overseeing the new regime. These new bodies are:
- The Building Safety Regulator;
- The National Regulator of Construction Products; and
- The New Homes Ombudsman.
Each individual body takes on a different element of responsibility for regulation. These are detailed below. In this article, I’m going to cover the responsibilities of The Building Safety Regulator specifically.
The Building Safety Regulator
The act names the Health and Safety Executive (HSE) as the Building Safety Regulator (“BSR”). The BSR will oversee the safety and performance of all buildings as well as having a special focus on high-rise buildings. High-rise buildings are currently defined as those that have 7 or more storeys or those that are 18 metres or higher with a minimum of 2 residential units (or are hospitals and care homes during the design and construction phases). According to Gov.uk, the main aim of the BSR is that “It will promote competence and organisational capability with the sector including for building control professionals and tradespeople”.
In essence, the BSR will act in overseeing building control authority for high-rise buildings by coordinating with local authorities. This includes fire and rescue services and, where appropriate, exercising its powers in line with regulatory best practice.
Buildings under the BSR’s remit will be buildings with 7 or more storeys or those that are 18 metres or higher and have at least 2 residential units. Hospitals and care homes also fall into this category but regulation for these will only be during the design and construction phases.
When do the new regulations and Act come into force?
The Act was granted Royal Assent on 28th April 2022 with the Building Safety Regulator operating as part of the Health and Safety Executive effective April 2023.
What are JFM doing to prepare for this?
JFM take a pro-active approach to new and revised legislation. Training sessions and continuous professional development is carried out throughout the year in relation to the topic. We pride ourselves in ensuring our property managers and estate coordinators are kept informed and undertake learning on various issues ranging from water hygiene to fire safety. The changes arising from the Building Safety Act have now been given priority across all training topics.
The company is currently reviewing its internal processes to ensure that recommendations can be made for changes to service charge budgets. This will help ensure that proper funding is in place for new fire safety measures. We will be opening a dialogue with community leaders and stakeholders so that any changes can be managed effectively and sensitively in the coming months.
As well as the above, will be reacting to the ever-expanding requirements of health and safety across the property management sector by continuing to invest in resources. For example, we recently created a Compliance Coordinator position to oversee our Asset Manager software projects which are designed to track safety equipment maintenance across the developments we manage. We plan to supplement this with additional support at senior management level. We will also be procuring specialist health and safety consultancy to support Property Managers with the technical guidance they need.
It’s important that our clients are kept in the loop with more detailed guidance at this time of flux in the sector. We will be arranging targeted legal guidance for those most affected by the changes in legislation and will be writing to customers in the near future on this topic.
Given the ever changing and evolving H&S requirements within the industry, JFM are constantly reviewing internal procedures to ensure we keep our clients complaint and residents safe.
The Building Safety Act – GOV.UK (www.gov.uk)
Building Safety Act 2022 (legislation.gov.uk)
Building Regulations Advisory Committee: golden thread report – GOV.UK (www.gov.uk)
HSE Consultation: Building Safety Operational Standards Rules – Department for Levelling Up, Housing and Communities – Citizen Space