The importance of validated and relevant building information has been enshrined in the Building Safety Act, a bill which requires duty holders to maintain complete building documentation to provide that all-important golden thread of information. This golden thread is fundamental to providing accountability, visibility and transparency regarding a built asset and its performance. Dr. Jamie Dupée, Director at Edocuments gives insight into how digital platforms are ensuring accountability and responsibility around the lifecycle of handover information.
What is the Building Safety Act?
The newly introduced Building Safety Act will be the hot topic at the Construction News’ Transforming Construction event in November. This act represents one of the biggest changes to building safety law in decades, providing a more stringent regulatory framework for architects, developers and contractors to adhere to when building high-risk buildings.
To assure compliance and mitigate against risk, building owners and contractors will have to prove that they have the correct measures in place. Key to driving this safety is the golden thread of information, which ensures information or data throughout a project’s lifecycle is captured for reporting purposes and decision-making regarding a built asset’s performance. This means that if and when a built asset is undergoing any retrofit work five years post-completion, key information that was recorded during the construction phase is easily retrievable and can be used to make decisions fast.
Access to accurate, as-built information will be increasingly vital as the Building Safety Act continues to take effect. For building owners, it will mean information has to be stored in a structured, manageable way. For contractors, it will mean even greater transparency and information sharing.
Technology in the form of information management platforms is critical to ensuring compliance with the Building Safety Act. Broadly speaking, technology is having positive and dramatic effects on the construction industry; boosting productivity, reducing costs and negating the need for time-consuming manual tasks.
The benefits of technology are numerous particularly in the context of gathering key information about a building. Compiling information together manually for handover can be a stressful process, as every piece of detail needs to be present from a project’s beginning and end.
However, digital solutions such as Edocuments’ innovative Springboard system, enables the seamless and swift production of accurate and consistent handover information. What’s more, when this data needs to be accessed, Edocuments’ Springboard software and services offers a full audit trail, meaning every part of the build process can be traced easily. When it comes to handing over the data, it is clear, reliable and accurate.
In comparison to traditional O&M handover collation, Edocuments’ cloud-based software gathers data in a large database that enables information to be accessed easily anytime, anywhere.
Edocuments collaborated with a leading international contractor to ensure sensitive and important building information can be easily discoverable. This project involved Edocuments’ information management platform, Springboard, being connected to the client’s common data environment (CDE) so that data can be transferred between the two platforms. This seamless synchronisation was enabled through the use of a connector and API.
A successful project, the benefits included a consistent approach to the collation of the handover documentation. Prior to using Springboard, the documents were either being handed over piecemeal or collected in separate locations such as various email accounts, file explorers, and SharePoint drives. Handover documents were then compiled laboriously through tracking them down, downloading and uploading to a pdf combining process. This was a time-consuming process where there was no guarantee that the right information was being collated.
Overall, this project has provided improved visibility and greater transparency over the progressive compilation of handover information. In the future, this will enable quick and secure access to important data when it is needed.
The Building Safety Act continues to mark a key moment in the construction industry and will ensure that the safety of occupants is put front and centre of the design and construction phases. The act however will also have equally positive benefits for construction clients; enabling information to be more traceable, eliminating unnecessary waste and ensuring big risks are mitigated. Thankfully, technological solutions in the form of Edocuments’ Springboard platform are available to ensure this all-important handover information can be obtained, meaning buildings can perform better and far more safely.