Golden Thread

Kings Cross underground station, 18th November 1987, a fire broke out on an escalator, erupting into a flashover killing 31 and injuring 100.

April 20th, 2010, the Deepwater Horizon drilling rig exploded killing 11 workers, injuring 17 and causing a massive environmental disaster in the Gulf of Mexico.

On the 14th June 2017 a small fire broke out in a flat on the 4th floor of the Grenfell Tower, caused by a malfunctioning fridge-freezer. It rapidly spread up the outside of the building bringing fire and smoke to every one of the 24 occupied levels. The resulting fire engulfed the entire block, killing 72 and injuring a further 70.

Each of these disasters whether it was in the run up to the incident, during or in the direct aftermath were exasperated by the lack of trustworthy information.

The most recent was highlighted in the Hackitt Report (Building a Safer Future) which identified a unanimous concern over the creation, handover and maintenance of fire safety information especially in the private building sector. The lack of well-structured and trustworthy information has caused a number of challenges including:

  • It is unclear whether any changes have been made between original design and the completion of construction which may have an impact on the building safety strategy.

  • The building owner does not have the required up-to-date information to be able to easily and effectively manage building safety across its life cycle.

  • When refurbishing a building, it will be difficult to ascertain what effects any changes may have on building safety.

An interim report identified the absolute need for a “Golden Thread” so that information could be tracked from its point of origin, through any changes of content or ownership and kept up to date, so when an incident occurs the emergency services concerned can quickly take action based on the information provided with the knowledge that it is of high quality and they can trust it.

The report pointed out that progression from one stage of design or construction before it moves onto the next, must demonstrate that the information being handed over must be able to demonstrate this Golden Thread to the Joint Competent Authority (JCA) in order to gain permission to progress.

One of the recommendations it makes is to have full material and manufacturer product data for the things that are fulfilling your functional requirements. These product data sheets and templates need to be accurate, standardised, up to date and deliver the information that is needed, not what the salesman wants you to know!

It also recommends a whole raft of Disaster related information that is specified by the end user. This means when creating the templates for the information requirements, talking to fire, ambulance, police and other services to discover what information they will need when they respond to an incident at your facility.

The bottom line is that there needs to be full accountability for the information in your Asset Information Model and Project Information Model, otherwise it’s dangerous to all concerned.