Tragedies like the Grenfell Tower incident have prompted the entire AECO industry to reconsider construction safety. Last year marked a significant milestone for the construction industry, as the Building Safety Act received Royal Assent from the UK parliament. The Act, drafted in the aftermath of the 2017 Grenfell Tower fire in which 72 people died, aims to improve building safety and construction regulations.
Under the Act, owners must manage building safety risks with clear lines of responsibility during all buildings’ design, construction, and completion.
Owners will now need to demonstrate their efforts to take effective, proportionate measures to manage building safety risks in the higher-risk buildings they handle.
After the Grenfell tragedy, the Act has been crafted to broaden liability for construction owners. It requires information to be set up before a project begins and be kept up to date throughout the construction process.
Traditional forms of data management hindering compliance
However, owners face several challenges preventing information standardization from becoming more prevalent. These obstacles impede the efficient gathering of information and will likely impact their ability to comply with the Building Safety Act’s requirements.
Traditionally, as an owner, gathering information on construction sites has been difficult. For example, your contractors often share images from various sources and formats when capturing a building or as-built conditions. This might look like PDF documents, 2D photos, daily reports and spreadsheets detailing every nook and cranny of the building.
According to a 2020 report on JB Knowledge’s Construction Technology Report, 46% of construction workers say they rely on spreadsheets for project management. Using this form of management, your off-site team may need to spend a lot of time reviewing these documents to determine what needs to be done.
That said, your team may continue to use paper-based processes, leaving information in silos. This is exacerbated further by the fact that multiple teams are involved in project planning, making it difficult for one person to take ownership of data management.
With the new regulations in place, as an owner, you will now need to make adjustments to ensure that your team complies with these regulations. However, without being able to have reliable documentation or a single source of truth platform, it’s harder to meet these regulations. According to the Act, owners who do not meet the requirements may even face criminal charges.
That’s where 3D point cloud and 360° documentation is crucial for the future of site documentation for construction owners, particularly in light of recent legislation changes.
Pre-plan projects with ease
As an owner, it is critical that you have all the necessary information needed to ensure that you have a well-equipped construction control plan-– which provides every construction detail that will take place. This is to ensure that all new builds are going to be compliant with the updated safety standards from the very start. Structural changes down the road are harder to make, hence, it’s important to ensure the building is compliant from the very beginning of the project.
That said, with a 360° photo documentation tool, it is now possible to pre-plan your contractor’s ideal captures using advanced markup technology, even if your building does not have existing floor layouts. A dedicated platform enables captures to be added to the construction plan for complete transparency.
Flagged locations on a digital floor plan can be viewed easily even before your contractors set foot on-site. Using a tool like HoloBuilder, Location Markers can be set in HoloBuilder’s Web Editor and shared among team members via the JobWalk App so that everyone stays on the same page about updated site conditions.
Aside from having complete visibility of how the site may look like before the renovations begin, HoloBuilder saves time by allowing your contractor to immediately capture and begin work on the most important locations and ensures that no areas are overlooked at any project stage.
Ensure all data is in a centralized platform
The most transformative part of the Building Safety Act is the requirement for a ‘golden thread’ of building information to be created, stored, and updated throughout a building’s life cycle.
As an owner, you may face challenges where scattered documents make accessing data and valuable information difficult. This prevents the information from being kept updated, making compliance a bigger headache.
Using a cloud-based information platform like HoloBuilder that provides your team with a centralized, collaborative experience across the company allows everyone to stay on the same page in terms of a renovation or maintenance project’s progress.
The goal is to ensure traceability and transparency so that everyone on your team can access reliable and up-to-date information at any point during the project.
Gain comprehensive data for safety case reports
Owners of buildings with seven storeys or more must now submit a Safety Case Report to the Building Safety Regulator (BSR). You will be responsible for ensuring the Safety Case Report is completed and updated.
The Building Safety Report is a document describing the buildings in full, detailing all items the Building Safety Regulator might find relevant. These include the materials used in construction (demonstrating that they’re compliant with the latest safety standards), emergency plans and preparedness if a hazard occurs, the building’s fire and structural safety systems, and how safety has been designed and incorporated into the fabric of the building.
To understand every detail in the building, a tool that gives you a comprehensive view of all the necessary data on the site is essential. A lack of accessibility can cause uncertainty by requiring you to switch between platforms to view 3D point cloud data and another for 360° site documentation. This slows the process of gathering the information required.
Using a tool such as Sphere Viewer to visualize point cloud data and 360° photos in a unified environment promotes confidence in information gathering, allowing for faster accessibility, and ensures you have all the essentials needed for a complete and accurate Safety Case Report.
The Building Safety Act is complex and far-reaching, affecting nearly every aspect of the construction industry.
Considering how digitization is the key to complying with this Act, using technology such as FARO’s reality capture solutions can aid in finding a single digital language that improves how you exchange information in a project. This also ensures that tragedies like Grenfell never happen again.
Owners must get to grips with the regime quickly and closely monitor the changing landscape to prevent any consequences.