Sector - Consultancy

The golden thread of data

The “golden thread” is a concept that contractors in the UK have been hearing about for a few years now, but what exactly is it?

In the wake of the Grenfell tragedy, Dame Judith Hackitt conducted a report into building safety, which recommended the introduction of a ‘golden thread’ as a tool to manage buildings as holistic systems.

The data collated during building can then be used by the developer and future owners to design, construct, and operate their buildings safely and effectively.

The government has committed to implementing the golden thread recommendations, recognising that this would be an integral component of the wider building safety programme.

Put simply, the golden thread is the concept of a thorough and complete audit trail throughout the lifecycle of a construction project — from materials sourced in the supply chain through to project completion and maintenance.

Identification, collaboration and clarity before, during and after a project are key to the golden thread being successful.

When the thread breaks

There are many ways that the ‘thread’ of information can become broken, some of which are surprisingly common.

At a project communication level: using email or basic file sharing platforms can cause out of date information to be shared, or files to be misplaced altogether.

When on site: using paper to record and sign off snags, write up health & safety reports, or sign off the day’s work, also increases the chances of lost and inaccurate information. Outdated information can be just as dangerous as missing information when it comes to construction.

Making sure that all teams are viewing the same up-to-date information is vital to achieving the golden thread.

Field View provides a golden thread of information through from design to project completion. Find out how Viewpoint helped Colmore Tang.

How is the golden thread different from audit trails?

Firstly, digitising is key to achieving the golden thread. Moving information to digital formats and connected workflows via the cloud, allows information to easily be updated and viewed as necessary.

Secondly, the golden thread promotes open collaboration. The more transparent, real-time and collaborative a project can be the more beneficial the golden thread can be for everyone. Using the golden thread can lead to benefits reaching beyond increased safety and quality such as time-saving and cost-saving.

Standardisation and classification

The idea is to create a universal way of working that is accessible by everyone.

Ben Wallbank

Trimble Viewpoint’s BIM Strategy & Partnerships Manager, Ben Wallbank, says: “everything that we can do that will make the way that you do things more regular from project to project, from team to team, the better.”

Standardisation will help to create greater interoperability between companies and software providers, which goes back to the idea of open collaboration and breaking down silos.

Modern construction technology

As all project information needs to be held digitally to achieve the golden thread, businesses are looking towards software solutions to help facilitate this.

Trimble Viewpoint’s solutions, for instance, are purpose-built for the industry and well-positioned to help construction organisations navigate towards the golden thread throughout every project:

Viewpoint For Projects (VFP) is a document and information management solution which allows customers to share, control and collaborate on project documents and work to a single version of the truth. Additionally, the functionality of ISO19650 naming conventions to documents comes as standard.

Viewpoint Field View is an on-site mobile application that replaces pen and paper forms to streamline quality, safety, project delivery, and closeout/commissioning processes.

Further Resources

To help you get to grips with the golden thread, the government has created a basic factsheet for construction.

Trimble Viewpoint recently hosted a webinar where the importance of streamlined construction data was discussed. Among the topics: ISO 19650, Uniclass, and data standardisation in the industry as a whole. Watch on-demand here.

Additionally, BSI has a brilliant page full of information on ISO19650 and its applications, and for information on Uniclass 2015, the NBC has an extensive explanation.

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