Golden Thread – Grenfell’s missing information

Fire Safety (England) Regulations 2022
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The Grenfell Tower Public Inquiry is investigating the key failings in the building’s refurbishment and management that resulted in the catastrophic loss of 72 lives. 

As the inquiry unfolds, it is becoming obvious that, over a sustained period of time, key information was either missing or conveniently unread. Some vital information was permanently erased from a laptop whereas some never existed at all. 

In the context of the digital era and a multi £million, multi agency construction project, this beggars belief. As a leading provider of Digital System of Record (DSoR) systems to the Housing and Construction industries, we took a look at the key issue relating to Grenfell:

Golden Thread – Consistency and Compliance 

Due to legislative change in 2015, responsibility for the building safety file transferred from the employer’s agent and CDM Manager to the tenant management organisation (TMO). The TMO took on the new role of principal designer. 

According to evidence, the TMO only became aware of the need for a principal designer two weeks before the legislation came into effect. This caused them to scramble for information from the CDM Manager. 

When the CDM Manager was asked for the building safety file, there was confusion over who had components of the file and who was responsible for collating the information. As a result, the building safety case was handed over incomplete and lacking vital details. 

If the Grenfell project had been run with a Digital System of Record (DSoR), these key questions would have been answered:

Where is the project information?

All critical documents are stored in the DSoR, securely permissioned to the correct project stakeholders and every interaction with every document is immutably and evidentially logged

Who is responsible for it?

Project stakeholders are granted ‘edit’ access to the file containers they are responsible for

Who has access and who is aware of this information?

All interactions with documentation by permissioned users is immutably logged

Is the data securely held and accessible?

Cloud based DSoR with multiple layers of security and backup vs The Grenfell solution of a wiped laptop

Golden Thread

These inquiry revelations relate to the design and construction phase of the Grenfell project. The earlier inquiry investigated the missing or outdated records relating to the occupation phase of the tower. Suffice to say the record-keeping was just as bad, if not worse.

A thorough understanding of these information management issues led Dame Judith Hackitt to the conclusion that all high risk buildings need a ‘Golden Thread’ of digital information. The Golden Thread (DSoR in our language) forms a key part of the Draft Building Safety Bill.

All property managers should be actively pursuing a Golden Thread (DSoR) strategy right now and we would be delighted to demonstrate our approach and technology. Key points to bear in mind are:

  1. Interoperability – is your DSoR flexible enough to talk to the regulator’s system? (regulator does not have a system specified yet)
  2. Accessibility – can your DSoR be securely accessed by residents to support your Resident Engagement duties under the BSB?
  3. Portability – when you buy or sell an asset, can you simply transfer DSoRs in and out of your organisation?

Residents, please forward this information to your Building Manager and ask them to contact us for a demonstration.