The term ‘golden thread’ is one many builders and developers will have become familiar with over the last several years.
The model of gathering, storing and maintaining the key information of a building’s lifecycle was put forward by Dame Judith Hackitt in her Building Safety Review.
Following Dame Judith’s recommendation, the Government committed to implementing the golden thread in the construction industry.
The Building Safety Bill put a legal duty on dutyholders and Accountable Persons to create, obtain, store and share documents and information about their building, in a prescribed format.
Though the term ‘golden thread’ is on the lips of many this year as the Building Safety Act comes into force, the finer details of what the Building Safety Regulator expects of you may still be unclear.
In this article, we detail what the golden thread is, how best to manage the information within it and what the Building Safety Regulator expects from you.
The Government defines the golden thread as ‘both the information that allows you to understand a building and the steps needed to keep both the building and people safe, now and in the future’.
The Government’s golden thread definition is as follows:
1. The golden thread will hold the information that those responsible for the building require to:
2. The information stored in the golden thread will be reviewed and managed so that the information retained, at all times, achieves these purposes.
3. The golden thread covers both the information and documents and the information management processes (or steps) used to support building safety.
4. The golden thread information should be stored as structured digital information. It will be stored, managed, maintained and retained in line with the golden thread principles (see below). The government will specify digital standards which will provide guidance on how the principles can be met.
5. The golden thread information management approach will apply through design, construction, occupation, refurbishment and ongoing management of buildings. It supports the wider changes in the regime to promote a culture of building safety.
6. Building safety should be taken to include the fire and structural safety of a building and the safety of all the people in or in the vicinity of a building (including emergency responders).
7. Many people will need to access the golden thread to update and share golden thread information throughout a building’s lifecycle, including but not limited to building managers, architects, contractors and many others. Information from the golden thread will also need to be shared by the Accountable Person with other relevant people including residents and emergency responders.
Find out more about the Building Safety Act in our recent in-depth report
The following is subject to secondary legislation however, according to the Building Safety Regulator at Premier Guarantee’s most recent InSite event, the intent is that good information management will involve the following:
Though the above is subject to secondary legislation, the Ministry of Housing Communities and Local Government have previously specified that the golden thread will:
During the design and construction phase, the duty to keep and manage the thread of information rests with the dutyholder.
This could be the:
During occupation, the Accountable Person is responsible for the golden thread.
They may be an individual, partnership or corporate body and there may be more than one Accountable Person for a building.
At InSite, Colin Blatchford-Brown from the regulator said: "It’s important to understand, from the design and construction stage, that this is all part of the building regulations. It’s not just fire and structural. It’s everything."
The thread of information will not be owned, stored or managed by the regulator.
Colin said that each golden thread will be 'individual, bespoke, specific to your particular building and group of residents and occupants'.
"No one-size-fits-all and there certainly won’t be any template for it." Colin said. "It’s not something we are going to keep for you."
It is about the 'right people having the right information when they need it'.
"It’s not about keeping everything, it really isn’t," said Colin. "Please don’t get that impression. It’s keeping the information that you think might be useful to someone at some point."
"We don’t see this as a gold painted filing cabinet in the corner that contains everything in it. We see this very much as a moving feast."
To learn more about the golden thread and other pressing matters relating to the Building Safety Act and the future direction of our industry, join us at our next InSite conference.
Get your tickets for the September event here
InSite: Building Safety and Standards will shine a light on a range of pressing matters including fire safety, gateways 1 and 1, FLOS, 2025 Future Homes Standards, and achieving net zero carbon in the built environment.
Every care was taken to ensure the information in this article was correct at the time of publication (March 2023). Guidance provided does not replace the reader’s professional judgement and any construction project should comply with the relevant Building Regulations or applicable technical standards. For the most up to date Premier Guarantee technical guidance please refer to your Risk Management Surveyor and the latest version of the Premier Guarantee Technical Manual.