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DiverseCity Surveyors acknowledge Grenfell’s 6th year anniversary

Yesterday [14.06.23] was the sixth (6th) year anniversary of the tragedy more commonly referred to as #Grenfell, the day that a 24-storey tower block caught fire in which, 72 people died with many more suffering non-fatal injuries. Although the first year with which to recognise the both the legacy and operational phase of the Building Safety Act, it was a rather subdued and quiet affair.

The main cause of that tragic and completely unnecessary incident was the application of external cladding ‘not fit for purpose’, and which to date, is still being investigated and probed by several government agencies. Even without focussing on the granularity of the detail behind those perilous actions and decisions that were taken during the design and procurement process, all of which was fed into the construction process, I am bitterly disappointed at where we are as an industry. Today [15.06.23] as we enter the seventh (7th) year of the Grenfell Tower Inquiry, is just another reminder that we all have to do better; so much more better.

In seeking to unpack and unlock the challenge of 'cultural change', I have had plenty of conversations across the sector, but three very special ones with 'very special' industry leaders. All three of them were invited to have a conversation with me on a new podcast – delivered in conjunction with BIM Academy and Costello Palmer Communications. I want to personally and publicly thank my esteemed guests:

With my well documented body of work in the Digital Construction and Digital Twin space - now spanning almost three (3) decades - how is it that during the last 6years, we’ve done little or nothing to address the ‘digital skills’ crisis (the missing ingredient)?

The newly legislated requirement called the Building Safety Act (which received Royal Assent, last year on 28th April 2022) and became fully operational a couple of months ago on 03 April 2023 - the same day we began trading as the Digital Twin Skills Academy CIC, aka the ‘DTSA’.

This grass-roots, place based social value initiative, is designed to support public sector clients on their own journey of legal compliance – and is my further contribution to the sector – now with a focus on Young People and I am unapologetic in my desire to engage with those from underserved communities, both Black and White and every shade in between. Given the impasse and dare I say it outright refusal to digitally transform our industry, the way we deliver and maintain built assets [not just residential] will change 'under the Act' and I want to advise the general public that the ‘digital construction' opportunity needs YOU too!

With the support of my team at BIM Academy, I led on the inaugural Building Safety Breakfast Event hosted at the London Office of Ryder Architecture [link below]. We engaged with a handpicked audience of Senior Industry leaders, in a bid to bring this vital conversation to life, well ahead of the April 2023 milestone. At this juncture, almost six months later, I really wanted to shine a light on those private sector clients [i.e. responsible asset owners] and other public sector organisation who are leading the way, in their approach to and application of the Building Safety Act – but admittedly, I’ve struggled here too.

My ambition, using an array of digital tools, many provided by our partners, is to democratise my 30years of industry knowledge and seamlessly equip, empower and inspire a new ‘digitally competent / tech native’ generation of industry participation and leadership, through an equally diverse cohort of talent. It is this next generation of leadership that will ultimately inherit what many (or perhaps just a few!) of us are attempting to create by way of the Golden Thread of Information Management.

Our industry effort at the DTSA will be delivered with partners including Primus Consulting Services CIC (delivering critical and culturally competent, Young People and Resident Engagement) and BIM Academy, Matterport and TwinnedIt (supporting us on the advisory and digital solutions piece). We are an 'agile' industry collaboration and come as a comprehensive package.

Moreover, that in the same month of the technical mobilisation of the Act, [in April 2023; according to Construction News] a civil settlement agreement has now been made and agreed, in the sum of circa £150m. However, the entire probe / investigation and disclosure by others, has led to a cost to date, in the order of £170m, with no end to the process OR final ‘draft’ report in sight.

To this end, I’ve only one question to the industry, which is:

Given my delivery yesterday at the recent Matterport webinar [held on 13.06.23] discussing ‘Building Safety compliance using Digital Twins’ - I am asking yet again, “has the industry learnt any lessons at all and why does #BAU [business as usual] still ‘appear’ to be acceptable, in June 2023?”

Key References:

BIM Academy _ inaugural BSA Breakfast Meeting Event on 26.01.23 – posted on 25.02.23

Paul Sheedy _ attendee at the inaugural BIM Academy ‘BSA’ Breakfast Event _ 26.01.23

Why I am nervous about the sector’s preparedness to defend itself in the face of the newly founded Building Safety Regulator _ Inside Housing _ published on 11.01.23

BSA 2022 - what does 'as built' really mean? _ 1st Jan 2023

LinkedIn Post _ CIC Appointment _ DEI Champion / Chairman posted on 28.12.22

Digital Twins Skills Academy _ #ThoughtLeadership on 17.12.22

BIM Academy _ #ThoughtLeadership on 15.11.22

A Journey of Inclusion, Young Black and Talented _ held on 28.09.22

Opportunities in digital construction for Young People _ posted on 29.08.22


LinkedIn Post BIM CoOrdinators Summit 2022 _ the Building Safety Act [BSA Consultation]: posted 09.08.22

Team Meeting with ARUP [Gill Kernick] on 27.07.22

Posted on LinkedIn on 28.06.22 _ CIH 2022 / Panel Discussion on 30.06.22

Lunch with Marc Baines, on 09.06.22 at KX, posted via LinkedIn on 11.06.22

Follow-up on my Grenfell Towers post _ 04.05.22

City of London Corporation – Skills for a Sustainable Skyline _ launched on 06.04.22

City of London Corporation [Strategy Steering Board] – Skills for a Sustainable Skyline _ by Chris Oldham _ launched on 06.04.22

WBEF | RICS – Insight Paper _ Digital Twins from design to handover of built assets _ 25.03.22

#GrenfellTower _ post-publication by CM following closing ‘legal’ by Stephanie Barwise QC _ posted on 15.09.21

Social housing must get to grips with data _ 30.06.21

Unlocking Value Across the UK’s Digital Twin Ecosystem _ 25th February 2021

Launch of the University of Cambridge / Centre for Digital Built Britain – Digital Twin Toolkit


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