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Less than 72 days left to register HRRB's .... !!

'Tempus Fugit' _ 'Carpe Diem' [the choice is yours] _ Dr Abisogun OBE

A committed, change-maker [and according to others; industry disruptor] I am, yet again, making the case for the 72 individuals and their families, the latter of whom continue to seek justice, as the Grenfell Inquiry continues to unravel.

Well, today affirms the end of the 1year grace period and the beginning of the ‘[un]official’ 72 day countdown; effective, from 21 August 2023 - but that only applies if you have been of the opinion that you have until the end of the month, in which to register a HRRB 'higher-risk residential building'. For the avoidance of doubt, there are less than seventy-two, (72) days left for the Principal Accountable Person or 'PAP', to comply and adhere to their new legal obligation(s) under the Building Safety Act 2022. Despite the potential, I am not aware of any ‘formal’ extension to the October 2023 deadline. However, it would also appear that many PAP's are currently [and correctly] working towards the 1st October, in which to register HRRB's and not the the end of the month as many have been led to believe.

So, discounting the 'unofficial' extension to April 2024 - [yes, another rumour mill product]; the 'actual' window for compliant registration is significantly less than 72 days; quite possibly in the order of forty-two (42) days, meaning the end end of September 2023! However, registration is only the first part of the new legal requirement. Once initial registration of the HRRB(s) has been completed and acknowledged by the BSR, the PAP then has a further twenty-eight (28) days in which to submit all of the Key Building Information 'KBI'. All of the above [not just the initial registration!] should be completed, ideally by the end of October 2023 and PAP's will be liable for a criminal offence if they fail to register an 'occupied' HRRB in England by 1st October 2023.

However, with a focus not on blame but upon any tangible, scaleable solution, many are aware of my written work, given that I have proffered much about the tragedy of the Grenfell Tower, where tragic events unfolded and took place on the 14th June 2017. The current and evolving solutions that will ensure we avoid any future Grenfell tragedy, remains my prima facie reference point, behind the recently enacted Building Safety Act 2022 ‘the Act’. I am specifically talking up the role of the ‘data-driven’ digital twin and the associated, interoperable software solution(s).

Despite there being a period of some 6+ years since the aforementioned tragic event, and well over a year since ‘the Act’ received Royal Assent on 28th April 2022, the construction industry has been challenged to deliver on the new [and legally endowed] requirement which is largely an extension of, what should be standard, day-to-day, best practice.

The core requirement in the face of two (2) key or principal risks, refers to the spread of fire and/or structural collapse, which ultimately has led to the evolution of the Golden Thread. This is now a real thing and a firm legal requirement; soon to be applied on all projects in the longer term.

However, at this juncture the main target is the registration of in-scope HRRB’s [higher-risk residential buildings]; both applicable to the public and private sectors.

But what is the Golden Thread? Well in simple terms, it is the chronological evidence of any robust ‘property specific’ asset management process, that the asset owner / Accountable Person could share with interested third parties. From my perspective, and that of the public interest, the most important stakeholder is the resident / occupier, and their ‘active involvement and engagement’ in the production and ongoing management of the golden thread, is deemed a critical component of any permissible Building Safety Case Report.

In fact, according to Department for Levelling Up, Housing & Communities, the golden thread of information has been defined as both:

• the information about a building that allows someone to understand a building and keep it safe, and

• the information management to ensure the information is accurate, easily understandable and can be accessed by those who need it, whilst ensuring that is up to date.

Additionally, the 'BSR' / Building Safety Regulator [HSE] is currently assembling its own house and it is hoped that some semblance of ‘administrative control’ will become more visible ahead of the October 2023 deadline.

Even without the pending threat of yet more ‘secondary’ legislation, the process of registering existing built assets that remain in scope [i.e. at 18mtrs high or 7 storeys, with at least 2 residential units] is not going well at all. Just how many of the circa 13,000 buildings will be successfully registered [with the relevant KBI] by the end of October 2023? The industry has simply to get to grips with this urgent requirement and there is simply no more time to procrastinate; just like the climate emergency, we no longer have the luxury of time.

The new legal requirements will ultimately require the adoption of technology; and in many ways that should (ideally) mean embarking upon a journey towards a fully functional and federated outcome [enroute to a digital twin, at some point in the future, as we pivot into the Net-Zero challenge]. There should be no need to reinvent the wheel, just a need to digitise and streamline existing workflows. However, the elephant in the room is two-fold, citing cultural-change and a dire lack of digital competence [i.e. skills] across the entire value chain.

Previous written pieces: for our global audience / avid DCS reader's benefit; enjoy

Relevant links below are to my public facing literature and thought-leadership [curated and delivered during my 32month industry sabbatical at the University of Cambridge / Centre for Digital Built Britain]:

BIM Academy - BSA Breakfast ‘launch’ Event _ held 26.01.23 - Ryder London Office; Feb 2023

London Tech Week; hosted by RPC Law [5th Yr Grenfell Anniversary]; June 2022

City Corporation launches taskforce to boost skills to digitise and decarbonise Central London’s commercial buildings; Apr 2022

Creating Social Value across the Atlantic and the role of Young Black Men; Apr 2022

RICS _ WBEF Insight Paper on Digital Twins (from design to handover of constructed assets); Mar 2022

56 months since Grenfell - an update by Grenfell United; Feb 2022

RICS - How Proptech and Lawtech intersect at the Golden Thread; Oct 2021

Toxic and dysfunctional race to the bottom _ comment by Graham Watts OBE; May 2021

Chris Middleton, Journalist – covering the TechUK online launch event held; Feb 2021

Digital Twin Toolkit; launched, Feb 2021

Digital Twin Toolkit – global launch by Tech UK _ where I presented my ‘Social Housing’ Digital Twin ‘use-case’ from [you can watch from] 39mins 15secs; for about 15mins; Feb 2021

The Spectator; Grenfell Tower Inquiry, uncovering a major corporate scandal; Dec 2020

A thought leadership piece with support from RICS on Improving safety of construction projects through technology; Nov 2020

Grenfell firms 'are like killers and crooks': Makers of cladding system are accused of putting residents at risk, disaster inquiry hears; Nov 2020

Prin-D targets firms acting as Principal Designer under the UK’s Construction Design and Management (CDM) health and safety regulations; post Paul Wilkinson; Oct 2020

The business case for Digital Twins; my work with the CDBB and RICS SMT, Alan Muse FRICS using 'Disruptive' Digital Business Models; DBM's; Mar 2020


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