Newcastle smart city and the golden thread of Information for construction projects

Paul Swaddle, NBS
22 June 2021

The North-east is already an innovation hub of building information modelling (BIM) and digital construction companies. Now, collaborative golden thread initiatives are helping to make buildings and their residents safer. 

Together with smart city technologies, the North-East has become renowned for being home to a number of globally-significant companies working in the field of BIM: building information modelling, embedding the construction industry with digital processes, data-filled outputs and better buildings.

One focus for the next iteration of these processes is the ‘golden thread of information’, a phrase central to the reports and draft Building Safety Bill co-developed by industry and government in the wake of the Grenfell Tower tragedy. The golden thread of information defines the requirement for all parties involved in a construction project to produce a digital record of data, management, and decision-making to support new industry transparency around fire safety, building performance and residents’ feedback which evolves over time through design, construction, handover, and occupancy.

The intention is that this information is retained in digital formats for easy future reference when alterations are required, as day-to-day operation of the building changes, or for emergency services to gather intelligence quickly. Initially, the legislation targets high-rise residential buildings most at risk, but the scope will expand in time to include other building types like hospitals, care-homes, and schools.

Highly-structured data, evolving over time through co-ordinated working is the foundation of NBS cloud-based collaborative platforms, including NBS Chorus for construction professionals to specify building systems and products, capturing decisions on performance and installation, and NBS Source for up-to-date selection of over 22’000 products from manufacturers.

NBS Chorus with NBS Source info in panel

It’s wonderful to watch the accelerating digitisation of an industry that has languished behind other sectors far too long, and to help users create their part of the golden thread. This isn’t just a commercial opportunity though, there is a moral imperative motivating us all to develop high-quality content and globally-leading platforms, contributing to the safety of building residents now and in the future.