2. Information you are likely to need
The Building Safety Act requires the accountable person for a building to gather certain types of information about the building. This is called the 'golden thread of information' and should be stored in an easily accessible, digital format.
Examples of the information you might want to collect include:
- completion certificate for the refurbishment work
- specification or certification for important materials such as replacement cladding
You'll need some of this information to register your building with the Building Safety Regulator (BSR). You'll also need to include some of it in your building's safety case report. It will help you show you've taken all reasonable steps to manage building safety risks.
The following list is not exhaustive and may be subject to change. Additionally, the information required for the golden thread of information will vary depending on the building.
You may need to go into individual flats to collect some information. The Act sets out how and why you can gain access to flats if you can't arrange this through agreement.
- Basic building information
- Your building's construction
- Resident profile
- Fire prevention and protective measures
- Structural safety
- Services and utilities
- Maintenance and inspection
Basic building information
Some of the basic building information you'll have to hold will be easy to find, for example the number of storeys, flats, and staircases. Other examples include:
- when the building was built, relevant design codes or standards and reference to a building control body completion certificate
- building height, type of flats, details of common parts of the building (such as lobbies and community rooms) and any underground levels
- plans of the building - as built, and as it currently is, if it's been refurbished
- if the building is part of a wider development, details of any shared facilities, for example utilities, car parking or access
- an overview of the wider area such as nearby buildings and transport routes
Your building's construction
Examples of details of your building's construction you are likely to need:
- the primary load bearing system (for example, pre-cast planks on a steel frame)
- the stability system (for example, concrete shear walls)
- construction materials used in the building such as:
- building façade material
- insulation material
- wall attachment type and material
- roofing material
- compartmentation standard
- means of access and escape including travel distances
- regulations in force at the time of construction / refurbishment
Remember, structural systems and materials may vary in different parts of your building. If building work or refurbishment has taken place since it was built, different materials and methods may have been used.
Information about your residents is relevant to managing building safety risks. For example:
- you should consider residents who cannot evacuate without help, or those whose first language is not English as part of any emergency arrangements
- you should also consider extra facilities such as the need to charge battery operated mobility vehicles as part of the building safety risk assessment
You may not have this information to hand, so you'll have to approach your residents to collect it.
If your building has been refurbished, you should collect information about those changes. This could be changes to the whole building, common areas, or individual parts.
If your building is older, it may contain refurbishments which were completed to different safety standards. Some of these changes may have no impact, or be designed to improve safety. Others may significantly change the building and its safety management.
Fire prevention and protective measures
Your building will have a range of fire prevention and protective measures. These will vary, depending on the building's age and design, and may have been altered during any refurbishment.
You'll find information about your building's fire prevention and protective measures in its:
- design and specification
- fire strategy
- fire risk assessment
- supporting information for its fire risk assessment
The information available from fire risk assessments will depend on the type carried out. Section 35 of Fire safety in purpose-built blocks of flats gives details of the four different types.
Identify what measures are in place in the building and how they help to control the building safety risks.
You'll need to confirm all the measures described were installed correctly, work as intended and have been properly maintained.
For example, if you consider fire doors, you need to know how those fire doors contribute to the fire strategy of the building. This will help you understand why doors with those ratings were chosen in the first place.
This understanding will also help when producing the safety case report.
Structural failure is one of the building safety risks identified in the Act.
As well as the basic construction information, consider your building's structure and how it relates to its safety. This may include:
- the type and location of primary load bearing and stability systems (horizontal and vertical)
- the type and location of secondary systems relevant to building safety risks - for example, cladding support systems
- the building's Approved Document A consequence class and the measures taken based on that class
- information about the building's foundations
- findings from any previous structural surveys or inspections
You'll also need information about:
- ongoing structural safety
- any significant challenges to maintaining structural safety
You may have information about current structural integrity, and may also have an ongoing programme of inspections or surveys. Some buildings may have monitoring systems to provide early warning of structural issues.
If you know of any structural issues with your building, you'll need to know the measures in place to monitor, manage and mitigate the situation.
If no current information is available, consider whether you should survey the structural condition of the building. If so, decide on the type of survey needed to provide the information. What is reasonable will depend on the individual circumstances of the building.
Services and utilities
High-rise buildings will have several utilities such as electricity, water, gas, telephone, and internet connections. Some buildings are built with alternative energy sources such as solar panels. These can also be added later.
Gather information about all connected services and utilities, and include details such as:
- where the supply enters the building
- where and how it can be isolated
- the name and contact details of the supplier
You should also identify:
- where the supplier's responsibility for maintenance starts
- who undertakes maintenance and repairs on their behalf
Mark plant rooms and incoming supplies on building plans. Identify pipe and cable routes.
If individual flats are supplied with gas, identify the pipes feeding the internal network. This will allow you to consider their impact on common parts of the building or evacuation plans.
Services and utilities, including ducts and pipes, will pass through compartment barriers such as walls and floors. Compartments are fire-resisting enclosures which provide fire separation between parts of the building to prevent the spread of fire.
Seek assurance that fire stopping has been completed to an appropriate standard so that compartmentation isn't compromised. You may get this from specifications, certifications and possibly surveying examples.
Getting assurance will give confidence in one of the key fire spread controls in high-rise buildings. If you identify problems, it will allow you to consider what you need to do to gain the assurance needed.
Maintenance and inspection
Your building and its equipment will need maintenance and inspection. Some of this will be directly relevant to managing building safety risks. Examples include:
- maintaining fire alarms or sprinklers (where fitted)
- inspecting fire doors
You'll need to understand what work should be done, and how often. Work out how you'll manage any issues raised, who undertakes any work, and how to assure their competence.
Policies and procedures that are part of the organisation's safety management system will be relevant when gathering information and assurance about maintenance and inspection.