Hull firm works on digital plans to avoid Grenfell disaster repeat

Digital construction consultancy Operance is working with some of the country’s leading social housing organisations, architects and developers in a Government-led initiative to ensure there is never a repeat of the Grenfell Tower disaster.

Thursday, 22nd April 2021, 1:30 pm
Hull-based Operance is providing its information management platform, Operance O&M, to the Golden Thread Initiative. PHOTO: Shaun Flannery/

The firm, which is based at Hull’s C4DI digital hub, is providing both practical expertise and its information management platform, Operance O&M, to the Golden Thread Initiative (GTI), a collaboration of industry professionals launched to trial Government plans for a digital approach to the management of building safety information.

It was one of the key recommendations of the Hackitt Report into the failures that led to the Grenfell tragedy, when 72 people were killed in a fire in a block of flats in West London.

The process will produce an audit trail of information about a building, the decisions made about it and who made them. In doing so, it will provide increased accountability and ownership of decision-making through the design, build and occupation phases.

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Sponsored by the Ministry of Housing, Communities and Local Government (MHCLG), the purpose of the GTI is to bring together industry professionals to trial methods of producing a standardised digital golden thread for building safety information that will satisfy the requirements of the future Building Safety Bill.

The eight-month initiative, led by housing association L&Q on behalf of the MHCLG, launched in November and is split into specific working groups.

Participants from the GTI will produce a report for the Government later this year revealing the findings of its work, sharing lessons learned, and potential options on implementing a digital golden thread.

As a leading digital estates software developer and consultancy practice, Operance was invited to join the GTI and is represented across several of the working groups.

The company is developing its own pioneering software to define, coordinate and audit building operations and maintenance (O&M) information.

Scott Pilgrim, chief product officer at Operance, is a member of the GTI’s Information Management Platform working group.

He said: “It’s a privilege to have the opportunity to share our knowledge and expertise with the GTI to help transform the construction industry, making buildings safer and protecting lives.

“Our vision to create a digital golden thread is completely aligned to that of the GTI. A disaster like Grenfell must never be allowed to happen again and for that to happen, it’s imperative leading industry professionals come together in this way to drive fundamental and lasting change.

“As well as being able to provide our own insights through this forum, Operance’s participation in the project means we can listen and learn from all of those involved to understand fully what the industry needs.

“This will be a huge benefit to the development of our platform, ensuring it is truly revolutionary.”