By Kevin Vong, BIM Specialist
In light of the tragedy at Grenfell Tower in June 2017, confidence in the UK building safety system was brought into question. The government commissioned the Independent Review of the UK Building Regulations and Fire Safety, led by Dame Judith Hackitt, which concluded that the current fire-safety in high-rise buildings was not fit for purpose. From Dame Judith’s review, 53 recommendations were accepted by the government to improve safety measures.
The Ministry of Housing, Communities & Local Government led a consultation in June of this year titled “Proposals for Reform of the Building Safety Regulatory System”. The consultation explored views on the new building safety measures relating to England only. Responses to this consultation are being analyzed and a response from the government is pending.
In the government’s full consultation document, perhaps the biggest impact in the UK Building Regulations is making Building Information Modelling (BIM) mandatory for new residential buildings 18 meters or more. Chapter 2 of the document discusses the buildings proposed to bring into scope the new regime, going further than Dame Judith’s proposal to start with all higher-risk residential buildings over 30 meters (or around 10 stories) in height, which will include multi-occupied residential buildings of 18 meters (about 6 stories) or more.
With the development of technology and the increased demand for information exchange, the digital storage of information has become a vital part of the construction industry. The UK government, in particular, acknowledges this direction and seeks to explore BIM processes for storing data efficiently and securely.
BIM is a process for creating and managing digital information throughout construction and across the whole lifecycle of a building. BIM makes it easier to keep a log of any changes to the design of a building and an accurate record of the products and materials used in the building.