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Planning Golden Thread

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As citizens and professionals we accept that the planning process is there to uphold standards of safety, aesthetic, technical and social requirements. However, the planning process has suffered from many years of tinkering and making good. We now have a planning process that is dependent on outdated approaches and incompatible with the rest of the development industry. It is slow, which presents problems in the UK where we need to build, a lot, quickly. Planning risks preventing this building from happening at pace and of a higher quality.

This situation presents, of course, a golden opportunity for a fully digitised end-to-end process which could:

  • reduce the planning bottleneck
    • automate those parts of the process that can be
  • Increase transparency of the process
    • open up new means of engaging stakeholders with the planning process, by for example visualising proposed developments and so increasing understanding
    • allow us to see projects in context, with other proposed developments, rather than in isolation
  • allow access to, and sharing of, crucial data (like structural and fire safety information)
  • facilitate the use of modern methods of construction
  • most importantly, give a more accurate understanding of build costs and timescales

In order to bring this about, we have to standardise and digitise (as far as it is possible and desirable) the rules under which designs are created, assessed, and ultimately built. At the same time we have to find ways to generate and use interoperable data.

This problem is what the group from Bryden Wood, 3D Repo, London Borough of Southwark and CDBB have been working on. We have developed a model which is open and based on the established BIM Collaboration Framework (BCF). It presents the data associated with planning so that it can be queried and interrogated. You can see a summary in the video above and read more about it here;

We know that many of the barriers associated with a change like this will be cultural rather than technical so we are seeking partners in the planning and development system who would like to test the model and collaborators who would like to fund the next stage of development.

Please get in touch!

You can also hear more about this on the Gemini Call on Tuesday, 18 May at 10:30 with Miranda Sharp and Jack Ricketts of Southwark Council.  

Link to DT Hub Calendar

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Hi, I am the Asset Data Manager at the Northern Ireland Housing Executive, a government social housing provider providing 85,000 homes to the whole of Northern Ireland.

We have a unique situation in that we are developing BIM for the organisation and we have both a fully funded Planning Department and well established GIS system which covers the entire country. Given this is a separate entity of jurisdiction of the UK, I feel there may be a unique opportunity here.

I would very much like to get in touch regarding linking up on some of the items touched on in your video. I can be contacted through this resource or by calling the NIHE Switchboard in Belfast.

Kind regards

Andrew Munn

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On 19/05/2021 at 10:26, Andrew Munn said:

Hi, I am the Asset Data Manager at the Northern Ireland Housing Executive, a government social housing provider providing 85,000 homes to the whole of Northern Ireland.

We have a unique situation in that we are developing BIM for the organisation and we have both a fully funded Planning Department and well established GIS system which covers the entire country. Given this is a separate entity of jurisdiction of the UK, I feel there may be a unique opportunity here.

I would very much like to get in touch regarding linking up on some of the items touched on in your video. I can be contacted through this resource or by calling the NIHE Switchboard in Belfast.

Kind regards

Andrew Munn

Hi @Andrew Munn Thanks for getting in touch. Of course, it'd be great to have a conversation about this work. I'm at jack.ricketts@southwark.gov.uk, but I'll also give you a ring at NIHE. Thanks.

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Jack,

Thanks for this. There is definitely shared learning or opportunities here. I have booked some leave this afternoon and tomorrow. I will get in touch with some colleagues in the relevant departments and see if we can start to gather some collective good practices.

Andrew

 

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  • 3 weeks later...

Can you tell me why every NEW houses same all across the UK?
I do not saw in Europe similar boring and monotonous architect - where are the creativity and nice design in housing industry?
Why cannot build individuals they own houses with unique plan?

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Hi Humanner

I am not a housing or planning expert, so this is a bit speculative;

  1. Large pieces of land are put up for sale by farmers and councils for housing developments as one large lot
  2. Large parcels of land need huge investment so mostly taken up by big housing construction companies that have a portfolio of house designs for the site. 

What Jack along with 3D Repo and Bryden Wood are proposing, above, will give individuals better access to the planning process alongside the bigger actors, to take advantage of smaller available sites to develop houses of their own design. 

As to whether the UK have the creativity and nice designs available, I suppose you'll have to ask Kevin McLeod on Grand Designs.

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On 15/06/2021 at 13:18, RachelJudson said:

Hi Humanner

I am not a housing or planning expert, so this is a bit speculative;

  1. Large pieces of land are put up for sale by farmers and councils for housing developments as one large lot
  2. Large parcels of land need huge investment so mostly taken up by big housing construction companies that have a portfolio of house designs for the site. 

What Jack along with 3D Repo and Bryden Wood are proposing, above, will give individuals better access to the planning process alongside the bigger actors, to take advantage of smaller available sites to develop houses of their own design. 

As to whether the UK have the creativity and nice designs available, I suppose you'll have to ask Kevin McLeod on Grand Designs.

Hi Rachel
Thank you for your answer for my comment.
 

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why is building and fire safety being referred to under "planning" when planning and building control are two separate professions and disciplines?

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  • 1 month later...

Frank's point is a good one - and the answer is that when it comes to fire safety data, the building control and planning processes are inherently linked by the need to create, protect and maintain a secure cache of relevant data.  Having said that, the Bill has only just had its second reading and even when it is law, the devil will be in the detail of the regulations, not the statute.

 

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We need to be careful in terms of definitions, to avoid dilution. The "Golden Thread" is about building regulation compliance. It is NOT related to buildings in general, or planning legislation or purpose.

The Planning process may be ready for digitisation, but confusing what the golden thread is all about, is part of the reason for the golden thread being developed post Grenfell in the first place.

Don't get me wrong, digitisation of every element of the construction process and post occupancy processes and monitoring is absolutely positive. And yes, it should all come together in digital twinning, however that ends up looking.

Planning is absolutely a thread in the cord of information of a buildings journey through its life, but in the context of current focus of building and fire safety, it's not the golden one, so please don't try and shift focus away from building regulatory compliance.

Building Regulations Advisory Committee: golden thread report - GOV.UK (www.gov.uk)

 

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Frank, 'The Golden Thread' is used in many industries, it has been in laboratories for years regarding chain of custody of samples. It's really just quality Information Management. I don't think it's correct that it just applies Building Safety, it is relevant to all information where traceability is required and that will be required in Planning too. 

The 7 circles of Information Management - DT Hub Community (digitaltwinhub.co.uk)

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I understand that, I recall it being used in recruitment spheres amongst others.

When Government defines the Golden Thread within the UK construction industry, in order to make best efforts to avoid a future disaster like Grenfell, best efforts should be made to avoid dilution of the message. The phrase the golden thread has been used for a specific purpose by Dame Judith and the UK Government, and has traction, there's no need to use it for planning information - is my honest view.

It would be fairly simple to find another, as effective, but less confusing term, I would have thought?

Building Regulations Advisory Committee: golden thread report - GOV.UK (www.gov.uk)

 

 

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I agree, this is an unfortunate choice of phrase to describe a really important development in construction. Between 2010 and 2017 the term 'golden thread' was routinely used to describe the inclusion of sustainable development in the planning process - now the same phrase is being used to describe an emerging legal requirement to maintain secure data about specific subjects through the life of  a project.  It is likely to be very confusing for planning practitioners!  Good point.

 

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