The Golden Thread: Weaving Together the Industry for a Safer Future

The Golden Thread

The Golden Thread: Weaving Together the Industry for a Safer Future

7 June 2024 FDM Comments Off

By Nicola John, Managing Director, FDM

Traditionally, each segment of the building industry—design, construction, inspection, and maintenance—has operated independently and within its silos.

Why does that matter? Important information can slip through the cracks, significantly impacting safety and compliance and potentially resulting in serious and even fatal consequences. 

Dame Judith Hackitt’s “Building a Safer Future” report emphasised the need for better industry communication, collaboration, and transparency. It introduced a new concept called “The Golden Thread” to address this issue. 


‘Building a Safer Future’ Report

This report notes that there are currently significant issues in the production, maintenance and handover of building information by those responsible for the design, construction and refurbishment of a building.

This lack of complete and accurate information causes several worrying challenges, including:

  • It is unclear whether changes made between a building’s original design and completion may impact its safety strategy.

  • The owner does not have up-to-date information to easily and effectively manage building safety across its lifecycle.

  • When refurbishing a building, it is difficult to understand the impact of these changes on the safety of the building.

A fragmented industry that needs to change

Judith Hackitt’s interim report identified a significant flaw in the current regulatory system as a lack of skills, knowledge, and experience and no formal process for assuring the skills of those involved at any stage of the lifecycle of high-rise residential buildings. While many competent people work within the system, the lack of a coherent and comprehensive approach to competence can seriously impact and compromise fire safety.

The current approach to competence is fragmented. There is no interaction within disciplines and no view of the building as a single entity or system.


How will the Golden Thread address these challenges?

The Golden Thread is designed to create a continuous record of information, ensuring that every person involved in a building’s lifecycle, including design, build, installation, and maintenance, is fully informed, accountable and aware of their roles and responsibilities, as well as those of others working within the chain.

It will also ensure that the original design intent is preserved and that changes can be managed. Access to up-to-date information is crucial for fire risk assessments and determining whether the building is safe for occupants.

The report recommended creating and using digital recordings throughout the building life cycle. The duty holder is responsible for initiating, holding, and maintaining this record of information.

Following this report, there have been some regulatory updates, including the Building Safety Act. This act calls for strict compliance and increased communication among all stakeholders. Such measures are designed to enhance safety and create greater accountability and more fluid and open communication between stakeholders and touchpoints. It’s time for the industry to embrace the Golden Thread. 


Understanding the impact of The Golden Thread from a Fire Door perspective

Within the Fire Door industry, the Golden Thread ensures that everyone, including manufacturers, installers and landlords, understands the product specifications, safety standards, and regulatory requirements.

FDM offers a wide range of training, services, and partnership opportunities to support every stakeholder in the fire door industry. FDM’s training (GQA accredited) will help you bridge knowledge between different trades and phases in the building process. You will understand the roles and responsibilities that precede and follow your own. This will allow you to understand and act upon the guidance and The Golden Thread, improving safety and compliance in your work and within the industry. 


Want to learn more about The Golden Thread or how you can play your part? Get in touch with the FDM team or sign up for an FDM course today. 

Source: Building a safer future, Final report May 2018 CM9607 by Dame Judith Hackitt DBE FREng


If you have any questions, would like to book a tour of the centre, or if you would like to discuss potential partnership or collaboration opportunities, please get in touch with Dan Cope, Sales Director at FDM.

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