Trowers supports the development of the UK Housing Data Standard.
The Golden Thread of data
There are some new and fundamental principles that will be introduced into the housing sector by the Building a Safer Future regime. These will underpin how we design, construct, operate and manage high rise residential buildings and will require new thinking and resources to implement them efficiently and in order to achieve the desired effect. One of these principles is "the Golden Thread" that will now run through the life-cycle of an "in-scope" building (currently defined as a high rise, multi-occupied residential building of more than 18 metres or more than six storeys, whichever is reached first). The Golden Thread of information recommended by Dame Judith Hackitt in her post-Grenfell report, is designed to result in an accessible digital record for every in-scope building.
Achieving this Golden Thread is no small task: relevant safety information about a building includes documents and data produced by a variety of different parties and passed through numerous stakeholders (from architects, contractors and sub-contractors through to project managers, fire risk assessors to the new Building Safety Regulator and residents) and landlords need to gather information that spans regulatory, design, compliance, construction and operational management information.
How the housing sector can benefit
There are multiple benefits to the housing sector in achieving a standardised and singular approach to the Golden Thread of data throughout the life-cycle of a building: standardised data and information requirements at handover will save money for both contractors and clients adopting a cross-sector standardised approach; greater transparency for the landlord going forward as to asset management and stock-profile; efficiencies in the in-occupation phase by enabling a planned approach to maintenance; clear and transparent information that can be tailored to the needs of the relevant end-user (residents and Regulator alike) and the creation of an auditable chain of information required by legislation.
HACT UK Housing Data Standards
HACT has been working since 2018 with over 60 partner housing providers and software companies to provide a solution to the data challenge of achieving a common standard and process to achieve transparency of information across in-scope buildings. In March, HACT released version 3.2 of the UK Housing Data Standard and since then has been working on the next iteration, which will include the development handover data standard. On 4 June, HACT hosted an online event about the development handover data standard, chaired by Rebecca Rees, partner at Trowers & Hamlins and with case-studies and a curated Q&A session from OSCRE (HACT's development partner for the standards), London Borough of Camden, L&Q, CHP and Hyde Housing Group.
The webinar can be viewed here: : https://hact.org.uk/meeting-challenges-hackitt-review-webinar
There are plenty of opportunities to get involved with the development of updated UK Housing Standards – including the development handover data standard (please contact Rob.Wray@hact.org.uk). Given the comprehensive scope of reform that the Building a Safer Future regime, this is no time for landlords to be reinventing the wheel on each new development. Adopting a sector-tested, robust and standardised approach to data is a must in order to achieve efficiencies and effective outcomes for all landlords and residents.