Golden thread in construction in the UK for BIM and Fire Safety

Solibri helps the construction industry in the UK to better plan the fire safety of buildings. Comply with the Golden thread in construction fast and easy with Solibri. Read more and contact us!

After the Grenfell disaster, which claimed the lives of 72 people, the UK government commissioned an independent review of building regulations and fire safety. The final report, written by Dame Judith Hackitt, suggested a number of changes and practices to improve transparency, accountability and information flow between stakeholders in the construction industry. It is known as the golden thread of information. The golden thread gives a trackable audit trail concerning everything installed in the building, all those involved and responsible parties, and compliance with safety regulations.

What are the nine Golden Rules concerning fire safety in the construction business in the UK?

There is a guide to good practice when it comes to fire safety and construction in the UK, better known as the 9 Golden Rules. These were published by five non-profit organisations: the Association for Specialist Fire Protection (ASFP), the Building Engineering Services Association (BESA), the Building Services Research and Information Association (BSRIA), FIS, representing the finishes and interior sector, and the Gypsum Products Development Association (GPDA).

The aim of these nine Golden Rules is to encourage all stakeholders in construction to consider firestopping design earlier in the process to avoid issues at a later stage in the construction.

It’s a guide that leads the construction process and its fire safety perspective from early engagement with manufacturers at the initial design stages, through to installation and inspection of penetration seals will lead to to compliant installation.

The nine Golden Rules concerning fire safety
The nine Golden Rules concerning fire safety in the construction business in the UK
The golden rules

GOLDEN RULE 1: Ensure an early engagement with firestopping manufacturers and specialist installers.

GOLDEN RULE 2: Review the fire strategy documents and fire strategy plans in conjunction with the M&E specifications.

GOLDEN RULE 3: Identify all of the service types passing through the compartment floor or wall, including any insulation products. Establish the space required to install and fire stop the services.

GOLDEN RULE 4: Follow the design process for penetration seals.

GOLDEN RULE 5: Only select firestopping products that are third-party certified by a UKAS accredited organisation. Firestopping products should be certified or CE marked and tested using the relevant standards.

GOLDEN RULE 6: Ideally select one firestopping manufacturer throughout the project. Products from different manufacturers should not be mixed in the same opening, unless there is clear test evidence to substantiate their use.

GOLDEN RULE 7: Request copies of the third-party certification from the manufacturers. These should be reviewed by a suitably qualified person to ensure the certification and field of application is relevant for the situation.

GOLDEN RULE 8: Ensure the installers of ALL service penetration seals are third-party certified by an organisation such as FIRAS, LPCB, IFC, BM TRADA, etc.

GOLDEN RULE 9: Implement a structured inspection plan to include photographic evidence as the work proceeds.

Passive & active fire protection
Passive & active fire protection actions to insure building fire safety

Building fire safety includes passive & active fire protection

There are two types of fire protection systems, which every building needs to have to maximise their protection: active and passive systems. The two types of systems work together to help stop and contain the threat of a fire.

Passive fire protection includes:

o Fire compartmentation: division of a building into smaller subsections using fire-resistant construction materials. Its goal is to slow down and contain the spread of fire and smoke.

o Fire stopping: Using fire stopping products to seal the holes made for services (ventilation, pipes, cables, etc.)

o Using elements with high fire rating, e. g fire doors, fire glazing & coating

o Escape routes

Active fire protection includes:

o things such as sprinkles and fire extinguishers

BIM quality assurance technologies such as Solibri can be used to check that BIM models comply with the active and passive fire protection requirements.

People responsible for a building are in duty of putting golden thread in place and maintaining it

There is a lot of pressure on the construction industry to deliver what the Hackitt report suggested. Duty-holders are responsible for creating and maintaining the golden thread of building information related to fire and structural safety. Implementing fire safety in buildings is a complex issue because it involves many stakeholders and elements. Ensuring transparency and accountability throughout the process is demanding.

Typically, fire safety is outsourced to fire safety specialists or fire safety consultants that plan and deliver, for example, firestopping installation for main contractors. This also means that buildings in question might require additional rework to meet the fire compliance requirements. Both the need of consultants and rework often leads to increased costs.

In addition, some of the information might get lost in between and since many parties are involved it is often unclear who holds responsibility for what. The process requires a lot of coordination and structured transparent information management. Also Fire safety measures and information need to be already planned at the design stage and included in the golden thread from a regulatory point of view.and it's required to have full fire safety information as part of the golden thread.

How to prepare for the upcoming golden thread legislation?

  1. Establish a culture of quality and building safety in your organisation now. It should emphasise and promote industry ownership as well as the value of data in decision-making.
  2. Familiarise yourself and your team with the UK Building Information Modeling (BIM) Framework and relevant ISO standards to learn how to manage digital information appropriately. Contact Solibri, your trusted partner in digital quality assurance, to help better plan the fire safety of your buildings. We help you and your team to understand how well your digital models comply with fire safety requirements.
  3. Follow us and participate in our webinars about fire safety and golden thread in construction or study recordings of previous webinars.

How can Solibri help you to comply with the Golden thread in the UK?

Using Solibri, managers and specialists involved in Fire safety can thoroughly check that fire protection related requirements are met already during the design process. Design and build faster, better and more profitable using Solibri.


When interested in starting to use Solibri fill in the form and get in touch with our Customer Success Team and they will get back to you as soon as possible!