New building regulations with requirements for effective digital information management for compliance, will be a driver for tech buying decisions this year.

London – 18th January 2024: 2024 is the year when the Building Safety Act (BSA) will come into full force, following the first provisions rolled out in 2022 and 2023. The BSA mandates digital building information and safety cases, as well as a golden thread of information, for higher-risk buildings (HRBs). Therefore, prioritising information will be high on the industry agenda in 2024, all delivered by technology to ensure effective information management.

But the BSA is not the only regulation with a requirement for digital information competency for compliance. Photographic evidence is now mandatory to comply with Part L under Building Regulation 40. And more legislation and standards are set to follow with digital information requirements, such as the Future Homes and Building Standard, where information will be needed to support building design, construction, and management. With the evolution of the construction and property industry, there is no time like the present to get information, processes, and the technology in order to deliver better information and, therefore, building outcomes.

This emphasis on digital data and information to better manage buildings throughout their lifecycle — from planning all the way through to operations and maintenance — is not necessarily new concept. However, it is only recently that the focus has shifted across the construction and building management sectors to prioritise its importance, driven by new and updated standards and legislation. That is why BuildData Group, with its brands Zutec, Createmaster and Createmaster Information Management, believe information will be king, and should be given the same attention as the physical asset.

Emma Hooper, Head of the Research Institute at the BuildData Group, states: “As an industry we need to shift our thinking about information and data, as it lies at the core of regulation, digital transformation, and the way a built asset is designed, constructed, and operated. Essentially, we need information management to enable us to find, share, understand, use, and query what we do in an easy, digestible, and decisive way, while ensuring quality and trust. It is the linchpin of everything we do across the built environment, and without it we cannot operate effectively. In our minds, information and good information management should be as important as the built asset itself.”

So why will information be king in 2024?

Keeping people and our environment safe, keeping well-maintained buildings

The construction, built environment and digital worlds are constantly evolving. Therefore, ensuring the right stakeholders have the right information at the right time to make decisions, control risk, keep buildings well maintained and people and our environment safe is critical. Information is only useful if it is available, accessible, easily discoverable, and understandable and a golden thread of information is now legal requirement of duty holders and accountable persons of occupied higher-risk buildings under the BSA. This is to ensure that everyone involved in building safety management and maintenance, whether directly or indirectly, has access to key details that can help identify, assess, and mitigate risks.

When the right information is delivered at the right time — whether it’s to facilities management, the fire department, or tenants — more informed decisions can be made more quickly. With the right technology platform and stack in place building information can be surfaced, managed, and shared, and kept up to date to meet compliance. Being able to integrate with other systems means all building information can manged in one place, supporting the journey to a golden thread of information, and making information king.

Quality over quantity

There is a plethora of information required to meet building regulation compliance. From fire and emergency files to structural information, health and safety files, as well as operations & maintenance manuals and completion certificates – all this information should have a purpose. Without purpose it is useless. This means information must be high quality to the degree that it performs that purpose, is usable and enables the outcomes it is intended for.

There are several criteria used to measure information quality, including accuracy, completeness, consistency, timeliness, and validity. All of this is important because it ensures that the information used to make key decisions is reliable. It is therefore critical to ensure information quality throughout the information management process, as without this it can lead to ineffective decision-making, construction and operational errors, and ultimately put lives and our built environment at risk.

There is also a direct correlation between information quality and information compliance. Lost, inaccessible or inaccurate information can cause huge issues, and one of the reasons we have building standards and regulations in place.

With a consistent structure, schemas, and workflows, as well as standardised forms, templates, and checklists, one platform for information management can ensure that data meets quality standards. And, when construction quality is a huge factor in delivering buildings that meet standards and compliance, then the information quality related to that building should be equally as good. Another reason to make information king.

Right data in, is right information out

Leading on from good quality information, is the right data going into the information management system or platform. The right information in, results in the right information coming out to drive the decision-making process, while controlling risks and reputation.

Many systems today have AI or machine learning functionality to help surface the right information. However, the main obstacle for AI is poor quality data, which directly impacts the reliability of the AI model in place.

When in investing in technology, it is also crucial that the data going into a platform is accurate, representative, and of high quality.

When information comes from so many sources, the construction and property industry has always struggled to collect documents and data, structure this information and label it correctly, all while maintaining quality.

Companies like Createmaster, can help collect, tag, and review the information for quality, and store in one platform (like Zutec), with dashboards to manage that information to ensure data governance and robust and accurate information, as well as tagging for findability.

Giving value back to stakeholders

In a market marred by a housing crisis, with interest rates and property prices high, more people are looking to rent, which increases rental demand. The Build to Rent market is buoyant, but like other industry sectors it’s still being hit by rising supplier, material, construction, and maintenance costs, which are generally passed onto the consumer.

By providing more value to stakeholders, through better information, communication and engagement via sales and tenancy management portals, stakeholders will feel like they are getting more value for money. Using information to enhance the service supplied will change the dynamics of seller/buyer or landlord/tenant relationships.

Therefore, to ensure a better customer experience, good quality information and management is key, so again making information king is key.

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