The Golden Thread – A Silver Bullet to Unlock Digitalisation?

Constructing Excellence

With the Building Safety Act coming into effect in October, our Digital Group met at the offices of RLB to discuss what implications the act and the Golden Thread have for the implementation of digital ways of working in the industry.  A lively session revealed the Golden Thread is nothing to be scared of for organisations who are already taking a considered approach to digitalisation.

Key Takeaways:

Best Practice – the building blocks for the Golden Thread are already in place, it essentially points to good information management.

Lots of us are getting it right already – participants agreed that many professionals are doing this right already.  It was also heartening to hear that universities are teaching the principles of information management and not just how to use the tools.


The Why and How as well as the What – A key change is the need to document not just what decisions are made but how the decisions have been arrived at.  Legally the act defines that the decision making process needs to be captured.

Why not apply the principles to all projects? – The act currently applies to High Rise High Risk Buildings but many of the recommendations, particularly around digital, represent best practice and it is likely to be extended in the future.

Consistent with ISO19650 – the Golden Thread requires a common data environment and is therefore consistent with the implementation of ISO19650. If you are already on that journey you are on the right path!

Digital Twins – Clients are essentially buying a digital as well as a physical asset so there is opportunity to advance the uptake of digital twins.

Accessibility – Golden Thread Information needs to be usable by the end-user – it is incumbent on the responsible person to have that information available. It is the responsible person’s responsibility to ensure that the information is up-to-date and retrievable. Huge amounts of information need to be brought together in a usable format and systems for these already exist.

Unlocking MMC? – could the Building Safety Act and requirements for design changes to be sent to the Building Safety Regulator for sign off mean the end of design and build? This means design needs to be locked down before construction commences which is exactly what MMC / Industrialised Construction requires.


However, there are still some issues that we need to overcome. These aren’t new, they are things we should all be considering as best practice in information management:

  • Ownership of data needs to be considered, especially through contracts.
  • CDE Interoperability – The GIIG is already addressing the knotty issue of Interoperability of Common Data Environments. Government and Industry Interoperability Group | NPSA
  • Construction Product Information – Trustworthy information form manufacturers has long been an issue for digitalisation. There are many approaches available on this including from CARES who have a system in place to track steel components by batch – we will explore this in a future meeting.
  • Insurance – another issue that is causing a lot of concern for the industry at the moment. Professional Indemnity Insurance could drive a lot of change and commitment to best practice in this space.
  • Legalities –we had some tremendous legal expertise in the room and the view appears to be that following the principles of the Golden Thread could be seen as future-proofing against future legal action. Some of the principles such as the term ‘logically associated with’ will need some further definition, potentially through Case Law.




A huge thank you to everyone who joined us and contributed to the discussion.

Why not come along to another of our sessions, find out more on our events page.