Golden Thread of Building Safety Act

golden thread of building safety act explained

Understanding the Golden Thread: Summary

The Grenfell Tower tragedy, claiming 72 lives in June 2017, led to Dame Judith Hackitt's ground-breaking report. One key recommendation: the 'Golden Thread' concept – a part of the Building Safety Act, which must be followed by higher risk buildings, from residential buildings to hospitals. 

The Golden Thread mandates that those involved in a building's life cycle, from design and construction to ongoing maintenance, create and maintain a comprehensive record of all safety-critical information. This centralised digital database, easily accessible to authorised personnel, ensures transparency and accountability throughout the building's lifespan.

By empowering building managers and stakeholders with easy access to crucial information, the Golden Thread facilitates informed decision-making, simplifies regulatory compliance, and ultimately prioritises building safety.

What is the Golden Thread in construction?

The golden thread in construction is a digital lifeline for building safety. This detailed record covers everything from design to maintenance, capturing important building information throughout its life.

Think of it as a central nervous system of higher-risk buildings, providing easy access to crucial details like design plans, building methods, legal documents, maintenance logs, safety evaluations and change history. Stored securely and digitally, the Golden Thread serves as the single source of truth for all stakeholders.

Two key components weave this thread:

  • Building work information: design details, materials, construction processes, and compliance with regulations.
  • Maintenance information: records of inspections, repairs, modifications, and anything impacting building safety.
BESA Golden Thread - design

What is the Golden Thread used for?

Beyond simply storing information, the Golden Thread offers a multi-faceted approach to building safety control process, serving as:

  • A risk management: it helps assess and manage building safety risks to prevent hazards such as fires and collapses.
  • A safety record: it demonstrates following rules consistently, establish trust and accountability by showing that regulations have been followed throughout the building's existence.
  • A bridge of transparency: the Golden Thread facilitates easy information sharing with all stakeholders, promoting accountability in building safety.
  • A foundation for informed decisions: having accurate and readily accessible information empowers stakeholders to make smart decisions regarding design, construction, maintenance, and safety.
  • A proactive risk mitigation: recording safety assessments, mitigation measures, and maintenance records helps proactively manage and minimise safety risks.

In emergencies, the Golden Thread becomes a lifeline. This readily available information, including building layout, systems details, and safety features, empowers first responders to act swiftly and effectively.

Storing your building's information

No one-size-fits-all solution exists for storing your Golden Thread, but digital storage is a must. Here are some commonly used storage methods:

  • Building Information Modelling (BIM): software that makes a digital copy of a building, helping with 3D visualisation and finding clashes for better planning and coordination.
  • Document Management Systems (DMS): these software solutions streamline the management of electronic documents, offering features like version control and powerful search functionalities for efficient information retrieval.
  • Cloud Storage Platforms: these platforms provide a centralised repository for storing building documents and other information, ensuring easy access from any device with an internet connection.

When choosing a storage solution, consider factors like project complexity, budget, and stakeholder needs to find the best fit for your Golden Thread implementation.

BESA BSA Hub BIM and the Golden Thread

What are the Golden Thread rules?

The Building Safety Act introduces the Golden Thread requirements to keep and maintain prescribed information about higher-risk buildings. Several pieces of secondary regulations set out the how to keep information and documents and what information should be included in the Golden Thread.  

The key principles that guide its implementation are:

  • Those responsible, such as clients and contractors, must formally create, maintain, and share building information due to legal obligation.
  • The Golden Thread acts as a centralised hub for all building safety information, eliminating inconsistencies across scattered sources.
  • The information accuracy and completeness fall on designated individuals, known as duty holders.
  • The Golden Thread demands ongoing maintenance to ensure the information remains accurate and reliable over time.

Effective implementation hinges on training and educating staff about the Golden Thread and their specific responsibilities in managing building information effectively.

When does the Golden Thread start?

The Golden Thread must be created before building work starts, extending through the design and construction phases. After the building is completed, the Golden Thread should be handed over to the building's principle accountable person (PAP). They will use it to maintain records and implement any necessary modifications. The information within the Golden Thread must be updated throughout the entire lifecycle of the building.

Who is responsible for the Golden Thread?

The responsibility for maintaining and access the Golden Thread shifts throughout the building's lifecycle:

During Design and Construction:

  • Clients: individuals or organisations commissioning the project.
  • Principal Designers: individuals or organisations overseeing the design process.
  • Principal Contractors: individuals or organisations managing the construction process.

During the Occupation Phase:

  • Duty holders and accountable people: this can be an individual, partnership, or corporate body responsible for building management and safety. They may have a team, or other individuals assigned specific responsibilities within the Golden Thread management.
Contractors and their responsibility in the golden thread

How to prepare and what to do regarding the Golden Thread

Proactive preparation paves the way for a successful Golden Thread implementation. Here are essential steps your organisation can take:

  • Assess digital readiness: evaluate your infrastructure and personnel expertise to identify potential gaps. Invest in training and technology upgrades if needed.
  • Define a collaborative workflow: work with stakeholders and contractors to establish clear procedures for gathering, updating, and managing information within the Golden Thread.
  • Formalise policies and procedures: clearly define roles, responsibilities, access controls, and protocols for maintaining accurate information.
  • Implement quality control: establish regular reviews and verification procedures to ensure the Golden Thread reflects the building's current state.
  • Foster open communication: proactively engage clients and designers to secure their support and collaboration throughout the implementation process.

By taking these steps, organisations can effectively prepare for the Golden Thread and contribute to a safer built environment.

The Golden Thread of information: what you will need to manage

The Golden Thread includes important information across key categories, but specifics depend on project details, local regulations and applicable building regulations.

  • Design details: architectural drawings, specifications, fire safety plans, and material data sheets, forming the blueprint for building construction.
  • Construction documentation: progress reports, quality assurance documents, and any relevant permits ensure a well-documented construction process.
  • Operational information: fire risk assessments, fire and structural safety, user manuals, and equipment instructions equip building occupants with essential information for safe operation.
  • Maintenance history: records of inspections, repairs, and replacements provide a clear picture of the building's upkeep and potential concerns.

Project teams can ensure they are prepared and create a plan to effectively utilise the Golden Thread by considering key factors outlines above. This will ultimately improve maintenance of buildings in the long run, building a safer future.

Project team for Golden thread within construction

If you need support with understanding and managing you building safety within the Golden thread, BESA is here to help you and your business with information, advice and guidance. Discover how BESA support businesses just like yours with their compliance needs.

Other Resources related to the Golden Thread

BESA works with many industry experts to ensure you have the latest information and guidance. Below are resources from to ensure you have as much support as possible when navigating the Golden Thread: