How Digital Twins Can Help Us Manage the Golden Thread

How digital twins can help us manage the golden thread

Share this:

Now that the Building Safety Act regulatory regime is in place, the urgency to effectively manage the golden thread of information moving forward is being felt across the industry by building owners, operators and consultants alike. So how can we make this information clear and readily available to those who need it during operation?

When people talk about the Building Safety Act, there is often the expectation that the golden thread of information will be managed as a continuation of the Construction level BIM. While this is a powerful information management tool to use during project coordination and construction, it isn't necessarily the best tool for the job after handover as it is a complicated piece of software that requires extensive training and experience. It also contains a host of information that will be irrelevant during building operation.

A potential solution is to use digital twin technology post project handover with ability to calibrate simple dashboard access for a variety of users. Digital twins are not commonly used within the property and construction industry yet, but are considered essential digital infrastructure in other industries. The aviation industry for example, has been using digital twins to monitor the safety of various components on planes for decades, with alerts notifying them when those key components need to be repaired or replaced. In a similar vein, digital twins harbour huge potential in helping us to monitor, manage and maintain our buildings, make predictions and plan for the future – a key requirement of the new Building Safety Act.

One of the biggest challenges we have at the moment is pulling together all the required and relevant information needed to manage a building efficiently with ability to keep the information up-to-date. Landlords, local authorities, housing associations and large estate owners, for example, need to know their buildings inside out - there's a lot of data that needs to be tracked and the stipulation of the Building Safety Act guidance is that this is to be done in digital form. A digital twin provides all the information needed to run a building in one secure location, including live building data, analytics and even static documents and files. If you’ve got all the information you need at hand and it’s easy to find, you're much more likely to use it.

"A digital twin provides all the information needed to run a building in one secure location, including live building data, analytics and even static documents and files."

Digital Twins engines are highly flexible and adaptable technology; it’s easy to add to a digital twin as the building gets used and goes through its life cycle. If you were to make any changes to the building, even something as simple as moving internal partitions or furniture around, having the twin will help you to assess the risk and impact of those changes in relation to managing all aspects of building and user safety more effectively. A twin can monitor individual components within the building, such as fire door seals, and tell us where and when they need to be replaced. It’s about being able to predict the future and act preventively, rather than waiting for things to go wrong.

The Building Safety Act applies to all buildings, but is specifically demanding with regards to collating, storing and monitoring information related to High Risk Buildings (HRB) within the residential, healthcare and education sectors. It is set to create seismic change in attitude, competency and culture surrounding building safety in the UK, and it’s only a matter of time until this trickles through to all other buildings and across other sectors.

Therefore, the sooner we have the required infrastructure in place to help us manage the golden thread across all building types, the better. Combining architectural expertise with an in-depth knowledge and understanding of what digital twin platforms are capable of, enables us to create a lighter, easy to use digital twin app with everything you need to know to run your building safely, all in one place. This will then develop and be added to over time, becoming more and more sophisticated in its ability to predict and prevent and connect to wider, national ecosystems of digital twins.

To learn more about Digital Twins, visit