A collaborative approach to sharing data across a development’s lifecycle, from design to demolition

In all cases, planning is a function of the public sector, usually the local council. It occupies the space between the private sectors of design and construction, and enables an idea to become reality.

Weeknotes charting our progress to help a local authority manage their building safety information

Low-angle photograph of a tall building under clouds
Low-angle photograph of a tall building under clouds
Photo by Callum Wale on Unsplash

Sprint Zero — Week 1

Week end 12/03/21

Following on from the work the team delivered in September last year (here and here), we recently got the go ahead to put this into operation and develop it further.

This first week has been our ‘sprint zero’ where we got all our proverbials in a row, met with and aligned our thinking with our stakeholders, and re-evaluated last summer’s problem statement.

What did we do this week?

  • Met with the whole team on Monday to do alignment and admin-y stuff.
  • Met with…

and moved 1,000 buildings on line.

The need to radically change the way local authorities, and the industry in general, records built environment information has been clear for a long while. However, it takes a seismic event to shift local government. I’ve often looked up from my desk, only to see glaciers go zipping past the window.

For me, introducing change can feel like attempting to drag something huge and heavy, that moves very slowly.

Someone looking up at a glacier.
Someone looking up at a glacier.

In the summer of 2019, MHCLG wrote to all local authorities and housing associations, requesting that they collect data on the external wall system of all high rise buildings — cladding…

We can’t spreadsheet our way out of this one

Image from the Artists for Grenfell website (possibly watercolour), of the area, pre-tragedy, with the tower in the centre.
Image from the Artists for Grenfell website (possibly watercolour), of the area, pre-tragedy, with the tower in the centre.

For decades now, building safety compliance has involved multiple stakeholders over the lifecycle of a building, from concept through occupation and eventual demolition-

  • Developers, agents, architects, contractors and others involved in the design and construction of buildings
  • Suppliers and supply certification bodies
  • Local authorities, housing associations, developers and others involved in the commissioning of buildings
  • Building owners, management companies, investors and individuals involved in the management of buildings, e.g. freeholders, management companies, common-hold associations and right-to-manage companies
  • Local authority building control and fire and rescue authorities
  • Registered building control approvers (formerly known as Approved Inspectors)
  • Consultancy services to help navigate…

Part Two — How, practically, do we scale a new service?

“So, we’re going live on Tuesday 9th”

“Fantastic. What happens on Wednesday 10th?”

It’s a good question, but not one that any of us have really needed to asked before now.

In my previous blog post I explained why we’re focussing on building a user centred system for planning officers to assess permitted development applications from householders. Not unique to us, or this project, but what happens when we’ve finished building the software? Who will use it, continue to develop it, or even own it?

We are where we are because, until recently, there has been no real alternative to…

Part One: To PD or not to PD

The London Borough of Southwark are leading a service build, together with partner authorities, Unboxed and MHCLG, to develop an alternative ‘back office planning system’ offering to council planning departments in the UK.

We are almost at the mid point of our BETA and the time when we need to make a fairly important decision.

As Michelle and I discussed in our previous post we are focusing our initial efforts on processing ‘fast track’ applications. Not a definitive term, but generally taken to mean permitted development (PD) and small-scale householder applications.

The plan at the outset was to spend the…

jack ricketts

Local Government - London Borough

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