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New guidance in Building Safety Act categorises educational establishments as higher-risk buildings

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ASSA ABLOY details implications of updated Building Safety Act for educational establishments

Recently, ASSA ABLOY Opening Solutions UK & Ireland brought attention to newly published guidance within the amended Building Safety Act. The updated legislation notably designates educational establishments, such as university halls of residence and boarding schools, as higher-risk buildings.

Building Safety Act details high-risk building classification criteria

According to the Act, to be considered higher-risk, buildings should stand at least 18 metres tall or be a minimum of seven storeys high. They must also contain at least two residential units and meet certain usage criteria. Any building that falls under this category will be subject to the direct oversight of the Building Safety Regulator.

Understanding the Building Safety Act’s ‘golden thread’ of information

Paul Thompson, BIM Manager for ASSA ABLOY, notes: “Enabling the ‘golden thread’ of information is crucial to the Building Safety Act. Buildings need to be constructed and managed as holistic systems, allowing people to utilise information for safe and effective design, construction, and operation. Educational buildings being classified as higher-risk comes as no surprise, and it is vital for those involved in the construction and management of these premises to uphold their duty to maintain the building’s safety standards. This includes promoting competence in the industry and building inspectors, and a duty to establish a system for giving building safety information.”

The Act stipulates that by October 2023, those responsible for higher-risk buildings must have their building safety regime in place or risk investigation and potential prosecution.

Building Information Modelling (BIM) as a safety regime enabler

Thompson further adds: “Building Information Modelling (BIM) is the ideal platform to enable the ‘golden thread’ of information and create an effective safety regime. It offers greater transparency and enables building elements, such as doorsets, to be managed through a single platform – from specification to installation and ongoing inspection.”

ASSA ABLOY’s solutions to building safety management

In this regard, ASSA ABLOY’s Openings Studio BIM application integrates with design software to create and visualise openings for complete door, frame, and hardware schedules and specifications. These designs are validated for compliance, functional performance, and aesthetics and can be fully re-integrated into the overall project design.

Thompson concludes: “Openings Studio is a unique collaborative tool for all project stakeholders, helping to minimise costs and streamline the data sharing process throughout the entire project lifecycle. For those managing a higher-risk educational building, this can be used as a tool to create an effective safety regime, compliant with the Building Safety Act and ensuring life safety of the occupants.”

IFSJ Comment

This puts into sharp focus the need for stringent safety regulations and sophisticated safety management tools, especially for higher-risk buildings like educational establishments. The solutions offered by ASSA ABLOY are a testament to the advancements in building safety management.

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