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Understanding the Golden Thread in the Building Safety Act 2022: UK Perspective

07 Apr 2024

The Building Safety Act 2022 represents a pivotal moment for the UK’s built environment, established in response to the Grenfell Fire tragedy to improve building safety regulations effectively [1][3]. By mandating a comprehensive approach towards managing building safety risks, it aims to bolster the safety of individuals in or around buildings, emphasising the significance of the ‘golden thread’ of information as a critical component of this initiative [1][3].

As the act moves towards full implementation, understanding its scope, including the roles and responsibilities it outlines, becomes crucial for stakeholders in the built environment [1]. Specifically, this article will explore the act’s impact on the built environment, focusing on the golden thread’s role in ensuring safety and compliance within the UK’s regulatory framework [1][2].

Overview of the Building Safety Act 2022

The Building Safety Act 2022, enacted in response to the tragic Grenfell Fire, introduces comprehensive reforms aimed at enhancing the safety of buildings, particularly those classified as higher-risk. Here’s an overview of its key components:

Structure and Scope:

Divided into Six Parts: Ranging from the introduction of the Building Safety Regulator (BSR) to the management of higher-risk buildings [1].

    • Applies Beyond High-Rise Residential: While focusing on higher-risk buildings, the Act’s provisions can impact commercial properties like care homes and hospitals and other mixed-use assets, extending its relevance across the built environment [1][2].

Key Provisions:

    • Establishment of the BSR: Oversees and enforces the Act’s provisions, supported by three main committees focusing on building advisory, industry competence, and residents’ interests [1].
    • Introduction of Ground-Breaking Reforms: Provides residents and homeowners with enhanced rights, powers, and protections, aiming to ensure safer homes nationwide [2].

Impact on Building Management:

    • Compliance for High-Risk Buildings (HRBs): Includes requirements for a Building Safety Manager and the creation of a building safety file, emphasising the need for detailed record-keeping and risk management [2][3][5].
    • Financial Implications: Outlines the costs associated with compliance, such as the appointment of a building safety manager and the creation of a safety file, and introduces a levy on leaseholders for cladding remediation [4].

This section underscores the Act’s comprehensive approach to building safety, highlighting its wide-ranging impact on the built environment and the significant responsibilities it places on stakeholders across the sector.

Roles and Responsibilities Under the Act

The Building Safety Act 2022 delineates clear roles and responsibilities to ensure the safety and integrity of buildings, particularly focusing on high-risk buildings (HRBs). These roles are critical in managing building safety risks and ensuring compliance with the Act’s provisions.

Building Safety Regulator (BSR):

    • Oversees and enforces the Act’s key provisions [1].
    • Manages building safety risks and industry competence [1].
    • Responsible for the safety and standards of all buildings [11].
    • Implements the new regulatory regime for HRBs [11].

Accountable Persons (APs) and Principal Accountable Persons (PAPs):

    • Must register existing and new buildings with the BSR [10].
    • Prepare a safety case report, detailing assessed risks and measures taken [10].
    • Demonstrate all practicable measures to limit risks within buildings [3].
    • Prepare a residents’ engagement strategy for building safety decisions [12].
  • Dutyholders under Construction (Design and Management) Regulations 2015:
    • Have new duties including planning, managing, and monitoring activities in relation to building regulations [10].
    • Responsible for maintaining the Golden Thread of Information during design and construction [16].

These roles are instrumental in maintaining the golden thread of information, a core component of the Building Safety Act aimed at ensuring transparency, accountability, and safety throughout the lifecycle of a building.

The Golden Thread of Information

The Building Safety Act 2022 introduces the critical concept of the “Golden Thread of Information,” crucial for enhancing the safety and management of buildings throughout their lifecycle. This concept is pivotal in maintaining a digital, up-to-date repository of vital safety information, which is accessible to those responsible for a building’s safety and compliance. Below is a detailed breakdown of the Golden Thread’s components and its implementation: visit www.fireie.uk or further details.

Core Components of the Golden Thread:

  • Digital Record-Keeping: Ensures all safety information about a building’s design, construction, and management is stored digitally for its entire life [11].
    • Accessibility and Compliance: The Golden Thread must be GDPR-compliant and easily accessible to fire and rescue services, the Building Safety Regulator (BSR), and other building control bodies, ensuring swift access to information when needed [15].
    • Comprehensive Guide: Includes a building’s safety information, management details, and other essential data, adhering to the 10 principles of accuracy, security, culture change, and more [7].

Implementation Strategies:

    • Starting Early: Initiation of the Golden Thread is required before building work commences, ensuring its maintenance throughout the building’s lifecycle [8].
    • Digital Tools and Systems: Building professionals are encouraged to familiarise themselves with the UK Building Information Modeling (BIM) Framework and to start utilising digital tools and systems in preparation for the upcoming legislation [7].
    • Regulatory Requirements: The Higher-Risk Buildings (Keeping and Provision of Information etc.) Regulations 2023 specify that key building information must be submitted in electronic form within 28 days of applying for registration, highlighting the shift towards digital management of building safety information [2].

This structure not only facilitates a better understanding of a building and the necessary steps to ensure safety but also promotes a culture of accountability and transparency within the construction industry.

Impact and Implementation

The implementation of the Building Safety Act 2022 marks a transformative period for the UK’s built environment, particularly for those involved with higher-risk buildings. This section delves into the impact of the Act and its implementation process, highlighting the challenges and opportunities it presents.

Registration and Compliance Deadlines:

    • Existing higher-risk buildings must be registered with the new regulator by 30 September 2023 [9].
    • New rules apply from 1 October 2023 for projects not yet submitted for building control, ensuring a transition period for stakeholders to adapt [19].

Gateway Approval System:

    • Introduces a three-stage Gateway approval system enhancing regulatory oversight from planning through construction [20]:
    • Gateway 1: Considers fire safety matters at the planning stage for higher-risk buildings [20].
    • Gateway 2: Requires demonstration of compliance with building regulations before construction commences [20].
    • Gateway 3: Ensures building work complies with regulations before occupation [20].

Challenges for Small Developers and Healthcare Facilities:

    • Small developers may encounter difficulties in meeting the Building Safety Act’s requirements due to limited resources [4].
    • Healthcare facilities, required to comply with stringent fire safety regulations, must now also adhere to the new higher-risk buildings regime during design, construction, and occupation phases [20].

This framework underscores a significant shift towards enhancing safety and accountability within the UK’s built environment, necessitating a concerted effort from all stakeholders to ensure compliance and protect occupants.


Through the meticulous dissection of the Building Safety Act 2022, this article has explored the transformative measures being implemented to enhance building safety across the UK. The focal point of the discussion, the ‘golden thread’ of information, not only serves as a testament to the evolving landscape of building safety management but also underscores the act’s dedication to ensuring transparency and accountability in the construction and maintenance of safer buildings.

This, coupled with the introduction of the Building Safety Regulator, delineates a comprehensive approach towards mitigating risks and elevating standards of safety within the built environment, thereby laying out a clear blueprint for stakeholders to follow towards compliance and enhanced protective measures.

In navigating the complexities and responsibilities introduced by the Act, it becomes evident that adopting a structured framework, akin to the ISO 9001 and ISO 45001, supported by technological advancements as recommended by the Hackett Report, remains imperative.

This synergy of standardised practices and digital tools facilitates a proactive stance on safety and compliance management, ensuring buildings not only meet the current regulatory requirements but are also primed for future adaptations. As the built environment continues to adapt to these significant regulatory changes, the role of stakeholders, from developers to building owners, becomes increasingly critical.

For a deeper dive into navigating these challenges or seeking solutions that adhere to these evolving standards, get in touch for further information. Embracing these methodologies not only aligns with the legislative demands but solidifies a commitment to upholding safety and integrity within the fabric of the UK’s buildings, heralding a new era of safety and resilience in construction and building management.


Understanding the Building Safety Act 2022 and the Golden Thread Principle: A UK Perspective

  1. What are the main features of the Building Safety Act 2022?
    The Building Safety Act 2022 introduces a more robust regulatory framework and clearer responsibilities within the construction industry. It sets out more explicit standards and guidance, and it delineates the responsibilities for fire and building safety throughout the entire lifecycle of buildings considered to be at higher risk.
  2. What does the “golden thread” refer to in the context of the Building Safety Act 2022?
    The “golden thread” is a critical component of the Building Safety Act 2022, aimed at implementing stricter regulations concerning the design, construction, operation, and management of buildings that are either 18 metres tall or have 7 or more stories.
  3. Can you explain the principle behind the “golden thread”?
    The principle of the “golden thread” revolves around the necessity for information to be accurate, structured, and verified to ensure its reliability for those who utilise it. This principle necessitates a comprehensive change control process that outlines the procedures for updating information, including when and how updates should be made, and who is responsible for both updating and verifying the information.
  4. What is the “golden thread” rule in legal terms?
    In legal terms, the “golden thread” rule originates from the 1935 Woolmington v Director of Public Prosecutions case, which established a fundamental principle in criminal law. This principle states that the burden of proof typically lies with the prosecution in criminal trials. This is a cornerstone of criminal law not only in England and Wales but across the common law world.


[1] – https://www.dentons.com/en/insights/articles/2023/august/10/the-building-safety-act-2022-the-basics
[2] – https://www.ciob.org/industry/policy-research/resources/Building-Safety-Act-Advice-and-Guidance
[3] – https://propertyinspect.com/uk/blog/building-safety-act-2022-guide/
[4] – https://www.linkedin.com/pulse/how-new-building-safety-act-affects-small-developers-grace-riba-arb-wmq6e
[5] – https://www.bclplaw.com/en-US/events-insights-news/decoding-the-building-safety-act-2022.html
[6] – https://www.hse.gov.uk/building-safety/golden-thread.htm
[7] – https://safetyculture.com/topics/the-golden-thread/
[8] – https://www.ice.org.uk/news-insight/news-and-blogs/ice-blogs/the-civil-engineer-blog/golden-thread-through-new-building-safety-regime
[9] – https://www.jonesday.com/en/insights/2023/06/guide-to-the-uk-building-safety-act-2022
[10] – https://www.hse.gov.uk/building-safety/roles.htm
[11] – https://info.pennington.org.uk/blog/the-building-safety-bill-everything-you-need-to-know-in-5-minutes
[12] – https://buildingsafety.campaign.gov.uk/making-buildings-safer/roles-and-responsibilities-for-high-rise-residential-buildings/role-of-accountable-persons-for-high-rise-residential-buildings/
[13] – https://www.sweco.co.uk/insights/blog/building-safety-act/
[14] – https://www.eversheds-sutherland.com/en/global/insights/the-uk-building-safety-act-2022-and-its-impact-on-ma
[15] – https://www.griffithsandarmour.com/building-safety-act-golden-thread-of-information/
[16] – https://buildingsafety.campaign.gov.uk/making-buildings-safer/building-safety-regulator-news/understanding-the-golden-thread/
[17] – https://www.dentons.com/en/insights/articles/2023/august/24/the-building-safety-act-2022-part-3
[18] – https://www.brownejacobson.com/insights/building-safety-act-2022-impact-on-the-ownership-and-occupation-of-higher-risk-building
[19] – https://www.ribaj.com/intelligence/building-safety-act-2022-what-you-need-to-know
[20] – https://www.clarionsolicitors.com/articles/building-safety-act-2022-the-impact-on-healthcare-facilities
[21] – https://batealbonsolicitors.co.uk/the-building-safety-act-2022-a-turning-point-in-ensuring-safe-homes/

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