Home » Building reg documents could be rewritten to become machine-readable, say experts

Building reg documents could be rewritten to become machine-readable, say experts

by Liam Turner
A man holding a representation of digital application in his palms

Future building regulation documents could be rewritten to allow them to be read by computers undertaking compliance checking, according to the Construction Innovation Hub’s digital lead.

Speaking at Digital Construction Week, Ahmed Alnaggar explained how the Hub is undertaking a research project to show how the regulations can be altered.

Three approved documents are being looked at as part of the project, undertaken in partnership with Cardiff University, which aims to make them machine-readable by next Autumn.

The documents include fire safety in schools; document L2A, which covers energy management; and a third document on accessibility.

Alnaggar said: “From research and previous experience we know that it [digitally readable documents] would save time. This project is about providing the evidence base […]

“We will issue guidance on how future documents can provide better machine readability in the future.

“Using the lessons learned from the project will lay out a set of guidelines on how future documents could be written.”

From compliance checking to understanding the Approved Documents, the digitalisation of regulations could allow construction firms to save man hours by having projects checked automatically for compliance.

The process eventually could also improve the compliance levels of schemes.

Dr Tom Beach, a reader in construction informatics at Cardiff University, said the digitisation process could help solve the problem of compliance checking.

He said: “How do you go from A to B [ in a project]. You have all the approved documents…how do you pick out all the regulations to do with say, fire doors? The computer can pull those regulations out for you.

The complex nature of the approved documents has been highlighted by the Hackitt report following the Grenfell fire in 2017.

Alnaggar, who said the sheer number of regulations that can determine whether a single aspect of a building is compliant is “mind boggling”, stating 17 separate documents are needed to cover the installation of a new door.

He added: “There are 17 regulations you need to look at just for a door replacement and they are all interconnected.

“Some of them about the fire rating, some of them about energies that will tell them about the workmanship, some of them about, you know, security.

“So a lot of regulations are really just to cover an installation of one door.”

Image: TierneyMJ/Shutterstock. Written by Tim Clark

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