Golden thread: buyer beware!

Image: Wave Break Media Ltd/Dreamstime.com
Johnny Furlong offers an update on the golden thread and provides a warning about those claiming to offer ‘approved’ solutions to help with safety regulations.

The Golden Thread Initiative (GTI) is making good progress towards being able to publish our report. I am proud of my involvement in the GTI’s evolving work and the support from L&Q in providing my team the resources to support this important work.  

It has taken us longer to reach this stage than planned, in part due to the scope of the GTI expanding beyond what was originally envisaged. Since its conception in December 2020, more than 60 organisations have joined to help us pilot ways that organisations can produce a standardised digital golden thread for both existing buildings and new builds. Working with so many incredible organisations and people, we have come a long way in our understanding of the golden thread.

The GTI could not have happened without the many organisations volunteering their time and effort and I am extremely grateful to them. Our findings will be considered by the Department for Levelling Up, Housing and Communities and the Building Regulations Advisory Committee (BRAC) Golden Thread working group and will support the development of government’s golden thread policy. We welcome the fact that government is listening to industry’s views and our report will be freely available when published.

“Be careful of who is selling you ‘approved’ software solutions and services that claim to assist with the upcoming building safety regulations.”

Johnny Furlong

We have a number of organisations involved in the GTI, including consultants, legal experts, software solution providers, contractors, and clients. It is essential to have a wide range of opinions and expertise. For organisations now developing their own golden threads, they will need input from many different sources.  

Caveat emptor

I feel I must offer some advice: be careful of who is selling you ‘approved’ software solutions and services that claim to assist with the upcoming building safety regulations. While these services and solutions may serve a purpose, government and associated bodies such as the BRAC do not approve services or solutions.

If you are approached with a claim that a software or service is ‘approved’, you should ask for the evidence of that approval and how it was obtained. You should also speak to a member of government or the associated body before proceeding with any purchases.

When government publishes guidance, this will be freely available on gov.uk.

If a person or organisation either explicitly says their services or solutions are endorsed or they infer it is endorsed (for example by saying they are part of the GTI), then my advice is you should very much question how true this is.

If you are approached with claims of solutions or services being approved by the GTI, please contact me (vice-chair of the GTI) and I will happily set the record straight.

Any approved information, which there is a lot of already, is all available for free. The government has published a factsheet on the golden thread and the BRAC published a report on the golden thread.

The Health & Safety Executive (HSE), as the Shadow Building Safety Regulator, has also set out information to help people understand safety cases and safety case reports.

Johnny Furlong is vice-chair of the GTI and BIM strategy lead at L&Q.

Don’t miss out on BIM and digital construction news: sign up to receive the BIMplus newsletter.

Story for BIM+? Get in touch via email: [email protected]


  1. Isn’t this simply lazy contractors making sure they can pass on liability? Just ticking a box, not actually understanding their particular challenges and building a solution for their business.

Comments are closed.

Latest articles in Opinion