The standards set to shape the built environment in 2024

abstract image for data dictionaries - BIM explainers 2023; built environment standards in 2024
Image: Alexandersikov | Dreamstime.com

As the UK’s national standards body, BSI publishes a plethora of standards to support those operating within the built environment. Here, Dan Rossiter FCIAT, sector lead at BSI as well as vice-president, technical, at the Chartered Institute of Architectural Technologists, highlights four that are set to have an impact in 2024.

This year, the standards I’ve chosen reflect what appear to be the key themes that currently permeate the built environment: digital transformation; safety; sustainability; and innovation.

BS EN ISO 19650-6 (Health and safety information management)

Those of you who either ‘follow’ the ISO 19650 series on our Standards Development portal (or follow me on social media) will be aware that a draft of BS EN ISO 19650-6 was made available for comment over Christmas and the New Year. The publication of BS EN ISO 19650-6 later this year will not only complete the transition of the PAS 1192 series to international standards, but also introduce much-needed guidance relating to the information management of health and safety information.

Broadly, the standard will cover three areas:

  1. What health and safety information is and how to structure this information;
  2. How to incorporate requirements relating to health and safety information into tender documentation like the exchange information requirements (EIR); and
  3. How BS EN ISO 19650-6 augments the existing process within BS EN ISO 19650-2 and BS EN ISO 19650-3.

Given all the work that is happening in the UK concerning the Building Safety Act, and the requirements to store fire and structural safety information digitally as part of the golden thread, I have no doubt that BS EN ISO 19650-6 will be a key standard for 2024.

PAS 8700 (Modern Methods of Construction)

As we’ve observed in the news throughout 2023, modern methods of construction (MMC) haven’t fared too well. With several MMC organisations filing for administration as well as issues with RAAC, confidence in the technology appears to be at a low.

To inspire confidence as well as increase the quality of homes constructed using MMC, the Department for Levelling Up Housing and Communities (DLUHC) has sponsored the production of PAS 8700. Focused on MMC-related processes and performance, PAS 8700 specifies requirements, relating to key parts of the asset lifecycle, for the use of MMC. In doing so, it considers key concepts such as design for manufacture and assembly (DfMA) and is aligned with the government’s MMC Definition Framework.

My hope is that the publication of PAS 8700 will provide the direction and confidence needed to catalyse MMC. Could 2024 be the year of MMC?

Flex 350 (Lower Carbon Concrete)

Those of us who attended trade shows last year will have no doubt seen the ever-strengthening presence of low-carbon technologies and initiatives. A highlight for me was Zero and the publication of its Zero Carbon Top Trumps.

BSI continues to recognise the importance of supporting our endeavours to meet our climate targets. A flagship publication last year was PAS 2080, which was revised to consider both building and infrastructure carbon management. This year, I’m pleased to highlight another standard sponsored by the Institution of Civil Engineers (ICE): Flex 350.

Flex 350 provides recommendations for the assessment and use of alternative binder systems. In doing so, it highlights the good practice needed to utilise systems such as geopolymers or alkali-activated concrete.

Given the speed of development around lower-carbon concrete, the use of a Flex standard will allow for rapid iterations to keep the standard in line with nascent thinking, as well as initiatives such as the ICE low Carbon Concrete Routemap. Published last October, work is already underway to deliver another iteration in 2024.

Bonus: BS 8670-1 (Building Safety Competence Framework)

Finally, it would be remiss of me to not mention the work underway to formalise Flex 8670 into a British Standard. Having undergone several iterations while the Building Safety Act and its associated instruments and amendments were published, Flex 8670 is now being formalised.

Through formalisation, the good practice guidance within it will be maintained by a BSI committee, CPB/1.

Like many of our innovative standards (eg PAS 55 (asset management) and PAS 1192 (building information modelling)), Flex 8670’s good practice will be subsumed into our national portfolio. Hopefully this transition will mirror the acceptance of the building safety competencies into business as usual.

And there we have it. To note, these are just some of the standards that BSI is publishing this year to support the built environment sector, and the wider UK economy. To discover what other standards relating to the built environment are being published this year, keep an eye on our web page, our social media channels, and events such as our monthly built environment webinars.

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]

Latest articles in Explainers