Mapping Fire Assets in a Digital Twin
Our innovation team is always looking at ways to assess our buildings using digital technology for us to pre-empt repairs and understand the spaces and places we own, without having to be physically on site. Let me introduce digital twins.
A digital twin is defined as a dynamic virtual model of an existing physical asset, or a digital copy of a physical building. Keeping a digital twin up-to date and accurate with data is fundamental, as it enables us to understand and more effectively manage our buildings. We can also use these models for our building safety cases, much more impactful than a 2D drawing!
Recently, we have been working with a 3D model of our high-rise in Runcorn, Churchill Mansions. I was invited to Churchill Mansions by our Fire Safety Officer, Michael Neilson, to see if we could import some of our fire safety assets into our model. Michael was able to give me a tour of all communal fire assets, as well as a void inspection on the top floor for individual safety measures.
We photographed each asset and recorded the details so we could replicate these within our digital twin.
Our 3D scan of Churchill Mansions
I was amazed at how many different fire prevention methods the building has. From a complex sprinkler system in every room, right down to the fire stopping cement and risers to stop the spread of flames; it really brings home the importance of prevention. After the tragedy of Grenfell, it is imperative that we have these measures in place and keep our building safety case up to date.
Examples of some of our fire assets.
Now, armed with the data, I needed to get these assets recorded in our model. SiteDesk are a company we work with that specialise in 3D data modelling, so I was able to add most of our assets here, and group them under specific categories. For example, anything used by the Fire Service could be in its own group (shown below: yellow). It was also important to add all our assets in the communal areas so our customers could find and access them quicker in an emergency.
Fire assets in SiteDesk
Overall, we added 20 communal fire safety assets to communal areas and six in each individual flat. We can now use this data as part of our Building Safety Case and use the models in collaboration with other teams in Halton Housing for things like predictive maintenance, evacuation plans and risk assessments. Our long-term goal would be to incorporate some IOT (Internet of Things) devices and sensors, enabling us to pull real-time data from the building to see how it performs.
From a landlord’s perspective, a digital twin will be a useful tool for the recently enacted Build Safety Act. We can use this model to measure up, plan repairs, but most importantly we can use it to properly manage our buildings and improve our customers lives.
For more information on SiteDesk please visit: Sitedesk - Start Your Digital Journey - Sitedesk
Ant is Innovation Analyst working in our award-winning innovation team. He works on a variety of projects that challenge new ways of managing our homes, assessing new technologies and ways of working, particularly in the area of compliance and sustainability.