How measured surveys support ‘the golden thread’ in construction projects

Mark Johnson
Survey Insight by Mark Johnson National Accounts Manager 19/03/2024

As the construction industry embraces ‘the golden thread’, we’ve taken a look at how measured survey data is essential in maintaining accurate information throughout a building’s lifecycle.


How measured surveys support ‘the golden thread’ in construction projects

From feasibility to demolition

In recent years, one term has made waves across the construction industry: the golden thread.  

The golden thread has evolved from a mere concept to become a crucial element of any construction project, encompassing information which spans the entire lifecycle of a building – from feasibility to demolition.  

As the golden thread continues to solidify its place in the industry, measured surveys are emerging as a pivotal component in ensuring documented information remains accurate and up-to-date. 

In this article, we’ve explored how measured surveys support the golden thread to help create safer, more efficient and more effective built environments.  

What is ‘the golden thread’ in construction?

‘The golden thread’ is a clear, structured line of information which flows throughout a building’s lifecycle.  

It was introduced by Dame Judith Hackitt in her report – Building a safer future -following the 2017 Grenfell Tower fire. It is now part of the Building Safety Act 2022.  

The golden thread consists of data relating to a building – including design, construction, maintenance, safety regulations, sustainability and more. 

Serving as a building’s single source of truth, it should be digitally stored, secure, easy-to-use and available whenever needed. 

Ideally, everyone involved in a building will have access – from architects and contractors, to landlords and building managers.  

By maintaining the golden thread, we can ultimately deliver safer, more efficient and higher quality buildings – which meet the needs of today and the future. 

How measured surveys support ‘the golden thread’ in construction projects
Understanding what is included in a topographic survey

How do measured surveys support the golden thread in construction projects?

There are a number of ways measured surveys support the golden thread:

Accurate initial data capture

According to the UK government’s advice on understanding the golden thread, the record should be established at the start of a project, featuring critical information from the design and construction phases, including building measurements.

Measured surveys provide accurate information about an existing building, capturing its dimensions, structural elements and spatial relationships. 

This data is vital as architects and construction professionals use it as the foundation of their work. It’s then utilised and referenced throughout construction and beyond. 

Measured surveys therefore support the golden thread by accurately capturing initial building data – and helping lay the groundwork for a seamless flow of information throughout a building’s lifecycle. 


BIM integration

Building Information Modelling (BIM) forms a digital representation of a building. All stakeholders can work from it – and data associated with the building can be linked to it, forming the basis of the golden thread. 

Measured survey data can be directly integrated into BIM models or used to deliver Revit® models. This ensures the digital representation of a building accurately aligns with its physical attributes – and creates a precise and comprehensive golden thread.  

This is especially pertinent as digital construction tools – such as BIM – are a key part of most construction projects. 

In fact, Building’s ‘Long Term Plan for Construction’ report outlines that the next digital revolution in the construction industry is on its way – and firms yet to fully adopt digital tools (like BIM and digital twins) should do so as a matter of urgency. 

Revit® building model

Measured building survey enables fire safety improvements at Savills’ residential building

CADS’ survey team was selected by Savills to deliver a measured survey to include GIA (gross internal area) and NIA (net internal area) calculations of luxury Mayfair apartments.

Read case study

Design and construction validation

A key purpose of the golden thread is creating a single source of truth which can be used to validate accuracy when making decisions.  

Measured surveys provide this data within the golden thread, so plans can be validated against the physical reality of the building. 

Architects can consult this information to ensure their design plans are viable. Project teams can also use the data to verify that their work aligns with the initial designs.  

This reduces errors and discrepancies within construction projects and ensures all information within the golden thread is up-to-date and accurate. 

Regulatory compliance

A key part of the golden thread is information relating to safety and regulations.  

It should show that a completed building, and any additional works, meet building regulations – and include any information which can be used to identify, manage and mitigate safety risks.  

Measured survey data serves as a reliable foundation for making sure a building complies with regulations. It records details of a building’s physical attributes, so can be used to ensure adequate space for accessibility requirements, verify structural integrity and check fire safety measures. 

An example of this is our recent project with Savills. Our measured survey data helped Savills make fire safety improvements at a London property to comply with new regulations – and will be recorded in the golden thread. 

Navigating property development success: The crucial role of accurate GIA and NIA measurements
Mechanical, electrical and plumping (MEP)

Maintenance and change management

The UK government’s aforementioned advice on the golden thread outlines that once building work is complete, the information should be handed over to the relevant ‘Accountable Persons’. 

This information can then be used by those who are responsible for the building during its operational phase, such as facilities managers, landlords or estate managers. 

As-built data from measured surveys – recorded in the golden thread – becomes a very valuable resource. It captures the structure, architecture and MEP (mechanical, electrical and plumbing) aspects to support maintenance, renovations and facilities management, as well as identifying potential safety risks. 

Additional measured surveys can then be undertaken to capture any modifications and enhancements to the building, as the golden thread relies on up-to-date information.  

Not only does this survey data help estate managers and landlords keep accurate records, it also leaves a trail of accountability as all decisions are documented. 

Need accurate and reliable measured building survey data to support the golden thread?

Here at CADS, we can deliver the data you need.  

We work with clients across the UK and beyond, to deliver a wide range of measured survey services – including laser scan surveys, drone surveys, topographic surveys and more. 

With 40 years’ experience in the industry, we’re a trusted provider of reliable and accurate data. 

For more information about the services we provide, please get in touch. 

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