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Operance Flies the Flag for Innovation at the 2023 Housing Digital Awards

Feb 28, 2023 | Inside Operance, News, Team

Two weeks ago, the Operance team attended the Housing Digital Awards at Birmingham’s Edgbaston Arena where we were finalists for no less than 5 awards!

As we all work remotely, it was a special occasion for the team because we got the chance to meet some of the Operance family. Our team works from all over the world, including South Africa, Canada, Ireland, and the United Kingdom. We also had the pleasure of meeting our Chief Financial Officer, Tajinder Sandhu, for the first time.

Operance has truly embraced the remote working lifestyle, the opportunity to socialise and work together in person was a significant milestone that we will cherish for years to come.

We attended the Housing Digital Awards as a sponsor but also as an award contender. A nomination for any award is an honour, but being nominated for five emphasises the team’s dedication and hard work in making this dream a reality.

Our mission set out by our founders, Ian YeoScott Pilgrim and Tim Mutlow is to ‘manage the world’s building information for safer, harmonious places for everyone’ and we are aiming to do this with the world’s first Golden Thread platform; a single source of truth.

The Housing Digital Awards were full of inspiring businesses and individuals who are doing their part to provide housing to people all over the UK and beyond, improving the lives of those in the most need. One inspiring story from the Housing Digital Awards was that of John Volanthen, the world-record holding British cave diver who found and successfully helped rescue 12 boys from Thailand’s Tham Luang caves. John’s story hit home for the Operance team because of that same dedication to helping save and improve the lives of others.

We want to say a big congratulations to Raven Housing Trust who won our sponsored award “Best Digital Transformation”

Here’s a round-up of the 5 categories we were finalists in…

Most Innovative Consultancy

A major highlight for the Operance team at this year’s Housing Digital Awards was winning the most innovative consultancy award. We create and use O&M data to operate and maintain facilities in one single source of truth, but this would not be possible without the services team who work tirelessly with each client to understand their needs, the data that is required and what the O&M creation process looks like. With our most recent appointment of Dave Peacock as head of BIM delivery, our CEO Ian Yeo and our BIM Manager Eric Lee this award would not have been possible.

We had to demonstrate how we used innovative to create efficiencies for our clients in order to win this award. Over the years, Operance has spent a significant amount of time attending workshops and working groups such as the Housing Asset Data Group led by OSCRE and HACT, and the Golden Thread Initiative, which has resulted in the development of innovative data templates to define the information requirements as a baseline for the Social Residential sector. Our in-house consultants used innovative by working with clients to convert their data templates into smart data within the Operance platform.

To win this award, we had to show how our consultancy differed from others in the industry and what lessons the social housing industry could learn from us. As consultants, we assist people in understanding their problems and provide practical solutions. Because we’ve developed a semi-automated process for collecting and creating useful building information, our BIM consultants charge significantly less than anyone else on the market. What distinguishes Operance from the competition is that we have discovered ways to reduce costs for our clients while focusing on return on investment for them rather than us.

To complete our award application, we had to describe how we intend to innovate in the future. To generate further added value for our clients, we constantly develop our own internal tools in which to create greater efficiencies in the way we deliver our consultancy services. For instance, by developing our own BCF viewer, a tool in which to evaluate clash and coordination issues between designs, we can provide more realistic reports on how many design issues need designing out, in a prioritised and conservative manner. This helps clients and contractors save thousands of pounds on projects by finding issues before they get to the site.

We also strive to be thought leaders at Operance.  We believe that one thing we do well differently is to educate those in the markets we serve. People from social housing organisations and local governments attended the Housing Digital Awards. By breaking down Building and Fire Safety Act responsibilities into small bite-size chunks in both consultations and articles, we hoped to provide value for free and assist social housing associations and local governments in understanding their responsibilities under the Building and Fire Safety Act. We believe it is critical to improve the lives of those around us by volunteering our time and knowledge to make the process easier for those we serve, and we hope that in return, we are contributing to making the lives of owners and occupiers safer and more harmonious for everyone.

What the Judges had to say;

“Operance’s BIM digital toolkit is a welcomed service, benefitting the sector as a whole for free, especially for clients for whom BIM is too unwieldly. An innovative consultancy operating model.”

To discuss how our Services team could help your organisation, arrange a call with our Head of Digital Services Dave Peacock:

Best Fire Safety Innovation

We were overjoyed to be nominated for “Best Fire Safety Innovation,” as the Operance software aspires to be the world’s first purpose-built Golden Thread platform. Our software was developed simultaneously with the building and fire safety acts. It felt great to be recognised for our contributions to fire safety innovation, as well as to know that our software is making a difference in the social housing market by improving fire safety and making homes safer and more harmonious for everyone.

To be nominated in this category, we had to show how innovative our software was. We are developing methods for the fire service to access that information prior to an emergency and educating them on the HRBs in their service area before an emergency. The product is useful not only for the owners of high-rise buildings, their operators, and their occupants but also for the fire safety service by collaborating with fire safety experts.

We also had to highlight the emerging technology that we use to provide high-quality fire protection. One of the biggest problems within the industry now is the physical fire emergency information boxes. They are in such high demand, but those boxes have become very scarce and very high-priced. That’s just one example of how digital can help. So, by providing that information, it should also be updated and instantly accessible all the time rather than printing it out and then sending it to the site, putting it in the box, and replacing the old information. It’s instantly accessible from anywhere.

We’d like to thank the Housing Digital Awards for the nomination and congratulate the winners, ONE Engage.

Arrange a demonstration of our Fire Safety capabilities today: .

Most Innovative Product (Software)

‘Most Innovative Product (Software)’ was our next category nomination. It was an honour to be nominated for this award because the Operance platform is a software-based solution. By defining, creating, accessing, and maintaining Operation & Maintenance documents, our software aims to manage the world’s building information. This is our unique approach to transforming traditional O&M information methods.

To be considered for this award, we had to demonstrate how the Operance O&M platform meets market needs. Some features we focused on from our software were the Operance Building Safety module prioritises golden thread audit trails, gateway management, HRB Registration, Building Safety Case & Safety Case Reporting, with Mandatory Occurrence Reporting.

We also had to show how the Operance software was used by clients and what the results were. The Operance Digital O&M module was released in November 2021, with contractors and modular builders placing orders for hundreds of projects and a variety of facilities across the Education, Healthcare, Defence and Housing sectors.

In releasing the module to contractors first, Operance was able to test the platform on a project-by-project basis, meaning early bugs and incomplete workflows were quickly found and resolved. It also ensured, along with government funding, that we were able to fund the development of ‘golden thread’ features.

Congratulations to the winner, Voicescape and thank you to Housing Digital for the nomination.

Arrange a demonstration of our software today: .

Best Use of an Emerging Technology in House Building

This final category nomination was especially meaningful for the Operance team because we nominated our co-founder, Chief Product Officer, and visionary Scott Pilgrim.

Scott is a council estate-born bricklayer turned construction and property manager turned software entrepreneur. Having lived in higher-risk buildings during childhood and experienced the risks associated with these buildings and in developing building information, Scott has dedicated his life to solving age-old problems with new-age technologies. But he knows it takes more than just experience and passion, it takes a highly motivated team to help do it.

His vision, passion, and experience in the industry, as well as through his company Operance, made him the ideal candidate for Innovation champion, and it was an honour for the team to see his efforts recognised with this nomination.

For Scott to make the shortlist we had to answer some fundamental questions to reflect his innovative spirit. We had to highlight how Scott had shown passion and belief in innovation. Having co-founded the company back in 2016, Scott is still determined to maintain a start-up mentality for as long as possible, emulating Silicon Valley’s fast-paced, innovative mindset.

This mentality encourages the team to develop technology solutions to help the construction and property industry improve the standards and quality of building information, the bedrock of innovating further within the industry. Scott encourages employees to view their week with an 80:20 ratio, with 20% of time dedicated towards innovation, no matter what their role.

We also had to demonstrate how Scott could drive change and achieve buy-in from others; Scott understands that buy-in from customers drives the innovation of the product. But, whilst running any business is about solving problems for customers; you have stakeholders, who expect Operance to develop an innovative solution to a serious problem and make a fair profit along the way.

Scott must therefore balance the buy-in from customers alongside the buy-in from investors and staff. As a co-founder, he knows he can’t make all the key decisions by himself which is why his passion permeates through everyone. Staff are part owners of the company, so everyone has a shared goal of making the construction industry and specifically building information more efficient than it has ever been. This is not just to make money but to save lives.

We were honoured to see our “Chief Visionary” nominated for this award, and we wanted to thank Housing Digital for recognising his efforts through his company Operance to create safer and more harmonious places for everyone. Congratulations to the winner Tom Robins from Switche.

Arrange a chat with our Chief Product Officer Scott Pilgrim today:

Innovation Champion

Another outstanding category we had the privilege of being nominated for was ‘Best Use of an Emerging Technology in House Building’. As you can imagine, being a software company developing something that has never been done before, the world’s first Golden Thread platform we had a lot to share with the judges.

The judges asked Operance to demonstrate how technology has enabled us to do things better and more efficiently. The Operance technology was designed in accordance with the government’s soft landings policy, which requires duty holders to have access to information as soon as possible so that they can learn and understand the building. They can provide feedback on the information’s quality, and it can be checked and audited. They use the mobile application while on or off-site to see what information has been automatically assigned to specific equipment such as boilers. If the information is incorrect, they can instantly update and edit it, updating and learning about the building from concept to handover. These are known as phase gates. Our cutting-edge technology allows Facilities Management and Operations and Maintenance data to be stored, accessed, and updated on the same platform, which has never been done before.

Following that, we were asked to provide proof of this technology and explain how it has benefited the industry. The evidence is in the quality of the building information we are providing. The emerging technologies that we used to create it and the information we provide to clients is unlike anything else on the market today. Focusing on the building data, you can use our instantly searchable Google search tool within the app to find information down to the component level. This is powered by keyword searches such as ‘boiler’, and all information about your boiler appears instantly across your entire state. This is possible because we pioneered smart data templates and Artificial Intelligence image classification technology.

The feedback from customers is evidence that our software has improved the efficiency and understanding of registering clients’ High-Rise Buildings in line with the Golden Thread Building Safety acts.

It was an honour to have been nominated for this award and we wanted to thank the sponsor of the award Tricas Construction and the winner Midland Heart.

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