Soft Landings and Government Soft Landings - A convergence guide for construction projects
The term 'soft landings' refers to a strategy adopted to ensure the transition from construction to occupation is 'bump-free' and that operational performance is optimised.
In September 2012 the Cabinet Office announced that by 2016 all centrally-funded projects should be delivered in accordance with Government Soft Landings (GSL) as part of the public sector adoption of Building Information Modelling (BIM).
The government describes GSL as '...the process of aligning the interests of those who design and construct an asset with the interests of those who use and manage it. It aims to improve client and user experiences, with reduced re-visits, and to give a product that meets and performs to client expectations.' The creation of GSL was driven by the Government Construction Board, and it is now developed by the GSL Stewardship Group.
The BSRIA Soft Landings Framework is developed by the BSRIA Soft Landings Group. It is an open-source framework intended to '…smooth the transition into use and to address problems that post-occupancy evaluations (POEs) show to be widespread'. It was first published in 2009 and was updated in 2014 to align with the RIBA 2013 work stages. It can be downloaded at http://www.softlandings.org.uk.
In August 2015, BSRIA published Soft Landings & Government Soft Landings, A Convergence Guide For Construction Projects. It was authored by Ashley Bateson on behalf of the BSRIA Soft Landings Group. The briefing note provides an overview of GSL and compares it with the BSRIA Soft Landings Framework.
BSRIA state, 'There are some crucial differences between BSRIA's Soft Landings and those of GSL. This guide compares the attributes of BSRIA's Soft Landings Framework and GSL and reviews both methodologies to ensure that the lessons learnt will result in improvements, not just in the process, but also in building performance and occupant comfort.'
In very broad terms, the BSRIA Soft Landings Framework encourages increased collaboration and awareness of outcomes through stakeholder workshops and design reviews, with programme and format defined by the Soft Landings Champion. GSL on the other hand, is more prescriptive in relation to the BIM process being checked against project targets.
Other differences include:
- GSL recommends the appointment of a departmental Soft Landings Champion, whereas the Soft Landings Framework recommends both the client and the project delivery team have a Soft Landings Champion.
- GSL is aligned with BIM, (although it does not require it) whereas the Soft Landings Framework does not refer to BIM (although it can be used).
- GSL provides a mechanism for monitoring costs, whereas the Soft Landings Framework does not (although cost can be included as an objective).
- GSL sets targets at RIBA stage 0 / 1, whereas the Soft Landings Framework sets targets at stage 2.
- The Soft Landings Framework is less prescriptive about project objectives.
Mitch Layng, Portfolio Energy Manager, M&G Real Estate, said: “This should assist in achieving the seismic shift which is required in the industry to achieve what a lot of experts believe is the industry's Holy Grail: demonstrating how well-designed energy efficient and well-managed buildings can result in improved occupant health and wellbeing and, potentially, productivity.”
 Related articles on Designing Buildings Wiki
- Building information modelling.
- Building performance evaluation.
- Building performance metrics.
- Client commissioning.
- Defects liability period.
- Extended aftercare.
- Government construction strategy.
- Handover to client.
- Initial aftercare.
- Lessons learned report.
- Medical Research Council Laboratory of Molecular Biology soft landings project.
- Migration strategy.
- Post occupancy evaluation.
- Post project review.
- Performance in use.
- Soft landings.
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