Initial aftercare for completed construction works
The soft landings framework is a joint initiative between BSRIA (Building Services Research and Information Association) and UBT (Usable Buildings Trust). It is an open-source framework that is intended to ‘…smooth the transition into use and to address problems that post-occupancy evaluations (POEs) show to be widespread’ (ref Useable Buildings Trust).
The government considers that soft landings sits alongside Building Information Modelling (BIM), as BIM feeds facility management systems and helps enable future alterations to completed buildings. As a result, it is thought that in parallel to the roll out of BIM, the government may mandate a Government Soft Landings (GSL) handover protocol for central government projects by 2016.
Soft landings includes provisions for initial aftercare and extended aftercare services for three years after the completed development has been handed over for occupation. A decision to require this aftercare should be made early during the development of the project so that the necessary services can be included in tender documents and appointment agreements.
The initial aftercare period is intended to deal with immediate problems, help the occupants understand the development, and help facilities managers learn to operate it. This is a period of intensive aftercare that will typically last 4 to 6 weeks, but may be longer for complex buildings such as hospitals and shorter for simple buildings such as shops. After this, the aftercare on site will reduce, although periodic reviews will continue.
A visible and accessible soft landings team, including members of the design and construction team, should be stationed on site to receive feedback, fine tune systems and ensure proper operation of the completed development. The architect will often be the main point of contact for occupants during this period, although queries most commonly relate to the operation of building services systems, and so the they will need good access to other members of the project team.
Aftercare meetings may be held with building users to explain how the building operates, answer questions and obtain feedback. The aftercare team may also disseminate information about problems that have been encountered, and progress that has been made, perhaps by issuing fortnightly newsletters.
There may be regular ‘walkabouts’ to assess operational performance and obtain data, and there will be specific meetings with facilities managers to explain systems operation in detail and obtain feedback.
This process also provides the opportunity for the project team to learn about problems that have been encountered, assess what steps might be taken to rectify them and consider how to avoid them on future projects.
The initial aftercare period will be followed by extended aftercare during years 1-3, when outstanding issues are resolved and post occupancy evaluations are fed-back for future projects. In year 1, problems are identified, training provided and systems fine-tuned, with regular reviews. In years 2 and 3, performance is reviewed, and post occupancy surveys carried out, but with reviews becoming less frequent.
 Related articles on Designing Buildings Wiki
- BIM and facilities management.
- Building information modelling.
- Building log book.
- Building owner's manual.
- Building users guide.
- Building performance metrics.
- Client commissioning.
- Defects liability period.
- Extended aftercare.
- Government construction strategy.
- Handover to client.
- Lessons learned report.
- Medical Research Council Laboratory of Molecular Biology soft landings project.
- Migration strategy.
- Occupation of completed construction site.
- PAS 1192-2:2013
- Post occupancy evaluation.
- Post project review.
- Performance in use.
- Soft landings
- Technical guide.
Featured articles and news
Shortlist for the industry's most coveted award announced.
Government responds to Mark Farmer's review of industry, rejecting the call for a levy on clients.
Peter Hansford to examine what wider lessons can be learned from the fire.
Every project is subject to uncertainty. How can construction better understand uncertainty for performance improvement?
MAD Architects reveal their designs for a futuristic campus for electric car manufacturer.
Homebuyers could borrow more with better forecasting of energy bills, according to industry consortium's new report.
Read our introductory article on carbon capture and storage.
Have a look at Frank Gehry's Binoculars Building in Los Angeles.
BRE publish new Loss Prevention Standard seeking to minimise fire risk from ducting.
How do we tell which infrastructure projects will work?
CIAT announce the establishment of a Working Group in light of Grenfell and call for contributions.
In 1900, 15% of global population lived in cities. Now it’s over 50%. Which is why we need ‘hydroinformatics’ to consume smarter.
Have a look at these competition-winning designs for a new residential development in Eindhoven.
£6.6bn worth of contracts to build the first phase announced by the government.