About Liam Jones

United Kingdom

A smooth start – a precursor to soft landings.

My way to make buildings better is to set projects up to give them the best chance of success and end with a smooth transition to operation. The likelihood of the success of a project is a legacy of what happens in the first 10% of time. If the project sets off on the right track, there is a greater chance that better buildings can be realised and thus making way for a soft landing to the operational phase.

My idea focusses on what needs to happen during these early stages. My recent thesis, (Jones, 2016), found a number of preconditions that need to be in place from the outset of a project. Stakeholders are then able to consider a collaborative and thorough approach to design, that progression to better buildings depends upon. These are:

  1. ‘Buy in’ from all stakeholders – can this be achieved by defining their individual perception of success and guaranteeing that this will be achieved?
  2. Early engagement from all stakeholders. Open communication and collaborative working enabled by the correct contract.
  3. Performance based design – illicit the client’s desires and measure against them to achieve what they want.

The research was carried out to appraise a theoretical approach to decision making when designing buildings. The theory is written by Godfried Augenbroe and found in chapter two of Hensen and Lamberts (2011). The conclusions recognised the clear benefits of a rational approach to design and that the skills required to implement this process were largely present in industry, therefore, a small step to take. This process is necessary in order to make effective informed decisions that consider conflicting criteria – resulting in better buildings.

  1. A rational approach to decision making – the skills are present and the benefits are clear.

What has now gone before, the collaboration and detail of the process up to completion, has paved the way for a soft landing to operation (BSRIA, 2016). In order to ensure that what is designed functions as intended a smooth transition into the possession of the end user is required.

  1. A full soft landing process can over arch the suggested approach that has gone before – this also gives the best chance of realising the design intentions.

By adjusting the early stage considerations, adopting a rational approach to design and educating the users of a building, better buildings will be achieved consistently and repeatedly.


BSRIA, 2016. Soft Landings. [Online]

Available at: https://www.bsria.co.uk/services/design/soft-landings/

Hensen, J. L. M. & Lamberts, R., 2011. Building Performance Simulation for Design and Operation. s.l.:Routledge.

Jones, L., 2016. A Critical Appraisal of a Theoretical Approach to Decision Making in Construction, Plymouth University: s.n.

Designing Buildings Anywhere

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