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At its heart, Soft Landings is a mindset - delivering better buildings by setting requirements at the start of the project, and then maintaining the focus on those throughout the project from inception to completion and beyond. Soft Landings should not be seen as yet another burden for delivery teams to deal with, on top of all their other duties. Instead it should be seen as complementary to existing processes, highlighting existing activities which can be used to ensure that the client’s success criteria are kept in focus and achieved.
The Soft Landings 6-Phase approach describes how this should be done:
Phase 1: Inception and briefing Soft Landings helps to establish client requirements and associated success criteria. It also commits those joining the design and construction team to follow through after handover. It advises the team to begin allocating responsibilities for ongoing reviews of design intent and anticipated performance, and to prepare for the other Soft Landings-related activities required.
Phase 2: Design Brings the entire project team together to review insights from comparable projects and detail how the building will work from the point of view of the manager and individual user. Agreeing the energy strategy – and the metering and monitoring strategy – and the approach to commissioning, ensuring they are regular items for discussion and covered in relevant tenders. Review the proposed systems for usability and maintainability, and reality-check as systems turn into actual installed products.
Phase 3: Construction Soft Landings requires the team to be fully aware of the project’s success criteria. It also requires the facilities manager and the end users’ representative to be much more closely involved in the project, especially in the decisions which affect operation and management of the delivered building.
Phase 4: Pre-handover Graduated handover enables operators to spend more time on understanding interfaces and systems before occupation. Revisit the outputs from earlier reality-checking decisions and ensure the suggested actions are in place. Ensure the BMS is set up the way the client intended - energy data reconciliation and data storage, and the energy monitoring software. Also ensure the metering is working properly and will deliver real insights into energy use.
Phase 5: Initial aftercare The project team to be resident on site for a period of time to spot emerging problems and issues. Go walkabout regularly and chat to people, find out how systems are operating and whether they meet occupants’ expectations and actual requirements. Adjust where necessary and report back. Help the asset managers understand what they’ve inherited. Measure and monitor – but don’t rush to judgement.
Phase 6: Years 1 - 3 extended after care and POE The period of longer-term, less intensive monitoring and support. Involves a series of aftercare review meetings – monthly to begin with, but could quickly become quarterly. Ensure that the energy monitoring is set up and working well. Conduct systematic post-occupancy evaluation no sooner than 12 months post-handover, repeated at 12 month intervals and culminating in a final project review at month 36.
Download free Soft Landings guides including the Soft Landings Framework, and the Soft Landings Core Principles for more detailed information.
Soft Landings guides including Framework and Core Principles (free download for BSRIA Members)