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PfS to pilot Soft Landings on new schoolsDecember 2009

An influential report has recommended that PfS (Partnership for Schools) should immediately begin piloting Soft Landings in schools procured under the Government's £45 bn Building Schools for the Future (BSF) programme.

Beyond Buildings: Procuring BSF Sustainability, a report by the Westminster Sustainable Business Forum, reports on an inquiry on the sustainability of the BSF programme and its delivery against its ambitions. The report recommends that: "PfS should immediately begin piloting Soft Landings in BSF schools."

Speaking at the report's launch at House of Commons, Vernon Coaker, Minister of State for Schools said: "I am interested in the report's proposals about Soft Landings. It's clearly vital that new schools manage their facilities properly, and minimise energy consumption. PfS is keen to pilot this approach, and I look forward to seeing their results."

In response, Tim Byles, Chief Executive of PfS, said that Soft Landings will: "ensure people have got the right tools to manage these facilities going forward. We are going to go ahead and pilot the methodology, which also has a wide application right across the schools estate."

BSRIA welcomes the report's recommendations, and the commitment from BSF to pilot Soft Landings. Building analyst Roderic Bunn, BSRIA's manager of the Soft Landings process, said: "It's excellent news that PfS is adopting Soft Landings, and BSRIA looks forward to working with PfS and other bodies working in the BSF programme to help apply and refine the Soft Landings methodology."

The WSBF report also makes recommendations particularly those relating to the use of post-occupancy evaluation. BSRIA strongly agrees with the conclusions that "Government should immediately commission a systematic study of academies", and also that BSF's use of post-occupancy evaluation must be "sufficiently rigorous."

"It is very easy to apply simple post-occupancy evaluations that do little more than scratch the surface of a school building's performance," warned Roderic Bunn. "Tick-box assessments based on walkthroughs can be useful, but it is also vital to gain a proper understanding of how and where energy is being used, and the reasons for any excess consumption. That requires a deeper forensic analysis of the school, using energy analyses and occupant surveys."

Beyond Buildings: Procuring BSF Sustainability, is available to download from the Policy Connect website.

More information

Visit BSRIA's Soft Landings web pages for more information on Soft Landings, including a free download of the framework, FAQs and details of BSRIA's Soft Landings User Group can be found at BSRIA offers independent, specialist services to support companies implementing Soft Landings, including post occupancy evaluations and energy audits.

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