1. What is Government Soft Landings?
Government Soft Landings is about adopting a mind-set and a process to align design and construction with operational asset management and purpose. This alignment means that the needs of the end-user, will be considered and addressed throughout the design process. Designers and contractors will be involved with the building beyond its construction completion to ensure that handover becomes a smooth process, operators are trained, and optimum performance outcomes become a focus of the whole team.
2. Why is there a problem?
Adopting a new asset should be a positive experience. However, the gap between the client/design expectations and delivered performance is often very significant, e.g.
Planning for asset management does not start early enough leading to wasted time and resource before the asset becomes fully operational.
The transition from completion to operation often takes considerable time, effort and resource before the predicted performance is achieved.
Quite often, actual performance, especially energy, does not match the predicted performance.
Aspects of user and maintainer needs are often overlooked resulting in additional expenditure being required to enable the required business functions to be conducted.
Understanding how the asset should operate is often a costly process of trial and error.
With better planning and engagement we can:
- Improve productivity from asset use
- Reduced their running costs
- Improve certainty in project and operating costs
- Reduce the time needed to reach designed performance
- Capture feedback and knowledge for better portfolio planning
These problems were identified as part of the Government Construction Strategy, and this is why the policy has been developed.
3. How does it work?
By adopting the mind-set and process required by Government Soft Landings we can align the interests of procurers, constructors and designers with users and operators. Taking the actions below will achieve this alignment:
- Engage with end users throughout design and delivery process
- Set clear targets and measures for:
- Functionality & Effectiveness; so that the working environment is conducive to productivity and social well-being.
- Operational and capital costs; to reduce costs in construction and operation.
- Environmental Performance; to meet carbon and other sustainability targets.
- Commission the facility with the inclusion of training in partnership with end users
- Assess performance for at least three years post completion to establish outcomes and lessons learnt
- Involve the design team in the early operating phase to tune performance and ensure target outcomes
4. How does it work with BIM?
BIM contains a series of review points called information exchanges at which information and outputs need to be reviewed against the performance outcomes identified at the start of the project. These reviews are based around plain language questions that can then be confirmed by design information and data.
Conducting these reviews with end users and operators is an essential part of the GSL approach.
As the project progresses and design is developed a significant amount of information and data can be used to answer these questions about performance. As BIM is developed it will become possible to automatically collect a lot of this data. It is anticipated that through the use of BIM, operational information will be collected in seconds and not the hours that it would have taken before.
5. What does it mean for the construction team?
The construction team will develop a much better knowledge of how the asset should operate during use, and a smoother commissioning and handover process will occur because of the involvement of maintainers, end-users and operators.
This should also support the construction team in the following:
- Engagement with end users and operators supporting a right first time approach to design and minimising late changes.
- Optimising of design performance resulting in a better product.
- Improved understanding of sector needs helping success of future bids.
- Competitive advantage in cost / design and expenditure through sustained learning.
6. What does it mean for the client?
GSL provides the client with an opportunity to achieve assets that:
- Achieve the performance outcomes specified at the outset of the project.
- Address operational needs and running costs adding to the efficiency of their business.
- Are cheaper to construct and operate and do not require changes after handover because user and operator needs have been assessed throughout the design process
- Meet their optimum performance much quicker because they will have designers and the construction team involved in optimising their operation.
Clients learn to understand how design will influence operational costs and service delivery.
To achieve the above clients must have their operators and users involved throughout the design and construction process as powerful influencers of decision making. This is achieved through the engagement of a GSL Lead or Champion for the project.
Clients will also need to look at the use of assets for up to three years from the start of operations, and assess how well the design, its maintenance and use has been carried out in supporting it to meet its original performance targets.
The client procurement teams need to consider how these requirements for GSL are purchased. Documents are being prepared to reflect these new requirements along with further guidance for GSL.
Guidance for the implementation of GSL is being developed for the departments and a Stewardship Group is also being established for GSL Department Leads.
7. What does it mean for the designers?
GSL provides the designers with an opportunity to:
- Address the operational needs and running costs adding to the effectiveness of their design.
- Improve their knowledge of asset performance and how assets should be designed.
- Provide more cost effective design and operation without requiring changes after handover because user and operator needs have been assessed and provided through the design.
- Be involved in learning how their designs are used which will improve knowledge for future design and proposals.
- Explain how their asset is intended to be used and contribute to optimal performance being reached as soon as possible
To achieve the above designers must have operators and users involved throughout the design process as strong influencers of decision making. The operator/user input is achieved through the engagement of a GSL Lead / Champion for the project.
Designers will be working with operators and clients and return on a regular basis soon after operation to make sure that the asset is being used as planned. They work with the user and maintainers to see how optimum performance can be achieved.
Designers also need to be able to consider Chartered Institution of Building Services Engineers (CIBSE) TM39 : Building Energy Metering guidance so that when a building is operational it is straightforward to assess its in-use energy consumption against the planned design.
Guidance for the implementation of GSL is being developed for the departments and a Stewardship Group is to be established for GSL Department Leads. As understanding of its implementation is achieved then the Guidance and Policy will be updated.
8. What does it mean for the operator / maintainer?
GSL provides the operators / maintainers with the opportunity to:
- Have a significant influencing role in the strategic planning and design of assets to contribute to assets that can be effectively maintained and meet the clients’ needs.
- Have assets that are easier to operate without requiring changes after they have come into use
- Have a dialogue with the maintainers, constructors and clients about how effective operations are to be delivered and maintained.
Operators need to be able to work with the designers in informing the operation and design of the asset during the design process. The sooner that this can take place in the process the better.
After a new asset has come into use, operators need to undertake the following activities:
- Monitor operations to ensure that the asset is being used and operated in accordance with the original design intent; where this is not the case the operational differences need to be recorded so that the impact on the original design can be assessed.
- Support the client in the Post Operational Evaluation by collecting feedback on performance.
- Work with the client and designers to ensure that the energy assessment is considered as part of the Post Operational Evaluation. It has been agreed that the Chartered Institution of Building Services Engineers (CIBSE) Technical Memorandum (TM) 22 : Energy Assessment and Reporting Methodology, will be used as part of this process.
9. What is TM39?
This is the Chartered Institution of Building Services Engineers (CIBSE) Technical Memorandum (TM) 39 : Building Energy Metering Methodology. This guide has been developed to provide guidance for designers on how to meet the requirements of Part L of the building regulations for new non-domestic buildings.
The document is aimed at providing a straightforward approach to establishing a metering strategy for energy consumption. It should be considered with the clients operators enabling issues such as their operational and energy strategies to be considered.
Further information can be found on this through the following link:
10. What is TM22?
This is the Chartered Institution of Building Services Engineers (CIBSE) Technical Memorandum (TM 22) : Energy Assessment and Reporting Methodology. The purpose of this guidance is to make available a procedure for assessing the energy and systems performance of buildings. The guide also has software to support its implementation.
The assessment of the Energy Consumption requires some knowledge and an appropriate metering strategy (see TM39 FAQ No. 9), but its use does not require expert knowledge.
It is a requirement of the Government Soft Landings Policy that this is used in the assessment of energy consumption.
Further information can be found on this at:
11. What will it cost?
When implemented properly GSL should bring savings to clients as assets will be designed more effectively to meet their needs, cheaper to run and take less time to achieve their operational performance.
The aftercare requirement of GSL goes beyond most of the current contract forms in order to provide that designers/construction teams work with operators to deliver optimal performance of the asset in a ‘real-life’ operational environment. It is widely accepted by industry that the sudden cut off of engagement at the handover stage is a common cause of poor performance.
Aftercare and Post Occupancy Evaluation requires time and where contractors/suppliers/ designers are engaged during the competitive tender process there may be a minimal cost for their time. BSRIA give indicative costs in their Soft Landings guidance. However, these costs are more than off-set by the savings that will be delivered from improved asset performance and lessons learned. The cost of aftercare and post occupancy evaluation is usually small compared with the unintentionally high running costs that often result where optimum performance has not been achieved.
12. What / where next?
To find out further information in GSL then go to the BIM Task Group Web-site.
If you are a government department and want support in implementing GSL then you will be able to find more information about this on the BIM Task Group Web-site.