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Soft Landings

Creating the pathways to successful building operation 


Soft Landings as a concept came into being in the mid 1990’s, when Mark Wray, an architect collaborated with Adrian Leaman, both colleagues from their days at RMJM to develop a framework which sought to learn the lessons and prevent the issues of poor commissioning of buildings that was evident in Leaman and Bordass’s Building User Surveys (BUS) programme.

Wray took up the offer from the Building Services Research and Information Association (BSRIA) to write and then publish Soft Landings as a formal handover and commissioning governance methodology.

Ultimately the Soft Landings framework, which has just received a refresh in 2018 to become BG58/2018, is the means whereby the design and operational intent is managed through design, construction and early occupation.



The main components of the methodology which increased from 5 to 6 stages after the 2018 update are:


1.       Inception and briefing: here we work with the client team to evaluate the brief for the project. Using our unique Agile in Buildings process to assist in defining where the value for the building users is, then clarifying the duties of each of the client and design team stakeholders and set the important technical requirements for the building's performance in use.

2.       Design development:  In this stage we hold two pit-stop reviews of the design progress, one midway through RIBA Stage 2: Concept and the second midway through Stage 3 : Developed Design, to make sure the design is on track to meet the clients and users requirements, keeping a  focus on its feasibility, build-ability and commission-ability.

3.       Construction: co-ordinate the actions of designers, builders, and maintenance facilities operators to prepare the building systems to be commissioned and for the operations personnel to take possession for post-occupancy operation, which includes a training plan. A further design check pit stop evaluates the contractor portion of the design to see that it has interpreted the Stage 2 design correctly and is still meeting users objectives.

4.       Pre-handover: is where our sustained expertise and support for pre-handover activities and planning assists the contractors to develop a commissioning quality plan and to aid the operations and facilities teams to understand what optimal performance looks like, and then deliver it.

5.      Initial-Aftercare sees us provide ongoing support and expertise in the first 4 to 6 weeks after moving in to monitor and review the building and facilities performance.  Undertaking walkabouts and taking intial feedback from users who are just settling in.

6.      Extended aftercare and POE :  In this phase the constructor is encouraged to stay with the building to assist the operator to deliver the target building systems performance in the first year of operation. This allows the operator's FM team the time to gain the knowledge and expertise to understand the design intent, and what optimum operation looks like.  The period also allows the team to conduct a post occupancy evaluation study to gather structured data on the buildings performance and how it is being perceived by users. It also helps the FM teams understand what defects exist, and if there is further work that needs to be done contractually to put things right in the lead up to the end of an extended defects period.


With our level of expertise in design, and knowledge of Post Occupancy Evaluation, we are well placed to provide an independent or neutral soft landings and technical advisory service to undertake the complete soft landings process with a view to arriving at an operationally successful, conflict free project for all.   Success is always built upon early involvement to put in place a structured framework, and the promotion of a collaborative progressive approach between Ollio, the designers, contractors and the client teams.


Government Soft Landings

GSL takes Soft Landings a step further, by adding BIM elements, to develop a layer of building performance information modelling into the virtual model of the building. It sometimes integrates energy and performance in use metrics of the building for comparison with design data. All areas that we are able to assist with.


Soft Landings Champion

At Ollio, we can offer a complete Soft Landings management service, acting as the Soft Landings Champion on behalf of the client, or as the Soft Landings Coordinator on behalf of the contractor. Our innate abilities as designers give us an added advantage in our understanding and communication with all stakeholders, leading to more enlightened and productive outcomes, as opposed to a simple paperwork and box ticking exercise.



In addition, we offer a service to constructors tasked with integrating Soft Landings implementation into their own site management quality systems. We have expertise in integrating health and safety, sustainability and soft landings advice into checklists for monitoring progress at level.


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