The British Standards Institute describes Soft landings as a graduated handover of a built asset from the design and construction team to the operation and maintenance team to allow structured familiarisation of systems and components and fine tuning of controls and other building management systems [from PAS 1192-2]
"A process for the graduated handover of a new or refurbished asset/facility, where a defined period of aftercare by the design and construction team is an owner’s requirement that is planned and developed from the outset of the project [from BS 8536-1]"
Essentially soft landings strives for better outcomes for built assets through early engagement of the operational team. It is not just a handover protocol but a commitment from the design team, through construction and into operation providing emphasis on improving operational readiness and performance in use. The diagram from BSRIA below, conceptualises the typical soft landings process and activities.
The BSRIA Soft landings framework for better briefing, design, handover and building performance in use, is one of a suite of Soft Landings documents available free to download from the BSRIA website.
A Soft Landings approach is supported by BS 8536-1:2015 Briefing for design and construction and Code of practice for facilities management (Buildings infrastructure). This standard provides recommendations to ensure the design and construction of assets and facilities take into account operational and performance requirements of the owners, operators and end-users. The standard includes examples for: the brief checklist, environmental performance evaluation, social performance evaluation, economic performance evaluation, responsibility matrices, risk and opportunity assessment, questions for the owner, stakeholder identification and impact analysis and activity checklists.
The UK BIM Task Group recommends that an organisation should appoint a Soft Landings Champion to each project to:
- Represent the needs of the End Users; Occupiers, Visitors and Facilities Managers
- Actively engage with the End Users to ensure their needs are input into all stages of the project
- Actively engage with the Project Team to ensure these needs are considered at all stages of the brief, design, construction, handover and in use support
- Support the Project Manager in developing and implementing the Aftercare Plan and Post Occupancy Evaluation studies
- Supports the ongoing development of SL through the organisation
BIM actively supports the soft landings process and the 3D model plus simulations allow end-users to visualise and understand how the asset will work in use during the design and construction stages. The plain language questions and data drops can be used to test the predicted and actual performance of an asset. A template Soft Landing Delivery Plan has been developed and is avaliable to download.