The UK BIM Task Group sets out how to implement the Governments Soft Landings and develop these into effective Departmental and/or Project Specific plans. Departments need understanding and engagement in the following key areas:-
- Roles and Responsibilities Accountability and responsibility, collaborative engagement, right skills utilised at the right time.
- Focus on outcomes Setting briefs to meet the required outcomes and ensuring these are delivered.
- Aftercare and Post Occupancy Evaluation Supporting the needs of the End Users, evaluating success in project delivery, lessons learnt and knowledge share.
- Performance Management Evaluating the success of the finished product and the performance of the team in delivering it.
- Contracts and Procurement Identify and build in the project specific needs into the procurement process.
Roles and Responsibilities
In Soft Landings, the client is an active participant, and leads the process at the outset to develop the roles and responsibilities. This should include client representatives, all key design professionals, and the supply chain. The people involved in this process should be the actual individuals who will work on the project
The client has an obligation to identify and make key people available for consultation and reporting (an obligation also on the supply chain).To the extent possible, this should include all technical people, and personnel with a stake in the management or subsequent operation of the building, such as facilities managers and caretakers.
The client should ask their construction professionals to ensure continuity of personnel. It is not unusual for bid teams to win a project, only then for a different set of people to work on the job. Realistically this cannot be prevented, but clients can ask organisations for greater continuity as part of their Soft Landings commitment.
Organisations appointed later need to be brought into the Soft Landings team. Outline roles and responsibilities should therefore be included in tender documentation. Greater effort should be made to bring in key specialists to advise on design development earlier than would be the norm, such as the commissioning engineer, and the facilities manager (where appointed). Suppliers and sub-contractors whose input is central to building performance should also be involved in early discussions. These should include the controls designer or engineer, lighting controls supplier, and catering and IT suppliers.
Where these people are not available or yet to be appointed, proxies in the form of industry specialists should be invited to comment in a (non-contractual) advisory capacity. This input, which might be provided for free, will help those with Soft Landings roles and responsibilities to appreciate all the issues and opportunities before options are closed down.
All aftercare activities should be agreed early in the project (no later than tender stage), even if the client opts to issue a separate contract for aftercare services rather than extend the main contract to cover the three years of aftercare. The aftercare roles and responsibilities – along with any specific performance targets.
Focus on outcomes
Setting briefs to meet the required outcomes and ensuring these are delivered. There should be a clear and expressed commitment by the client and project team to follow-through with Soft Landings aftercare activities, and to observe, fine-tune and review performance for three years post-completion. The aftercare activities should aim to achieve the Soft Landings performance objectives, and any targets agreed at the design stage
Aftercare and Post Occupancy Evaluation
Supporting the needs of the End Users, evaluating success in project delivery, lessons learnt and knowledge share. Soft Landings includes a three-year aftercare period. By the end of year one the building should have settled down. By year two, the building should have entered stable operation, during which time the energy data should be reviewed and adjustments recommended in a quest to improve performance .The second year will also involve fine-tuning, at the end of which a structured post-occupancy evaluation (POE) should be carried out. The third year will be a period where the aftercare team respond to findings from the POE, make any necessary interventions, and maintain their monitoring of the building’s performance and energy consumption.
Evaluating the success of the finished product and the performance of the team in delivering it. The frequency of site visits should tail off as the building settles down and monitoring becomes routine .The aftercare process should culminate in a final POE to measure and report the building’s performance (primarily energy performance and occupant satisfaction) against the agreed performance objectives, and any specific targets required by the client.
Contracts and Procurement
The UK BIM Task Group notes that Soft Landings does not significantly affect standard procurement processes and contract conditions and offer the following practical guidance:
As with all contracts, specific Departmental or project requirements are built into the contracts.
Soft Landings is just part of this procurement process. The need to design for the project specific requirements is built into the early stages of each of the process maps. It is a simple concept, based around defining the needs prior to procurement, embedding targets and support requirements into the scope of works, specifications and plan of works.
In summary, the procurement of Soft Landings is inherent and built in through working with the process maps and guidance documents. Defects liability periods and warranty provisions can be extended to support the principles if required, possibly focused on critical areas. Any such decision needs to be made in conjunction with a review of retention and assurance provisions.