BSRIA has published a guide to explain to construction companies how they can comply with government requirements for “government soft landings” – the handover process that helps facilities managers to get the most out of the building’s design.
Compliance will become mandatory next year for contractors and consultants on projects procured by central government.
The government soft landing (GSL) process is intended to ensure that the BIM data compiled by the project team during the construction phase is fully exploited by the owner’s engineers.
The project team is therefore expected to use the model to provide “a fully populated asset dataset” that can be input into computer-aided FM systems.
The general aim of the GSL process is to promote a “culture of collaboration” between the project team and the end users through stakeholder workshops and design reviews. It also encourages the end user to become actively involved in the evolution of the building’s design.
More specifically, each government department procuring a building will be required to appoint a GSL champion, who will speak for the end users and will be responsible for liaising with the construction team throughout the lifetime of the project – with the help of BIM visualisations.
One aim of this collaboration is to achieve, measure and make available improvements in the productivity of the end user, the capital and operations costs of the facility and its environmental performance in terms of energy, water and waste.
The government sees soft landings as a complement to its mandatory BIM strategy, and both are intended to reduce the operational cost of buildings over their lifetime.
But there are some crucial differences between BSRIA’s Soft Landings and those of GSL. The guide compares the attributes of both approaches and reviews both methodologies to ensure that the lessons learnt will result in improvements, in terms of both process and the user experience of the building.
The Cabinet Office announced in 2012 that GSLs would be compulsory for all new-build and large-scale refurbishment projects beginning in 2016.
At present, the GSL process is restricted to central government departments – it will not be mandatory for councils, schools or the NHS.
The GSL guidance places a responsibility on the construction team to focus on the commissioning, handover and training phase of the project.
It also requires the FM engineers to assess performance for at least three years after handover; they are required to collect data and analyse it if performance falls short of the design intent.
The GSL process involves certain contractual obligations on the project team. In particular:
- The project manager should write the level after-sales service into the procurement documentation;
- Asset registers must be supplied;
- As far as possible, the evaluation of the building’s performance should be made contractually binding on consultants, contractors and other suppliers.
The report also points out that “the most important requirement of GSL is to engage in collaborative behaviour and that collaboration could be set as a performance objective that could be monitored and evaluated”, although it does not set out how that could be done.
Commenting on the new guide, Mitch Layng, portfolio energy manager with M&G Real Estate, said: “This should assist in achieving the seismic shift which is required in the industry to achieve what a lot of experts believe is the industry’s holy grail: demonstrating how well-designed energy efficient and well-managed buildings can result in improved occupant health and wellbeing and, potentially, productivity.”
Hard copies are also available to order from the BSRIA Bookshop at £10 to members or £20 to non-members.
This should assist in achieving the seismic shift which is required in the industry to achieve what a lot of experts believe is the industry’s holy grail: demonstrating how well-designed energy efficient and well-managed buildings can result in improved occupant health and wellbeing and, potentially, productivity.– Mitch Layng, M&G Real Estate