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Still time for a soft landing

08 November 2012

There is still time to book for a one day conference in Ascot, called ‘Soft Landings – Delivering Buildings that Work from Day One’, that takes place on 27 November 2012.

“The Performance Gap” of many buildings not delivering design intent is a recognised industry problem. With more legislation and demands from clients for energy efficient, functional and comfortable buildings, it is vital that the construction industry addresses this. Jo Harris explains that help is at hand in the form of Soft Landings, developed by BSRIA and the Usable Buildings Trust.

Soft Landings is the cradle-to-occupation process for the graduated hand-over of a new or refurbished building, where a period of professional aftercare by the project team is planned for at project inception and carried out for up to three years post-completion.

The Soft Landings Framework was published by BSRIA as a free-to-use, open-source method to help deliver truly sustainable buildings. It has become widely accepted for new and refurbishment building projects. The adoption of Soft Landings work steps can earn credits in the sustainable management section of BREEAM for New Construction, is being specified by some major clients and is looking likely to be a requirement on government new build and major refurbishment projects.

Soft Landingsis not just about aftercare elements, it should be adopted throughout the project, from the inception stage onwards. While we don't wish to stop clients from introducing Soft Landings on projects already underway - a graduated hand-over can be beneficial in itself - a true Soft Landings project is a cradle-to-occupation process. A soft take-off is more likely to result in a soft landing, where extra attention has been paid in the early stages to designing for manageability and usability, and in properly defining the building's performance targets, such as energy use.

Dr Bill Bordass of the Usable Buildings Trust and co-author of the Soft Landings Framework said: "With growing financial and environmental constraints, we can no longer afford the large discrepancies that so often occur between predicted and in-use performance of new buildings. Clients, designers and builders must focus on actual outcomes. They can start tomorrow by adopting Soft Landings."

Gary Clark, chairman of the Soft Landings User Group added: “In this age of austerity, Soft Landings is vital for helping to deliver lower carbon buildings within constrained capital and operating budgets. Soft Landings guidance from BSRIA offers the construction industry a blueprint of doing more with less, without adding layers of unnecessary and wasteful bureaucracy."

BSRIA has published a range of free to download Soft Landings guidance including the Soft Landings Framework and Soft Landings Core Principles, available from www.bsria.co.uk/goto/softlandings.

The CIOB will be hosting an event in conjunction with BSRIA entitled: ‘Soft Landings – Delivering Buildings that Work from Day One’ on 27 November. See http://www.ciob.org.uk/events/soft-landings-delivering-buildings-work-day-one  for more information and to register.


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