Soft Landings User Group

BSRIA User Group Member
Soft Landings User Group
Notes of Meeting
26 Jan 2011
These notes are not formal minutes, but a record of the presentations and the discussions that
followed. The actions will inform future activities of the Group.
Note that all outputs of the User Group are held on the Soft Landings Resource Share website
( Your login and (initial) password is your e-mail address in
both cases.
BSRIA will host the presentations for Members to download rather than e-mail them. It is always
worthwhile keeping the resource-share as a browser favourite as BSRIA will be regularly populating
the Soft Landings Resource Share with new and updated material.
Nigel Anderson, BSRIA
Steve Symonds, Kier W
Roderic Bunn, BSRIA
Jeff Pearce, ZBP
Gary Clark, Atkins
Sarah Birchall, BSRIA
Mike Chater, Hants CC
Gavin Lang, AECOM
David Stanley, BCU
James Hepburn, BDP
Bill Bordass, UBT
Colwyn Knight, Castle Oak (part)
Greg Keeling, Essex CC
Derek Walker, Balfour Beatty
Peter Tse, BSRIA
David Thompson, Willmott Dixon
James Parker, BSRIA
Paul Beattie, Miller Construction
Nick Gosling, Interserve
Nick Nisbet, AEC3
John Whyte, MJN Colston
Clive Wainwright, Interserve
Howard Tinkler, SRM
Munish Datta, M&S
Lee Gwilliams, ESC
Alasdair Donn, Willmott Dixon
Stephen Gathergood, Interserve PS
Julie Godefroy, HLP
Tamsin Tweddell. Max Fordham
Lee Hawkins, SRM
Mark Savage, BAS
Ashley Bateson, HLP
James Warne, BDP
Roger Carlin, Ashford Gp & CSA
Martyn Brackenbury, Morgan
Mark Way, CIC
Recap: Purpose of the Soft Landings User Group
“User Group members are committed to ensuring that Soft Landings
principles are applied on our new build and refurbishment projects, that
operational outcomes match the design intentions, and that the expectations of
the building’s end users are met”
Welcome to new members: Morgan Sindall, Balfour Beatty, Miller
Construction, Castle Oak
Guest attendee: Nick Nisbet, AEC3 (speaker)
Regular issues
The User Group should be about sharing good and bad experiences.
Clients are requiring Soft Landings, and the User Group needs to help its
Members respond in the right ways.
Case studies are needed to support the argument for Soft Landings
Methods are needed to aid design reviews.
Matters Arising
Gary Clark welcomed Nick Nisbet of AEC3 to the meeting.
Gary Clark reminded Group members to record and share their experiences of
applying Soft Landings using the User Group feedback forms.
Roderic Bunn gave an introductory presentation to the Group. A reminder was
made about the use of Soft Landings logos on letterheads and project
documentation, primarily as a way of being a subliminal reminder to
participants that they are on a Soft Landings project. Logos can be obtained by
e-mail from BSRIA or directly via the Resource Share.
Roderic Bunn reported that the Innovation and Growth Team (IGT) has
recommended to government, in Recommendation 3.12 of the report Low
Carbon Construction:
“that Government and the industry should routinely embed the principles of
Soft Landings into their contracts and processes, so that a building is not
regarded as complete until it performs in accordance with its design criteria.”
Government intends to respond to the IGT report L in April 2011. Members of
the Soft Landings User Group are urged to maintain a watching brief on how
this particular recommendation is interpreted in Government's response.
Roderic Bunn also reported back on a meeting at CLG, where Soft Landings
was presented to Anthony Burd, Head of technical policy, Paul Decort, Part L
technical policy, Clover Summers, Zero-carbon new non-domestic buildings
and Part L, David Craine, an economist working on Part L and zero carbon
issues, Tracey Cull, Building Control System, Sandra Simoni, Building
Control System and compliance issues, and Anthea Nicholson Zero carbon
new non-domestic buildings.
The CLG people were very interested and engaged, and understood the need
for SL, and also the current market limitations and barriers to its wider
Roderic Bunn explained to both CLG and the User Group the view that
certification (as with BREEAM) was not needed, but accreditation through a
competency scheme probably was. CLG people were told directly that
regulation is not required, but some awareness-raising by CLG and footnotes
in Part L would be helpful.
Roderic Bunn suggested that the chief construction advisor Paul Morrell needs
to ensure that we have the right contractual framework for low carbon
buildings to be delivered. Existing approaches to procurement, and contract
forms that focus on time and money, are no longer fit for delivering wellperforming, low-carbon buildings. In this respect they have rapidly become
obsolete. This requires revisions to NEC and JCT forms to foster more
collaborative and integrated project teams.
In response, Bill Bordass commented that those who do not engage in
outcomes should not call themselves construction professionals. BillB is
looking for funding to develop this with other institutions, such as a the CIC,
"who might get the tectonic plates to move".
Seasonal commissioning
BSRIA's James Parker is now responsible for authoring BSRIA's guide to
seasonal commissioning, and will be setting up a (largely virtual) steering
group to advise and review the content. James explained that we will take a
top-down approach, starting with building fabric and drilling down through the
envelope elements to the main plant.
JamesP to set up
steering group, pen
contents list, and
Bill Bordass suggested that the process be more circular, where actions of
main plant can affect how vents and other fabric elements perform, and vice
versa. The content needs to reflect these inter-relationships.
Roderic Bunn suggested that we would focus on that which seasonal
commissioning identified as a latent defect, that which could be improved by
tuning-up, and that which might require capital investment. Mike Chater
suggested a fourth silo: requirements for changes to maintenance activities that
are linked to the seasons. Seasonal commissioning may generate a schedule of
responsibilities for FM.
James Hepburn from BDP warned that facilities teams need to take
responsibility for operating the building. Seasonal commissioning should not
be an excuse for FMs to take a back seat and leave things to the Soft Landings
team. This feeds into continual commissioning responsibilities for the building
Roderic Bunn apologised for the continued non-appearance of the Pitstopping
methodology, but other work had intervened, including Australia. The
guidance currently stood at around 40 pages, and only supporting diagrams and
appendicies were needed. Roderic Bunn said he would have a draft completed
for circulation at the March meeting.
Soft Landings for Schools
Bill Bordass reported on a Soft Landings for Schools meeting between six
local authorities, hosted by UBT, on 30 November 2010. The provisional
conclusions of the meeting were circulated.
RodB to load onto the
Resource Share
The meeting suggested that one-page project case studies be generated to help
clients and others considering adopting Soft Landings to understand the
benefits, how they were obtained, and the pitfalls that need to be avoided in
future. BSRIA has already produced two such data sheets, and more in the
same vein are needed.
Mike Chater said that Hants CC has four studies at different stages of the
process that HCC could share, also 2 workstreams: Culture Change and Belief
Building, led by Mike Chater, which could be used to help inform SL practice.
Mike C said he has the authority to get on and do SL, but a change of culture
to deliver it is vital.
BSRIA to liaise with the
Soft Landings User
Group Members on their
input to the guidance
RodB to meet with MikeC
to arrange datasheet
Soft Landings for Australia
Roderic Bunn reported that the Soft Landings lecture tour of Australia and
New Zealand organised by CIBSE ANZ, was a great success. As a
consequence of the tour, CIBSE ANZ has formed its own User Group in
Sydney. Its first task will be to produce an Australian version of the
A live radio broadcast is
available via
uk and via the Resource
Presentation: Nick Nisbet of AEC3 on Building
Integrated Modelling and Soft Landings
Nick Nisbet presented the latest in BIM, and how Soft Landings links to it.
Nick described how BIM's great virtue is in capturing information in a
continually usable form that would otherwise be lost. The information can be
held in native format and linked to spaces or specific elements using
spreadsheet datasets. The outputs of reality checking can be used to tag
elements or as attached documents.
The presentation is
available via the SL
Resource Share
Soft Landings for Contractors
The chair of the contractors sub-group, John Whyte, gave a verbal
presentation on plans to generate guidance for contractors.
John explained a variety of problems faced by contractors, including the lack
of knowledge about Soft Landings by main contractors, lack of information to
be able to respond properly to Soft Landings tenders, and problems where
contractors are forced to take on retrospective design responsibilities.
The main issues that need to be faced by the contractors group include
managing SL relationships, SL wording in contracts, the differences between
the ambitions of project leaders and the reality of site engineering, and the
essential problems of doing Soft Landings for real. Everyone can see that SL is
a good idea, but in reality it is very difficult to carry through, as key
individuals so not have the right mindset. The opportunities are improved
when the client sets out a clear requirement in documents and contracts.
Three pieces of work were identified:
The creation of a model Soft Landings procurement process
Additions to the BSRIA ITT and PQQ forms, filling in the current
gap between RIBA Stages E to K
Contractual clauses/wording
The procurement process for the Birmingham City University (BCU) arts
building is regarded (by those who tendered for it) to be worthy of becoming a
model (generic) procurement process. The client, David Standley, agreed to
RodB to issue invitation
to contractors for a
workshop session at
Note: The contractors
and schools sub-groups
should meet in-between
meetings of the main SL
User Group and report
allow the BCU's approach to be used for the basis of this, once BCU had
passed preferred bidder stage in May. (See below for more details.)
(It is intended that BSRIA will put the documentation into a re-usable format,
but add separate commentary from the bidders to the project where doing so
would add value, or context, or suggestions of improvement.)
WRAP consultation
Roderic Bunn alerted the User group to the consultation process by the Waste
and Resources Action Programme (WRAP) and Zero Waste Scotland for a
Carbon Efficiency Plan.
WRAP has used the IGT's Soft Landings recommendation in Low Carbon
Construction report to justify its proposal for new buildings to be designed and
constructed under a Carbon Efficiency Plan. In this way, the broader aspects of
Soft Landings have been compressed to fit beneath the narrow objective of
carbon management, whereas the relationship is the other way around. BSRIA
believes that building performance issues cannot all be seen through a carbon
efficiency lens, and attempts to do so will result in issues of designing for
usability, manageability and maintainability, in particular, being lost.
RodB to contact DaveS
and get documentation
in May, and generate a
draft Model Process for
discussion at the June
meeting of the User
Contractors group to
meet and revise PQQ and
ITT forms
holds the consultation
WRAP has also devised a set of PQQ and ITT questions for project teams, for
all RIBA stages, the vast majority of which focus exclusively on carbon and
completely miss all the Soft Landings design, pre-handover, graduated
handover and fine-tuning activities described by Soft Landings.
While the WRAP idea of a Carbon Efficiency Plan is helpful and virtuous in
itself, it is very unhelpful in its attempt to translate Soft Landings (the process),
into a CEP. The CEP should be marketed as a complementary process that
augments Soft Landings (and indeed the RIBA Plan of Work).
BSRIA intends to respond to WRAP directly. The Soft Landings User Group
will respond separately via Gary Clark, and members are asked to view the
WRAP consultation documents and share their thoughts with Gary.
Rod and Gary to e-mail
User Group members to
get responses before the
deadline of 11 Feb 2011
Open discussion and User Group feedback
Gary Clark facilitated a discussion with the Group on their experiences with
Soft Landings and what they need to make it happen. This will be used to
create a plan of action for the coming year.
James Hepburn reported that BDP is involved in PFI bids with contractors.
Soft Landings answers a lot of the questions posed by local authorities, which
is good, but the PFI process is still a heavily contractual competitive bid
process, so BDP is having to strike a fine balance. James sees procurement
routes as being the main barrier to Soft Landings. On its education projects,
BDP is finding that the programmes are too tight, too competitive and too
complex, and this reduces the time for discussion. Contractors are only
interested in the speedy delivery of construction information.
Paul Beattie of Miller Construction said Miller is involved in 12 PCT
healthcare schemes (between £5-15 million) and the ethos is to allow good
time for design review and commissioning, However, some central elements of
design have been cut out and rooms are now conventionally heated and
ventilated. The design period is being compressed dramatically, and the
budget cannot afford the prelims necessary to add value.
The draft workplan will
be available via the
Resource Share
Steve Symonds of Kier described Kier's initiatives. Generally, Soft Landings
has got traction high up in Kier, which has found form in the Kier Care
Commitment which is largely a good way of addressing risk on PFI projects,
and which is intended to address classic divisions between design, engineering
and FM by capturing information.
In the SW, Kier has created a local feedback group for its projects.
Kier is using the TSB's Building Performance Evaluation research programme
to obtain funds for feedback studies. Estover college has been put forward for
funding, and the project members are engaged to share the building
performance lessons. Kier used Soft Landings at Estover to do a critical
analysis of its handover process.
David Stanley of Birmingham City University explained how Soft Landings is
being used to procure a city centre campus building of 21 000 m2. DS said that
the procurement has "turned the process upside down". They are at the end of
Stage D, and will start on site in the summer.
The original appointment of the consultants did not reflect Soft Landings, so
BCU re-wrote the consultants appointments documentation. (The responses to
the clauses and addendums varied...)
BCU also laid out the SL responsibilities in the matrix up to Year 3 of the
aftercare period. Consultants had to cost the matrix input, and the cost of their
input was typically 1% on top of the consultant's fees of 10-12% of the budget.
This was a large uplift. This is nevertheless seen by BCU as value-added
investment as opposed to lost cost.
BCU is currently attempting to appoint the main contractor for 3 years post
PC, with full maintenance responsibility included.
Another interesting modification was that the contractor's obligations were
extended to include user familiarisation with controls.
The project will use BIM, including phase 2.
Gavin Lang said that AECOM is talking to clients about it, and find that they
support Soft Landings up to PC, but it's the post PC period that's not being
identified as an additional duty. Clients probably won't pay for it until it
becomes embedded in ACE (section 12) for example. If SL was in ACE duties:
"We might get a realistic reaction, as everyone would be bidding on a level
playing field." Until then, consultants will be wary of increasing their bid costs
and risk losing the job.
David Thompson of Willmott Dixon explained that POE activities have been
selective, but there is a push for doing POE on all projects, and encouraging
consultants to get involved.
Greg Keeling of Essex CC are trying to modify contract clauses, but can only
do it by stealth. Essex has seen a 50% cut in their programme and are expected
to deliver a 20% cut in costs, so the environment is hardly helpful.
Essex also has a problem as academy buildings leave local authority control on
handover, so it is not in the LA's interest to invest in operational cost benefits.
However, Greg reported that Essex is renewing its Smart East Framework, and
they are holding workshops where contractors are made aware of Soft
Jeff Pearce of ZBP is introducing the broad principles of Soft Landings into
the project information process, in the form of QA procedures, all the way
Mike Chater reported that they are trying to communicate Soft Landings ideas
on four projects. On one of them, close to completion, they are working with
the contractor to develop a user-friendly building user handbook and building
logbook. The content is being developed to be a clear as possible to the widest
possible audience – occupants and managers.
Nick Gosling of Interserve FM is trying to drive Soft Landings by
demonstration of how it can raise efficiencies. The more effective Soft
Landings is, the less the opportunity to cost it out, but the business case
needs to be made. The problem with PFI schemes is that the process
incentivises speed and low upfront cost, and no optimisation of energy
efficiency or environmental benefits.
Date of next meeting
2 March 2011 at Ecobuild, afternoon.
The User Group Meeting will be given over to a contractors workshop.
Ecobuild presentations
Chair: Roderic Bunn
10.45 – 10.50 Introduction to the Soft Landings User Group
Gary Clark
10.50 – 11.15 What Soft Landings will achieve for a client
Mike Chater, Senior Architect, Hampshire County Council
11.15 – 11.45 Soft Landings and environmental rating schemes
Dr Julie Godfrey, Senior Sustainability Consultant, Hoare Lea
11.45 – 12.15 Soft Landings for Contractors
John Whyte, Technical support, MGN Colston
Next meetings
16 June (London)
8 Sept (London)