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Mandatory post occupancy evaluations on government projects demand clear strategy on performance and handover

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Handed over using the principles of Soft Landings, Wilkinson Eyre's John Madejski Academy. Credit: James Brittain


by Gary Clark



The first of April 2016 marked the start of a quiet revolution in public sector procurement. On that date Building Information Management (BIM) became mandatory for all public funded buildings over 2000m². What many may have missed is the mandatory requirement for all public buildings to carry out Government Soft Landings and post occupancy evaluation requirements. These led to the inclusion of Stage 6 Handover and Stage 7 In Use in the RIBA Plan of Work, and the requirement for the creation of a handover strategy from Stages 1 to 7.


Paul Morrell, in his role as chief construction advisor, requested that BIM should not just be a piece of software, but rather a process for better buildings and outcomes. Such a process should bring together design and facility management and include key performance indicators (KPI) – reality checking of design proposals to ensure a smooth graduated handover to the user. Government Soft Landings is the resulting methodology that was developed by the Cabinet Office over a number of years to achieve its overall aim of reducing running and capital costs by up to 20%, and to assist in reducing energy and carbon emissions more consistently.


Government Soft Landings (GSL) essentially requires project teams to set project relevant KPIs, track these through design and then verify if they have been met in operation. The suggested core KPIs include energy use, occupant satisfaction, capital and running costs, and a range of functionality metrics suited the building type and activity (for example density in offices). To manage this process the project team is encouraged to appoint Soft Landings champions on the client, design, and contractor teams. These champions can be members of the project team or an independent building performance consultant, such as the sustainability consultant or BREEAM advisor.



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Mandatory post occupancy evaluations on government projects demand clear strategy on performance and handover