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David Stevens
David Stevens

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05 August 2019 | David Stevens

FMs have a duty to upskill in Soft Landings (SL), explains David Stevens.

Soft Landings (SL) is not another badge for buildings but a way to help FMs and occupiers engage with the design and construction process of a building or project and to ensure smooth operational performance.  

The process, updated by BSRIA in 2018, provides tools that can be used in a logical and pragmatic way, and encourages a common language across the built environment industry.

The process should be client-led, with a collaborative culture shared by the client and project team. This means the FM stepping up at the earliest opportunity and committing to leading each stage of this valuable process.  

Designers and contractors often have all the correct data in the project briefing but simply don’t understand what is required to effectively manage the building. The FM sees the whole picture.

Often the construction team sees SL as a mechanism for handover but this shows a lack of understanding. It is the FM’s duty to upskill in SL and educate the supply chain, because while there is no hiding from a poor handover it is the FM who will be responsible for operating the space for years to come and all the associated problems associated with a poorly briefed design. 

The FM – not the design team – holds the performance intelligence and should determine the success metrics against which to measure a building.

The FM can tailor the SL process to suit the project and focus on what’s vital to their business while being visible at design meetings and during construction. Indeed, SL’s guidelines aren’t prescriptive and it’s not a ‘one-size-fits-all’ approach.

Most FMs know that commissioning processes rarely prepare the building for its real-life operations and that buildings often don’t initially perform well. Fully engaging with SL and enforcing effective aftercare will mean capital and operations will be more connected, the performance gap will narrow and happier workplaces will exist.

David Stevens is vice-chair of the FM Group at CIBSE