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What are Government Soft Landings (GSL)?

What are Government Soft Landings (GSL) and how can they make a real difference to our built environment? Find out in this 4 minute video hosted by Tom Payne, Co-Founder of The B1M, featuring a useful step-by-step animation of the UK Government’s GSL process map.

Buying and moving into a new building that has been specially designed for your use should be a fantastic experience. But that’s not always the case and often there is a gap between the Client’s expectations and the performance of the asset that is delivered.

The UK Government want to change this and have developed something called Government Soft Landings or GSL.

GSL is distinctly different to the more traditional form of soft landings although it is based on some of the key principles. It’s an approach that aligns the interests of design and construction with those of operational asset management and the built asset’s ultimate purpose.

"The building process is just a small part of a much bigger picture, but it greatly influences how we're able to live our lives"

The building process is just a small part of a much bigger picture, but it has a huge influence on how were able to live our lives. That’s why it’s so important to get it right and to consider the long term goal you’re trying to achieve with a particular project right from the outset.

The UK Government’s GSL process map is shown below and presented in a step-by-step animation in this video:

The UK Government's process map for Government Soft Landings. © HM Government.

The GSL process starts “before the beginning” when an organisation are identifying a need that they feel could be addressed by a construction or civil engineering project. It requires the desired outcomes, measures of success and the user or operator’s needs to be clearly defined from the outset. The design and construction of the asset, a number of key measures and the asset’s operations are then considered at every stage of the project lifecycle.

After completion, the process of monitoring and evaluation are formalised in the first of three Post Occupancy Evaluations (POEs) one year after the project’s completion. This is followed in year two by a second POE and the capturing of lessons learnt in a final POE three years into the asset’s operation. The process ensures that actual performance data is collated and compared against the planned targets. The outcomes of all the POEs can then be fed back to benefit future projects.

"The GSL process starts before the beginning"

To emphasise the importance of key steps, the UK Government identify a ‘Golden Thread’ that must run through the process. That requires:

1. Early engagement of end users with a strong focus on commissioning, handover and training.

2. The appointment of a Government Soft Landings Champion.

3. The setting of clear environmental, social and economic targets and measures.

4. Annual POEs for three years after occupation.

The alignment of different objectives under the GSL approach means that the needs of the end-user, are considered and addressed throughout the design process. Designers and contractors become involved with the building beyond its completion ensuring that handover is smooth and operators are well trained. Optimum performance becomes the focus of the whole team.

A Government Soft Landing means that Clients get an asset that truly supports their desired business outcomes, because that is everyone’s focus right from day one.

"Optimum performance becomes the focus of the whole team"

Implementing the GSL approach certainly requires better planning and integrity in the project process but that doesn’t mean more work or increased costs. In fact using GSL effectively will save Clients money as their assets perform at their optimum level more quickly.

So what has this got to do with building information modelling (BIM)? Well if you’ve seen some of our other clips you’ll already have spotted the similarities between what BIM is ultimately trying to achieve and the GSL approach. The UK Government refer to “GSL powered by BIM” with the strapline “BIM + GSL = Better Outcomes”. Project and operational management teams working in a BIM environment are in a perfect position to take advantage of the GSL approach.

The building process is a small part of a much bigger picture, but it has a huge influence on how we're able to live our lives.

This video contains extracts of the UK Government’s GSL Summary, © HM Government. At 1.27 the word “lifestyle” is used. This should of course be “lifecycle” …Su Butcher talks more about Mistakes here!

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