What are Government Soft Landings (GSL)? | The B1M

Buying and moving into a building that has
been specifically designed for your use should be a fantastic experience. The trouble is there’s quite often a gap
between the Client’s expectations and the performance of the asset that is delivered. The British Government want to change this
and have developed something called Government Soft Landings or GSL (just to give you another
acronym to remember). This is quite different to some of the more traditional forms of soft
landings you might have heard of before, although it is based on some of the same 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. Because the people that build, own or buy
buildings aren’t doing it for fun. They are doing it to support a desired outcome:
to run a business, to run an organisation or to have somewhere to live. The building
process is just a small part of a much bigger picture, but it has a huge influence on how
we are 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. When that happens across society at a national
and international level, we can improve the overall quality of the built environment that
we are all living and running organisations in. The Government Soft Landings (GSL) approach
starts right at the very beginning – in fact 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. 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. That could be high-level portfolio benchmarking at inception, establishing
the key objectives, performance indicators and operating budget at the first information
exchange, testing and modelling at the second with development of the operational strategy,
validation of proposals and market engagement at the third and the process of handover,
training and operational mobilisation at the fourth. The fifth information exchange point sees
the process of monitoring and evaluation 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 with the capturing of lessons learnt in a final POE three years into the operation. The process allows actual performance data
to be collated and compared against the planned targets. The outcomes of all the Post Occupancy
Evaluations are fed back to benefit future projects. These two points, along with clearly defined
outcomes, measures and needs from day one, form part of what the British Government call
the GSL ‘Golden Thread’ that should run through the entire approach. The Golden Thread requires:
Early engagement of end users right from the outset and throughout the project delivery
process with a strong focus on commissioning, handover and training. The appointment of a Government Soft Landings
Champion within an existing project team role to ensure that this engagement and focus is
maintained. The setting of clear environmental, social
and economic targets and measures for the project. And those Post Occupancy Evaluations so that
we can see the actual outcomes and learn how to improve. 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 clients get an asset that
truly supports their desired business outcomes, because that’s everyone’s focus right
from day one. An important point to note is that implementing
the GSL approach requires better planning and integrity in the project process but that
doesn’t mean increased work or increased costs. In fact using GSL effectively will
save Clients money as their assets will almost instantly perform at their optimum level. So what has this got to do with building information
modelling (BIM)? Well if you’ve seen some of our other clips you’ll have spotted the
similarities between what BIM is trying to achieve and the GSL approach, and that is
why the British Government has linked them so closely together. In fact they call it
“GSL, powered by BIM” with the strapline “BIM + GSL=Better Outcomes”. So project and operational management teams
working in a BIM environment are in a perfect position to take advantage of the GSL approach. You can learn more about Government Soft Landings
and how to successfully implement the approach at this link. Have a go and let us know how
you get on in the comments below.

Stephen Childs


  1. love these info vids. quick shots to keep you on track. Clearly explains the 'Golden Thread'

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