Soft Landings


We combine technical knowledge of building performance with a commitment to engaging users, to help deliver more effective buildings.

Our inherent curiosity leads us to seek feedback on completed buildings and to stay in touch with their operators and users, while our attention to detail and tenacity drives us to optimise systems in use. This develops our understanding of what works well and feeds forward into future projects.

We have a long standing involvement in the development of Soft Landings and have experience of all Soft Landings stages.

Neil Cogan

BEng MRes

Senior Sustainability Consultant, Partner

Every project comes with its own opportunities and constraints. 

My role is to ensure that a building is doing all it can to meet the needs of its prospective occupants, now and into the distant future. And to ensure that this is being done in a way that considers the project’s economic viability, social well-being and the environmental impact.

It’s easy to be cynical about sustainability, but it’s so much more than mere ‘greenwash’. In my role, I am in a great position to ensure sustainability is central to the design process – from the procurement of materials used in construction to ease-of-use for the facilities management team.

I’ve been fortunate to develop a wide range of skills on a number of building types and scales that lends versatility to my role of Sustainability Assessor. Whether it be a one-off, single dwelling or a campus-sized commercial development, my understanding of the engineering brings added value to the design team. I can consider measures appropriate to a specific project and ensure sustainability aspirations are met through the most efficient means.

Henry Pelly

BA MSc MPhil

Principal Sustainability Consultant, Partner

There’s something satisfying about being in a well-conditioned space, where the temperature is just right, the air is fresh, the light-level appropriate.

But the things that make a difference to how a building feels are not immediately obvious to the eye. It’s about having the right systems in place and the processes that support efficient building operation that make the difference.

My background is in psychology, environmental design and architecture and I think this is a potent combination for making better buildings. Design can influence human behaviour, but the complexity and reality of human behaviour should also influence design.

I advise design teams on how they can apply sustainability concepts and methodologies to produce better buildings; buildings that work. BREEAM is one of the useful tools that can help meet this end. When approached in the right spirit as a holistic and robust standard rather than another form of compliance, it provides an excellent framework to ensure that the details that deliver better building survive to the end of the construction process.

Kathryn Donald


Director, Digital Design and Building Performance Modelling Leader, Partner

My approach to engineering has always been to look at the building and its services as a single entity; to view the building holistically, rather than thinking about the services without considering the whole building. To achieve this requires good collaboration between all design team members and with the client.

Having worked in a BIM environment since 2014, I have seen the potential of this framework to realise better project outcomes for everyone involved. One of the main strengths of the BIM process is increasing collaboration between all team members on a project so that the final building works better in operation.

I am passionate about the continual improvement of our practice’s capability through realising the benefits of these working methods. My role is to enable the practice to use BIM to further our ability to efficiently deliver sustainable and beautiful engineering.

Ingrid Berkeley


Principal Sustainability Consultant, Partner

Buildings in the UK account for a huge quantity of carbon dioxide emissions - as high as 45% of our overall output.

Being able to make a positive difference in reducing the built environment’s consumption of natural resources, and to mitigate the impact of climate change, is enormously important to me.

One of the conditions that weighs heavily on a building’s energy performance is complexity. Too often unnecessarily complex designs mean a building performs badly because it’s difficult to operate, and things go wrong. I aspire to simplicity, and I privilege passive design over mechanical intervention.

My role covers many aspects from advising on low carbon techniques for generating energy on site, to carrying out Post Occupancy Evaluations to ensure the building performs as designed. I’m also a Soft Landings champion and joint BREEAM Manager for the Practice.

There are powerful ways we can improve the performance of our buildings and reduce their impact on the planet. I love playing my part in that outcome.

Outside of Max Fordham, I am a member of the Heriot-Watt University Industrial Panel for the MEng Architectural Engineering and the postgraduate MSc Building Services Engineering programmes. I am also Chair of the CIBSE Scotland Region Committee and a Chartered Engineer.

Tom McNeil


Principal Building Performance Engineer, Partner

I'm really interested in low energy buildings that are comfortable, healthy and enjoyable places to be.

How people use buildings is an interesting aspect of design, especially when trying to develop low energy solutions. Ensuring that the building users can operate a building effectively is a key challenge, that without proper attention can often lead to a building that doesn’t meet performance expectations. Gaining this insight helps to ensure that the building performs as expected and that the occupants are happy and comfortable.

I am a Chartered Engineer with a Master’s degree in Environmental Design of Buildings, and qualified through CIBSE as a Low Carbon Consultant and an accredited Energy Assessor for Display Energy Certificates.

Soft Landings