Planning and design needs to provide for all stakeholders‘ productivity and wellbeing so we document their experience of previous similar buildings under operational conditions. This makes it possible to confirm successes and recommend any potential improvements in design of the next building, fine tuning or adjustments in ways buildings are used. The process “negotiates” 3 dimensions of building evaluation, namely; design, use and conditions.
“Roll-outs” of series of similar building projects have Post Occupancy Evaluation to confirm predictions of use and design suitability, and explore any possible improvements in building design.
Single building evaluations inform design features’ suitability and identify any possible need for fine tuning of occupancy practices and/or design features. Evaluations of buildings dating back to 1870 have informed planning for refurbishment and alterations.
Stakeholders are systematically invited to report observations are in terms of buildings’ support for their productivity and wellbeing. They demonstrate these cause and effect relationships for documentation in the evaluation. Stakeholders include:
- Clients, customers, patients, students, prisoners, visitors
- Cleaners and maintenance people
- Planners, architects, engineers, builders
- Future generations*
* Future generations can be represented an architect or other professional able to summarize primary effects of the building construction and operation on future generations.
Stakeholders may refer to measurements about buildings’ effects on productivity and well being, for example opinion surveys, ratings, air quality, transport, energy, attendance etc.
Typical evaluations involve touring interviews with focus groups representing employees, clients and other stakeholders. Stakeholders are prompted to make testable observations about the buildings’ effects on productivity and well being, which are documented to form the basis of recommendations.
- Preparation (2-3 weeks): Identification of user groups, timetabling interviews, selection of participants, letters of invitation.
- Interviews (1 week): Small groups of like users are interviewed while walking through the building, which provides the prompt for their comments and observations. A review session is held to verify comments, establish priorities and review the process. Observation studies and written questionnaires may also be used.
- Analysis & Reporting (3-6 weeks): Documentation of participant findings, generation of recommendations, compilation of a report and presentation.
Related Technical Studies
Various types of design study can be recommended in a Post Occupancy Evaluation if depending on stakeholders’ experiences’. They include: energy consumption review, design studies, planning, spatial analysis and opinion survey.
In addition to evaluations, we can also undertake survey building occupants for their views on topics that are important to managers. Experience has shown that surveys do not include all issues that are important to stakeholders when they are interviewed in Post Occupancy Evaluations and they do not allow occupants to negotiate different ways of using buildings to overcome problems. Surveys do not discriminate between elements in different parts of buildings.