Lessons Learned

20140216_154701Documented Experience of Buildings’ in Use

An estimated 7500 employees, clients, project and maintenance people described their experience in 180 Post Occupancy Building Evaluations of several hundred buildings. The evaluated buildings range in size from small single buildings, to large complex buildings and campuses. They include offices, schools, universities, polytechnics, medical, museums, courts, police stations, corrections facilities, apartments, houses and military and retail facilities. Lessons from these evaluations have provided evidence for reviewing design proposals in support of productivity, well being, safety, health and low maintenance costs.

Most buildings work well in general terms. However, some building features and qualities frustrate productivity and wellbeing and have been reported in multiple buildings evaluated. Examples are illustrated below.


Repeated Problems

Most of the repeated building problems can be scientifically explained by Newtonian physics and prevented with standard architectural solutions. Similar recurring problems are reported in buildings in Australia, New Zealand and Britain. When interviewed, project team professionals often attribute the repeated building problems to a common cause, namely; “the other guy”.


Prevention of Repeated Problems

Some building problems have been constructed without the knowledge that they might frustrate stakeholders’ productivity and wellbeing. Information about the repeated problems and their effects on stakeholders may be sufficient to prevent their construction in future. slippery-when-wet-20160807_171219In other cases, building features and qualities were constructed with the expectation that they will frustrate stakeholders’ productivity and wellbeing.


Evidence-based Design Review

Building proposals can be reviewed to report features with unwelcome effects on productivity and wellbeing, in similar situations. After agreement on scope, our reviews follow the following process.

1 Receipt of plans

2 Retrieval of relevant lessons learned from our archives

3 Familiarisation with the drawings

4 “Flagging” features and qualities that have created problems in similar buildings

Not only are the results of building reviews confidential, but a condition of our engagement is that our previous evaluations will remain confidential.


The following building types have been reviewed in terms of evidence from the evaluations noted:

  • Military barracks – based on other military and university accommodation
  • Banks – based on evaluations of 25 retail branches
  • National Library – based on lessons learned from library and office evaluations
Some new buildings roofs leak. Property and building finishes can be damaged. Employees catch drips in buckets
Roofs leak are a recurring problem. Property is damaged and employees waste time catching drips in buckets.