Continuous Improvement is fundamental in operations management of companies, NGOs and government. Post Occupancy Evaluation fulfills the “Check” function of Deming’s Plan-Do-Check-Act quality cycle for buildings. Benefits are:
- Account for building quality: Post Occupancy Evaluation is routinely used to demonstrate buildings’ fitness for purpose.
- Plan future buildings: Design of new facilities can be based on evidence about the ways similar buildings have performed in use. Problems can be avoided and successful features can be built with confidence.
- Fine tuning new buildings and their use: Adjustments in building and operating practices can be considered by documenting the ways that buildings support and/or frustrate productivity the well-being.
- Plan building alterations: Post Occupancy Evaluation is used to clarify strengths and weaknesses when planning to change existing buildings. It is also used to identify where building design adjustments are needed to support unanticipated uses and conditions.
- Resolve “problem buildings”: Post Occupancy Evaluation has been used to “socialise” acknowledgement of building limitations. Stakeholders accept the strengths and weaknesses of buildings and negotiate ways of changing them and using them more effectively. Participation is understood to engender greater commitment to solutions, and more willingness to accept limitations.
Realising the Benefits of Post Occupancy Evaluation
Many benefits of Post Occupancy Evaluation can be realised when the “Act” phase of Deming’s Plan-Do-Check-Act quality cycle is implemented. Organisations can apply results of Post Occupancy Evaluation(s) of their own, and/or other organisations’ buildings.
We have developed a prototype tool for applying the results of many Post Occupancy Evaluations and tested the prototype with European and Australasian architects and managers responsible for many many types of buildings. They said:
- They would use the tool
- It would help prevent building problems that they estimated could cost up to AU$5 million
- Want to prevent 20-60 of the more common or serious building problems
We have also been contracted to apply the results of many Post Occupancy Evaluations to some new building types.