Building Use Studies (BUS)
Building use studies (BUS) is a methodology of evaluating occupant satisfaction that was developed in the 1980s for clients of construction work. The aim is that the feedback generated will help improve future quality and performance.
By benchmarking occupant satisfaction levels against a large database of results for similar buildings, solutions can be created and decisions informed to improve occupant experience and optimise building performance.
The BUS methodology consists of the following services:
- Surveys of building occupants.
- Post-occupancy evaluations.
- Briefs on strategic thinking and the future.
- Data management and analysis.
The benefits of BUS include:
- The worst effects of common building problems that may affect occupants can be avoided or identified and so tackled.
- By helping to understand future scenarios, obsolescence and poor flexibility can be minimised.
- It can help create buildings which are easier to manage and more user-friendly.
- Take assist with environmental performance and identify areas of improvement.
- Can help inform investment decisions.
The first step is to use the BUS methodology to prepare the surveys. Trained BUS partners are employed to assist and advise in this process. The type of survey, whether online or paper for instance, is decided upon. Also, the questions to be asked are decided, as some may not be applicable or entirely relevant.
 Data collection
The surveys take the form of a structured questionnaire which is designed to acquire as much information as possible from as few questions as possible. Building occupants rate various performance-related aspects on a scale of 1-7. They can also provide written feedback.
Key variables are evaluated that cover aspects such as noise, space, thermal comfort, ventilation, indoor air quality, lighting, personal control, image and needs. Occupants of commercial buildings may be asked about how they perceive their productivity, and their travel to the building. Occupants of domestic buildings may be asked about their lifestyle and environmental issues.
 Data analysis
The quantitative and qualitative data that is accumulated from the surveys is analysed by comparison with similar buildings from the database. The non-domestic database has over 650 buildings from around the world, while the domestic database has over 50 UK projects.
The aim of the BUS methodology is to interpret the results and place them in context for the particular building. Summary results provide an ‘overview’ of the overall building performance, while more detailed results for each question are reported using statistical tables, graphs and charts.
 Related articles on Designing Buildings Wiki
- Appointing consultants.
- Building performance evaluation.
- Building performance metrics.
- Closing the gap between design and as-built performance.
- Energy audit.
- Performance in use.
- Post occupancy evaluation.
- Sick building syndrome.
- Thermal comfort.
- Vendor survey.
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