Last edited 07 May 2021

Performance gap between building design and operation

There is significant evidence to suggest that buildings do not perform as well when they are completed as was anticipated when they were being designed. The difference between anticipated and actual performance is known as the performance gap.

Findings from studies such as PROBE (Post Occupancy Review of Buildings and their Engineering) which assessed 23 buildings previously featured as ‘exemplar designs’ in the Building Services Journal between 1995 and 2002, revealed that actual energy consumption in buildings is often twice as much as predicted.

More recent studies have suggested that in-use energy consumption can 5 to 10 times higher than compliance calculations carried out during the design stage:

Studies such as these suggest that factors contributing to the performance gap include:

NB: In November 2015, BSRIA announced that it would back a four-month feasibility study to develop a prototype UK scheme intended to deliver the standard of energy performance specified in client briefs by adopting a ‘design for performance’ approach, first pioneered in Australia. See BSRIA support study into Australian solution to performance gap for more information.

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