- Project plans
- Project activities
- Legislation and standards
- Industry context
Last edited 01 Feb 2020
Post occupancy evaluation of completed construction works
The Home Quality Mark One, Technical Manual SD239, England, Scotland & Wales, published by BRE in 2018, states that: 'Post Occupancy Evaluation (POE) is the umbrella term for the process of obtaining feedback on the performance of a recently completed new building or refurbishment. Over time the value of POE has been recognised not only as a one off evaluation of a recently completed project, but as an ongoing assessment process for any building in use that should be conducted at regular intervals over the building’s life cycle.'
- How successful its delivery was.
- How successful the completed development is.
- Where there is potential for further improvement
- What lessons can be learned for future projects.
The concept originally surfaced in the 1970s, but the resurgence in POE today is being driven by tighter environmental targets, new regulations and the focus on a more sustainable approach. It is central to improving the performance of low- and zero-carbon building design, and vital for sustainable construction.
The process of post occupancy evaluation can be visualised as part of the building lifecycle, where information learnt from an operational (and occupied) project can be used to inform decisions at all the stages in the design and operational life of a future building.
[Image courtesy Buro Happold]
Post occupancy evaluation can be particularly valuable to repeat developers and may be a requirement of some funding bodies. It may be carried out by a consultant, by independent client advisers, or by an in-house team established by the client. It may also be part of a wider aftercare service such as that outlined by the soft-landings framework.
However, as post occupancy evaluation is likely to take place after the main construction contract has been completed, consultant team appointments may also be completed unless post-occupation services were a specific requirement of the original appointments.
Ideally, the client should commit to carrying out post occupancy evaluation at the beginning of the project so that appointment agreements and briefing documents include requirements to test whether objectives were achieved.
Post occupancy evaluation may comprise two studies:
- A post-project review to evaluate the project delivery process.
- An assessment of performance in use.
When the development is first occupied by the client, it is important to visit the site immediately to identify any issues that need to be addressed quickly. It can be beneficial to establish a help-desk and rapid response team to resolve issues as they arise.
A post-project review is undertaken to evaluate the effectiveness and efficiency of the project delivery process. To undertake a post-project review, it is important to seek the views of contractors, designers, suppliers and the client about how well the project was managed. This may include assessments of how well the delivery of the project performed against key performance indicators, such as:
- The quality of briefing documents.
- The effectiveness of communications.
- The performance of the project team.
- Quality issues.
- Health and safety issues.
- Claims and disputes.
- Collaborative practices.
An evaluation can then be made of what lessons could be learned from the approach taken and an assessment and lessons-learned report prepared.
See also: End of contract report.
Generally, performance in use assessments cannot begin until 6 to 12 months after occupation, as operations may not be properly established and the building will not have operated in all seasons. They may then be part of a continuous process.
An assessment of performance in use can include:
- The achievement of business case objectives.
- Whole-life costs and benefits against those forecast.
- Whether the project continues to comply with the business strategy.
- Whether operations have improved.
- The resilience of the development and business to change.
- Business and user satisfaction (including staff and user retention and motivation).
- The effectiveness of the space planning.
- Aesthetic quality.
- The standards of lighting, acoustic environment, ventilation, temperature and humidity.
- Air-pollution and air quality.
- User comfort.
- Maintenance and occupancy costs.
- The balance between capital and running costs.
- An assessment of whether the development is being operated as designed.
- Environmental and energy consumption in use. NB: Regular evaluation of energy consumption is mandatory for certain types of buildings under the Energy Performance of Buildings (Certificates and Inspections) (England and Wales) Regulations). See the article on energy certificates for more information.
The assessment should compare findings to the original targets set out in the business case (the original targets may need to be updated to reflect; changes to the project brief during the design process, inflation etc). It should also compare findings to other projects and industry standards and compare the outcome of the project with the position had the project not taken place.
- Energy consumption.
- Tenants queries.
- Facilities management.
- The production of energy performance certificates.
- BREEAM assessments.
- Performance of exemplar buildings in use: Bridging the performance gap FB 78.
- The preparation of tender documents for maintenance and operation contracts.
NB The RIBA Plan of Work 2013 defines post-occupancy evaluation as; 'Evaluation undertaken post-occupancy to determine whether the Project Outcomes (both subjective and objective) set out in the Final Project Brief have been achieved.'
See also: Post occupancy evaluation process.
 Related articles on Designing Buildings Wiki
- BREEAM Post occupancy evaluation.
- Building performance evaluation.
- Building performance evaluation in non-domestic buildings guide – an introduction to the tests and methods in non-domestic buildings
- Building performance metrics.
- Building use studies (BUS).
- Closing the gap between design and as-built performance.
- Defects liability period.
- End of contract report.
- Energy performance certificates.
- Extended aftercare.
- Initial aftercare.
- Migration strategy.
- Performance gap.
- Performance in use (starter article that repeats some of the text in this article).
- Post occupancy evaluation process.
- Post project review (starter article that repeats some of the text in this article).
- Soft landings.
 External references
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