Post occupancy evaluation of completed construction works
Continual learning and dissemination of acquired knowledge holds the key to shaping the future of projects and practices.
Post occupancy evaluation (POE) is the process of evaluating a development to determine:
- 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, and the drive towards tighter environmental targets, new regulations and the focus on a more sustainable approach is driving a resurgence in post occupancy evaluation. 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 of the stages in the design and operational life of a building.
Post occupancy evaluation may be carried out by a consultant, by independent client advisers, or by an in-house team established by the client. It may 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.
- 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 (See articles on occupation and migration strategy).
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 can 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:
 Business objectives
- The achievement of business case objectives.
- Whole-life costs and benefits against those forecast (including assessment of capital vs running costs).
- 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).
 Design evaluation
- 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 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.
A report should be prepared that identifies issues, recommends remedies, and makes suggestions for improvements in performance for future projects.
- Energy consumption.
- Tenants queries.
- Facilities management.
- The production of energy performance certificates.
- BREEAM assessments.
- The preparation of tender documents for maintenance and operation contracts.
This article was originally created by Designing Buildings Wiki, it has subsequently been developed by --[User:Buro_Happold Buro Happold].
 Related articles on Designing Buildings Wiki
- Advantages of shell and core.
- Appointing consultants.
- BS 8536-1:2015 Briefing for design and construction. Code of practice for facilities management (Buildings infrastructure).
- 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.
- Medical Research Council Laboratory of Molecular Biology soft landings project.
- Migration strategy.
- OGC Gateway Review 5: Operations review & benefits realisation (or benefits evaluation)
- Performance gap.
- Performance in use (starter article that repeats some of the text in this article).
- Post project review (starter article that repeats some of the text in this article).
- Soft landings.
- Thermal comfort.
- Thermal pleasure in the built environment.
 External references
Featured articles and news
PCSAs enable clients to employ contractors before the main contract commences. Read our introductory article.
ICE 200 brings together transformative projects from the past 200 years - and the engineers behind them.
Dame Judith Hackitt hosts an industry summit to kick start the second phase of the review.
This article explains the Buildings Regulations completion certificate, what it is, and when its needed.
Graphene has many potential applications, but when will it start being used in civil engineering?
Increasing productivity – now more than ever as we lead up to Brexit – should be the sector’s number one priority in 2018.
Carillion's collapse causes Construction Leadership Council to delay the construction sector deal report.
Urban Heritage, Development and Sustainability: international frameworks, national and local guidance.
What will the General Data Protection Regulations (GDPR) mean for you when they come into force in May?
Business Secretary chairs a new taskforce to monitor and advise on mitigating the impacts of Carillion’s liquidation.
Sir John Armitt is appointed the new chair of the National Infrastructure Commission.
High quality and high density homes - is it what we need or is it storing up trouble?