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FS56 - Embedding Post Occupancy Evaluation into Practice

Written by: CIC Start Online

"Embedding Post Occupancy Evaluation into Practice" by Glasgow School of Art and Kraft Architecture


It is widely acknowledged that it is all too common for there to be wide discrepancies between design stage energy use calculations and actual energy use during occupation. Post Occupancy Evaluation (POE) involves systematic evaluation of opinion & data about
buildings in use, from the perspective of the people who use them. The aim is to assess how well buildings match users' needs, creating a feedback loop that can allow designers, manufacturers and constructors to improve building design, performance and fitness for purpose.

We believe that a large part of this challenge is retrieving meaningful and interpretable data on a wide enough basis for comparison and correlation. With better data in place, and more accurate design assumptions, we can better ensure that regulatory changes, legislative drivers and the solutions we employ will have a real and lasting success in driving down energy use and related CO2 emissions. Taking action on data findings can help to improve indoor air quality, build quality, social interaction between tenants & enhance
their individual lifestyles.

While the benefits of the POE are widely recognised the proportion of new build projects that go through this process remains very limited. The reasons for this relatively small uptake can be wide and varied but a frequently repeating issue is that it is a prohibitively costly and time
consuming undertaking. We believe that this perception is one which can be counteracted through focussed investigation of POE approach, monitoring equipment typology and analysis methodology.

This feasibility study will develop a range of affordable and practical data logging packages that different construction industry stakeholders can access and use to collect data for a variety of specific applications and defined outcomes. It is hoped that the creation of accessible POE, both in terms of capital cost and potential life cycle cost improvements, will increase the number of projects which use it and will, as the practice becomes more widespread, rapidly accelerate the improvement of technical understanding and design and build quality; a central tenet of the Sullivan Report and the Scottish Government’s approach to meeting improved energy efficiency targets.

The work stages for the project will involve desktop studies to assess and understand three main aspects of POE, including;

  • Project Planning - project duration, user group requirements, focus of evaluation, etc.
  • Data Collection - analysis of equipment in terms of cost, ease of installation, ease of use, maintenance requirements, etc.
  • Data Analysis - investigation of whether basic data analysis can be undertaken by Client bodies.

The project outcomes will be defined packages for the following ‘clients’ with limited assumptions made on the information and applications that will be of most use to them.

  • Vulnerable Adult Tenants / Elderly / Dementia / Rehabilitation
  • Housing Association Maintenance Teams
  • Off Site Manufacturer’s embedding ‘smart’ data logging in components.
  • Large Private House Developers
  • Small Scale Developers
  • Local Authorities / Schools / Offices / Public Spaces
  • Commercial Enterprises / Industrial
  • Architectural Practices
  • Built Environment Staff & Students

Following this study, Kraft intends to work with MEARU to pilot a number of the packages with a range of industry partners in live projects.

Key words: new buildings, domestic buildings, non-domestic buildings, post-occupancy evaluation


Donald Shearer, The Glasgow School of Art

For Kraft Architecture

The outputs of this study will be disseminated in due course.


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