How post occupancy evaluation helps architects

Post occupancy evaluation (or POE) is a practice that can help architects appraise their buildings.

After a building has been completed and occupied, it is useful to gather information on how the building is being used. The information gathered includes energy consumption, workplace satisfaction and even the occupants’ sleep cycles.

Predicted versus actual usage

The design and features of a building are influenced by predicted usage, but this will not necessarily reflect actual usage. When usage figures fall short or exceed expectations, this information provides valuable feedback that can influence the design of future building projects.

The value of POE

Although not every building project uses POE, its value is increasingly being recognized within the architectural community. Some architects even receive compensation that is linked to the performance of their buildings after occupancy.

At the Dr. Nancy Foster Florida Keys Environmental Center, it was found that the energy consumption of the building was twice that which was predicted. This information resulted in the original project partners being called back in to resolve the problem. Their modifications to the energy systems resulted in consumption falling below that originally predicted.

Following this, the developers decided to change their approach. Instead of simply handing over buildings on completion, they would track energy consumption for all their buildings in order to deal with any issues that came up.

POE and employees

Another issue addressed by POE is how buildings affect employee productivity and retention. If employee satisfaction is low, then changes to the interior design can improve the situation. These modifications can include more flexible furniture and the creation of communal areas.

POE could become standard as more firms realise that their involvement with a project does not have to end after the building is completed and ready for occupancy.

Posted by Matt Hughes
September 10, 2015

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