Post Occupancy Evaluation

A seminal work on POE.
Sometimes, the key measurements of a building product can be assessed by physical properties. But many products must also be measured by human factors and how well they meet the emotional, physiological, and psychological needs of a building owner, tenant, or user. For example, lighting can measured in lux or watts per square meter. But it can also be measured by its effect on sales revenue and workplace productivity.

Sometimes these factors can be studied in a laboratory. But in other instances, the only meaningful way to study them is to go into a building to measure the behavior of people using the facility and collect feedback. Consider, for example, a hospital, where design can actually influence patient outcomes, as measured by the amount of pain medication the average patient requires. This type of research is sometimes referred to as post-occupancy evaluation.

One of our clients sells a pre-engineered building system for schoolhouse construction. His customers have been very happy and have written nice testimonials for him. But testimonials, no matter how effusive, can go only so far to establish credibility. My client wanted a more effective tool for convincing school boards to look favorably upon his unique solution.

We proposed to conduct a post-occupancy evaluation comparing two facilities, one built with conventional construction and the other with the pre-engineered system, to understand how the buildings effect the performance of students and faculty. Armed with findings based upon student test scores, faculty turnover, absenteeism, community satisfaction, and other criteria, our client hopes to be able to offer solid evidence that will convince architects and school districts to take a closer look at his system

Sandra Goodman, Ph.D., an associate of Chusid Associates, is a psychologist cross trained in building design and is available to discuss post occupancy evaluation with you. She has conducted post-occupancy evaluations for a major architectural firm, helping to identify lessons that could be applied to other projects, and her skills can also help a building product manufacturer design better products and assess the impact products have on building users.