Post-occupancy evaluation (POE) is a process of systematically evaluating the performance of buildings after they have been built and occupied for some time. POE differs from other evaluations of building performance in that it focuses on the requirements of building occupants, including health, safety, security, functionality and efficiency, psychological comfort, aesthetic quality, and satisfaction. “Lessons learned” refers to programs aimed at collecting, archiving, and sharing information about successes and failures in processes, products, and other building-related areas for the purpose of improving the quality and life-cycle cost of future buildings. Ideally, the information gained through POEs is captured in lessons-learned programs and used in the planning, programming, and design processes for new facilities to build on successes and avoid repeating mistakes.
In 2000 the Federal Facilities Council, a cooperative association of 21 federal agencies with interests and responsibilities for large inventories of buildings, funded a study to look at the state of the practice of POEs and lessons-learned programs in federal agencies and in private, public, and academic organizations both in the United States and abroad. The primary purpose was to produce a report that identified successful post-occupancy evaluation programs (those that have worked well in terms of impact, longevity, and user satisfaction) and lessons-learned programs in federal agencies and the private sector. Specific objectives were to identify:
an industry-accepted definition of POEs;
methods and technologies used for data collection;
the costs of POE surveys;
the benefits of conducting POEs and capturing lessons;
organizational barriers to conducting POEs;
a standardized methodology that could be used within agencies to assure consistency in data gathering and allow for cooperative development of benchmarks and best practices; and
performance measures for POE programs.
To produce this report the Federal Facilities Council commissioned a set of papers by recognized subject matter experts, conducted a survey of six federal agencies with POE programs, and held a forum at the National Academy of Sciences on March 13, 2001.
The next sections of Chapter 1 summarize the findings contained in the authored papers, the survey questionnaires, and the forum presentations as they relate to the study objectives. In Chapter 2, “The Evolution of Post-Occupancy Evaluation: Toward Building Performance and Universal Design Evaluation,” Wolfgang Preiser reviews the historical development of POE programs, their uses, costs, and benefits; describes an integrative framework for building performance; and outlines a new paradigm for universal design evaluation. Chapter 3, “Post-Occupancy Evaluation: A Multifaceted Tool for Building Improvement,” written by Jacqueline Vischer, discusses the historical basis for POE programs; identifies the discrepancy that exists between reasons for doing POEs and the difficulties of implementing them; describes successful POE pro-
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1 Overview: A Summary of Findings INTRODUCTION • the costs of POE surveys; • the benefits of conducting POEs and capturing Post-occupancy evaluation (POE) is a process of lessons; systematically evaluating the performance of buildings • organizational barriers to conducting POEs; after they have been built and occupied for some time. • a standardized methodology that could be used POE differs from other evaluations of building perfor- within agencies to assure consistency in data gath- mance in that it focuses on the requirements of building ering and allow for cooperative development of occupants, including health, safety, security, function- benchmarks and best practices; and ality and efficiency, psychological comfort, aesthetic • performance measures for POE programs. quality, and satisfaction. “Lessons learned” refers to programs aimed at collecting, archiving, and sharing To produce this report the Federal Facilities Council information about successes and failures in processes, commissioned a set of papers by recognized subject products, and other building-related areas for the pur- matter experts, conducted a survey of six federal agen- pose of improving the quality and life-cycle cost of cies with POE programs, and held a forum at the future buildings. Ideally, the information gained National Academy of Sciences on March 13, 2001. through POEs is captured in lessons-learned programs and used in the planning, programming, and design ORGANIZATION OF THIS REPORT processes for new facilities to build on successes and avoid repeating mistakes. ` The next sections of Chapter 1 summarize the find- In 2000 the Federal Facilities Council, a cooperative ings contained in the authored papers, the survey ques- association of 21 federal agencies with interests and tionnaires, and the forum presentations as they relate to responsibilities for large inventories of buildings, the study objectives. In Chapter 2, “The Evolution of funded a study to look at the state of the practice of Post-Occupancy Evaluation: Toward Building Perfor- POEs and lessons-learned programs in federal agen- mance and Universal Design Evaluation,” Wolfgang cies and in private, public, and academic organizations Preiser reviews the historical development of POE both in the United States and abroad. The primary pur- programs, their uses, costs, and benefits; describes an pose was to produce a report that identified successful integrative framework for building performance; and post-occupancy evaluation programs (those that have outlines a new paradigm for universal design evalua- worked well in terms of impact, longevity, and user tion. Chapter 3, “Post-Occupancy Evaluation: A Multi- satisfaction) and lessons-learned programs in federal faceted Tool for Building Improvement,” written by agencies and the private sector. Specific objectives Jacqueline Vischer, discusses the historical basis for were to identify: POE programs; identifies the discrepancy that exists between reasons for doing POEs and the difficulties of • an industry-accepted definition of POEs; implementing them; describes successful POE pro- • methods and technologies used for data collection; 1
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2 LEARNING FROM OUR BUILDINGS grams employing the building-in-use assessment sys- to the physical assessment of a building. The lessons tem; and makes recommendations for an unobtrusive from these studies were intended to convey what design POE process. Chapter 4, “Post-Occupancy Evaluation elements work well, what works best, and what should Programs in Six Federal Agencies,” summarizes the not be repeated in future buildings. survey questionnaire findings and describes current and POE efforts in the United States and abroad were emerging POE practices in those agencies. In Chap- primarily focused on government and other public ter 5, “Post-Occupancy Evaluations and Organizational buildings from the 1960s to the mid-1980s. Private sec- Learning,” Craig Zimring and Thierry Rosenheck iden- tor organizations in the United States became more tify the elements necessary for organizational learning; actively involved with POE after the release of Using explore how 18 organizations have used POEs success- Office Design to Increase Productivity (Brill et al., fully for organizational learning; and discuss the 1985), which linked features of the office environment lessons-learned role of POEs. Chapter 6, “The Role of with worker productivity. As corporations downsized Technology for Building Performance Assessments,” and reengineered their business processes to focus on authored by Audrey Kaplan, identifies technologies core competencies, chief executive officers began to that have been used for POE processes; explores the think of their buildings as ways to achieve such strate- possibilities of cybersurveys for improving the response gic goals as customer satisfaction, decreased time to rate and lowering the costs of POE data collection and market, increased innovation, attraction and retention analysis; and discusses Web survey design consider- of high-quality workers, and enhanced productivity of ations, sampling techniques, publicity, data collection, work groups. A number of organizations have since and responses. used POE as a tool for improving, innovating, or other- In Appendix A, “Functionality and Standards: Tools wise initiating strategic workspace changes. for Stating Functional Requirements and for Evaluat- ing Facilities,” Francoise Szigeti and Gerald Davis dis- Industry-Accepted Definition cuss how the ASTM Standards on Whole Building Functionality and Serviceability (ASTM, 2000) can be As POEs have become broader in scope and purpose, used to evaluate the quality of the performance deliv- POE has come to mean any activity that originates out ered by a facility in relation to the original expecta- of an interest in learning how a building performs once tions. Appendix B, “A Balanced Scorecard Approach it is built (if and how well it has met expectations) and for Post-Occupancy Evaluation: Using the Tools of how satisfied building users are with the environment Business to Evaluate Facilities,” written by Judith that has been created. POE has been seen as one of a Heerwagen, outlines a performance-based approach number of practices aimed at understanding design that could provide an analytical structure to the entire criteria, predicting the effectiveness of emerging process, from original concept through lessons learned. designs, reviewing completed designs, supporting Appendixes C-F contain supporting materials. The building activation and facilities management, and bibliography is a compilation of references cited in the linking user response to the performance of buildings. text and additional references submitted by the authors. POE is also evolving toward more process-oriented evaluations for planning, programming, and capital asset management. SUMMARY OF FINDINGS As a consequence, there is no industry-accepted Post-occupancy evaluation is based on the idea that definition for POE; nor is there a standardized method better living space can be designed by asking users for conducting a POE. Even the term POE has come about their needs. POE efforts in Britain, France, under scrutiny. Academics and others working in the Canada, and the United States in the 1960s and 1970s field have proposed new terms, including environ- involved individual case studies focusing on buildings mental design evaluations, environmental audits, build- accessible to academic researchers, such as public ing-in-use assessments, building evaluation, facility housing and college dormitories. Information from assessment, post-construction evaluation, and building occupants about their response to buildings was performance evaluations in an effort to better reflect gathered through questionnaires, interviews, site visits, the objectives and goals of POEs as they are practiced. and observation; sometimes the information was linked
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3 OVERVIEW: A SUMMARY OF FINDINGS Methods and Technologies for Data Collection Bank both have linked POE data to their geographic information systems for future planning and design Traditionally, POEs are conducted using question- purposes. naires, interviews, site visits, and observation of build- ing users. Over time, more specific processes, levels of Costs of Post-Occupancy Evaluation Surveys surveys, and new technologies have been developed to better fit stakeholders’ objectives and budgets. Shortcut Depending on the type of survey conducted and the methods have been devised that allow the researcher or level of analysis used, the cost for a POE survey can evaluator to obtain valid and useful information in less range from a few thousand dollars per facility to U.S. time than previously. $2.50 or more per square foot of space evaluated. Fed- Use of the Web and other technologies could sub- eral agencies have reported costs ranging from $1,800 stantially change the methods for conducting POEs and for a simple standard questionnaire that could be com- for analyzing the data generated. Web-based cyber- pleted in one hour to $90,000 for an in-depth analysis, surveys may become the primary survey instrument, including several days of interviews, the use of multi- owing to their convenience, low cost of distribution disciplinary teams, site visits, and report writing. Today and return, ability to check for errors and receive data— the range of methods for conducting POEs allows an including rich-text replies—in electronic format, and organization to tailor the technique to its objectives and ease with which respondents can receive feedback. available resources (time, staff, and money). Web- Two U.S. federal agencies have already begun moving enabled surveys are emerging, and these may provide in this direction. The Public Buildings Service of the another technique that can be used at a relatively low General Services Administration is working with the cost. Center for the Built Environment at the University of California, Berkeley, to develop a set of POE surveys Benefits of Conducting Post-Occupancy Evaluations that can be administered over the Web. Different sur- and Capturing Lessons veys are directed to different key personnel to help determine if GSA is meeting a number of key manage- Stakeholders in buildings include investors, owners, ment indicators. The Naval Facilities Engineering operators, designers, contractors, maintenance person- Command is modifying its database to integrate corpo- nel, and users or occupants. A POE process that cap- rate management systems and to Web-enable its POE tures lessons can serve many purposes and provide survey. The POE survey will draw information from many benefits, depending on a stakeholder’s goals and the management system and alert individuals when the objectives. These include the following: surveys should be administered. For organizations seeking to link facility design and • support of policy development as reflected in business goals, a POE approach could be used that design and planning guides. The validity of combines assessment of the physical condition of the underlying premises used in recurrent designs can building and its systems with assessment of user com- be tested and evolutionary improvements to pro- fort on such topics as indoor air quality and ventilation gramming and design criteria can be identified rates, lighting levels and contrast conditions, building and incorporated into standards and guidance (not occupant) noise levels, and indoor temperature literature. (thermal comfort). Results from subjective or instru- • provision to the building industry of information ment measures could be plotted on floor plans using about buildings in use by improving the measure- geographical information systems. The data could then ment of building performance by quantifying be analyzed individually or as overlays showing the occupant perceptions and physical environmental spatial distribution of a range of factors. For example, factors. ratings of thermal comfort could be assessed with tem- • testing of new concepts to determine how well perature data and spatial location. Occupants’ percep- they work in occupied buildings. tions of interior environments could also be linked with • generation of information needed to justify major data from building control systems, local weather con- expenditures and inform future decisions. Infor- ditions, or facility usage as recorded by building-access mation generated by POEs can be used for smart cards. The Disney Corporation and the World decision-making in the pre-design phase of a new
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4 LEARNING FROM OUR BUILDINGS project to avoid repeating past mistakes. It can Additional barriers to more effective use of POE and also be used to educate decision makers about the lessons-learned programs include the following: performance implications of design changes dic- tated by budget cuts and to improve the way space • the difficulty of establishing a clear causal link is used as determined by stakeholders or docu- between positive outcomes and the physical envi- mented standards. ronment. This lack of a clear link can make it dif- • improvement of building performance through- ficult for POE proponents to convince decision out the life cycle. POEs can be used to identify makers that the benefits received will justify the and remediate such problems associated with new expenditure of time and money on the evalua- buildings as uncontrolled leakage, deficient air tions. circulation, poor signage, and lack of storage. For • reluctance by organizations and building profes- facilities that incorporate the concept of adapt- sionals to participate in a process that may expose ability, where changes are frequently necessary, problems or failures or may be used as a method regularly conducted POEs can contribute to an to focus (or deflect) blame. For federal agencies, ongoing process of adapting the facility to chang- senior executives may be concerned that identify- ing organizational needs. ing problems may be considered a weakness by • making design professionals and owners account- Congress or the inspector general. able for building performance. POEs can be used • fear of soliciting feedback from occupants on the to measure the functionality and appropriateness grounds that both seeking and receiving this type of a design and establish conformance with of information may obligate an organization to explicit and comprehensive performance require- make costly changes to its services or to the build- ments as stated in the functional program. They ing itself. can also serve as a mechanism to monitor a • lack of participation by building users. In some building’s quality and to notify decision makers cases the reluctance to participate can be attrib- when the performance of a building does not uted directly to uncertainty about senior manage- reach an agreed standard. ment’s commitment to the program, which may • aiding communications among stakeholders such be manifested by lack of resources or visible as designers, clients, facility managers, and end endorsement of the program. users. Through active involvement in the evalua- • failure to distribute information resulting from tion process, the attitude of building occupants POEs to decision makers and other stakeholders. can be improved and proactive facility manage- • pressure to meet design and construction dead- ment that responds to building users’ values can lines, which can create a time barrier to sustained be facilitated. POE activity. Staffs may be so focused on future projects and ongoing construction that POEs for completed and occupied projects are given lower Barriers to Conducting Post-Occupancy Evaluations priority. Despite these benefits, only a limited number of • lack of in-house staff having the wide range of large organizations and institutions have active POE skills and technical expertise needed to direct and programs. Relatively few organizations have fully manage the results of evaluations and to commu- incorporated lessons from POE programs into their nicate the information so that it is useful and non- building delivery processes, job descriptions, or report- threatening. Organizations may be reluctant to ing arrangements. One reason for this limited use is the hire consultants to conduct and analyze POEs if nature of POE itself, which identifies both successes resources are limited and there is a lack of and failures. Most organizations do not reward staff or executive-level commitment to such programs. programs for exposing shortcomings. In addition, rela- For federal agencies it may be difficult to obtain tively few organizations have created appropriate con- or earmark the funding needed to conduct POEs ditions for learning (i.e., conditions that allow the regardless of whether they are using consultants organization to constantly improve the way it operates or in-house staff. under routine conditions and to respond to change • organizational structures can create barriers when quickly and effectively when the need arises). responsibilities for POE administration and
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5 OVERVIEW: A SUMMARY OF FINDINGS lessons-learned database development are assigned • Bell Canada and the World Bank: Both organiza- to different offices, thereby creating a need for tions have attempted to use POE as an asset man- interoffice collaboration and blurring the lines of agement tool for space planning. Both companies accountability. collected large amounts of data from occupants and calculated baseline scores on seven comfort factors across all buildings. Real estate staff could Successful Post-Occupancy Evaluation and Lessons- then identify which spaces exceeded baseline Learned Programs scores and which fell below. These factors are Despite the barriers mentioned above, POE has con- considered in budgeting for maintenance and tinued to grow as a practice. Some organizations have repair, space planning, and the reconfiguration of been able to effectively integrate the lessons of POEs space. The World Bank also made an effort to into strategic planning and decision-making processes link its database with computer-aided design for facility delivery and acquisition. Notable examples drawings so that baseline scores of buildings, or include the following: floors of buildings, could be used as indexes of quality in its space-planning process. • the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers program of participatory programming and evaluation during Elements for Post-Occupancy Evaluation Success the 1970s: The effort, undertaken after research indicated that aging facilities were an impediment One objective of this study was to identify a stan- to recruiting and retaining soldiers for the all- dardized methodology that could be used by federal volunteer Army, resulted in design guides for agencies to assure consistency in data gathering and facilities ranging from drama and music centers allow for cooperative development of benchmarks and to barracks and military police stations. best practices. As outlined above, POEs can serve a • the U.S. Postal Service program: In the 1980s the variety of purposes and the methods used for POE sur- newly reorganized U.S. Postal Service made veys can be tailored to the specific purpose and avail- extensive use of POEs to gather information about able resources. It is not clear that a standardized meth- buildings to develop retail-focused postal stores odology for POEs that could be used for benchmarking to better compete with private sector companies. across federal agencies would be effective or even The program proved successful in meeting its desirable. However, based on the information in the objectives. Over time the survey methodologies following chapters, it is evident that organizations seek- have been modified to support new objectives, ing to establish or restructure POE programs need to but the Postal Service program remains active. make a number of key decisions in the early planning • the Disney Corporation, which uses three evalua- stages and develop and incorporate several key com- tion programs and corresponding databases to ponents in their program if they are to be successful, explore optimal conditions and develop predic- regardless of the POE purpose or methodology. These tors of its key business driver, intention of the decisions and components are identified below. customer to return: The databases are used exten- sively in the design and renovation of buildings • Develop a clear statement about what the organi- because they allow Disney to make direct links zation wants to achieve by conducting and apply- between inputs, such as proposed number of ing POEs. The links between evaluations and people entering gates, and outputs, such as the stated requirements have to be explicit and easy width of Main Street. to trace. • the Massachusetts Division of Capital Planning • Identify the resources available to carry out the and Operations, which links POE with pre-design POE, matching data collection and analysis programming of public buildings: POEs have activities to the available time and budget. been used to develop and test prototype concepts • Identify the likely users of POE results and deter- for state police stations, child care centers, and mine how they need the results communicated. vehicle maintenance and repair stations, resulting • Garner support from high levels of the organiza- in savings of cost and time in the programming, tion to signal the importance of the project or pro- design, and construction of new facilities. gram to people throughout the organization.
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6 LEARNING FROM OUR BUILDINGS • Determine if it is to be a one-of-a-kind case study fully incorporate the lessons from POEs into capital or a standardized approach that allows building asset management processes and decision making, professionals to collect modest amounts of com- organizations need to do the following: parable data from a variety of buildings on a com- parative basis over time. • Gain the support and long-term commitment of • For a standard approach, capture and present the senior management. information that is fed forward from such activi- • Create broad opportunities for participation and ties in comparable formats. Develop accepted reflection. Encourage the direct participation of terminology, standard definitions, and normalized building owners, decision makers, designers, documentation at the outset to make such com- customers, project managers, and staff in the parisons easier. evaluations. Where necessary, create incentives • Have the questionnaire designed and analyzed by for participation, for instance, through contract someone skilled in survey research. Determine clauses, “free” vacation days, or using POE what indicators will be selected for measurement. results as part of a review of qualifications when Evaluate such measures for usefulness, reliability, selecting consultants and contractors. validity (they should measure what they purport • Provide access to the information for different to measure), efficiency, ability to allow small audiences. Upper-level management, architects, changes to be noticed, and balance. The entire set engineers, project managers, clients, and building of measures should include both quantitative and users have different levels of responsibility in the qualitative measures, as well as direct and indi- building process and require different informa- rect measures. tion from POEs. Lessons learned through POEs • Consider POE techniques that avoid direct ques- should be presented in a variety of formats to meet tioning of users, for example, using data gener- the needs of various stakeholders; these formats ated by building control systems, observations, can include databases, design guides, case study and expert walk-throughs. The evaluation process reports, and policy and planning documents. will fail if occupants are reluctant to participate • Create simple databases that can be accessed by or if staff resources are insufficient to help with key words and that use simple methods to display the organizational data gathering or for other overall results to aid interpretation. Ideally, a measures. database should include the design hypotheses • Decide whether user survey data will be made and assumptions for each project, the specific available to building occupants and, if so, in how measures used to test the hypothesis, before and much detail and for what purpose. after photos of the space, brief summaries of the • Inform facility occupants about the purpose of data, some analyses of cost, size and materials, their involvement in providing feedback and how key lessons learned, connections to other studies, the data will be used. They need to be assured that connections to the full research findings before their own input will be kept confidential and and after, and recommendations for future designs. should be informed if immediate correction of • Identify the critical points in the building process problems is not envisioned. Occupants are more at which information or a POE can help resolve a likely to be engaged in the process if they are problem or issue of considerable importance to involved in helping design the measurement plan participants. Use the information gathered to and if they see a benefit from participation. develop or modify policy documents. • Build on facility evaluations that are the subject of complaints or controversy. Focus on under- Elements for Successful Lessons-Learned Programs standing the reasons for problems or failures, and Issues related to applying lessons learned from POEs use this information to modify programming or are only partly technical. Tools for creating Web sites planning processes to avoid repeating the experi- and databases are now widely available and relatively ence. inexpensive. Optimizing the value of POEs requires • Use POEs of innovative buildings or components the initiative to collect the information, the time to to help decide whether such innovations should make sense of it, and the will to share it. To success- be considered for future buildings.
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7 OVERVIEW: A SUMMARY OF FINDINGS • Create protected opportunities for innovation and facility is built a second evaluation can be made to evaluation. Methods for doing this include sanc- determine how closely the facility fits the original tioning research with the clear understanding that expectations. not all innovations will be successful, starting Evaluating the performance of buildings as a finan- small with projects that have an experimental cial asset within a portfolio or inventory of buildings is component, and evaluating the results before more difficult. One potential approach is the Balanced applying them on a broader basis. Scorecard system of measurement adapted to facilities. The Balanced Scorecard is a business tool that assesses four categories of performance: financial, business Performance Measures process, customer relations, and learning and growth The use of performance-based approaches to facility (human resource development). The four categories are acquisition and evaluation is a worldwide trend. used to avoid overemphasis on financial incomes, to Performance-based approaches require greater atten- capture the full value of the product or process, and to tion to the definition and description of purposes balance levels of analysis from individual and group (demand and results) of a project or program, both in outcomes to higher-level organizational outcomes. the short and long term, and to ways of measuring Performance measures for facilities often overempha- whether the desired results have been achieved. size costs because there are few data to show linkages Performance criteria for POEs for individual build- between facility design and business goals. Cost- ings are based typically on the stated design intent and focused strategies include reducing the size of work criteria contained in or inferred from a functional stations, using a universal plan with only a few work program. Measures include indicators related to orga- station options, eliminating private offices or person- nizational and occupant performance, such as worker ally assigned spaces, and telecommuting. A Balanced satisfaction and productivity, and safety and security, Scorecard approach, adapted to facilities, can answer but may also include measures of building performance questions such as the following: as perceived by users such as air quality, thermal com- fort, spatial comfort, ergonomics, privacy, lighting • How can workplace design positively influence comfort, noise (from the building and offices), and outcomes that organizations value? aesthetics. • How can workplace design reduce costs or A performance-based approach that could be used increase revenue? to measure the quality of services delivered by the • How can workplace design enhance human facility in support of individuals or groups involves the resource development? use of scales created by the International Centre for • How can the physical workplace enhance work Facilities. The scales have been approved and published processes and reduce time to market? by the American Society for Testing and Materials • How can the physical work environment enhance (ASTM) as ASTM Standards on Whole Building Func- customer relationships and present a more posi- tionality and Serviceability (ASTM, 2000). The ASTM tive face to the public? standard scales include two matched, multiple-choice questionnaires. One questionnaire, used for setting By asking these questions at the beginning of a workplace requirements for functionality and quality, design project the Balanced Scorecard approach can describes customer needs (demand) as the core of front- provide an analytical structure to the entire process, end planning. The other, matching questionnaire is from conceptualization through evaluation and finally used for assessing the capability of a building or design to lessons learned. POE results can be used to develop to meet these levels of need, which represents its measures for all categories of performance and to serviceability. It rates facilities (supply) in terms of per- evaluate the organization’s success in meeting its per- formance as a first step toward an outline performance formance goals. A core set of measures can be used specification. In the pre-project planning phase, the across facilities to gain a better understanding of the scales can be used to determine if the proposed facility entire building stock, while other measures would be will meet the needs of the customer and, if not, the unique to the goals and objectives of the particular changes that can be made to improve the fit. Once the organization, department, or division.
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8 LEARNING FROM OUR BUILDINGS POEs and Lessons-Learned Programs for Federal others, have used lessons from POE surveys to improve Agencies the design of federal buildings, to lower operating and maintenance costs, and to provide quality assurance. Federal agencies that own, provide, use or manage The Naval Facilities Engineering Command and the large inventories of facilities face a number of chal- Army Corps of Engineers, among others, have used lenges. They are responsible for delivering buildings POE data to design buildings that better meet user that are safe, secure, sustainable, accessible, cost effec- needs and help to support the retention of military and tive to operate and maintain, responsive to customer civilian staff. The U.S. Postal Service has used POE needs, and supportive of worker productivity. Agen- data to better meet its customer needs and, in so doing, cies must also become more business-like in their prac- the USPS has been better able to compete with private tices, more accountable to the public, and to manage sector mail delivery services. The U.S. Air Force and their processes such that the results are measurable (i.e., others have used POE data for quality assurance in on time, within budget, and of a quality to last 50 years identifying building defects and repairing them early or longer). In most agencies, the staff resources to meet in the life of the building when it is most cost-effective these challenges were reduced during the 1990s and to make such repairs. The GSA and NAVFAC are agencies face further loss of technical expertise through restructuring their programs to better link POE to a retirements and attrition. wide range of facility management processes as federal In this environment, POE and lessons-learned pro- agencies shift their emphasis from facility engineering grams, appropriately designed and managed, can add to capital asset management. significant value to federal facility acquisition pro- As Web-based surveys, building controls, and geo- cesses. A constructed facility is a culmination of poli- graphic information systems continue to evolve, con- cies, actions, and expenditures that call for evaluation. ducting POE programs and capturing lessons should POE and lessons-learned programs can provide a sys- become easier and yield more useful data. Instituting tematic method for assessing the impact of past deci- these programs in additional federal agencies in accord sions and using these assessments in future decision with the guidelines highlighted above should result in making. They can partially mitigate the loss of in-house benefits that outweigh the costs. However, establish- staff by creating an institutional data base that remains ment of these programs will require leadership from with the agency through changes in management and both senior executives and program managers and a attrition in personnel. They also provide an opportu- willingness to learn from both successes and failures. nity to improve user satisfaction and reduce the cost of design development by sharing information through- REFERENCES out an agency and with outside contractors. Although POE and lessons-learned programs have ASTM (American Society for Testing and Materials). 2000. ASTM Stan- been instituted in relatively few federal agencies, those dards on Whole Building Functionality and Serviceability. West agencies have reported significant benefits. The General Conshohocken, Pa.: ASTM. Brill, M., S.M., Margulis, and E., Konar, 1985. Using Office Design to Services Administration, the Administrative Office of Increase Productivity (2 vols.). Buffalo, N.Y.: BOSTI and the U.S. Courts, and the U.S. State Department, among Westinghouse Furniture Systems.