Based on observed trends, the committee makes the following conclusions and recommendations to be considered by government agencies and private organizations responsible for construction programs in general and for conducting POEs in particular. These recommendations recognize the current lack of institutional support for this field, as well as the need to generate a reliable and comprehensive data base. To that end, the committee proposes measures that will: (1) make POE a more systematic process with rigorous procedures, (2) lay the groundwork for a data base of knowledge on building use and performance, and (3) establish a clearinghouse to assemble, maintain and disseminate information generated by POEs.
The committee presents trends, conclusions, recommendations and discussions (in that order) in three sections: (1) policy-related topics that focus on broad policies that should be instituted to make POE more useful and widely used, (2) building process-related topics that focus on procedures in the uses of POE, and (3) technology and techniques-related topics that identify innovative ways in which POEs can be improved.
This section presents three policy-related topics: (1) monitoring building quality and performance, (2) POE data base and clearinghouse information, and (3) POE data and litigation. The committee recommends courses of action that can be implemented to make POE more beneficial to government agencies and private organizations, as well as to improve the planning, design, construction and operation of facilities.
Trend 1. Quality assurance programs are used by many manufacturing concerns to raise consumer confidence and to compete more effectively in world markets. POE addresses a significant part of quality assurance in the building industry. As each facility is evaluated in use, the existing quality of materials and design concepts can be critically assessed, and design criteria can be changed to produce better facilities in the future.
Hidden high operating costs, costly repairs, and dysfunctional facilities have made administrators more aware of the need for quality buildings. This is especially true for those institutions that build many facilities on a recurring basis.
POE also constitutes an “auditing” tool that can be used by the knowledgeable client. Together with construction audits and other recognized financial accounting practices, POE can track performance of a project, document costly changes to the program requirements, and identify critical strengths or weaknesses associated with a particular facility type. POE can be used as a parallel track in the design and construction process, tracking decisions, changes, and outcomes.
Conclusion 1. More emphasis is being placed on quality in our society today. Occupants of facilities expect that same quality in terms of building performance. Organizations in the private and public sectors
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Appendix F Chapter 5 from Post-Occupancy Evaluation Practices in the Building Process: Opportunities for Improvement, National Academy Press, 1987 TRENDS, CONCLUSIONS, make POE more beneficial to government agencies and AND RECOMMEDATIONS private organizations, as well as to improve the plan- ning, design, construction and operation of facilities. Based on observed trends, the committee makes the following conclusions and recommendations to be con- Monitoring Building Quality and Performance sidered by government agencies and private organiza- tions responsible for construction programs in general Trend 1. Quality assurance programs are used by and for conducting POEs in particular. These recom- many manufacturing concerns to raise consumer confi- mendations recognize the current lack of institutional dence and to compete more effectively in world support for this field, as well as the need to generate a markets. POE addresses a significant part of quality reliable and comprehensive data base. To that end, the assurance in the building industry. As each facility is committee proposes measures that will: (1) make POE evaluated in use, the existing quality of materials and a more systematic process with rigorous procedures, design concepts can be critically assessed, and design (2) lay the groundwork for a data base of knowledge on criteria can be changed to produce better facilities in building use and performance, and (3) establish a the future. clearinghouse to assemble, maintain and disseminate Hidden high operating costs, costly repairs, and dys- information generated by POEs. functional facilities have made administrators more The committee presents trends, conclusions, recom- aware of the need for quality buildings. This is espe- mendations and discussions (in that order) in three cially true for those institutions that build many facili- sections: (1) policy-related topics that focus on broad ties on a recurring basis. policies that should be instituted to make POE more POE also constitutes an “auditing” tool that can be useful and widely used, (2) building process-related used by the knowledgeable client. Together with con- topics that focus on procedures in the uses of POE, and struction audits and other recognized financial account- (3) technology and techniques-related topics that iden- ing practices, POE can track performance of a project, tify innovative ways in which POEs can be improved. document costly changes to the program requirements, and identify critical strengths or weaknesses associated ITEMS RELATED TO POLICY IN THE with a particular facility type. POE can be used as a BUILDING PROCESS parallel track in the design and construction process, tracking decisions, changes, and outcomes. This section presents three policy-related topics: (1) monitoring building quality and performance, Conclusion 1. More emphasis is being placed on (2) POE data base and clearinghouse information, and quality in our society today. Occupants of facilities (3) POE data and litigation. The committee recom- expect that same quality in terms of building perfor- mends courses of action that can be implemented to mance. Organizations in the private and public sectors 119
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120 LEARNING FROM OUR BUILDINGS are concerned about the price/performance relationship edge and experience takes on added importance. POE for new facilities and, therefore, want to develop results can be organized into a data base format and can responsive buildings for the lowest possible cost. be made available to subscribers through a clearinghouse, subscription service, or an electronic data base. Stan- Recommendation 1. Government agencies manage dardized documentation and data collection can be and operate a significant real estate portfolio for their used, and government building projects can be entered own account. This includes offices, hospitals, housing and evaluated as part of the data base. The clearing- and special use facilities. Agencies should be learning house would manage the information and provide a and benefiting more from their extensive design, con- central source of expertise. struction and operational experience. Through POE, they should be applying the lessons learned to reduce Recommendation 2. Government agencies, together operating costs, to design environments that improve with private sector organizations, should create and productivity, and to build facilities that respond to the support: (1) an on-line data base that would contain rapidly changing requirements of institutional users and POE results, design criteria, and other design guide- clients. lines, (2) a clearinghouse consisting of electronic data bases, and case studies, and (3) POE networks, directo- Discussion 1. By evaluating the performance of new ries, conferences, and other ways within government and existing facilities in terms of how well they work agencies to expedite the exchange of knowledge. for the user, agencies can make trade-offs on future projects and target features that have the greatest return Discussion 2. Various academic and research-oriented in assuring building quality and performance. Further- associations already have extensive, informal POE net- more, professionals in the design, construction and works. Currently, these networks are developed and facilities management community can exchange infor- maintained through voluntary efforts. Federal agencies, mation with one another through associations, con- at very little expense, could put together a directory of ferences and written presentations. By exchanging individuals and groups who conduct POEs or who are information generated by POEs about buildings in use, interested in doing so. Various forms of information they will greatly expand knowledge about how to exchanges and other supporting materials could be achieve better quality buildings. assembled. The data base would be kept updated by incoming POE reports, by special studies related to important design concepts, and by other research. It Development of Data Bases and Clearinghouses would be set up so as to be accessible through national Trend 2. Today there is the technology and capability networks already established. to develop electronic data bases for use by various par- A centralized capability to organize, collect and dis- ticipants in the building industry. Some large corpora- seminate POE-based knowledge is critically needed. tions have already begun developing these data bases New building projects are usually begun without to disseminate information to subscribers and other in- knowledge of how previous solutions have fared; too terested users. Certain industries have established often new design is based on architectural trends, clearinghouses to collect, organize, archive and dis- aesthetics or first-cost considerations. The cost to the seminate specialized information. Clearinghouses have government is enormous as novel building designs fail, helped to advance practice in those fields that build buildings do not satisfy the needs of users, and cost upon precedent and other professionals’ work. In the overruns mount because of unanticipated problems. building industry, several professional groups (such as A clearinghouse, as envisioned by the committee, the International Facilities Management Association would primarily use electronic data bases that could be and the Building Owners and Managers Association accessed by private and public sector users on a fee- Exchange) are involved in establishing clearinghouse for-service basis. activities. At this time, however, they are not designed to handle POE information. POE Data and Litigation Conclusion 2. Because the operation of facilities is Trend 3. Increased use of litigation in our society becoming increasingly complex, the sharing of knowl- raises a concern about the possible use of POE data in
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121 APPENDIX F lawsuits. The fear is that responsibility will be attrib- The results, factored into the building process through uted from POE data to certain parties, and lawsuits and updated codes and revised criteria, will promote greater costly legal expenses may result. quality design solutions. Unified and accepted stan- dards allow for the communication and comparison of Conclusion 3. The possibility of POE data used in data from individual studies. Such standards develop a lawsuits may potentially have a crippling effect on the higher level of professionalism in the field; prac- continued development of the field. Actions should be titioners adhere to these practices, thus allowing for the taken to safeguard the use of POE results. comparison of findings and the interpretation of results. Recommendation 3. In conjunction with other policy Conclusion 4. Buildings are designed based on cer- actions, adequate information controls and safeguards tain goals and performance requirements that are fur- should to be developed and implemented in any POE ther clarified by defining explicit, often quantitative, program. A legal and ethical code is also required to performance criteria and by establishing a range of cover POE use. Public sector agencies, working measured values that will satisfy those criteria. Since through the Federal Construction Council, should many POEs in current practice are ad hoc in character, request the Building Research Board (or similar there is little basis for comparisons or for valid infer- organization) to develop appropriate procedures and ences to be drawn. A systematic POE program would safeguards. enhance the ability of a regulatory agency to verify compliance with the performance features of its codes Discussion 3. Safeguards need to be built into any and standards. Rigorous POEs would fill this need, POE program to insure accurate reporting, to minimize increasing design flexibility as well. nuisance suits, and to protect the parties involved in the design and construction of buildings. If POE becomes Recommendation 4. Key indicators and reliable, associated with punitive litigation in this way, agency objective building performance measures should be personnel may refuse to do POEs. The results of POEs developed for use in POEs, and as a basis for design should remain confidential until clearance by the client criteria, as well as standards and guidelines for a variety organization. of common facility types. In addition, the description and documentation of the buildings being evaluated should be improved. ITEMS RELATED TO PROCEDURES IN THE BUILDING PROCESS Discussion 4. A set of key indicators, similar to the This section considers four topics related to POE economic indicators used in evaluations of the state of practice and procedures: (1) the building performance the economy, should be used in POEs. These key indi- concept and standards, (2) changing human require- cators, associated with other, more standardized ments and building technologies, (3) user participation methods and procedures, would lead to more reliable and training, and (4) economics. The committee results that could be more easily communicated. In believes that POE can significantly improve buildings addition, efforts should be made to develop perfor- by promoting research-based programming and design. mance requirements (e.g., purpose, description, assess- The results of POE can be used to identify key factors ment, conclusions of lessons learned, strengths and about building performance that make the operation weaknesses) that can be used at different levels of and management of buildings more efficient and cost evaluation—from walk-through POE ratings to more effective. in-depth diagnostic POEs. Several levels of POE investigation can be under- taken. Each of these levels has somewhat different The Building Performance Concept and Standards objectives and requires a somewhat different set of Trend 4. Higher quality buildings can be developed as methodologies, procedures, and related formats. These POE data bases come into general use. The results of procedures should be standardized so as to allow for POE will provide designers with an empirical base on the comparability of information and results. Such stan- the performance of buildings that can be used to assess dardization, including how to handle exceptions, would other buildings and to evaluate new design concepts.
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122 LEARNING FROM OUR BUILDINGS allow data to be entered into a data base and could be Recommendation 5. POE programs should be devel- made available to all pertinent government agencies. oped that allow facility management to assess and plan A taxonomy of buildings that describes meaningful for the changing requirements of building occupants. categories of features, materials and systems can be POEs can be used to evaluate existing buildings, regu- developed to create a common basis for comparisons larly assess users’ perceptions of the facilities, and plan and evaluations. The physical environment that is being for necessary changes based on user needs. evaluated in a POE needs to be adequately described so POE practices should be employed to evaluate new that one study of that facility type can be related to materials and technologies in actual use. Prototypes or another. A set of descriptor categories as well as a set representative cases should be identified and studied; of physical, objective measures (e.g., lighting levels on the results from evaluations could then be generalized the work surface) should be included. to future applications. Discussion 5. Organizations change to meet new Changing Human and Building Parameters conditions; as a result, individuals within organizations Trend 5. Users expect environments that are respon- frequently move or change activities. A POE program sive to their needs. Occupants are the critical element that regularly evaluates facilities from the users’ per- in helping organizations to achieve their mission, and spective can respond to these ongoing changes. New facilities must support the needs of building occupants. needs can be anticipated; facilities can be fine-tuned or The introduction of new materials and technologies retrofitted. Building maintenance priorities can be into the building industry will continue as producers established on safety concerns and occupants’ needs. develop new products and applications. This will Facility management can then supply environments present opportunities for new design strategies and that are flexible, respond to the changing needs of users, solutions; it will also present new dangers. Some of and are satisfying places in which to live and work. these products are tested and evaluated in a laboratory A POE program, especially one that incorporates setting, but problems are only identified after an results into clearinghouses and electronic data bases, extended period of use (e.g., gases being given off from can be used to spot potential problems or trends across some office products contributing to poor indoor air various facility types before a disaster occurs or a quality) or when a disaster occurs (e.g., toxic fumes serious health hazard develops. With an early identifi- being produced by the burning of certain plastic mate- cation program, agencies can avoid possible litigation rials in furniture). There is a need for evaluating these or costly retrofits to resolve health-related problems. materials and technologies in use when they are com- Liaisons with other agencies that act on behalf of the bined with other products or put to unusual and novel public welfare or conduct research related to health and uses. safety problems could be established. Liaisons with product testing laboratories, manufacturing associa- Conclusion 5. New technologies, a consumer ethic, tions or professional societies would also promote the and more education are changing the way people use sharing of results and rapid communication if potential designed environments. Environments must become problems were identified. POE programs could pro- more flexible to accommodate frequent changes, and vide a testing capability for building products, materi- they must be more responsive to provide for newly als and technologies in actual use. These evaluations emerging needs. New materials and technologies allow could also furnish valuable research data for product the designer to create specialized spaces in buildings to modifications. house a variety of activities. New materials (e.g., plastics, bonding agents, and User Participation and Training sealants) are being developed for use in buildings, building systems and furniture. Similarly, new tech- Trend 6. User participation: Focus groups, user nologies are being introduced into buildings that allow panels, surveys and other forms of market research are for improved building operation or new design options. used extensively in consumer product development to New computer-based technologies that augment the establish user preferences and product acceptance. User activities of building occupants are placing new behavior patterns and human factor considerations have demands on building systems and performance. been recently added to product development efforts.
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123 APPENDIX F Training: Organizations that develop and manage national Facilities Management Association, the Build- facilities for their own users are finding it increasingly ing Owners Management Association, the National necessary to professionalize their in-house staff, which Office Products Association, and others intimately is expected to be proactive (i.e., anticipate change and involved with the building industry should be enlisted plan for change). Such an expectation of professional- in this training effort. ism requires more training of existing in-house staff. Economics Conclusion 6. User participation: User participation is an accepted practice, which in the building field can Trend 7. Life-cycle costing, including the costs of boost morale, improve office productivity, and provide operation, maintenance, and other facility-related other user benefits. activities, is an increasingly important consideration for Training: As organizations professionalize their institutions that develop their own facilities. Facility facilities management staff, they need to provide managers can adopt POE procedures to project the specialized training and education programs. These quality of a facility that they build, as well as to evalu- programs should deal with planning and implementing ate its performance over time. change, using the environment to support organiza- tional objectives, involving users in the planning Conclusion 7. Increasingly, organizations are becom- process, and implementing facilities management ing more aware of the value of the fixed asset base programs. which they own, manage and operate. Facilities man- agement as a professional occupational category has Recommendation 6. User participation: POE pro- also grown, as owners adopt a more active posture grams that solicit end user feedback and information regarding the management of their facilities. It is should be used to heighten participation in the design expected that POE will generate significant cost of new facilities or in improving existing ones. savings by improving design criteria, by correcting Training: Certification or other training programs problems that are discovered after building occupancy, should be developed to educate agency personnel or and by improving the overall building stock over the their consultants regarding concepts and techniques of long term. conducting POEs. Recommendation 7. POEs should become part of the Discussion 6. User participation: Typically, client management process used by facility managers, build- representatives of the building owner make decisions ing operators, and others responsible for fixed asset for most people in the organization. Often, they do not management, new facility development, or design. have first-hand experience of various functions, nor do Research on building economics and the overall life- they know the personal preferences of individuals. It cycle costs associated with a facility should be con- would be more effective to have end users participate ducted. Research should also be done on the costs of by expressing attitudes, personal preferences, behav- POEs, including savings that are realized as a result of ioral styles, and other characteristics of a more per- POEs. sonal nature. This higher level of participation by users would provide a richer representation of user needs Discussion 7. There has been a growing recognition of from which to develop new design solutions. the economic importance of high quality buildings and Training: Pilot training programs could be created their management as fixed assets. Similar to the human by knowledgeable POE practitioners to train in-house resource or information resources management func- personnel or consultants on how to do POEs. This could tions, facility management is concerned with the day- be done through universities and technical schools. to-day operations and, occasionally, with new building Printed instructional material could be supplemented projects. by videotaped materials of case studies, or tutorials The economics of building occupancy are related to documenting how a POE is conducted. Seminars or the housing of personnel, technology and various func- workshops could also be established for designers, tions of an agency and should be viewed from a build- facility managers, building operators, and real estate ing life-cycle perspective. Similarly, POE should be consultants. Professional associations such as the Inter- seen as part of the overall building process, and not as
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124 LEARNING FROM OUR BUILDINGS Computer-Based Systems singular case studies. To that end, more economic research is needed to document savings and oppor- Trend 9. New computer-based technologies offer tunities. designers and end users the capability of visualizing As POE is increasingly used to provide the industry and testing design concepts before they are actually with empirical data about buildings in use, POE results built. They also offer more dynamic ways of sharing can document manufacturers’ claims, give perfor- information and examining “what if” options in design. mance profiles of individual buildings systems, and provide information about possible trade-offs. Conclusion 9. How results of POE work or how graphical data are presented to an untrained audience is ITEMS RELATED TO INNOVATIVE important. Long, written reports or complex graphics TECHNOLOGIES AND TECHNIQUES can lead to incorrect conclusions. Computer-based technologies, including computer-aided design (CAD) This section reviews four areas of POE practice per- systems, offer many opportunities to educate an taining to: (1) smart buildings, (2) computer-based sys- untrained audience and to communicate effectively tems, (3) simulations, and (4) mathematical modeling. new information. Smart Buildings Recommendation 9. The committee recommends the development of computer-based reporting formats that Trend 8. It is now possible to build into a facility the give POE practitioners the ability to communicate capability to monitor constantly or frequently occu- effectively their findings to a nontechnical audience. pants’ responses. Individuals are able to provide feed- Alternative reporting and presentation formats should back to facility managers through interactive, comput- also be investigated. erized “check-out” procedures. It may soon become possible to develop electronically monitored environ- Discussion 9. A CAD system could be linked to a ments that respond to commands of building occupants. POE data base to provide feedback on particular design There will also be the capability of providing electroni- configurations and strategies. CAD-generated materials cally adjusting environments that automatically change could be reviewed and tested with prospective occu- to meet the needs of the occupants. pants before building construction begins. Psychologi- cal imaging, problem solving, and idea generation Conclusion 8. With the introduction of electronic tech- exercises could be used to augment the CAD capability nology and building control systems into most facility in order to produce realistic images of actual occupancy types, new opportunities exist to develop more sophis- experiences. For example, in Japan some developers ticated evaluation methods and procedures. already use CAD systems to help people design new homes. After prospective buyers play “what if” games Recommendation 8. The committee encourages the with the sales person, a particular design is selected, use of existing and new integrated building monitoring and a CAD system produces information for the pre- systems (such as security sensors, video monitors, and fabrication of the housing units, including scheduling telephones) to provide data and to record occupants’ and delivery to the building site. feedback in response to building conditions. Research should be undertaken to develop on-line sensors, wear Simulations and tear indicators, and other potentially beneficial applications of monitoring technology to be used in Trend 10. Increasingly, electronic simulations are POE programs. used to provide realistic experiences of actual live situ- ations. The pilot trainer simulator is an example of this Discussion 8. Many existing building monitoring sys- trend. tems and technologies routinely report on ambient con- Simulators provide airplane pilots with the actual ditions or on ongoing activities in buildings. Security experiences, perceptual information, and other realis- cameras and movement sensors that regulate lighting, tic inputs to simulate a situation or set of conditions telephones, and other systems can be used to provide that they might experience. Computers simulate instru- POE data and feedback to facility managers.
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125 APPENDIX F mentation readings that appear in response to the pilot’s could develop under certain conditions or assumptions. control changes, and video displays provide them with Scientists studying weather, geological events such as realistic views of what they will encounter at different earthquakes, regional ecologies, and other natural airports. systems rely on mathematical computer modeling to simulate possible outcomes and their likelihood of Conclusion 10. Computer simulations, used now in occurrence. other industries, will provide POE practitioners with the tools and techniques to anticipate the findings of a Conclusion 11. With availability of powerful com- POE before the building is built and occupied, enabling puters and sophisticated software, it is becoming easier the end user to have input at the conceptual and design to use mathematical models for environmental design phases of the building process. evaluations such as POEs. Recommendation 10. Computer simulations, such as Recommendation 11. Ways should be examined that full scale and smaller scale mock-ups, should be devel- allow the use of POE in early phases of building pro- oped and used to complement POEs. gramming and design, before a building is actually completed and occupied. Simulations to replicate Discussion 10. Today, various psychological or other POEs, mathematical or statistical formulations, or tests are used to evaluate situations such as job func- expert computer systems may allow these types of pre- tions, living in a space capsule, or college performance. occupancy evaluations to be carried out. Some manufacturers have developed software pro- grams that allow the evaluation of a machine part Discussion 11. Models using POE information could before it is produced. Simulation or evaluation tests be developed with the goal that at some time in the could be developed to anticipate the significant find- future the building industry will be able to do POE- ings that might be uncovered by POEs. While they will type testing early in the programming phase of the not remove the need for POEs, these simulations could building process. Planners would be able to ask “what provide critical feedback to designers. if” questions and test them under various occupancy scenarios. Once POE findings are systematized, as called for in this report, it will become possible to apply Mathematical Modeling mathematical and statistical models in the hope that Trend 11. Mathematical models are used to evaluate some better predictability in design can be achieved. various economic, physical and political scenarios that