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The Evolution of Post-Occupancy Evaluation: Toward Building Performance and Universal Design Evaluation

Wolfgang F.E. Preiser, Ph.D., University of Cincinnati

The purpose of this chapter is to define and provide a rationale for the existence of building performance evaluation. Its history and evolution from post-occupancy evaluation over the past 30 years is highlighted. Major methods used in performance evaluations are presented and the estimated cost and benefits described. Training, opportunities and approaches for building performance evaluation are enumerated. Possible opportunities for government involvement in building performance evaluation are sketched out. The next step and new paradigm of universal design evaluation is outlined. Last but not least, questions and issues regarding the future of building performance evaluation are raised.

POST-OCCUPANCY EVALUATION: AN OVERVIEW

A definition of post-occupancy evaluation was offered by Preiser et al. (1988): post-occupancy evaluation (POE) is the process of evaluating buildings in a systematic and rigorous manner after they have been built and occupied for some time. The history of POE was also described in that publication and was summarized by Preiser (1999), starting with one-off case study evaluations in the late 1960s and progressing to systemwide and cross-sectional evaluation efforts in the 1970s and 1980s. While these evaluations focused primarily on the performance of buildings, the latest step in the evolution of POE toward building performance evaluation (BPE) and universal design evaluation (UDE) is one that emphasizes a holistic, process-oriented approach to evaluation. This means that not only facilities, but also the forces that shape them (political, economic, social, etc.), are taken into account. An example of such process-oriented evaluations was the development of the Activation Process Model and Guide for hospitals of the Veterans Administration (Preiser, 1997). In the future, one can expect more process-oriented evaluations to occur, especially in large government and private sector organizations, which operate in entire countries or globally, respectively.

Many actors participate in the use of buildings, including investors, owners, operators, maintenance staff, and perhaps most important of all, the end users (i.e., actual persons occupying the building). The focus of this chapter is on occupants and their needs as they are affected by building performance and on occupant evaluations of buildings. The term evaluation contains the world “value”; thus, occupant evaluations must state explicitly whose values are referred to in a given case. An evaluation must also state whose values are used as the context within which performance will be tested. A meaningful evaluation focuses on the values behind the goals and objectives of those who wish their buildings to be evaluated, in addition to those who carry out the evaluation.

There are differences between the quantitative and qualitative aspects of building performance and the respective performance measures. Many aspects of building performance are in fact quantifiable, such as lighting, acoustics, temperature and humidity, durability of materials, amount and distribution of space, and so on. Qualitative aspects of building performance pertain to the ambiance of a space (i.e., the appeal to the sensory modes of touching, hearing, smelling, and kinesthetic and visual perception, including color). Furthermore, the evaluation of qualitative aspects of building performance, such as aesthetic beauty or visual



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2 The Evolution of Post-Occupancy Evaluation: Toward Building Performance and Universal Design Evaluation Wolfgang F.E. Preiser, Ph.D., University of Cincinnati The purpose of this chapter is to define and provide tions was the development of the Activation Process a rationale for the existence of building performance Model and Guide for hospitals of the Veterans Admin- evaluation. Its history and evolution from post-occupancy istration (Preiser, 1997). In the future, one can expect evaluation over the past 30 years is highlighted. Major more process-oriented evaluations to occur, especially methods used in performance evaluations are presented in large government and private sector organizations, and the estimated cost and benefits described. Training, which operate in entire countries or globally, respec- opportunities and approaches for building performance tively. evaluation are enumerated. Possible opportunities for Many actors participate in the use of buildings, government involvement in building performance including investors, owners, operators, maintenance evaluation are sketched out. The next step and new staff, and perhaps most important of all, the end users paradigm of universal design evaluation is outlined. (i.e., actual persons occupying the building). The focus Last but not least, questions and issues regarding the of this chapter is on occupants and their needs as they future of building performance evaluation are raised. are affected by building performance and on occupant evaluations of buildings. The term evaluation contains the world “value”; thus, occupant evaluations must POST-OCCUPANCY EVALUATION: AN OVERVIEW state explicitly whose values are referred to in a given A definition of post-occupancy evaluation was case. An evaluation must also state whose values are offered by Preiser et al. (1988): post-occupancy evalu- used as the context within which performance will be ation (POE) is the process of evaluating buildings in a tested. A meaningful evaluation focuses on the values systematic and rigorous manner after they have been behind the goals and objectives of those who wish their built and occupied for some time. The history of POE buildings to be evaluated, in addition to those who carry was also described in that publication and was summa- out the evaluation. rized by Preiser (1999), starting with one-off case study There are differences between the quantitative and evaluations in the late 1960s and progressing to qualitative aspects of building performance and the systemwide and cross-sectional evaluation efforts in respective performance measures. Many aspects of the 1970s and 1980s. While these evaluations focused building performance are in fact quantifiable, such as primarily on the performance of buildings, the latest lighting, acoustics, temperature and humidity, durability step in the evolution of POE toward building perfor- of materials, amount and distribution of space, and so mance evaluation (BPE) and universal design evalua- on. Qualitative aspects of building performance per- tion (UDE) is one that emphasizes a holistic, process- tain to the ambiance of a space (i.e., the appeal to the oriented approach to evaluation. This means that not sensory modes of touching, hearing, smelling, and only facilities, but also the forces that shape them kinesthetic and visual perception, including color). Fur- (political, economic, social, etc.), are taken into thermore, the evaluation of qualitative aspects of build- account. An example of such process-oriented evalua- ing performance, such as aesthetic beauty or visual 9

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10 LEARNING FROM OUR BUILDINGS compatibility with a building’s surroundings, is some- materials, engineering, or construction of a facility. what more difficult and subjective and less reliable. In Examples of these evaluations include structural tests, other cases, the expert evaluator will pass judgment. reviews of load-bearing elements, soil testing, and Examples are the expert ratings of scenic and architec- mechanical systems performance checks, as well as tural beauty awarded chateaux along the Loire River in post-construction evaluation (physical inspection) prior France, as listed in travel guides. The higher the appar- to building occupancy. ent architectural quality and interest of a building, the Technical tests usually evaluate some physical sys- more stars it will receive. Recent advances in the tem against relevant engineering or performance crite- assessment methodology for visual aesthetic quality of ria. Although technical tests indirectly address such scenic attractiveness are encouraging. It is hoped that criteria by providing a better and safer building, they someday it will be possible to treat even this elusive do not evaluate it from the point of view of occupant domain in a more objective and quantifiable manner needs and goals or performance and functionality as (Nasar, 1988). they relate to occupancy. The client may have a tech- POE is not the end phase of a building project; nologically superior building, but it may provide a dys- rather, it is an integral part of the entire building deliv- functional environment for people. ery process. It is also part of a process in which a POE Other types of evaluations are conducted that expert draws on available knowledge, techniques, and address issues related to operation and management of instruments in order to predict a building’s likely per- a facility. Examples are energy audits, maintenance and formance over a period of time. operation reviews, security inspections, and programs At the most fundamental level, the purpose of a that have been developed by professional facility man- building is to provide shelter for activities that could agers. Although they are not POEs, these evaluations not be carried out as effectively, or carried out at all, in are relevant to questions similar to those described the natural environment. A building’s performance is above. its ability to accomplish this. POE is the process of the The process of POE differs from these and technical actual evaluation of a building’s performance once in evaluations in several ways: use by human occupants. A POE necessarily takes into account the owners’, • A POE addresses questions related to the needs, operators’, and occupants’ needs, perceptions, and activities, and goals of the people and organiza- expectations. From this perspective, a building’s per- tion using a facility, including maintenance, formance indicates how well it works to satisfy the building operations, and design-related questions. client organization’s goals and objectives, as well as Other tests assess the building and its operation, the needs of the individuals in that organization. A POE regardless of its occupants. can answer, among others, these questions: • The performance criteria established for POEs are based on the stated design intent and criteria con- • Does the facility support or inhibit the ability of tained in or inferred from a functional program. the institution to carry out its mission? POE evaluation criteria may include, but are not • Are the materials selected safe (at least from a solely based on, technical performance specifica- short-term perspective) and appropriate to the use tions. of the building? • Measures used in POEs include indices related to • In the case of a new facility, does the building organizational and occupant performance, such as achieve the intent of the program that guided its worker satisfaction and productivity, as well as design? measures of building performance referred to above (e.g., acoustic and lighting levels, adequacy of space and spatial relationships). TYPES OF EVALUATION FOR • POEs are usually “softer” than most technical BUILDING PROJECTS evaluations. POEs often involve assessing psy- Several types of evaluation are made during the chological needs, attitudes, organizational goals planning, programming, design, construction, and and changes, and human perceptions. occupancy phases of a building project. They are often • POEs measure both successes and failures inher- technical evaluations related to questions about the ent in building performance.

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11 THE EVOLUTION OF POST-OCCUPANCY EVALUATION PURPOSES OF POEs TYPES OF POEs A POE can serve several purposes, depending on a Depicted in Figure 2-1 is an evolving POE process client organization’s goals and objectives. POE can model showing three levels of effort that can be part of provide the necessary data for the following: a typical POE, as well as the three phases and nine steps that are involved in the process of conducting • To measure the functionality and appropriateness POEs: of design and to establish conformance with per- formance requirements as stated in the functional • Indicative POEs give an indication of major program. A facility represents policies, actions, strengths and weaknesses of a particular building’s and expenditures that call for evaluation. When performance. They usually consist of selected POE is used to evaluate design, the evaluation interviews with knowledgeable informants, as must be based on explicit and comprehensive per- well as a subsequent walk-through of the facility. formance requirements contained in the func- The typical outcome is awareness of issues in tional program statement referred to above. building performance. • To fine-tune a facility. Some facilities incorpo- • Investigative POEs go into more depth. Objec- rate the concept of “adaptability,” such as office tive evaluation criteria either are explicitly stated buildings, where changes are frequently neces- in the functional program of a facility or have to sary. In that case, routinely recurring evaluations be compiled from guidelines, performance stan- contribute to an ongoing process of adapting the dards, and published literature on a given build- facility to changing organizational needs. ing type. The outcome is a thorough understand- • To adjust programs for repetitive facilities. Some ing of the causes and effects of issues in building organizations build what is essentially the identi- performance. cal facility on a recurring basis. POE identifies • Diagnostic POEs correlate physical environmen- evolutionary improvements in programming and tal measures with subjective occupant response design criteria, and it also tests the validity of measures. Case study examples of POEs at these underlying premises that justify a repetitive three levels of effort can be found in Preiser et al. design solution. (1988). The outcome is usually the creation of • To research effects of buildings on their occupants. new knowledge about aspects of building perfor- Architects, designers, environment-behavior mance. researchers, and facility managers can benefit from a better understanding of building-occupant The three phases of the post-occupancy evaluation interactions. This requires more rigorous scien- process model are (1) planning, (2) conducting, and tific methods than design practitioners are nor- (3) applying. The planning phase is intended to prepare mally able to use. POE research in this case the POE project, and it has three steps: (1) reconnais- involves thorough and precise measures and more sance and feasibility, (2) resource planning, and sophisticated levels of data analysis, including (3) research planning. In this phase, the parameters for factor analysis and cross-sectional studies for the POE project are established; the schedule, costs, greater generalizability of findings. and manpower needs are determined; and plans for data • To test the application of new concepts. Innova- collection procedures, times, and amounts are laid out. tion involves risk. Tried-and-true concepts and Phase 2—conducting—consists of (4) initiating the ideas can lead to good practice, and new ideas are on-site data collection process, (5) monitoring and necessary to make advances. POE can help deter- managing data collection procedures, and (6) analyz- mine how well a new concept works once applied. ing data. This phase deals with field data collection and • To justify actions and expenditures. Organiza- methods of ensuring that preestablished sampling pro- tions have greater demands for accountability, cedures and data are actually collected in a manner that and POE helps generate the information to is commensurate with the POE goals. accomplish this objective. Furthermore, data are analyzed in preparation for the final phase—applying. This phase contains steps (7) reporting findings, (8) recommending actions, and

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12 LEARNING FROM OUR BUILDINGS FIGURE 2-1 Post-occupancy evaluation: evolving performance criteria. finally, (9) reviewing outcomes. Obviously, this is the This is especially relevant to the public sector, which most critical phase from a client perspective, because designs buildings for its own use on a repetitive basis. solutions to identified problems are outlined and rec- The many uses and benefits—short, medium, and ommendations are made for actions to be taken. Fur- long term—that result from conducting POEs are listed thermore, monitoring the outcome of recommended below. They refer to immediate action, the three- to actions is a significant step, since the benefits and value five-year intermediate time frame, which is necessary of POEs are established in this final step of the apply- for the development of new construction projects, and ing phase. the long-term time frame ranging from 10 to 25 years, Critical in Figure 2-1 is the arrow that points to which is necessary for strategic planning, budgeting, “feedforward” into the next building cycle. Clearly, one and master planning of facilities. These benefits pro- of the best applications of POE is its use as input into vide the motivation and rationale for committing to the pre-design phases of the building delivery cycle POE as a concept and for developing POE programs. (i.e., needs analysis or strategic planning and facility Short-term benefits include the following: programming). • identification of and solutions to problems in facilities, BENEFITS, USES, AND COSTS OF POEs • proactive facility management responsive to Each of the above types of POEs can result in several building user values, benefits and uses. Recommendations can be brought • improved space utilization and feedback on build- back to the client, and remodeling can be done to cor- ing performance, rect problems. Lessons learned can influence design • improved attitude of building occupants through criteria for future buildings, as well as provide infor- active involvement in the evaluation process, mation to the building industry about buildings in use. • understanding of the performance implications of

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13 THE EVOLUTION OF POST-OCCUPANCY EVALUATION changes dictated by budget cuts, and according to the author’s experience, is between • better-informed design decision-making and $15,000 and $20,000 and covers just about that many understanding of the consequences of design. square feet (Preiser and Stroppel, 1996; Preiser, 1998), amounting to approximately $1.00 per square foot Medium-term benefits include the following: evaluated. The three-day POE workshop format developed by • built-in capacity for facility adaptation to organi- the author typically costs around $5,000, plus expenses zational change and growth over time, including for travel and accommodation (Preiser, 1996), and it recycling of facilities into new uses, has proven to be a valuable training and fact-finding • significant cost savings in the building process approach for clients’ staff and facility personnel. and throughout the life cycle of a building, and • accountability for building performance by design AN INTEGRATIVE FRAMEWORK FOR BUILDING professionals and owners. PERFORMANCE EVALUATIONS Long-term benefits include the following: In 1997, the POE process model was developed into an integrative framework for building performance • long-term improvements in building perfor- evaluation (Preiser and Schramm, 1997), involving the mance, six major phases of the building delivery and life cycles • improvement of design databases, standards, (i.e., planning, programming, design, construction, criteria, and guidance literature, and occupancy, and recycling of facilities). In the follow- • improved measurement of building performance ing material, the integrative framework for building through quantification. performance evaluation is outlined. The time dimen- sion was the major added feature, plus internal review The most important benefit of a POE is its positive or troubleshooting and testing cycles in each of the six influence upon the delivery of humane and appropriate phases. environments for people through improvements in the The integrative framework shown in Figure 2-2 programming and planning of buildings. POE is a form attempts to respect the complex nature of performance of product research that helps designers develop a evaluation in the building delivery cycle, as well as the better design in order to support changing requirements life cycle of buildings. This framework defines the of individuals and organizations alike. building delivery cycle from an architect’s perspective, POE provides the means to monitor and maintain a showing its cyclic evolution and refinement toward a good fit between facilities and organizations, and the moving target of achieving better building performance people and activities that they support. POE can also overall and better quality as perceived by the building be used as an integral part of a proactive facilities man- occupants. agement program. At the center of the model is actual building perfor- Based on the author’s experience in conducting mance, both measured quantitatively and experienced POEs at different levels of effort (indicative, investiga- qualitatively. It represents the outcome of the building tive, and diagnostic) and involving different levels of delivery cycle, as well as building performance during sophistication and manpower, the estimated cost of its life cycle. It also shows the six subphases referred to these POEs ranges from 50 cents a square foot for above: planning, programming, design, construction, indicative-type POEs to anywhere from $2.50 upward occupancy, and recycling. Each of these phases has at the diagnostic level. Some diagnostic-type POEs internal reviews and feedback loops. Furthermore, each have cost hundreds of thousands of dollars; such as phase is connected with its respective state-of-the-art those commissioned by the U.S. Postal Service (Farbstein knowledge contained in building type-specific data- et al., 1989). On the other hand, indicative POEs, if bases, as well as global knowledge and the literature in carried out by experienced POE consultants, can cost general. The phases and feedback loops of the frame- as little as a few thousand dollars per facility and can work can be characterized as follows: be concluded within a matter of a few days, involving only a few hours of walk-through activity on site. • Phase 1—Planning: The beginning of the build- The range of charges for investigative-type POEs, ing delivery cycle is the strategic plan which

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14 LEARNING FROM OUR BUILDINGS FIGURE 2-2 Building performance evaluation: integrative framework for building delivery and life cycle. establishes medium- and long-term needs of an • Loop 3—Design Review: The design phase has organization through market or needs analysis, evaluative loops in the form of design review or which in turn is based on mission and goals, as troubleshooting involving the architect, the pro- well as facility audits. Audits match needed items, grammer, and representatives of the client orga- including space, with existing resources in order nization. The development of knowledge-based to establish actual demand. and computer-aided design (CAD) techniques • Loop 1—Effectiveness Review: Outcomes of stra- makes it possible to apply evaluations during the tegic planning are reviewed in relation to big- earliest design phases. This allows designers to issue categories, such as corporate symbolism and consider the effects of design decisions from image, visibility in the context surrounding the various perspectives, while it is not too late to site, innovative technology, flexibility and adap- make modifications in the design. tive re-use, initial capital cost, operating and • Phase 4—Construction: In this phase, construc- maintenance cost, and costs of replacement and tion managers and architects share in construc- recycling at the end of the useful life of a building. tion administration and quality control to ensure • Phase 2—Programming: Once effectiveness contractual compliance. review, cost estimating, and budgeting have • Loop 4—Post-Construction Evaluation: The end occurred, a project has become a reality and pro- of the construction phase is marked by post- gramming can begin. construction evaluation, an inspection that results • Loop 2—Program Review: The outcome of this in “punch lists,” that is, items that need to be com- phase is marked by a comprehensive documenta- pleted prior to commissioning and acceptance of tion of the program review involving the client, the building by the client. the programmer, and representatives of the actual • Phase 5—Occupancy: During this phase, move- occupant groups. in and start-up of the facility occur, as well as • Phase 3—Design: This phase contains the steps fine-tuning by adjusting the facility and its occu- of schematic design, design development, and pants to achieve optimal functioning. working drawings or construction documents. • Loop 5—POE: Building performance evaluation

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15 THE EVOLUTION OF POST-OCCUPANCY EVALUATION during this phase occurs in the form of POEs car- the design disciplines to philosophical, conceptual, ried out six to twelve months after occupancy, methodological, and practical considerations of univer- thereby providing feedback on what works in the sal design is advocated as the new paradigm for “design facility and what does not. POEs will assist in of the future.” testing hypotheses made in prototype programs and designs for new building types, for which no UNIVERSAL DESIGN PERFORMANCE precedents exist. Alternatively, they can be used to identify issues and problems in the perfor- The goal of universal design is to achieve universal mance of occupied buildings and further suggest design performance of designs ranging from products ways to solve these. Furthermore, POEs are and occupied buildings to transportation infrastructure ideally carried out in regular intervals, that is, in and information technology that are perceived to sup- two- to five-year cycles, especially in organiza- port or impede individual, communal, or organizational tions with recurring building programs. goals and activities. Since this chapter was commis- • Phase 6—Recycling: On the one hand, recycling sioned by the Federal Facilities Council, the remainder of buildings to similar or different uses has of the discussion will focus on buildings and the built become quite common. Lofts have been con- environment as far as universal design is concerned. verted to artist studios and apartments; railway A philosophical base and a set of objectives are the stations have been transformed into museums of seven principles of Universal Design (Center for Uni- various kinds; office buildings have been turned versal Design, 1997). into hotels; and factory space has been remodeled into offices or educational facilities. On the other • They define the degree of fit between individuals hand, this phase might constitute the end of the or groups and their environment, both natural and useful life of a building when the building is built. decommissioned and removed from the site. In • They refer to the attributes of products or envi- cases where construction and demolition waste ronments that are perceived to support or impede reduction practices are in place, building materials human activity. with the potential for re-use will be sorted and • They imply the objective of minimizing adverse recycled into new products. At this point, hazard- effects of products, environments, and their users, ous materials, such as chemicals and radioactive such as discomfort, stress, distraction, ineffi- waste, are removed in order to reconstitute the ciency, and sickness, as well as injury and death site for new purposes. through accidents, radiation, toxic substances, and so forth. • They constitute not an absolute, but a relative, UNIVERSAL DESIGN EVALUATION concept, subject to different interpretations in dif- The concept, framework, and evolution of universal ferent cultures and economies, as well as temporal design evaluation are based on consumer feedback- and social contexts. Thus, they may be perceived driven, preexisting, evolutionary evaluation process differently over time by those who interact with models developed by the author (i.e., POE and BPE). the same facility or building, such as occupants, The intent of UDE is to evaluate the impact on the user management, maintenance personnel, and visitors. of universally designed environments. Working with Mace’s definition of universal design, “an approach to The nature of basic feedback systems was discussed creating environments and products that are usable by by von Foerster (1985): The evaluator makes compari- all people to the greatest extent possible” (Mace, 1991, sons between the outcomes (O) which are actually in Preiser, 1991), protocols are needed to evaluate the sensed or experienced, and the expressed goals (G) and outcomes of this approach. Possible strategies for expected performance criteria (C), which are usually evaluation in the global context are presented, along documented in the functional program and made with examples of case study evaluations that are explicit through performance specifications. Von presently being carried out. Initiatives to introduce uni- Foerster observed that “even the most elementary versal design evaluation techniques in education and models of the signal flow in cybernetic systems require training programs are outlined. Exposure of students in a (motor) interpretation of a (sensory) signal” and, fur-

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16 LEARNING FROM OUR BUILDINGS ther, “the intellectual revolution brought about by such activities as planning, programming, design- cybernetics was simply to add to a ‘machine,’ which ing, constructing, activating, occupying, and was essentially a motoric power system or a sensor that evaluating an environment or building. can ‘see’ what the machine or organism is doing, and, 4. The outcome (O) represents the objective, physi- if necessary, initiate corrections of its actions when go- cally measurable characteristics of the environ- ing astray.” The evolutionary feedback process in ment or building under evaluation (e.g., its building delivery in the future is shown in Figure 2-3. physical dimensions, lighting levels, and thermal The motor driving such a system is the programmer, performance). designer, or evaluator who is charged with the responsi- 5. The actual performance (P) refers to the perfor- bility of ensuring that buildings meet state-of-the-art mance as observed, measured, and perceived by performance criteria. those occupying or assessing an environment, The environmental design and building delivery pro- including the subjective responses of occupants cess is goal oriented. It can be represented by a basic and objective measures of the environment. system model with the ultimate goal of achieving uni- versal design performance criteria: Any number of subgoals (Gs) for achieving envi- ronmental quality can be related to the basic system 1. The universal design performance framework (Preiser, 1991) through modified evaluators (Es), out- conceptually links the overall client goals (G), comes (Os), and performance (Ps). Thereby, the out- namely those of achieving environmental quality, come becomes the subgoal (Gs) of the subsystem with with the elements in the system that are described respective criteria (Cs), evaluators (Es), and perfor- in the following items. mance of the subsystem (Ps). The total outcome of the 2. Performance evaluation criteria (C) are derived combined basic and subsystems is then perceived (P) from the client’s goals (G), standards, and state- and assessed (C) as in the basic system (in Figure 2-4). of-the-art criteria for a building type. Universal design performance is tested or evaluated against PERFORMANCE LEVELS these criteria by comparing them with the actual performance (P) (see item 5 below). Subgoals of building performance may be structured 3. The evaluator (E) moves the system and refers to into three performance levels pertaining to user needs: G Goals GOALS (G) C Performance Criteria PERFORMANCE CRITERIA (C) O Outcome: Built Environment/ OUTCOME: BUILT Product CO ENVIRONMENT/PRODUCT M (O) PA RIS O P N Performance PERFORMANCE Measures MEASURES (P) OBJECT OF E EVALUATOR (E) EVALUATION Evaluator FIGURE 2-3 Performance concept/evaluation system.

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System Programmer/ Performance Client Client Designer Criteria Sub-Goals Goals Performance Programmer/ Criteria Designer Sub-Goals Sub-Goals Sub-System Sub-System THE EVOLUTION OF POST-OCCUPANCY EVALUATION 2 1 Performance Built Built Measures Environment Environment Sub-Goals S-S 1 S-S 1 Performance Performance Programmer/ Programmer/ Criteria Designer Criteria Designer S-S 1 S-S 1 S-S 2 S-S 2 Performance Performance Built Built Measures Measures Environment Environment S-S 2 S-S 1 Performance Measures FIGURE 2-4 Feedback system with sub-systems. 17

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18 LEARNING FROM OUR BUILDINGS the health-safety-security level, the function and effi- the physical environment. This breakdown also paral- ciency level, and the psychological comfort and satis- lels three basic levels of performance requirements for faction level. With reference to these levels, a subgoal buildings (i.e., firmness, commodity, delight), which might include safety; adequate space and spatial rela- the Roman architect Vitruvius (1960) had pronounced. tionships of functionally related areas; privacy, sensory These historic constructs, which order occupant stimulation, or aesthetic appeal. For a number of needs, were transformed and synthesized into the subgoals, performance levels interact and may also “habitability framework” (Preiser, 1983) by devising conflict with each other, requiring resolution. three levels of priority depicted in Figure 2-5: Framework elements include products-buildings- settings, building occupants and their needs. The physi- 1. health, safety, and security performance; cal environment is dealt with on a setting-by-setting 2. functional, efficiency, and work flow perfor- basis. Framework elements are considered in group- mance; and ings from smaller to larger scales or numbers or from 3. psychological, social, cultural, and aesthetic per- lower to higher levels of abstraction, respectively. formance. For each setting and occupant group, respective per- formance levels of pertinent sensory environments and These three categories parallel the levels of stan- quality performance criteria are required (e.g., for the dards and guidance designers should or can avail them- acoustic, luminous, gustatory, olfactory, visual, tactile, selves of. Level 1 pertains to building codes and life thermal, and gravitational environments). Also relevant safety standards projects must comply with. Level 2 is the effect of radiation on the health and well-being of refers to the state-of-the-art knowledge about products, people, from both short- and long-term perspectives. building types, and so forth, exemplified by agency- As indicated above, occupant needs versus the built specific design guides or reference works such as Time- environment or products are construed as performance Saver Standards: Architectural Design Data (Watson levels. Grossly analogous to the human needs hierarchy et al., 1997). Level 3 pertains to research-based design (Maslow, 1948) of self-actualization, love, esteem, guidelines, which are less codified but nevertheless of safety, and physiological needs, a three-level break- importance for building designers and occupants alike. down of performance levels reflects occupant needs in The relationships and correspondences between the FIGURE 2-5 Evolving performance criteria.

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19 THE EVOLUTION OF POST-OCCUPANCY EVALUATION habitability framework and the principles of universal ing module, which involved both the facility planners design devised by the Center for Universal Design and designers and the building occupants (after one (1997) are shown in Figure 2-6. year of occupancy), a formula that has proven to be In summary, the framework presented here system- very effective in generating useful performance feed- atically relates buildings and settings to building occu- back data. A proposed UDE process model is shown in pants and their respective needs vis à vis the product or Figure 2-7. the environment. It represents a conceptual, process- Major benefits and uses are well known and include, oriented approach that accommodates relational con- when applied to UDE, the following: cepts to applications in any type of building or envi- ronment. This framework can be transformed to permit • Identify problems and develop universal design stepwise handling of information concerning person- solutions. environment relationships (e.g., in the programming • Learn about the impact of practice on universal specification, design, and hardware selection for design and on building occupants in general. acoustic privacy). • Develop guidelines for enhanced universal design concepts and features in buildings, urban infra- structure, and systems. TOWARD UNIVERSAL DESIGN EVALUATION • Create greater awareness in the public of suc- The book Building Evaluation Techniques (Baird et cesses and failures in universal design. al., 1996) showcased a variety of building evaluation techniques, many of which would lend themselves to It is critical to formalize and document, in the form adaptation for purposes of UDE. In that same volume, of qualitative criteria and quantitative guidelines and this author (Preiser, 1996) presented a chapter on a standards, the expected performance of facilities in three-day POE training workshop and prototype test- terms of universal design. FIGURE 2-6 Universal design principles versus performance criteria.

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20 LEARNING FROM OUR BUILDINGS FIGURE 2-7 Universal design evaluation: process model with evolving performance criteria. POSSIBLE STRATEGIES FOR UNIVERSAL The author proposes to advance the state of the art DESIGN EVALUATION through a collection of case study examples of differ- In the above-referenced models, it is customary to ent building types, with a focus on universal design, include Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) stan- including living and working environments, public dards for accessible design as part of a routine evalua- places, transportation systems, recreational and tourist tion of facilities. The ADA standards provide infor- sites, and so forth. These case studies will be structured mation on compliance with prescriptive technical in a standardized way, including videotaped walk- standards, but say nothing about performance—how throughs of different facility types and with various the building or setting actually works for a range of user types. The universal design critiques would focus users. The principles of universal design (Center for at the three levels of performance referred to above Universal Design, 1997) constitute an idealistic, occu- (Preiser, 1983), i.e., (1) health, safety, and security; pant need-oriented set of performance criteria and (2) function, efficiency, and work flow; and, (3) psy- guidelines that need to be operationalized. There is also chological, social, cultural, and aesthetic performance. the need to identify and consider data-gathering Other POE examples are currently under development methods that include interviews, surveys, direct obser- through the Rehabilitation Engineering and Research vation, photography, and the in-depth case study Center at the State University of New York at Buffalo. approach, among others. One study focuses on wheelchair users, another, on Other authors address assessment tools for universal existing buildings throughout the United States. Its design at the building (Corry, 2001) and urban design Web site explains that research in more detail scales (Guimaraes, 2001; Manley, 2001). In addition, () the International Building Performance Evaluation Furthermore, methodologically appropriate ways of project (Preiser, 2001) and consortium created by the gathering data from populations with different levels author has attempted to develop a universal data col- of literacy and education (Preiser and Schramm, 2001) lection tool kit that can be applied to any context and are expected to be devised. It is hypothesized that culture, while respecting cultural differences. through these methodologies, culturally and contextu-

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21 THE EVOLUTION OF POST-OCCUPANCY EVALUATION ally relevant universal design criteria will be developed occupancy evaluations have now become an accepted over time. This argument is eloquently presented by part of good design by moving from primarily subjec- Balaram (2001) when discussing universal design in tive, experience-based evaluations to more objective the context of an industrializing nation such as India. evaluations based on explicitly stated performance The role of the user as “user/expert” (Ostroff, 1997) requirements in buildings. should also be analyzed carefully. The process of user Critical in the notion of performance criteria is the involvement is often cited as central to successful focus on the quality of the built environment as universal design but has not been systematically evalu- perceived by its occupants. In other words, building ated. Ringaert discusses the key involvement of the performance is seen to be critical beyond aspects of user, as noted above. energy conservation, life-cycle costing, and the func- tionality of buildings: it focuses on users’ perceptions of buildings. EDUCATION AND TRAINING IN UNIVERSAL For data-gathering techniques for POE-based UDEs DESIGN EVALUATION TECHNIQUES to be valid and standardized, the results need to become Welch (1995) presented strategies for teaching uni- replicable. versal design developed in a national pilot project Such evaluations have become more cost-effective involving 21 design programs throughout the United due to the fact that shortcut methods have been devised States. The initial learning from that project can be used that allow the researcher or evaluator to obtain valid in curricula in all schools of architecture, industrial and useful information in a much shorter time frame design, interior design, landscape architecture, and than was previously possible. Thus, the cost of staffing urban design, when they adopt a new approach to em- evaluation efforts, plus other expenses have been con- bracing universal design as a paradigm for design in siderably reduced, making POEs affordable, especially the future. In that way, students will be familiarized at the “indicative” level described above. with the values, concept, and philosophy of universal design at an early stage, and through field exercises ABOUT THE AUTHOR and case study evaluations, they will be exposed to real- life situations. As noted in Welch, it is important to Wolfgang Preiser is a professor of architecture at the have multiple learning experiences. Later on in the cur- University of Cincinnati. He has more than 30 years of riculum, these first exposures to universal design experience in teaching, research, and consulting, with should be reinforced through in-depth treatment of the special emphasis on evaluation and programming of subject matter by integrating universal design into the environments, health care facilities, public housing, studio courses, as well as evaluation and programming universal design, and design research in general. projects. Dr. Preiser has had visiting lectureships at more than A number of authors, including Jones (2001), 30 universities in the United States and more than Pedersen (2001), and Welch and Jones (2001), offer 35 universities overseas. As an international building current experiences and future directions in universal consultant, he was cofounder of Architectural Research design education and training. Consultants and the Planning Research Institute, Inc., both in Albuquerque, New Mexico. He has written and edited numerous articles and books, including Post- CONCLUSIONS Occupancy Evaluation and Design Intervention: For universal design to become viable and truly Toward a More Humane Architecture. Dr. Preiser is a integrated into the building delivery cycle of main- graduate fellow at the University of Cincinnati. He stream architecture and the construction industry, it will received the Progressive Architecture Award and Cita- be critical to have all future students in these fields tion for Applied Research, and the Environmental familiarized with universal design, on one hand, and to Design Research Association (EDRA) career award. demonstrate to practicing professionals the viability of In addition, he was a Fulbright fellow and held two the concept through a range of POE-based UDEs, professional fellowships from the National Endowment including exemplary case study examples, on the other. of the Arts. He is a member of the editorial board of The “performance concept” and “performance Architectural Science Review; associate editor of the criteria” made explicit and scrutinized through post- Journal of Environment and Behavior; and a member

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22 LEARNING FROM OUR BUILDINGS and former vice-chair and secretary of EDRA. He is Ostroff, E. (1997). Mining our natural resources: the user as expert. Innova- tion, The Quarterly Journal of the Industrial Designers Society of cofounder of the Society for Human Ecology (1978). America 16(1). In the mid-1980s, he chaired the National Research Pedersen, A. (2001). Designing cultural futures at the University of Western Council Committee on Programming Practices in the Australia. In: Preiser, W.F.E., and Ostroff, E. (Eds) Universal Design Handbook. New York: McGraw-Hill. Building Process and the Committee on Post- Preiser, W.F.E. (1983). The habitability framework: A conceptual approach Occupancy Evaluation Practices in the Building Pro- toward linking human behavior and physical environment. Design cess. Dr. Preiser holds a bachelor’s degree in architec- Studies 4 (No. 2) Preiser, W.F.E. Rabinowitz, H.Z., and White, E.T. (1988). Post-Occupancy ture from the Technical University, Vienna, Austria; a Evaluation. New York: Van Nostrand Reinhold. master of science in architecture from Virginia Poly- Preiser, W.F.E. (1991). Design intervention and the challenge of change. technic Institute and State University; a master of In: Preiser, W.F.E., Vischer, J.C., and White, E.T., (Eds.) Design Inter- architecture from the Technical University, Karlsruhe, vention: Toward a More Humane Architecture. New York: Van Nostrand Reinhold. Germany; and, a Ph.D. in man-environment relations Preiser, W.F.E. (1996). POE Training Workshop and Prototype Testing at from Pennsylvania State University. the Kaiser-Permanente Medical Office Building in Mission Viejo, Cali- fornia, USA. In Baird, G., et al. (Eds.) Building Evaluation Techniques. London: McGraw-Hill. Preiser, W.F.E., and Stroppel, D.R. (1996). Evaluation, reprogramming and REFERENCES re-design of redundant space for Children’s Hospital in Cincinnati. 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