Post Occupancy Evaluation

Optimising Systems Performance

Post Occupancy Evaluation (POE) is often overlooked but is important to allow an assessment of the performance of the building ‘in use’.  This will consider both energy, and utility use, and achievement of internal design parameters. This service is commonly undertaken under RIBA Stage 7 duties.

In the first instance, it will have the benefit of identifying any initial problems which are often solved by adjustment of set points or addressing unexpected factors, such as draughts causing deviations in sensor output. There may also need to be a review of the occupant’s understanding of the controls and arrangements for plant operation.  Whilst training will have been provided at handover, there may be some aspects of the detailed plant operation that do not get adequately covered or where unexpected control issues are subsequently identified.

In order to undertake this evaluation, it is preferable to have the appropriate level of energy use monitoring, and monitoring of environmental targets, such as temperature and CO2 levels. The building regulations require a minimum level of energy use metering which we naturally include in our design for any project.  This may need to be supplemented subject to the project specifics.

Whatever level of metering and monitoring is provided, it will be important to ensure that the consumption data is recorded. On a larger project this would commonly be via the controls-building management system (BMS).  If there is no BMS then it may be as simple as the building management making a periodic manual observation of the metering and/or sensor outputs and recording them in a structured way for future analysis.

Crofton can also be of assistance to consider projects independently post-occupancy, where we have not been involved prior to RIBA Stage 6.

Once completed, the POE process will have improved the smooth operation of the building, brought it closer to predicted performance targets, provided an informative review for future reference by the occupant, and for comparison with other schemes.

Post Occupancy Evaluations are often the subject of published articles in the engineering media, they can provide lessons that can be used to improve design and procurement on future projects