November 10th 2023

David Ross in Property Week: why post-occupancy evaluation is secret weapon in building performance battle

David Ross in Property Week: why post-occupancy evaluation is secret weapon in building performance battle

IES's David Ross recently featured in Property week with an article discussing the benefits of and barriers to using post-occupancy evaluation as a tool to improve building performance and drive down carbon. Below is an extract, with the full article available on the Property Week website.

The POE process covers a range of robust assessment methods designed to measure the success of a building and provide a mechanism for feedback between occupiers and designers. These assessments might include energy auditing, internal-environment quality tests and first-person questionnaires designed to understand the lived experience of a building.

From a designers’ perspective, understanding a building user’s real-life experience provides a critical opportunity to measure how their creations operate in the real world, offer timely remedies to emerging issues, and absorb lessons for future projects. They represent a vital missing link between a building’s expected performance and what is actually achieved once the keys have been handed over and the building is complete.

The list of reasons why POE assessments are not routinely carried out is as long as it is inadequate. Time, capacity, and cost are often cited, but set against the potential benefits a POE assessment can deliver, these reasons are perhaps more accurately described as excuses.

The two main reasons why POE are rarely used are a lack of understanding about their scope and purpose, and their non-compulsory status,which positions them as a ‘nice to have’ rather than the critical building lifecycle assessment tool they are.

Why does this matter? If evaluations are not happening and the sector is doing okay at creating good buildings, then why disrupt the status quo or undertake potentially costly and long-term assessments to deliver incremental, if any, gains?

The answer is that because the benefits of using POE are potentially huge, and to gloss over the benefits is a fine example of looking down the wrong end of the telescope at a problem. Designers, contractors and materials specifiers have for years perfected methods of eking out improvements to building stock and they need new tools and feedback to deliver a new leap forward for the next generation of buildings.

Read the full article.

Want to learn how you can make a start with post-occupancy evaluation?

IES' in-house energy and data analytics expert Mark Gifford, is hosting an exclusive training course titled ‘Bridging the Gap’ which is uniquely designed for traditional Design-side Energy Modellers who are looking at making the transition from energy modelling to in-use monitoring. Why not join Mark and the team for the series running Nov/Dec 2023 with additional dates by demand early in 2024. Find out more and book your place.