Feedback And Postoccupancy Evaluation

The space planner will often return to the site after the client has occupied it for a time to evaluate the building's performance. In most instances, this is an informal review undertaken at the designer's own time and expense. At other times, the client may hire the designer to do an extensive formal post-occupancy evaluation (POE). Formal POE feedback is now most frequently used by large corporations and the institutional sector (such as school districts, state government and federal agencies) in an attempt to evaluate and improve upon building performance, particularly where there is a program for recurring construction programs or repetitive building types. In either case, the exercise provides valuable information on design procedures, materials, construction details, and user satisfaction. This knowledge should be documented and continuously updated. It should also be put at the disposal of researchers and design professionals to facilitate and assist in producing better solutions.

POE is one of the most methodical and effective diagnostic tools available at our disposal to assess a building's performance in meeting the immediate and long-term goals and objectives of the client. In carrying out the POE, there are various conventional data collecting tools available to the planner, including, interviews, personal observation, photography, analysis of various aspects of the building's performance, surveys, etc. To that end, the POE should be able to provide answers to some or all of the following questions:

• Does the final space layout satisfy the original and current program requirements?

• Is the design image consistent with the stated goals of the client?

• Is adequate flexibility and expandability provided and consistent with the original needs of the client?

• Are rooms and spaces of adequate size for their intended function, and can they be adapted to differing functions?

• Were all adjacencies provided for?

• Are any materials and finishes providing unexpected maintenance problems?

• Are construction details well designed and adequate for their purpose?

• Does the furniture and fixtures meet the functional and design criteria established during programming?

• Is the furniture selected adequate for the functional requirements of the space and the type of use it receives?

• Is the lighting adequate for the space?

• Are there any ergonomic problems with the furniture selected?

• Are there any problems with the HVAC systems?

• Was adequate power and communication provided for?

• How did the contractor, subcontractors, and other suppliers perform?

• Is the client satisfied with the project?

• Are the actual users satisfied with the performance and appearance of the finished space?

• What problems have arisen that may be covered by product or contractor warranties?

• Is the circulation and relationships between various spaces satisfactory?

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