CBT Study No.1: The Importance of Post-Occupancy Evaluations
By CBT Academic Design Group
One of the biggest misconceptions about the role of architects on higher education campuses is that their job ends when the building they’ve designed is complete. On the contrary, it is the critical months following a new campus facility that make the most difference in the success of the new building for years to come. CBT delves into this topic in the first part of our “CBT Studies,” a series of perspectives on topics surrounding architecture and design for higher education facilities. In the spring of 2016, CBT’s Academic Council hosted a group of esteemed professionals representing several area institutions to discuss first-person perspectives on the lessons learned following the construction of new campus buildings.
What we learned was that many institutions struggle with the same weaknesses in the evaluation of a new building: How do we know if it is meeting the needs of the users? Are students and faculty in line or split over the building's performance? Are the systems conceived actually functioning as they need to? Are energy and usage goals being achieved? Is this building truly supporting the expected groups and activities within? These and many more questions rely on compiled user feedback and time following the building’s completion. We have compiled some of the wisdom gleaned, pitfalls encountered, and the beginning of a roadmap to successful post-occupancy evaluations in this CBT Study.