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Post Occupancy Evaluation (POE) – What can we learn from the rollout of BIM?

With the addition of the economic implications caused by Coronavirus, the construction industry has more reason than ever before to initiate behavioural reviews to improve performance across the industry. This article explores the implementation of BIM and considers potential methods in which POE could become mandated, following a similar, industry-led approach.

David
David
18/01/2021

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Comparison of POE and BIM

Industry Reform

BIM

  • Industry reports including Latham (1994), Egan (1998) and Wolstenholme (2009) were key drivers of the initial preparation required to introduce BIM. These reports were requested by the government upon determining the industry required fundamental changes. Key Driver: ‘Policy led approach’.

POE

  • Wolstenholme (2009), RIBA (2016) and Hay et al (2017) emphasised POE as essential in the project lifecycle. Multiple POE reports for have been prepared addressing frustration at the slow uptake by industry leads. However, few reports have been government led, suggesting minimal incentive for change. Key Driver: ‘Industry led approach’.

Methods

BIM

  • BIM offers multiple dimensions and levels of information sharing, with BIM according to ISO the designated industry standard for which all centrally funded projects must adhere. The tangibility of the BIM model supports higher levels of engagement as users understand more through visual representation. Key Driver: Clear, tangible methods.

POE

  • POE has various methods; from an evaluation of a single building performance element such as climate control, to a comprehensive assessment of the entire building functionality and end user satisfaction. From the research conducted for this report, no visual representation was discovered to aid user understanding. Key Driver: Adaptability per building.

Soft Landings (SL)

BIM

  • BIM is a prerequisite for an effective Soft Landings (SL) process (BSRIA, 2020), enabling the client and end users to interact with the 3D model and ensure the design aligns with the project objectives. BIM enables non-technical project stakeholders to understand key elements of the design. Key Driver: Tangible SL alignment.

POE

  • POE is a key element of SL, which illustrates the linear relationship between SL phases and RIBA (2020) design stages. SL is key to showcasing POE in supporting clients achieve business case objectives and enables client intervention via stakeholder engagement during the design. Key Driver: High level of collaboration.

Funding

BIM

  • Due to BIM according to ISO becoming mandate on central-funded projects (ISO, 2019), there is a drive for funding and research for BIM model development. There are no current project funding initiatives which request the use of BIM, which prevents private sector projects from considering potential wider uses of BIM. Key Driver: Demand dictates supply.

POE

  • The research conducted for this study found minimal evidence of government or private funding in the advancement of POE. However, Research England (OfS, 2020), the overarching funding body for HEI’s, requires POE on many HE project funding schemes. This is not necessarily a benefit, as some clients may view POE as a tick box exercise. Key Driver: Greater access to HE funding.

Industry Barriers

BIM

  • BIM is only mandated on centrally funded projects and at present has a ‘carte blanche’ approach (Bell, 2020) from organisations as there is not an appropriate method of monitoring and reporting effectiveness of BIM use as of yet, enabling inconsistent data inputs and misuse of information to continue. Key Driver: Requires sector buy-in.

POE

  • SL involves POE and BIM which is mandate on central-funded projects. There is currently no incentive or industry push to incorporate POE further than the current minimum requirement (Hay et al, 2018), despite its many benefits, enabling a continuation of current industry attitudes to minimal client care. Key Driver: Requires client buy-in.

Liability

BIM

  • BIM is an excellent tool to create a transparent, informative model of a building project (Bell, 2020). By accurately inputting the necessary data, accountability and transparency enables designers to focus on design development and solving problems, rather than design responsibility. Key Driver: Encourage collaboration.

POE

  • Research uncovered a significant amount of professionals’ reluctance to use POE due to blame culture (Preiser et al, 1988). Unlike BIM, POE is traditionally conducted after project completion, requiring project stakeholder accountability and honesty when addressing individual design failures. By omitting POE there is opportunity to overlook mistakes. Key Driver: Encourage communication.

Government Roles and Mandate

BIM

  • Industry reform occurred via Latham (1994), Egan (1998) and Wolstenholme (2009), with additional input from Farmer (2016). Research identified a consistency between all-encompassing industry reports and the subsequent implementation of new frameworks. Due to the modernity of BIM newer generations engage well, unlike some established professionals. Key Driver: Pressure creates change

POE

  • Several industry experts (RIBA, 2019, HEFCE, 2006; AUDE, 2006) have attempted to showcase POE. Substantial evidence via the Probe initiative promotes its usefulness and essential role in understanding client needs for consideration on future projects. Research findings suggest there is an industry-wide attitude to swiftly moving on from projects, rather than conducting reviews or lessons learnt. Key Driver: Essential for client care

Influential Factors

BIM

  • BIM is supported and delivered using multiple technologies and within this age of technology sits naturally in the agenda for innovative, intelligent design. ISO, PAS and BS instil quality and standardisation of the BIM model (ISO, 2019), ensuring application is consistent from project to project. Key Driver: Confidence in delivery

POE

  • POE is driven by a mixture of social and technological factors. Research suggests until client care and greater collaboration is achieved the performance gap will continue, despite the POE toolkit being readily available. POE is advocated by some (RIBA, 2017) professionals whereby designs are improved. Key Driver: Encourage client engagement

Sustainability

BIM

  • 3D, 4D, 5D and 6D BIM offer a variety of sustainability driven benefits. UNEP (2016), RICS (2020d) and government bodies have repeatedly addressed carbon emission agendas and reducing waste. The majority wastage created by construction could be mitigated in part by the wider use of BIM. Key Driver: Global change initiatives

POE

  • POE addresses building functionality post-project completion and is not a tool to mitigate poor design sustainability. Instead, POE addresses building performance and generates recommendations to remediate significant issues on future projects. This is imperative in addressing the existing built environment and £1000 million in defects (Latham, 1994). Key Driver: Lessons learnt approach

Identity Consult (IC) has a team of POE specialists who are highly experienced in delivering independent, comprehensive POE reports. IC’s lessons learned toolkit utilises best practice guidelines alongside a mixture of observation, focus groups, interviews, workshops, questionnaires, benchmarking and desktop document reviews, which fully meet the requirements of BREEAM and external funders. Our POE clients have included Keele University, University of Leeds, Teesside University, University of Liverpool and Edge Hill University. Allied to our POE specialism, IC’s Digital team have worked alongside numerous university client teams and contractors to establish both the key important information required for deliverance of operational benefits as well as more efficient project delivery through standardisation of outputs, clearer lines of communication and information sharing, and focus on improving the social and sustainable benefits of design earlier in the delivery cycle.

Our POE specialist Pippa Steffell recently completed a dissertation as part of her degree course at the University College of Estate Management, which examined what the construction industry can learn from the roll out of BIM in relation to the implementation of Post Occupancy Evaluation on projects, the findings of which are summarised in this article.

For more information on Identity Consult’s POE and Digital service offer, please contact Matthew Pendergast matthew.pendergast@identityconsult.co.uk