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This paper reviews the development, structure and process of post-occupancy evaluation (POE) as an environment-behaviour approach to assessing built environments of all sizes and types. It illustrates the use of POEs with three examples from the Health Care sector: The Canadian Hospital Evaluation Program, the Weiss Institute, and 18 independent-living apartment units. A comparison is made between POEs and the approach currently used by occupational therapy (OT) for environmental assessments. Recommendations suggest that OT's approach could be extended and strengthened through 1) incorporating POE methods and existing data from environment-behaviour studies; 2) the use of standard assessment procedures and well-validated measures; and 3) the development of a data bank on OT environmental assessments.
Post-occupancy evaluation:
An environment-behaviour
technique for assessing the built
This paper reviews the development, structure and process
of post-occupancy evaluation (POE) as an environment-behaviour approach
to assessing built environments of all sizes and types. It illustrates the use of
POEs with three examples from the Health Care sector: The Canadian Hospital
Evaluation Program, the Weiss Institute, and
independent-living apartment
units. A comparison is made between POEs and the approach currently used
by occupational therapy (OT) for environmental assessments. Recommenda-
tions suggest that OT's approach could be extended and strengthened
through 1) incorporating POE methods and existing data from environment-
behaviour studies; 2) the use of standard assessment procedures and well-
validated measures; and 3) the development of a data bank on OT environ-
mental assessments.
Assessment process,
occupational therapy
Data collection
Environment, physical
Barbara Acheson Cooper,
M.H.Sc., Dip. P.O.T., (OT)C, is As-
sociate Professor, Associate Dean
and Director of the School of Occu-
pational Therapy and Physiotherapy
at McMaster University, 1200 Main
Street West, Hamilton, Ontario,
L8N 3Z5.
Ph.D., is
Associate Professor and Chair of the
Ph.D. Program in Architecture at the
School of Architecture and Urban
Planning, University of Wisconsin-
Milwaukee, Milwaukee.
Betty Risteen Hasselkus,
Ph.D., OTR, is Assistant Professor
and Coordinator of the Occupational
Therapy Program in the Department
of Therapeutic Science, University of
Wisconsin-Madison, Madison.
Cette étude procède à la révision de l'élaboration, de la
structure et du processus de l'évaluation post-professionnelle en tant
qu'approche axée sur l'environnement et le comportement pour l'évaluation
des environnements construits de toutes tailles et de tous types. Elle illustre
l'utilisation de l'évaluation post-professionnelle à l'aide de trois exemples
issus du milieu de la santé: le Programme d'évaluation des hôpitaux
canadiens, le Weiss Institute et 18 unités de logement autonomes. Une
comparaison est établie entre les évaluations post-professionnelles et l'approche
habituellement utilisée en ergothérapie pour les évaluations de l'environnement.
Les recommandations qui s'ensuivent suggèrent que l'approche de
l'ergothérapie pourrait être étendue et renforcée par 1) l'incorporation des
méthodes de l'évaluation post-professionnelle et des données existantes
provenant des études sur l'environnement et le comportement; 2) l'utilisation
de procédures d'évaluation standardisées et de mesures bien validées; et
3) l'élaboration d'une banque de données sur les évaluations environnementales
en ergothérapie.
OCTOBER 1991 • 181
Occupational therapists (OTs) are frequently called
upon to assess the functional fit of housing for clients
with residual or temporary disabilities. We can expect
this role to expand in the future in response to the
needs of various emerging societal trends, such as the
independent living movement, educational
mainstreaming and the large increase in the number of
elderly people residing in the community. These
individuals will not only require barrier-free residences
that are responsive to their needs, but will also need
public and community facilities that enable them to
function in situations related to employment, recre-
ation, education and other necessary services (Taira,
1984). The assessments presently used by OTs, prima-
rily to evaluate residential environments, will need to
be extended and modified to suit the requirements of
assessing community buildings and facilities. Of inter-
est, therefore, is a technique called post-occupancy
evaluation (POE) which has been developed by archi-
tects and social scientists with a shared interest in
human behaviour and the physical environment. Post-
occupancy evaluations are used to assess whether
buildings are fulfilling their functional purpose.
This paper describes and discusses POEs, using
three health related examples to illustrate the scope of
the technique. The similarities and differences between
POEs and OT assessments are highlighted. The paper
concludes with some suggestions for incorporating the
strengths of the POE approach into the OT method.
What are Post-Occupancy Evaluations?
Post-occupancy evaluations in architecture are con-
cerned with social and behavioural issues as opposed
to aesthetic issues (Wener, 1989). They compare actual
building performance with explicitly stated human
performance needs. Variables such as task perfor-
mance, privacy, communication, safety and thermal
comfort may be considered. Evaluations are con-
ducted by an individual or team on site, following a
specified format, which can range from a simple to
complex investigation of concerns. Performance is
typically measured on three dimensions:
(Preiser, Rabinowitz &
White, 1988).
The first measurement category,
ates environmental aspects such as health hazards, fire
safety, and the heating and cooling systems of the
building. The identification of problems in this area is
of concern to all individuals and may reasonably fall
within the domain of OT for active intervention.
However, the second, which addresses the user's
ability to
effectively and efficiently in the
building or community, is perhaps more directly
related to OT interests and responsibilities.
refers here to performance in the areas of self care,
productivity and leisure and therefore has the same
meaning in the environment-behaviour literature as it
does in OT (Department of National Health and
Welfare & Canadian Association of Occupational
Therapists (DNHW & CAOT), 1983). The third per-
formance criterion,
is also critically relevant
to OT. This refers to psychological and social aspects
of user satisfaction and to the general well-being of
building inhabitants (Preiser et al, 1988). It parallels the
Model of Occupational Performance's depiction of the
individual as a composite of spiritual, physical, mental
and sociocultural influences (DNHW & CAOT, 1983).
The three facets of POE therefore address environment-
behaviour (E-B) issues directly related to the clinical
practice of OT.
Post-occupancy evaluations have a history of ap-
proximately 25 years. Early POEs were mostly conducted
by academic researchers who investigated select small-
scale behavioural issues in institutional settings, such
as Wheeler's studies on patterns of social interaction in
college dormitories (discussed in Wheeler, 1985).
Results of such evaluations often provided information
for the subsequent design of similar facilities. During
the seventies, the scope, rigor and number of POEs
conducted increased dramatically. Contracts were
usually government-funded and were characterized as
being large and institution-based; multimethod ap-
proaches were developed; and the links between the
built environment and behaviour were firmly established
(for example,
association between increased crime
rates and ce
ain environmental features was demon-
strated by Newman, 1972). During the decade of the
70's POEs were gradually acknowledged as a practical
technique. By the 1980's, POEs were routinely used by
government bodies and began to be adopted by the
private sector (e.g. hotels, retailing) which was attracted
to this method of assessment for economic reasons.
Funding from government sources for academic re-
search is now diminishing, and Rabinowitz (1989)
suggests that the shift towards commissions from the
private sector, which is driven by pragmatic self-
interest rather than by academic concerns, may have a
steering effect on the
pe of POEs conducted in the
future. That is, POEs will likely focus more on issues
that have economic consequences than on the devel-
opment of theory.
Some authors, for example, Zeisel (1989), are critical of
current POE methods and call for a greater sharing of
information and standardization of approach and
methods. Others, such as Rabinowitz (1989), consider
the present format to be stable, reliable and replicable,
and indeed, most of the publications on POE seems to
this second view. A process approach, such as
182 • OCTOBRE 1991
Reviewing Out
2.3 Analyzing Data
Initiating On-Site
3.1 Reporting Fi
Data Collection Process
2.2 Monitoring and Managing
3.2 Recommending
Data Collection Procedures
:.1 :=
FassID:= y
1.2 Resource
Figure 1
The Post-Occupancy Evaluation Model of Preiser, Rabinowitz and White
The post-occupancy model
Preiser, Rabinowitz and White. Reprinted with the
permission of
Van Nostrand Reinhold, New York,
from Post-occupancy Evaluation by Preiser, Rabinowitz and White, 1988, p. 54.
the one clearly delineated by Preiser et al (1988), is
most frequently observed, and this model is described
briefly here.
The model structures POEs into three phases:
planning, conducting and application (Figure 1). Be-
fore a POE is undertaken, its purpose must be clearly
stated and justified. This will determine the depth and
cost of the exploration, which in turn determines the
type of
Indicative, Investigative,
occupancy Evaluations: Indicative Type
form of POE attempts to identify the
major functional failures and successes of the building
in a general manner. That is, the physical qualities of
the setting which foster or impede desired or necesssary
behaviours in occupants are noted; appropriate and
unwanted behaviours on the part of residents are
recognized. An Indicative POE is conducted in a sho
period of time (2-16 hours), usually by one person, and
its effectiveness is primarily dependent on the expe-
rience and insight of the individual who carries out the
assessment. The following format is observed:
a review of archival material related to the history,
utilization and performance of the building is con-
ducted prior to collecting data;
data are gathered on performance issues primarily
through the use of standard questionnaires;
a walk-through of the building is done; photo-
graphs, measurements etc. may be taken;
interviews are held with a few key people;
brief written repo
and recommendations are
By means of this basic, cross-sectional evaluation,
the presence, frequency and location of factors that
support or impede activities are identified and compared
to the expert's knowledge.
Simple solutions or the need for further investiga-
tion are then suggested.
occupancy Evaluations: Investigative Type
POEs follow the same basic procedure as
the Indicative POEs but undertake each step more
extensively. They require an estimated 160-240 staff
hours and the assistance of suppo
staff service to
conduct. Unbiased criteria for building performance
are developed by means of a literature review and
comparisons with similar facilities. This evaluation
covers more topics in greater detail and with greater
reliability and additionally, allows performance to be
monitored over time.
occupancy Evaluations: Diagnostic Type
The most sophisticated form of POE,
take from several months to a year to conduct, and
employs a team of researchers and suppo
staff. Again
the basic structure is similar to the less detailed POEs,
OCTOBER 1991 • 183
but these evaluation studies differ in three important
ways: 1) they employ triangulation or multileveled
strategies for gathering data on numerous variables; 2)
they use basic scientific research designs; and 3) they
employ representative samples which allow the results
to be generalized to similar buildings and situations.
On completion of the Diagnostic POE, a formal report
which interprets the data and suggests strategies for
change is issued, and briefing sessions are held to
discuss the implementation of these (Preiser et al,
1989). The aim is to improve not only the particular
facility, but to advance the state of the art for all
buildings of that type, and to provide information that
can be applied in similar
Diagnostic POEs
are costly ventures and are only warranted under
circumstances when the anticipated long-term gains
seem to outweigh the expense.
Of the three, the Indicative POEs describe a process
very similar to the home assessments now undertaken
by OTs (Cooper, Cohen & Hasselkus, 1991). However
other similarities also exist. For example, the literature
reviews incorporated into the higher-level POEs might
also be undertaken in certain circumstances prior to
conducting an OT environmental assessment. Trian-
gulation may also be employed by an OT: it is not
unusual for a therapist to assess the same function from
more than one perspective. While OTs do not usually
conduct evaluations on the scale of the Investigative
and Diagnostic POEs, it is not unreasonable to assume
that this could change (Cooper, Cohen & Hasselkus,
1991). Because of their professional skills and knowl-
edge, OTs would be an asset on the evaluating team of
these more extensive, multidisciplinary, evaluation
procedures, as the examples given later in this paper
Two current debates surrounding the use of POEs are
of interest to OT. The first concerns the use of client
feedback. Many architects consider that the opinions
of owners and residents regarding the impact of
buildings on behaviour are a necessary component for
improving design. Others, however, claim that client
feedback is too difficult to measure objectively, and
that it restricts creativity. There is also a very real fear
that such evaluations may foster litigation should the
building be deemed inadequate in any way (Becker,
1989). Occupational therapists should be aware of
these professional sensitivities.
In spite of these potential problems, the use of
collaboration is gaining acceptance (Zimring, 1987). In
New Zealand, for example, participatory methods
have been integrated into all standard government
POEs. Zimring (1987) notes that pa
icipation by the
client appears to increase the final utility of the POE.
Occupational therapists consider it essential and fun-
damental to clinical practice to include client input into
the design of the environment (DNHW & CAOT, 1983).
This is well illustrated by Project Open House (Colvin
& Korn, 1984), perhaps the largest plan in the United
States to modify home environments for people with
The second debate centres on the question of
whether the 'POE is a diagnostic or a research tool.
Becker (1989) considers it a diagnostic tool and
distinguishes between the interests and skills of ar-
chitects and those of E-B researchers. He believes that
the adoption of the more rigorous research standards
of the E-B,field alienates the design community. Becker
feels strongly that POEs should only
and thinks that as a diagnostic tool, they are best used
by practitioners themselves as quick, simple, small-
scale investigations which can provide feedback for
future design and provide direction for the more
stringent studies of E-B researchers.
Occupational therapists currently view and use
home assessments in the diagnostic manner described
by Becker (1989), that is, for quick investigations of
buildings or home settings to determine whether
individual clients can function appropriately in them,
and to make recommendations for necessary modifi-
cations. In this area of clinical practice, there has been
little attempt to use reliable, validated measures or to
employ scientific rigor (Cooper, Cohen, & Hasselkus,
1991). Generalizability has not been considered nec-
essary. The additional use of POEs or environmental
assessments as a research tool, therefore, suggests a
supplementary and impo
ant consideration for our
practice base. Zimring (1987) identifies three research
thrusts for POEs in the E-B field that are of interest.
These are: 1) to gather and represent the views of users;
2) to explore conceptual issues; and 3) to influence
future decision making. Occupational therapy might
want to add a fourth: to influence future clinical
practice. The POE methods discussed in some detail by
Zimring (1987) are also of interest to OT. These include
methods that currently form part of the OT
armamentorium, such as inte
iews, obse
ation and
assessment of physical settings, but expand the list in
a most useful manner, for example, the use of behaviour
mapping and photography.
Wener (1989) considers that there are two types of
research POEs:
The first
POEs, is used to assess the status of
a building and compare this to a propotype ac-
knowledged for excellence. This approach is particularly
useful when evaluating institutions, for example, nursing
homes, and for the development and improvement of
the standards of such facilities. Standardized, well-
validated instruments, like the Multiphasic Evaluation
NO 4
Assessment Procedure (MEAP)(Lemke, Moos, Gauvain,
& Mehren, 1979), are used in these instances. In
comparative POE research, both case studies and
hypothesis testing may be undertaken.
which primarily foster the ad-
vancement of new design ideas, are best served by the
use of open-ended qualitative techniques. The rich
data collected through these methods are essential for
the development of relevant hypotheses and theory.
Both research thrusts are useful; each has limitations.
For example, comparative POE studies are seldom able
to use randomization when examining causal questions,
and the use of non-equivalent control-group designs is
likely [See Marans & Ahrentzen (1987) for a discussion
on this]. When controls of any kind are unavailable,
impractical, or undesirable, case study research must
be used. Case studies are used in both comparative and
generative studies and are often criticized for lacking
rigour. However, they provide the means for studying
both unique and standardized building examples and
for developing explanatory theories on the complex
subject of human-environment interaction [For an
indepth discussion on this approach, the reader is
referred to Wener (1989)]. Wener also comments on
the need to consider time as a critical variable in both
types of research. Clearly most OT home assessments
are generative in nature, being primarily concerned
with the individual aspects of the the human-envi-
ronment interaction, but they presently stop sho
theory development.
A sample of three POE's conducted in the health care
sector has been selected to illustrate the use of this
method of evaluation in areas familiar to OT. These
examples include the evaluation of hospitals, of a
nursing home, and of independent-living apartment
The Canadian Hospital Evaluation
Perhaps the largest scale and most comprehensive use
of POEs in the area of health care is the current Hospital
POE Program instituted by the Federal Department of
Health and Welfare in Canada in conjunction with the
provincial health authorities (Zeisel, 1989). This
programme has established a standard format for
evaluating Canadian hospitals and created a national
data base to be used for setting priorities and guiding
future design. These diagnostic POEs consist of four
well-defined phases similar to those described by
Preiser and colleagues (1988). The first of these,
provides relevant background information on
the facility prior to making a site visit. This step is
followed by two sequential site visits which form the
and the
phases. As the names imply,
the first is directed
strengths and weaknesses of the facility, while the
second focuses on investigating and making recom-
mendations about issues deemed critical. The fourth
allows comparisons with other na-
tional hospital using the information collected in
phases two
three. The purpose, for which the
hospital facilities exist is used to formulate the general
and critical performance standards for the institution.
These then guide and drive data gathering and analy-
sis. Three factors allow comparisons to be made across
these studies: the use of a common theoretical base,
shared objectives and reliable, valid instruments of
measure (Zeisel, 1989).
During the initial development of the Hospital POE
Programme, eight Canadian hospitals were evaluated.
Three more POEs were conducted during the first year
and a National POE Programme is now in place. The
primary purpose of the resultant data bank will be to
provide rapid access to information for hospital de-
signers and thereby ensure that future hospitals are
constructed in a sensitive and flexible manner (Zeisel,
1989). This reciprocals approach, which includes and
values the views of all health care professionals, staff
and consumers, holds promise for improving the
delivery of health care in Canada.
The Weiss Institute
Post-occupancy evaluations have also been modified
for use in relocation studies, such as
move of 350
severely impaired elderly residents of the Weiss Institute
in Philadelphia from a traditional nursing home to an
environment specifically designed' to promote and
preserve function (Lawton, Fulcomer,& Kleban, 1984).
Programme goals were guided by a literature review
and interviews with care-givers _ and administrative
staff, families and patients 'capable of responding.
Changes in mental status
in physical self-maintenance
and in behaviours related to orientation, social interac-
tion, and participation in activities were noted at two
points in time, 12 months prior and seven months after
the move. Measures included the obse
ation and
mapping of different behaviour patterns using estab-
lished E-B methods, validated tests of mental status and
physical self maintenance of patients, and the record-
ing of opinions related to the function of the building
itself. While the expected patient decline over time was
observed, unexpected improvements such as a de-
crease in pathology were also noted. As well, the
visiting rate of families doubled during the post-move
This study is of particular interest to OTs because it
expands upon their traditional focus on activities of
daily living, suggests additional methods of behaviourial
ation, and demonstrates the importance of the
OCTOBER 1991 • 185
built environment on behaviourial outcomes consid-
ered meaningful in clinical practice. The scope of this
relocation study identifies it as a Diagnostic POE with
a team approach. Occupational therapists, skilled in
interviewing and functional assessment and familiar
with hospital settings and patient concerns, would
make good members of these larger evaluation teams.
However, it is not necessary to wait for large scale
projects to occur; OTs could take advantage of natu-
rally occurring moves within institutions and undertake
more limited studies to explore questions such as the
interaction between patient function and relocation to
new ward environments.
Independent Living Units
An Investigative POE was conducted by Reizenstein
and Ostrander (1981) on 18 apartment units specially
designed for individuals with quadriplegia. This inves-
tigation, conducted by three researchers, took a total of
eight single working days and included inte
with attendants and residents, the examination of
archival material, a walk-through of the premises,
ation and photography. The data from this study
were then submitted to the Department of Housing
and Urban Development (HUD) to provide informa-
tion for modifying specifications for future HUD spon-
sored apartments.
Of interest are the recommendations reported,
which might just as easily have been made by an OT
team as by the social scientists! These included the
identification of safety needs (back-up emergency
power sources for call systems); privacy needs (visual
screens required for bedroom and bathroom areas);
issues of mobility (the lack of manoeuvrability of
electric wheel chairs); issues of function (the need for
adjustable table tops in the kitchen and living room);
and issues of access (the need for automatic doors at
the main entrance). In all, the changes recommended
were directed at providing the resident with greater
control over the environment and at facilitating inde-
pendent living. Had this POE been conducted on one
unit rather than on 18, it might well have been done by
an OT and called a home assessment.
It is clear that in this particular POE example, the
boundaries between OT and the E-B team have blurred
and meshed. Not only is the smaller scope more closely
related to our clinical practice, but the focus and
purpose falls into the area of OT as we
. However, this
overlap does not mean that the two professions are
identical or encroaching into each other's domain.
Rather, it indicates that our interests are similar and
related, and reinforces the idea that each could learn
from the other. Besides the more systematic approach
to environmental assessment espoused by E-B, the
critical difference between the two is expressed by
information is used
has been collected.
For the social scientist and architect, it will be to
contribute to developing better physical environments
for people; for the OT clinician, it will be used as an
information base from which to develop and imple-
ment an appropriate intervention for the individual
resident of the unit.
What can OT learn from this E-B approach to environ-
mental assessments? Perhaps it is best to view the
discussion on POE as an analogue. Environment-
Behaviour studies focus on investigating the built
environment for the purpose of being able to explain
and predict the factors that provide environments
responsive to human performance (or conversely,
those which are non-responsive and even detrimen-
tal). As health care professionals, occupational thera-
pists are also interested in providing a responsive
environment for people, but traditionally approach
this from the perspective of disability, the individual,
and home. New demands, such as the integration of
disabled children in schools and the independent
living movement (Cooper & Hasselkus, in press), now
require us to extend that focus to groups of people, and
to the community at large. The narrow focus on
disability in OT is also being broadened to include
prevention and active promotion of health (Podborsky
et al., 1987; Spasoff et al., 1988). At this point the
boundaries and analogue break down, and the objec-
tives of the two fields regarding environmental as-
sessments become almost identical. What does remain
as a critical difference between the two fields is the
role of the professional
the environmental as-
sessment has been completed.
Environment-Behaviour researchers have developed
a common language and format for evaluating build-
ings and behaviour. This approach is the product of 25
years of debate, discussion and research, and its
standardized format now permits more accurate
comparisons across buildings and facilities of different
pes and sizes, and across research studies. As well,
data banks have been developed which facilitate the
dissemination of information gained from reported
POEs. In addition to brief case studies that offer easily
understood feedback to practitioners, more stringent
Diagnostic POEs have generated knowledge and helped
to develop theory. Because POE is a multidisciplinary
approach, and because at least on one level it so
closely mirrors our existing practice, we might well
consider adopting a similar process model. We should
also take advantage of the information that is already
available from existing databanks and not feel the need
to generate this independently. The mechanism of
conceptualizing environmental assessments broadly
186 • OCTOBRE 1991
would allow OT assessments to fit into a community
continuum rather than be placed in a disability model
that considers mostly single case needs.
However, one major concern remains: The issue of
OT assessments. Occupational therapy currently lacks
agreement on the environmental assessments used in
practice, and idiosyncratic, situation-specific approaches
are the norm. These in fact are advocated as the
preferred way to accommodate individual patient
variables such as economic and cultural differences
(Levine, 1988). Two questions arise: 1) can OT as-
sessments and process be standardized without for-
feiting professional integrity and concern for individual
needs; and 2) what instruments do we currently have
available to measure function and the environment?
All POEs are basically case studies. Even those that
form part of large-scaled projects, such as the Canadian
Hospital Evaluation Programme, acknowledge the
individual differences inherent in the institutions while
yet standardizing the evaluation process. Occupational
therapy assessments could do the same. Issues of
concern to particular cases could still be noted and
included in the intervention which always remains
individualized. Therefore, we argue that assessments
and process could be standardized in OT without
compromising client care.
The question of measurement is more difficult. A
search of the literature located only two publications
that described OT assessments which might be suitable
for this purpose. The first was the form developed in
1981 by OTs for use in a multidisciplinary project,
Project Open House (POH). This was used as an
instrument to evaluate the homes and function of
disabled residents of inner-city New York prior to
making environmental modifications directed at en-
hancing function and preventing institutionalization
Korn, 1984). Although the authors state that
an external evaluation of the project was done, it is
difficult to ascertain the effectiveness of the interven-
tion. No instrument reliability or validity testing on the
instrument is reported. However, a recent follow-up
study on this project reports on the perceptions of a
stratified sample of POH clients and claims that housing
modifications are one of five factors which explain 54%
of the variance of productivity of these individuals
(Dunn, 1990).
A second even more promising assessment has
been issued recently as a guide to making home
adaptations for elderly people (Canada Housing and
Mortgage Corporation, 1989). This extensive evalua-
tion form was developed with the help of expe
s from
both the field of design and occupational therapy.
Reliability and pretesting of the instrument, which was
supported by the Department of Community Health of
the Montreal General Hospital, has now been com-
pleted. The assessment is to be administered by an OT
and is presently being tested on a sample of
elderly. The standardization and the validation of OT
instruments such as these, as well as of the assessment
processes itself, would foster the comparison of OT
intervention results and provide a consistent format for
the reporting of case histories and other studies.
How can we apply some of the ideas that E-B Studies
have developed over the past 25 years? The ideas
discussed above are consolidated here as recommen-
dations to be considered:
OT should be aware of and build upon existing data
bases in other fields that may be relevant to its
OT should consider the development of a standard
process model for conducting environmental as-
sessments. This model should be suitable for all
types of buildings and settings and for the assess-
ment of the functional needs of both individuals and
groups. One such model has been discussed in this
OT must validate its environmental assessments.
Two existing instruments, one of which has been
validated, have been discussed,
OT should consider the use of environmental as-
sessments at two levels: a) as precursors to clinical
intervention and b) as research:
OT should develop a data bank for the dissemina-
tion of information on accessibility and other as-
pects of environmental assessment which have been
gained from case studies and other research.
The literature reviewed on POEs suggests a number
of factors which could be of value to OT and, if
incorporated, help develop and strengthen our clinical
base. These ideas are presented here not as directives,
but as statements to be debated and considered by the
Becker, F. (1989). Post-occupancy evaluation: Research para-
digm or diagnostic tool. In W. Preiser (Ed.).
pp.127-134. New York: Plenum.
Canada Housing and Mortgage Corporation (1989).
seniors' independence: A guide to home adaptations.
Ottawa: Canada Mortgage and Housing Corporation.,
Colvin, M., & Korn, T. (1984). Eliminating barriers to the
The American Journal of Occupational Therapy,
Cooper, B., Cohen, U., & Hasselkus, B. (1991). Barrier-free
design: A review and critique of the occupational therapy
The American Journal of Occupational
Therapy, 45,
Cooper, B., & Hasselkus, B. (in press). Independent living and
the physical environment: Aspects that matter to residents.
The Canadian Journal of Occupational Therapy.
OCTOBER 1991 • 187
Department of National Health and Welfare and Canadian
Association of Occupational Therapists (1983).
for the client-centred practice of occupational therapy
(H39-33/1983E) Ottawa, ON: Department of National
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188 ® OCTOBRE 1991
... POE has three types of review which is indicative, investigative and diagnostic review (Blyth & Gilby, 2006;Preiser, 1995;Cooper, Ahrentzen & Hasselkus, 1991). An indicative review is a simple, quick review on building performance carried out by walk-through method inside the building to highlight the major strength and weaknesses for a basis of future more-depth investigation (Mohammad, 2005). ...
... Sometimes simple questionnaires are distributed to building users. An indicative review is a quick study that aimed to identify the major functional failures and successes of the building in general manner (Cooper et al., 1991). An investigative review is more complicated and meticulous investigation, using a more accurate technique to obtain exact data (Blyth et al., 2006). ...
... The investigative review aimed to identify a bit deeper into issues highlighted during an indicative review. The method of investigation is by distributing questionnaires and conducting interviews which developed by means of literature reviews and comparisons with similar facilities (Cooper et al., 1991;Adewunmi, Omirin & Famuyiwa, 2011). Subsequently, a diagnostic review is very meticulous review with an outstanding result of making reasonably accurate predictions of building performance and it also add the knowledge to improve design criteria and guideline literature within the same building (Mohammad, 2005). ...
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Historical buildings in Malaysia represent the ancient building culture and need to be preserved for the country's future generation. Refurbishment work is carried out to ensure the building fit for occupation. Evaluation after refurbishment is vital a procedure to assure the performance of building meet the user requirements. The objectives of this study are to assess the score of importance and applicability of the functional performance criteria. Secondly, to identify the correlation scores between importance and applicability of functional performance criteria. Finding shows that the correlation relationships between score of importance and applicability of all criteria have positive relationship.
... A very effective and well-structured approach is Post Occupancy Evaluation (POE), defined as the process of systematically comparing actual building performance after completion and occupation [2,3]. This approach of obtaining feedback about a building's performance looks at the architecture not only from the aesthetic point of view, but also with concerns from social and behavioral fields by comparing building performances with explicit human needs [4]. It can be used for several reasons, such as to verify if the results meet the intended organizational goals and user-occupant expectations. ...
... Although POE methodologies have been available since the 60s [4,10], the tools that are in use nowadays have been developed in the last 20-30 years. The first one is the English BREEAM released in the early 90s in UK by the Building Research Establishment (BRE) [57], followed by the USA Green Building Council in 1998 with the well-known LEED (Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design) [58][59][60]. ...
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Hospitals are complex, high-performance systems that demand continuous quality improvement. Several instruments evaluate the organizational or clinical qualities but very few focus on the built environment. The purpose of this paper is to compare and review the recent tools able to assess the hospital built environment and test how they measure health, sustainability, or both through Post Occupancy Evaluation (POE). A literature review has been conducted in the field of hospital quality assessment and 13 POE instruments have been included and analyzed through Ulrich's Evidence-Based Design (EBD) framework. The percentage and the content of health or sustainability-related criteria have been compared and further discussed. Health related criteria the most recent tools are used three times more than in the tools developed in the nineties. The most used EBD criteria are safety enhancement (n = 131; 14%) and visual environment (n = 119; 13%). Although sustainability remains a relevant issue, today, growing attention is dedicated to the impact of built environment on occupant's health. Further investigation is needed to understand the effectiveness of those instruments in practice.
... In general, doing an assessment of the building's SQP is about disclosing the gaps in the relationship between users and the facility interface; it is also a discussion of the interaction between people and the building [15]. Oluwunmi et al. [6] and Cooper et al. [16] postulated that appraising the SQP is also a kind of internal evaluation or monitoring system in order to build a feedback mechanism to present the state of the facilities or building services and their current performance. Thus, for this study, the SQP assessment has followed the performance-based paradigm which was introduced by Burton et al. [13], Cronin & Taylor [17], and Carpenter & Oloufa [18] where it captured the individuals' perceptions only rely on their internal and subjective experience with the performance of the received facilities and services in the building. ...
... To examine whether the house service promises are being kept or broken and are reliable or not, it totally depends on the perspective and interaction between the students and the student housing management [29]. Burton et al. [13], Cooper et al. [16], and Bitner [29] remarked that the BIs are directly influenced by the perceptions of the experience with the SQP and experience of encounters with the service relationships. Based on the aforementioned discussions, the study has proposed the following hypotheses on the SQP→BIs relationship. ...
... The study of human behavior in relation to the built environments and post-occupancy evaluation are quite intertwined, and these two research fields both encounter the same challenge: a lack of suitable technical tools for measuring and collecting data regarding the actual usage of the built environments. As Cooper et al. (1991) mentioned in a paper, " the question of measurement is difficult", and "a data bank for the dissemination of information on accessibility and other aspects of environmental assessment" should be developed. To address this question, trajectory datasets, including those without high resolution as GPS, could play a significant role, because behavioral patterns could be identified from these trajectories, and provide reliable empirical evidence for post-occupancy evaluation and behavioral analysis related to the built environment. ...
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The question regarding the actual usage of built environments is of immense importance in behavioral research. Yet traditional methods of collecting and analyzing data on movements and activities often lack needed accuracy and granularity. Thus, this article reviewed and summarized the applicability of emergent GPS trajectory mining approaches in the field of architecture from geographic, semantic, and quantitative perspectives, respectively. Accordingly, three experiments based on a case study using real GPS trajectory data from visitors to the Palace Museum in China were conducted to examine the usefulness and weakness of the aforementioned approaches. The findings revealed that although all three dimensions of the trajectory mining approaches had the potential to provide useful information for architectural and urban design, the higher the dimensionality in utilizing the data, the more effective the approach was in discovering generalizable knowledge of human behavioral pattern. Furthermore, the results suggested that to gain insights into the typological characteristics of human behaviors related to the built environments, the contribution of trajectory data alone was limited, hence, conventional field surveys and questionnaires which contain information on individual characteristics and spatial features should be used in conjunction. Future research and practical implications were outlined.
... advance notice and instructions to respondents, managing the data collection process and analyzing the data) and applying (i.e. reporting outcomes, recommendations and review) phases are all common to each type of post occupancy reviews (Cooper, Ahrentzen & Hasselkus, 1991). Each procedure involves a number of activities captured succinctly in the post-occupancy process model evolved by DPW (2009) shown diagrammatically in Figure 1. ...
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Hostel accommodation is very crucial to the performance of students. A post occupancy evaluation (POE) of existing hostels could foster their improvement and services. This study focuses on POE of students' hostel accommodation in the University of Lagos, Nigeria. The problem of the study is specifically concerned with investigating the availability of students' hostel accommodation and the satisfaction derived by the users. The objectives of the study are to investigate students' hostel accommodation and their users' satisfaction, to examine the additional facilities provided in the hostels, to pinpoint the problems of the users and that of the facilities managers in managing the hostels. The population of the study is the students of the University of Lagos and the facility managers; while the sampling frame is the students resident in the institution-owned hostels and the facility managers of such hostels in the main campus of the University. Eleven hostels were used and random sampling technique was used to a select a sample of 179 from the frame. Descriptive and inferential statistics tools were used to analyze the data. The study reveals that the content of hostels accommodation in the University of Lagos includes bathrooms, common rooms, bedrooms, reading rooms, kitchen and fixtures. There is also a sparse availability of laundry, pantry and meeting room in some of the hostels. The level of satisfaction of the users with the hostels accommodation is "good" in term of noiselessness, indoor temperature, natural lighting, ventilation and water supply; while it is "fair" with electrical fittings, space, cleanliness and comfortability. The study recommends that more accommodation with state of the art facilities should be provided in the University of Lagos.
... Area of study Key findings Bailey (2006) Warm colours, cool colours Warmer colours appearing nearer in depth to viewers than cooler colours Cooper et al.(1991) The staffs in the warm environment were less cheerful than the other office Dijkstra( 2006) -Warm colours like red, yellow, orange in an indoor place will arouse human feeling, while cool colours like blue and green will associate with relax and calm feeling -Wall colour cause people to verdict about that place. ...
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The rapid urban spatial expansion and population growth in recent years has resulted in the development of numerous high-rise condominiums in Kuala Lumpur. Many of these buildings include general relaxation and recreational facilities for the occupants. However, the majority of these spaces are designed to cater for the basic needs of typical residents, with less attention to the expectations of the elderlies. As a result, elderlies residing in such condominiums predominantly prefer to stay in their flats, and this phenomenon can negatively impact their overall health and quality of life. While with an appropriate consideration of shared facilities this occurrence can be solved. In this study, cool colours in fifteen intensities were tested (10 minutes as the test duration for each intensity) on 64 elderly occupants in a 3m×2m test room based on the Quasi-experimental method to evaluate the impacts of cool colours as environmental stimulus in common indoor facilities of condominiums. The participants were the residents of two high-rise condominiums in Kuala Lumpur, and they were all above 60 years old. Their blood pressure, heart beat rate and skin temperature as dependent variables were measured by sphygmomanometer and infrared thermometer as two required instruments and analysed to evaluate their relationship with cool colours and time spent. There are three significant results: Firstly, the lightest intensity of blue-green and green colours have decreased dependent variables with strongest relationship. Secondly, violet has negative impacts by increasing dependent variables. And thirdly, green colour, in general, has decreased dependent variables with positive impact as environmental stimulus while lightest blue-green colour affects the dependents variable faster than the other intensities. Higher rate of dependent variables associated with arousing feeling, while lower rate of dependent variables associated with calm and relaxation feeling. The study concludes that particular cool colours embrace promising potentials to be taken into consideration during the design of indoor spaces, particularly for the elderlies, by architects and interior designers.
... Proshansky et al (1970) recommended that newly created residential environments should be researched using POEs. Cooper et al (1991) recommended that occupational therapists develop POE assessments in order to create a unique body of knowledge about how human behaviour can be affected by the environment. Hasselkus (1998) defined communal sitting room environments as occupational spaces; that is, places for interaction and occupation. ...
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Introduction: Interactive occupation and social engagement are important components of quality of life for residents with dementia in nursing homes. Communal living spaces should be evaluated on these qualities. Two Irish nursing homes were compared pre and post conversion from a Traditional to a Household Model Unit using the Assessment Tool for Occupation and Social Engagement. This assessment uses interactive occupation and social engagement as positive outcome measures. Method: Residents, staff and relatives were observed pre and post renovation over a six week period using a snapshot observational method over four hours on seven different weekdays. Results: Changing from a traditional to a household model nursing home increased the interactive occupation and social engagement of residents, staff and visitors within the communal living room. The role of the homemaker in the household unit was critical for maintaining residents’ participation and engagement, including engaging in everyday domestic task. Conclusion: Interactive occupation and social engagement were significantly increased in the Household Model Units over the Traditional Model Units, particularly for residents. In the HMU environment, more residents initiated and maintained their own interactions with the environment which did not require the prompting of the staff.
Patient"s perceptions are gaining popularity to evaluate the quality of healthcare facilities delivered. A study was conducted to understand the visual comfort condition of hospital ward patients with reference to the physical aspects of natural, artificial and ambient light. We undertook an observational study in which 136 consecutive inpatients of both the genders were evaluated. POE (Post occupancy evaluation) questionnaire method for visual comfort in 3 multi-specialty hospitals was used for assessment. Post occupancy evaluation allows direct comparison of the physical parameters with the inputs of the occupant"s perception. The gathered data was analyzed using SPSS statistical package to determine the co-relation in patient"s visual comfort and light levels. The qualitative findings noted a positive contribution of patient satisfaction and daylight (72%) as well as ambient daylight levels (77%). Thus, there is preference for natural day lighting as against artificial lighting and natural lighting reduces lighting energy demand. Also, there is a positive preference to certain illumination quality and levels in patients for visual comfort. This study hence provides data for visual comfort which is the main and yet understudied determinant of lighting requirements in a ward setup and also suggests economical recommendations to modify architectural design and maximize use of natural light in wards.
The ability to assess, evaluate, and improve the future or current performance of buildings is a critical step towards ensuring that buildings are sustainable and remain so. This chapter introduces a selection of system and individual assessments for general, construction-related, and building-specific sustainability. These applications are discussed alongside the benefits they offer. Postoccupancy evaluation is discussed alongside the issue of whether the performance of buildings matches predictions made at the design stage. The effective monitoring of buildings, including data collection systems and thermographic surveys, is discussed. Finally, the relatively complex world of building simulation is described, with particular insights into dynamic thermal simulations.
Very few studies have been published on post-occupancy evaluations (POEs) in the field of healthcare. Furthermore, there is no published literature related to POE of negative-pressure isolation rooms. This is the first POE study of negative-pressure isolation rooms using a balanced scorecard approach. From the viewpoint of evidence-based design, Taiwanese experience with the 2003 SARS outbreak can provide very valuable lessons and may help in constructing negative-pressure isolation rooms in a cost-effective way. The sampled hospital was a major hospital treating SARS patients in Taipei in 2003. Two sessions of focus group discussions (FGDs) were conducted in fall 2005. The results of this study can be used to modify existing guidelines for negative-pressure isolation rooms. This study also proves that POEs using the balanced scorecard approach provide a balanced viewpoint for facility evaluation.
Post-Occupancy Evaluation is recognized and valued as a process that can improve, and help explain, the performance of the built environment. During the past twenty-five years it has emerged as a distinct area of research, scholarly activity, and application, and work in the field has rapidly expanded — it now encompasses significant activity beyond that found in the standard environment-behavior literature. This chapter examines the evolution of, and contemporary activities in, Post-Occupancy Evaluation (POE), to distinguish patterns in the use and boundaries of POE. Specific attributes of POE activities that are examined include: (1) the intentions of the POE; (2) the type, size and complexity of the buildings investigated; (3) the types of variables that were included in the evaluations; and (4) the relationships among the variables studied.
POE (Post-Occupancy Evaluation) has existed, in some form, since people began occupying buildings. Its association with relatively systematic assessment of how well a building performs on explicit criteria is more recent, but has existed for at least 25 years. This chapter argues that the role of POE in improving building performance has been inadvertently undermined by trying to make POE an academically acceptable form of evaluation research. POE as a diagnostic tool (essentially a clinical technique) and environment-behavior research (intended to help develop a solid research tradition to guide architecture and interior design practice) are both useful. They share common concerns, but they are not synonymous. The development of facility management, a client-based professional discipline whose foremost concern is for buildings-in-use, has shifted attention from the architecture and design (as well as academic) communities as direct beneficiaries of POE results to the organization paying for and occupying the building. In doing so it has created a set of conditions that is beginning to make POE an acceptable management tool with potential for significantly improving building performance.
The chapters in this section address the problem of usable knowledge. The ultimate goal of most building evaluations is to produce better buildings by supporting decisions about planning, design, construction or management of buildings. The seven chapters tackle these problems by arguing that we should refine theory and develop better, more standardized, methods. The authors draw on examples from several successful POE programs affecting billions of dollars of construction annually.
The goal of this chapter is to examine the current evaluation of built settings, also known as the postoccupancy evaluation (POE). This chapter deals with post occupancy evaluation, rather than postconstruction evaluation, accepting the distinction made by Anderson and Butterfield (1980) that the latter deals with the technical and structural aspects of facilities, and the former attends to social and behavioral issues.
In order for post-occupancy evaluation (POE) to become an accepted and standard part of research and design practice, POE professionals must reach agreement on what POEs comprise. This chapter describes six areas for agreement, employing the Hospital POE Program of the Canadian Department of Health and Welfare (BDI, 1988) to demonstrate these six components in practice. The Hospital POE Program:1. Establishes a standardized POE methodology including sequencing, methods, and data gathering; 2. Institutionalizes POE in a large and diverse Federal-Provincial health care bureaucracy; 3. Creates a POE database to aid in the development of design standards and guidelines, to improve planning and design decision making, and to set capital funding priorities for new construction and renovation; and 4. Shares the POE approach explicitly and in detail with both the client group and their consultants who will carry out future POEs, and with the rest of the POE professional community.
Services for the elderly and the handicapped despite their separate funding sources have much in common. A review of legislative mandates for each population as well as an overview of their common environmental needs and concerns is provided with special attention to housing. The relative merits of designing a barrier free environment versus adapting a residence to meet an individual's needs are explored and examples of both types of support are given. The role of the occupational therapist in the treatment of the disabled elderly is based on the premise that independence in daily living tasks promotes increased competence and can delay deterioration and institutionalization. Occupational therapists, because of their knowledge of functional independence as well sa their experience adapting environments, are invited to take on larger responsibilities bridging the gap between these two populations.
This article reports on a postoccupancy evaluation of Creative Living, Inc., in Columbus, Ohio, which at the time of this study was the only HUD-sponsored apartments for quadriplegics (those paralyzed from the neck down). The article focuses on the environmental components of the Creative Living service delivery system from the perspective of the most important environment-behavior issue found: the desirability of designs that enable the physically limited individual to function as independently as possible.
The article provides archival comments on 15 years of behavioral research and architectural design that Mr. Ewing Miller, A.l.A., and I undertook cooperatively from 1958 through 1973. Applications of the research results to design situations were numerous. A description of some applications to university student-residence facilities is given.
A model for the postoccupancy evaluation (POE) is suggested. Most actual POE fall short of the ideal. An example of a POE is presented of an environment designed for severely impaired, elderly residents of nursing homes. Because residents themselves could not be interviewed, evaluation was based primarily on the direct observation of resident behavior before and after transfer to the prosthetically designed building. Consumer evaluations were also performed by staff and by residents' relatives. Some hypothesized improvements were seen, and the major effect was suggested as a retardation of decline. The study is seen as a partial approach to the POE model.