Modular buildings that do not perform as planned can affect running costs, staff welfare, safety and comfort. Having knowledge of where improvements can be made in design and commissioning is cost effective and beneficial to staff welfare. This is even more important for repeat building construction methods.
Having recently completed two large modular office projects, Modular Building Consultants Limited have been assessing the buildings’ performance in relation to the required building regulations. Under Part L, the target emission rates, air tightness tests and energy performance certificates were all calculated and demonstrated that the energy performance complied with the requirements.
However, it is the next stage that is more interesting; looking at how buildings perform when they are in use. Very few building projects are re-visited to assess how they are performing compared to the original design brief.
Post-Occupancy Evaluation (POE) is a process which involves obtaining feedback on a building’s actual performance when in use. Environmental monitoring of the energy consumption, water usage and indoor air quality is obtained as well as feedback from the building’s occupants. Space utilisation is also used to measure how a building is occupied, analysing specific areas and how often they are occupied as well as the occupational density.
The benefits of the POE process include:
- Highlighting any issues that can be addressed and solved
- Providing useful data that can improve design and procurement on future projects
- Benchmarking data for comparison with other projects
The POE process needs to be planned from the start of a project and not be an after thought when the building is occupied and in use. It involves an investment of time and money, however, the benefits of fully understanding how a modular building system uses energy and how successful the building is in supporting the occupying client will improve the building’s performance and benefit future designs.