ACHA White Paper - The Project Afterwards: Using Post-Occupancy Evaluations to Improve Healthcare Environments

ACHA White Paper - The Project Afterwards: Using Post-Occupancy Evaluations to Improve Healthcare Environments

​By Kirsten Waltz, AIA, ACHA, Sean M. Gouvin and Michael Forth, LEED AP

In recent decades, Post-Occupancy Evaluations (POEs) have been embraced by the design industry, but they are far from widespread or standardized today. These systematic tools allow administrators and architects to assess whether a project’s performance meets its objectives by examining how occupants and users experience a space once it is operable on a daily basis.
While most projects could benefit from a POE, they have not become ubiquitous due to the expense and resources necessary. In this paper, we offer a case study that demonstrates how POEs can be utilized not only in retrospect but also to inform a project’s entire lifespan.
We discuss an investigative POE conducted on a unique multi-phase project at Baystate Medical Center in Springfield, Massachusetts. Survey questionnaires and focus group evaluations were conducted on Phase 1 of a completed hospital wing in order to inform the planning, design, and execution of a second wing that was originally intended to replicate the first. We reflect on key design principles that were challenged and then revised as a result of these POE findings.
This case study demonstrates the importance of POE studies on healthcare projects, where the culture of an organization’s day-to-day workflow patterns cannot always be predicted until a space has been occupied for some time. With the objectives of a POE in mind, we were also able to create a culture of constant improvement throughout the entire lifespan of the project, using target-value design strategies guided by an Integrated Project Delivery (IPD) method. As a result of this collaborative team effort, we completed the project three months under schedule and $1 million under budget.​

Read the complete paper here. 


Post by Kirsten Waltz, AIA, ACHA, EDAC, LEED AP - President U.S. Operations 

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