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  Appropriate aftercare

Post-handover aftercare to occupants
This issue focuses on providing post-handover aftercare to a development's owner or occupants during the first year of use to ensure the development operates and adapts, where relevant, in accordance with the design intent and operational demands.

Main features to be satisfied are the following:

Aftercare support

Operational infrastructure and resources to provide support to the development occupiers including:

  • Meeting between aftercare team and the occupier or management (prior to or right after occupation) to:
    • Introduce the aftercare team to the aftercare support, including the development user guide and training schedule and content
    • Present key information, including design intent and ensure development operates efficiently and effectively
  • On site facilities management training, to include a walkabout of the development and familiarization with the building systems, their controls and how to operate them correctly
  • Initial aftercare support for the first month of building occupation, e.g. on site attendance on a weekly basis to support building users and management
  • Longer term aftercare support for the first 12 months from occupation, e.g. a helpline, nominated individual or other appropriate system to support building users and management
Operational infrastructure and resources in place regarding collection of energy and water consumption data for 12 months post occupation. This facilitates analysis of discrepancies between actual and predicted performance, in order to adjust systems accordingly.

Seasonal commissioning

The following activities over a 12-month period, once development substantially occupied:

  • Complex systems - Specialist Commissioning Manager:
    • Testing of all building services under full load conditions, i.e. heating equipment in midwinter, cooling and ventilation equipment in midsummer, and under part load conditions (spring and autumn)
    • Testing during periods of extreme (high or low) occupancy
    • Interviews with development occupants to identify problems
    • Recommissioning of systems (following any work needed to serve revised loads), incorporating revisions in operating procedures into the O & M manuals
  • Simple systems (naturally ventilated) - external consultant or aftercare team or facilities manager:
    • Review thermal comfort, ventilation, and lighting, at three, six and nine month intervals after initial occupation, either by measurement or occupant feedback
    • Recommission systems considering identified deficiencies and incorporate any relevant revisions into the O & M manuals
Post-occupancy evaluation (POE)

Development occupier to carry out a POE exercise one year after initial building occupation.

Reason is to gain in-use performance feedback from users to inform operational processes. This includes recommissioning activities, and to maintain or improve productivity, health, safety and comfort. POE is carried out by an independent party and covers:

  • Review of the design intent and construction process (review of design, procurement, construction and handover processes
  • Feedback from a wide range of users including facilities management on the design and environmental conditions of the development covering:
    • Internal environmental conditions (light, noise, temperature, air quality)
    • Control, operation and maintenance
    • Facilities and amenities
    • Access and layout
    • Other relevant issues
  • Sustainability performance (energy consumption, water consumption, performance of any sustainable features or technologies, e.g. materials, renewable energy, rainwater harvesting etc.)
Building occupier to carry out the appropriate dissemination of information on the building's post-occupancy performance so as to share good practice and lessons learned, inform changes in user behavior, building operational processes and procedures, and system controls. This also provides advice on appropriate dissemination where the development info is commercially or security sensitive.

Exemplary level features

Infrastructure and resources to coordinate the following activities at quarterly intervals for the first three years of development occupation:

  • Collection of occupant satisfaction, energy consumption and water consumption data
  • Data analysis to check performance, make adjustments to systems controls /inform user behaviors
  • Targets & actions for reducing water and energy consumption and monitor progress towards these
  • Feedback any 'lessons learned' to the design team and developer for use in future projects
  • Provision of the actual annual building energy, water consumption and occupant satisfaction data to sustainability scheme developers
Compliance notes

Appropriate dissemination of POE information

Communication to immediate stakeholders such as building occupants, managers and owners as well as communicated externally.

Publication of a case study via:

  • Development owner's own website, publicly available literature or press release
  • Industry, sector, government or local authority sponsored website or information portals
Where there is a justifiable reason why public dissemination is not possible, compliance can be demonstrated by a commitment to disseminate at an organizational level or to appropriate internal or external stakeholders or only omit the sensitive parts.

Relevant information for dissemination

This includes the following regarding a development and its performance:

  • Basic description of the project and buildings
  • Sustainability accreditation scheme rating and score
  • The key innovative and low-impact design features
  • Project cost
  • Project size: floor area, site area
  • Facilities available for community use
  • Any steps taken during the construction process to reduce environmental impacts, i.e. innovative construction management techniques
  • Predicted and actual carbon dioxide emissions or Energy Performance Certificate rating
  • Outcomes of the POE study to share lessons learned from the project including:
    • Occupant feedback
    • Energy and water consumption including renewable energy generation, level of rainwater or grey water provision

Actual vs predicted performance

It is often not feasible to accurately compare predicted vs actual performance due to variances in the assumptions used in the models. Figures in the UK's Carbon Buzz website state that on average, buildings within developments consume between 1.5 and 2.5 times the predicted values. Thus when comparing predicted with actual values, an analysis is necessary to understand why the discrepancies. Reasons include:

  • Predicted energy consumption is normally based upon building regulation compliance models which only focus on 'regulated' energy use. Unregulated energy use may not have been considered
  • Extended use due to extra occupancy and operating hours, not accounted for
  • Inefficiencies from poor control, bad commissioning or poor maintenance
  • Additional special functions i.e. a cafeteria, server rooms etc. not accounted for
  • Variances in actual occupant behavior, such as use of small power and lighting
CIBSE TM54, Evaluating Operational Energy Performance of Buildings at the Design Stage, CIBSE, 2013 assists in improving accuracy of the design model regarding operational energy use.

The Carbon Trust guidance, 'Closing the gap: Lessons learned on realizing the potential of low carbon building design', also is useful.

Absence of predicted performance data

Where occupiers do not have predicted performance models, they should benchmark actual performance data with sources of Building Performance Evaluation Data and benchmarks. i.e. go to CIBSE Guidance including:

  • Guide F: Energy Efficiency in Buildings
  • CIBSE TM46: Energy Benchmarks
  • CIBSE TM47: Operational Ratings and Display Energy Certificates
Additional information of building performance and benchmarking can be found at Buildings Performance Institute Europe (BPIE): and ASHRAE -

POE Methodologies

The most relevant POE methodology that fulfils the criteria should be used. In the UK, the building use studies (BUS) methodology developed following a series of Government funded 'PROBE' building performance evaluation studies in 1995. The BUS methodology is used by independent licensed partners following a four-part process. Further information can be found at: BRE's Design Quality Method (DQM) is a tried independent, POE method used by all UK auditing authorities, and many funding bodies. Further information at:

Further guidance on POE:

  • The BCO guide to Post Occupancy Evaluation (POE), British Council for Offices, 2007 BRE Digest 478, Building performance feedback: getting started, Building Research Establishment, 2003
  • Guide to Post Occupancy Evaluation Report and Toolkit, HEFCE, AUDE & University of Westminster, 2006


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