Is it hot in here or is it just me? Validating the post-occupancy evaluation

Max Paul Deuble, Richard John de Dear

    Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

    38 Citations (Scopus)


    Historically, post-occupancy evaluation (POE) was developed to evaluate actual building performance, providing feedback for architects and building managers to potentially improve the quality and operation of the building. Whilst useful in gathering information based on user satisfaction, POE studies have typically lacked contextual information, continued feedback and physical measurements of the building's indoor climate. They, therefore, sometimes over-exaggerate poor building performance. POEs conducted in two academic office buildings: a mixed-mode (MM) and a naturally ventilated (NV) building located within a university in Sydney, Australia, suggest high levels of occupant dissatisfaction, especially in the MM building. In order to test the validity of the POE results, parallel thermal comfort studies were conducted to investigate the differences in occupant satisfaction and comfort perceptions between these two questionnaires. Instrumental measurements of each building's indoor environment reveal that occupants tended to over-exaggerate their POE comfort responses. Analysis of thermal satisfaction and acceptability in each building indicate that occupants of the NV building were more tolerant of their thermal environment despite experiencing significantly warmer temperatures than their MM counterparts. In discussing these results, along with participant comments and anecdotal evidence from each building, this article contends that POE does not accurately evaluate building performance, suggesting occupants can and do use POE as a vehicle for complaint about general workplace issues, unrelated to their building. In providing a critical review of current POE methods, this article aims to provide recommendations as to how they can be improved, encouraging a more holistic approach to building performance evaluation.

    Original languageEnglish
    Pages (from-to)112-134
    Number of pages23
    JournalIntelligent Buildings International
    Issue number2
    Publication statusPublished - 2014


    • adaptive thermal comfort
    • forgiveness factor
    • occupant satisfaction
    • post-occupancy evaluation
    • thermal acceptability

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