Environment, Organization and Operation Alignment
Clients often pursue design as a means of improving efficiency, efficacy, and economy. This can be true of any market sector, whether it is the desire to improve the living experience within a residential setting or improve service delivery at a retail location. The design of the environment alone, however, very rarely results in the kind of meaningful and enduring change that clients wish to see. Careful considerations must be made when attempting to foster and sustain new or different patterns of activity. For organizations and businesses, it is highly beneficial to work collaboratively with specialized environmental designers to evaluate, modify, or generate policies, procedures, job descriptions that guide everyday decision making and inform the design of the setting to support ongoing activities.
Occupancy & Operational Evaluation
Designing an environment that is intended to accomplish specific outcomes hinges upon evaluating the degree to which the design of the building is supports or impedes goals while it is occupied. While the planning, goal setting and evaluation of outcomes is a specialized activity, it tends to be a more straightforward pre/post-design/construction proposition in buildings that are undergoing renovations or new additions because of ongoing occupancy. In the case of new construction, the efficacy and efficiency of design strategies are informed using a combination of intended operational performa and generalizable outcomes. Occupancy and operational evaluation may also be employed without engaging in building modifications; it may be carried out in an effort to reposition furniture, inform investments, or revise current use patterns. The primary benefit it to streamline utility, maximize positive outcomes, and minimize unintended consequences which all impact the bottom line and the user experience.
Building life-cycle analysis
While there are common building evaluation tools and strategies within the architectural and engineering professions, the continually changing forces that influence the form and function require the ongoing evaluation of the degree of “fit” that is afforded within the built environment. Conducting work-flow and process evaluations is beneficial to inform upcoming renovation, addition or new construction efforts. Using an evidence-based design process during design and construction is a way to optimize environmental-determinants associated with project-specific goals. Post-occupancy evaluations provide an opportunity to assess achievements, identify deficiencies, and engage in improvement efforts. As the saying goes, “the only constant is change”; to that end, buildings must adapt to changing needs as well as re-use efforts.
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