10 November 2016 | Jamie Harris
Architects who follow up and conduct post-occupancy evaluations are better perceived by clients than those who do not, according to a survey by the Royal Institute of British Architects (RIBA).
The Working With Architects survey sets out to highlight how architects are perceived by construction clients and other partners. Responses were received from nearly 1,000 clients.
Clients were generally pleased with their projects, rating the architects' design skills - but they were less impressed with architects' process management skills.
Architects who followed up at the end of the project, particularly when not contracted to do so, were more highly rated than architects who did not complete this process.
Ben Derbyshire, RIBA's president elect and chair at HTA Design LLP, said that the design industry needs to move to a model in which post-occupancy evaluations are built into the fee.
He said: "Since this report tells us that after-service care adds to clients' satisfaction ratings, surely it can be translated into value that deserves commensurate remuneration?
"We should discuss POE early, include a minimal service as part of the basic offer, and present the potential advantages of more thoroughgoing POE as bolt-on options. Done comprehensively and in collaboration with other professionals, word-of-mouth endorsement is sure to follow."
The report makes recommendations to build on the "sensible provisions" of Stage 7 of the RIBA Plan of Work:
- Undertake in-use services in accordance with schedule of services
- Conclude activities listed in handover strategy, including POE, review of project performance, project outcomes and R&D aspects
- Update project information as required in response to ongoing client feedback until the end of the building's life
- Update 'as-constructed' information in response to ongoing client feedback and maintenance or operational developments