Skip to main content
Kent Academic Repository

The House of Commons: a historic precedent for post-occupancy evaluation

Schoenefeldt, Henrik (2018) The House of Commons: a historic precedent for post-occupancy evaluation. Building Research, 6 (47). pp. 635-665. ISSN 0961-3218. E-ISSN 1466-4321. (doi:10.1080/09613218.2019.1547547) (KAR id:69927)


Building scientists have retraced the origins of modern post-occupant evaluations (POEs) to the 1960s, but this paper aims to illustrate that the use of POEs, and their integration with the process of improving building performance, has been a more longstanding practice. Focusing on the post-occupancy history of the House of Commons from 1854 until 1941 as a case study, this paper examines the nature and functions of these earlier precursors of modern POEs. A review of original archive material has illuminated how POEs allowed parliament as an organisation to establish a large repository of knowledge on building performance, offering insights into technological, environmental and human factors. To understand the nature of these historic practices, however, it is critical to distinguish between POE functions that were embedded within the routine operational procedures, led by an in-house team of attendants, and those covered by several larger studies. The latter were more in-depth inquiries conducted by the Office of Works in collaboration with parliamentary committees,scientific researchers and in-house technical staff. These historic practices have also highlighted the role of institutional structures in enabling better collaboration between end-users and facilities management in the process of operating, assessing and improving buildings in use.

Item Type: Article
DOI/Identification number: 10.1080/09613218.2019.1547547
Projects: Between Heritage and Sustainability - Restoring the Palace of Westminster's nineteenth-century ventilation system
Uncontrolled keywords: history of environmental design, history of building science, parliament
Subjects: A General Works > AZ History of Scholarship. The Humanities
H Social Sciences
J Political Science > JF Political institutions and public administration
Q Science > QC Physics
T Technology > T Technology (General)
T Technology > TD Environmental technology. Sanitary engineering
Divisions: Divisions > Division of Arts and Humanities > Kent School of Architecture and Planning
Funders: Arts and Humanities Research Council (
Depositing User: Henrik Schoenefeldt
Date Deposited: 05 Nov 2018 11:29 UTC
Last Modified: 04 Mar 2024 18:12 UTC
Resource URI: (The current URI for this page, for reference purposes)

University of Kent Author Information

Schoenefeldt, Henrik.

Creator's ORCID:
CReDIT Contributor Roles:
  • Depositors only (login required):

Total unique views for this document in KAR since July 2020. For more details click on the image.