Use this URL to cite or link to this record in EThOS:
Title: An investigation into occupants' satisfaction in UK sustainable social housing
Author: Evans, Mark
Awarding Body: University of the West of England, Bristol
Current Institution: University of the West of England, Bristol
Date of Award: 2013
Availability of Full Text:
Access from EThOS:
Sustainable and well designed housing can help with stable communities. If the mistakes of the past are not to be repeated, good design and resident engagement are thought to be essential. Is occupant satisfaction, and the failure of the industry to consult these key stakeholders, likely to see a repeat of the housing failures that have periodically blighted UK housing development since World War One? In the UK housing arena the main holistic measure for environmental assessment has, since the 1980's, been the Building Research Establishment's assessment protacels - initially Ecohomes and now the Code for Sustainable Homes (CSH, the Code). In 2008 the UK government adopted the approach that all new build UK housing would be rated against the Code - although a 'zero rated' certificate can be employed. Social Housing has long seen environmental assessment conditions attached to its funding, latterly at CSH levels 3 and above. Although sustainable design can impact on market delivered housing and affordable housing delivery, this initial research will examine social housing only. In this way a large research area can be examined in one segment and tested against the whole market at a later date. The research firstly examines the published academic literature covering the technical aspects of sustainable design. It moves on to inform the debate with semi-structured 'professional interviews' with key academics and industry practitioners. Finally, the work investigates occupant satisfaction by analysing the results of a comprehensive questionnaire survey of occupants in six case studies where sustainable design has been used to construct social housing. The case studies are geographically diverse for the UK (London, Midlands [x2], North West, East Anglia, South West) and are all in the urban and semi-urban, context. Each study investigates the layout, materials, design and CSH assessment of each development and analyses these in relation to occupant satisfaction, both individually for each case study and as a set of coml;lined data. Using these strategies, with 175 occupant responses over the six case studies, the research highlights the problems associated with current sustainable design and protocols when considering occupant's views. As a reduction strategy to enable data management the research looks to the Code to provide a framework for defining sustainability. The Code has many facets that impact on design, all presented as soundly researched and analysed by professional designers and academics. little research has been undertaken to gauge occupant satisfaction with the result of such designs, speCifically in relation to key areas such as environmental comfort, water use, materials & appearance, health & wellbeing and, in a step outside of Code criteria but relevant to social . housing, occupant engagement . As a priontisation exercise conducted for this research the areas listed above are determined as the most important to occupants. The key findings from this research are: that the Code does function reasonably well, with over 70% scoring their sa,tisfaction level at 7 or more, on a likert Scale of 1 to 10, across all case studies - one case study did demonstrate comparative occupant dissatisfaction over a range of the issues investigated however, The research also found high levels in occupant satisfaction in areas of artificial lighting, daylighting, thermal comfort, sound insulation, water flows, housing appearance, workmanship, space and neighbourhood layout although again, there were a number of statistically significant variances between Case Studies over a range of these areas. Disturbingly, nearly 50% of occupant respondents did not know what a dual flush WC was trying to achieve - and education and training were a recurring them in the . professional interviews. Few respondents had been engaged with their design but over 87% thought that it was important that occupants. were engaged. The research also found that achieving long-lasting sustainable solutions must give primacy to user behaviour to avoid performance deficits or unintended consequences. The main conclusions of the research are that there is little doubt that the questionnaire responses disproved the original premise of the work - that premise being that occupants are unhappy with sustainable housing provision. They clearly are happy with sustainable housing provision in the RSL sector. There is one modification to the Code that is felt to be of major significance: the issue of cooling. Thermal comfort, for example, or climate regulation, is of course a major demand of housing envelopes and systems. Whilst occupants seem satisfied with heating delivery there is concern qver cooling demand. Whilst the Code's primary objective in this regard is energy cohservation there is the opportunity, through Post Occupancy Evaluation (PO E), to influence effective thermal comfort. The research also revealed a noticeable amount of. 'rework' or repairs in each case study, which is obviously not resource efficient. This outcome is at odds with modem sustainability thinking in 'lean delivery' and 'right first time' practices. Again, it is recommended that it is incorporated into the POE process. If buildings are truly to become 'sustainable' developers and designers must learn the lessons from failed, or failing, buildings "and introduce a protocol. POE regulation may help to concentrate the mind. Feedback routine should make methods understandable to all. Manageable, timely and relevant, results should be never more than one step away from a design o~ management decision. ..
Supervisor: Not available Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available