Most design firms are happy when their projects are built. Most firms walk away and never revisit these buildings unless they need photos for their portfolio. At Gerard Lee Architects, we have a different perspective on post occupancy. We believe that while we have the creative vision and the ability to innovate, the client and end users are still key to a successful project.
We believe in following up with our clients during the initial move in and
before the end of the first year of occupancy, conduct a end user post occupancy survey.
Why? It's not enough that a building look good and the client tells you they are happy when they first move into a building. For us, that isn't service. All buildings need to be settled into after that fresh coat of paint wears out and the realities of the day to day operations of a building kicks in. We feel that we need to know if our designs significantly improved their day to day operations when compared against their previous base/ building. We want to know what worked and what didn't. We believe that by doing so, we can improve our design abilities and the services we provide to our clients. Some firms prefer to be contented that their clients were happy when the buildings were first completed and prefer not to know about anything that may not have worked out the way they initially thought. While we seek to ensure our designs are aesthetically pleasing and functional by listening to our clients, sometimes unexpected circumstances may change how a building is meant to perform or a client organization may fundamentally change their way of doing business. In this global economy, anything can and will happen.
That said, we need to know why and how it changed and if our designs were sufficiently flexible and accommodated the changes. This enables us to better anticipate the future and to continually educate ourselves. We don't believe on resting on our laurels. To be continuously on the cutting edge and to be able to create innovative designs, means an architecture firm needs to constantly re-evaluate it's processes on a regular basis. Maintaining the status quo and trumpeting past achievements only results in stagnation. We look to the future and want to learn from our past.