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Evaluating the role of effective stakeholder engagement in achieving socio-economic and environmental benefits of low-energy refurbishment of Higher Education buildings;
The refurbishment of existing/occupied buildings is a complex project that requires careful planning to avoid potential negative impacts on various parties to the project, such as building owners, facilities management department and occupants before during and after the refurbishment project. For a successful refurbishment scheme to be planned and executed, it is essential to have an effective stakeholder engagement strategy for seeking and integrating the views of stakeholders and also planning for effective information flow between the client, building users, contractors and all other parties to construction project.
This paper evaluates the efficacy of the stakeholder engagement processes used in a 25 partner European Union funded research project, Retrofitting Solutions and Services for the enhancement of Energy Efficiency in Public Edification (RESSEEPE). The project focuses on the low-energy refurbishment of existing public buildings. The aim of the project is to bring together design, decision making tools and manufacturers to improve building performance through low impact retrofitting interventions in order to achieve a 50% reduction in energy consumption. Coventry University as a demo-site integrates range of technologies to improve the comfort, energy and environmental performance of selected buildings. The main complexity of the project is that the various interventions are being implemented to both internal and external parts of densely populated university buildings.
The paper evaluates the stakeholder engagement process followed by the research and management teams at Coventry University to engage the different stakeholders in the retrofitting process. The paper focusses on the user acceptance of the entire construction process and quality of improvement relative to alleviating discomfort within occupied areas.
Mixed methodology has been used to collect data from building users and estate management personnel before, during and after the refurbishment works. Questionnaire surveys and stakeholder focus groups were used to investigate the following factors: 1. Estate Management personnel views on the suitability of the technologies, construction process, and information gathering process. , 2. Users: user characteristics, user engagement relative to areas of improvement to reduce level of discomfort, level of disruption due to refurbishment works; and user comfort factors such as thermal comfort, noise, lighting comfort, indoor air quality and level of control.
A critical evaluation of stakeholder engagement process will be presented to establish the efficacy of the process. A comparative analysis of the pre and post refurbishment surveys and focus groups are compared in order to determine user satisfaction as an indicator of efficacy of the retrofit intervention measures. The surveys are an essential part of any refurbishment process not only for understanding user acceptance, but also as a means of driving continuous performance improvement on current and future refurbishment projects. This result of this research will contributes essential learning that will support replicability of the solutions and methods implemented for future projects.