Project Performance Metrics for Senior Living Design | by Schemmer Architect and Principal, Mark Higgins, AIA, LEED AP BD+C

Metrics are considered a set of measurements that quantify results. Business metrics define the progress of a business in measurable terms. Project performance metrics tell you whether a project is meeting its goals or not.

Building performance has been measured in many different ways throughout the history of the built environment. In his first century BC writings, "On Architecture," Roman engineer/architect Vitruvius condensed/synthesized the theory of architecture practice for architectural principals into firmitas, utilitas and venustas (firmness, commodity and delight). These principals can be interpreted today as structural stability, appropriate spatial accommodation and attractive appearance.

In 1995, the American Society for Testing and Materials, known as ASTM International (ASTM), published a series of 21 standards for "whole building functionality and serviceability," coordinated under ASTM documents E1334 and E1679. These rated buildings determine the capability to perform functions for which they are designed, used or required to be used. A separate scale is utilized for each topic of serviceability. Overall serviceability was expressed as a profile of levels (not a single number) and presented in a bar chart. The categories of standards included: Layout and Buildings Factors; Image to the Public and Occupants; Location; Access and Way Finding; and Change and Churn by Occupants. These standards are generally applicable to commercial office buildings.

The Whole Building Design Guide (WBDG) is a program of the National Institute of Building Sciences. It includes a series of processes addressing performance objectives. These objectives were set in place to assure the delivery of a project that satisfies all of the owner's functional requirements for the building and psychological requisites for space users. These include various types of Facility Performance Evaluations (FPE), lessons learned and building commissioning activities to systematically evaluate the performance and/or effectiveness of one or more aspects or characteristics of buildings. Many designers and builders focus almost exclusively on time and cost metrics.

At Schemmer, we have developed Performance Metrics for our Senior Living building types. Our team uses Performance Metrics to define the criteria that are most important to the success of a building project. We then systematically assess the design and construction to promote design excellence. In consultation with our clients, these Performance Metrics are adapted to the particular needs of each project that Schemmer designs. They include these categories: Environment, Aesthetics, Operational Efficiency, Cost Effectiveness, Accessibility, Safety/Security and Sustainability/Energy Efficiency. The Schemmer process streamlines the metric development and evaluation process to achieve excellent results.