Historical Case Studies

The following are a selection of historical case studies used to inspire the BPE programme


Furniture firm Herman Miller is well known for creating innovative office equipment. So when the US company built its international headquarters in 2006, the building had to be something a little special.

What Herman Miller came up with was VillageGreen (sic). On the surface it does not have the look of a landmark building. It's also located in a standard office business park on the outskirts of Chippenham rather than in a city centre where it can display its credentials more ostentatiously. But looks can deceive. Read more....


...new build is not the answer to the zero-carbon challenge. The sobering fact is that less than two percent of the nation's building stock is renewed every year, which means that 90 percent of the buildings we have now will still be around in 2016 - the government's first zero-carbon target. Read more...


Advanced naturally-ventilated buildings are often the most difficult to get right. Unlike a mechanically controlled environment, a naturally controlled environment is comparatively more difficult to manage without wasting energy. In a naturally ventilated building where conditions are more likely to float, the control of key elements like windows, blinds and lighting becomes critical to both energy efficiency and occupant satisfaction. Either the occupants can have local control, or systems can be automated and managed by a computer. Either way, there's lots of potential for error. Read more...

Probe studies

The Post-Occupancy Review of Buildings and their Engineering (PROBE) research project took place between 1995 - 2002.

The project aimed to undertake "post occupancy surveys of well-regarded new commercial and public buildings, typically 2-3 years after completion. The purpose was to provide feedback on generic and specific information on factors for success in the design, construction, operation and use of buildings, together with areas of difficulty and disappointment" .

(Cohen, R; Standeven M., Bordass, B., Leaman A. Assessing building performance in use 1: the Probe process. Building Research and Information, Volume 29, Number 2, March 2001, pp85-102(18)).

PROBE Studies

The list below links to the full text of the PROBE articles, available via the Usable Buildings website (scanned with permission from CIBSE).

  1. W Bordass and A Leaman, Probe 1: Tanfield House, BSJ 38-41 (September 1995)
  2. M Standeven, R Cohen and W Bordass, Probe 2: 1 Aldermanbury Square, BSJ 29-33 (December 1995)
  3. M Standeven, R Cohen and W Bordass, Probe 3: Cheltenham & Gloucester Chief Office, BSJ 31-34 (February 1996).
  4. R Asbridge and R Cohen, Probe 4: Queens Building, de Montfort University, BSJ 35-41 (April 1996).
  5. M Standeven and R Cohen, Probe 5: Cable & Wireless College, BSJ 35-39 (June 1996).
  6. M Standeven, R Cohen and A Leaman, Probe 6: Woodhouse Medical Centre, BSJ 35-39 (August 1996)
  7. W Bordass, A Leaman and J Field, Probe 7: Homeowners Friendly Society, BSJ 39-43 (October 1996).
  8. R Cohen, A Leaman, D Robinson and M Standeven, Probe 8: Queens Building, Anglia Polytechnic University, BSJ, 27-31 (December 1996)
  9. W Bordass, R Cohen and M Standeven, Probe 9: Energy and Engineering Technical Review, BSJ, 37-41 (April 1997).
  10. Probe 10: Occupancy Survey Analysis, BSJ, 37-41 (May 1997).
  11. M Standeven, R Cohen, W Bordass and A Leaman, Probe 11: John Cabot City Technology College, BSJ 37-42 (October 1997).
  12. M Standeven, R Cohen, W Bordass and A Leaman, Probe 12: Rotherham Magistrates Court, BSJ 25-30 (Dec 1997).
  13. M Standeven, R Cohen, W Bordass and A Leaman, Probe 13: Charities Aid Foundation, BSJ 33-39 (February 1998).
  14. M Standeven, R Cohen, W Bordass and A Leaman, Probe 14: Elizabeth Fry Building, BSJ 37-41 (April 1998).
  15. A Leaman and W Bordass, Probe 15: Productivity in buildings: The Killer Variables, BSJ, 41-43 (June 1998) 15B R Bunn, Probe feedback, BSJ 44 (June 1998).
  16. W Bordass, R Cohen, A Leaman and M Standeven , Probe 16: Marston Book Services, BSJ 27-32 (August 1998).
  17. W Bordass, R Cohen, A Leaman and M Standeven, Probe 17: Co-operative Retail Services HQ, BSJ 37-42 (Oct 1998).
  18. W Bordass, R Cohen, A Leaman and M Standeven , Probe 18: Portland Building, BSJ 35-40 (January 1999).
  19. Probe 19: Designer feedback, BSJ 35-38 (March 1999).
  20. R Cohen, J Field and A Leaman, Probe 20: Barclaycard headquarters, BSJ 37-42 (Mar 2000).
  21. The Probe Team, Probe 21: Orchard Learning Resources Centre, BSJ 35-40 (July 2000).
  22. The Probe Team, Probe 22: Enschede Tax Office Extension, BSJ 51-56 (Nov 2001).
  23. The Probe Team, Probe 23: Centre for Mathematical Sciences, BSJ 57-62 (July 2002).