We've put together a few articles on the subject of user behaviour, by subject/building type.


Health and Safety

Evacuation modelling and human behaviour in fire
BRE July 2010
Fraser-Mitchell J; Charters D

Human behaviour and evacuation movement in smoke
ASHRAE Transactions 2008, Vol. 114 Part 2
Proulx G; Fahy R F
January 2008

Are your premises making the occupants sick?
Facilities Management, March 2010, Vol.17 (6), 20-21
Charlton J
March 2010


Energy and Carbon

Buildings don't use energy: people do

Architectural Science Review, February 2011, 54 (1), 15-22.

Argues that building users play a critical but poorly understood and often overlooked role in the built environment and that architects need to develop their professional expertise to integrate user involvement in building performance.

The dark side of occupants' behaviour on energy use
Energy & Buildings, February 2010, Vol.42 (2), 173-177
Masoso O T; Grobler L J
February 2010

A methodology for peak energy requirement considering actual variation of occupants' behavior schedules
Building & Environment, April 2008, Vol.43(4), 610-619
Tanimoto J, Hagishima A

User behaviour and energy performance in buildings, Ardeshir Mahdavi and Claus Pröglhöf, IEWT 2009 Results of a recent study of people's presence and their interactions with the buildings' environmental systems in a number of buildings in Austria. User control actions pertaining to building systems were observed, while considering the indoor and outdoor environmental conditions under which those actions occurred. The study suggests that such interactions are difficult to predict at the level of an individual person, but general control-related behavioral trends and patterns for groups of building occupants can be extracted.

User behaviour key to buildings' emissions, Zack Gill, H&V News, August 2010 "User behaviour is to building performance what carbon emissions are to climate change: a root cause that now requires thorough understanding and management to avoid potential system failures." Gill suggests ways to consistently maximise efficient user behaviour in buildings: facilitate efficient operation, induction, champion efficiency, points of reference, manage 'take-back', reduce unmanageable complexity, and don't miss the elephants in the livingroom.

New ways of working: linking energy consumption to people REHVA Journal, December 2011, 48 (6), 39-44, Dooley, K. Proposes that energy consumption should be related to people and not exclusivelt to area, and that by providing a new metric people will have the ability to prove they are living a low eergy or low carbon lifestyle.

Environmental impact of building-related and user-related energy consumption in dwellings Building & Environment, August 2011, 46 (8), 1657-1669. Blom, I., Itard, L., et al. Presents quantitative assessment of the environmental impact of building-related and user-related gas and electricity consumption in a Dutch apartment dwelling using life cycle assessment (LCA). Assesses what effect changes in building characteristics and user behaviour have on the environmental impacts of energy consumption.

Occupants' perceptions and expectations of a green office building: a longitudinal case study Architectural Science Review, Volume 54, Issue 4, 2011

A longitudinal study of nearly 2000 staff working in two UK Government office buildings  that had received BREEAM ‘Excellent' ratings. The research programme involved interviews and repeated surveys over a 2-year period. The results indicate how the gap between occupants' expectations and their perceptions of a green building can affect their satisfaction with the building. Furthermore, it is shown that occupants' disengagement with the building's green identity can also, eventually, impact on the building's sustainable performance. (requires a subscription).

Behavioural patterns and user profiles related to energy consumption for heating

Energy & Buildings, October 2011, 43 (10), 2622. Identifies behavioural patterns to be used in energy calculations and discerns user profiles with different behaviours.

Quantifying the 'human factor' in office building energy efficiency: a mixed-method approach Architectural Science Review, May 2011, 54 (2), ANZAScA special issue, 124-131. Roussac, A A., de Dear, R. Proposes a mixed-method approach for defining and quantifying the extent to which operations staff and other key decision makers influence the energy efficiency of occupied Australian commercial office buildings.


Older People

The indoor environment and the integrated design of homes for older people with dementia
Building & Environment, May 2010, Vol. 45 (5), 1244-1261
Van Hoof J; Kort H S M
May 2010

Field study on behaviors and adaptation of elderly people and their thermal comfort requirements in residential environments
Hwang R-L; Chen C-P
June 2010


Bad behaviour

How people use and 'misuse' buildings, ESRC Seminar Series, Technology Strategy Board & ESRC Seminar on how "collaborative physical science and social science research can contribute to Government and industry efforts to cut carbon emissions from buildings" - the second in a series looking at the relationship between people and technology.

A theory of waste behaviour in the construction industry Construction Management and Economics, 19 (7), pp 741- 751., 2001.Teo, M., Loosemore, M.
Levels of waste within the construction industry need to be reduced for environmental and economic reasons. Changing people's wasteful behaviour can make a significant contribution. This paper describes a research project that used Ajzen's ‘theory of planned behaviour' to investigate the attitudinal forces that shape behaviour at the operative level. A theory of waste behaviour is proposed for the construction industry, and recommendations are made to help managers improve operatives' attitudes towards waste.


Design solutions

User behavior in whole building simulation, P. Hoes a, J.L.M. Hensen b, M.G.L.C. Loomans b,*, B. de Vries b, D. Bourgeois, Energy and Buildings, 2008

This is a study of the effect of user behavior on building performance, with a focus on the requirements for design solutions to arrive at buildings that are more robust to the influence of user. The results indicate that for specific buildings user behavior should be assessed in more detail, to allow the building design to be optimized for the actual user and its peculiarities.


Offices and other non-dwellings

Human behaviour in mercantile occupancies
Fire Protection Engineering
2009 No.43, 22-24
Boyce, K
June 2009

A preliminary model of user behaviour regarding the manual control of windows in office buildings, Herkel, Sebastian., Knapp, Ulla., Pfafferott, Jens, Ninth International IBPSA Conference, Montreal, Canada, August 15-18, 2005. Results of a field study of manual control windows on 21 individual offices at Fraunhofer. Window status, occupancy, room and outdoor climatic conditions were measured every minute. From an analysis of user behaviour, found a 'strong correlation' between when windows were open and the time of year, outdoor temperature, and building occupancy patterns.

A field survey of occupancy and air-conditioner use patterns in open plan offices

Indoor & Built Environment, February 2011, 20 (1), 137-147. Yun, G Y., Kong, H J.

Reports on survey results from a field monitoring study of office occupancy and air-conditioner use patterns in an office building in Seoul, Korea, from 20 July to 29 September 2009.

Observation of environmental control behaviour in elementary school classrooms equipped with air-conditioning systems and ceiling fans for cooling. International Journal of Ventilation, September 2011, 10 (2), 125-132. Investigates the differences in environmental control behaviour, thermal/air environments and pupils' thermal sensations before and after the installation of cooling systems.


Government reports

The government's 'Behavioural Insights Team' has an objective to find 'intelligent ways to encourage, support and enable people to make better choices for themselves'. The annual report indicates that this includes educating civil servants in behavioural approaches to policy-making, and addressing the priority areas of public health, consumer empowerment and growth, and energy efficiency and climate change.

The government response to the select committee report on behaviour change is also worth reading. This notes that the govt has invested £5 million over 5 years on the Policy Research Unit on Behaviour and Health at the University of Cambridge.


Other reading - other applications of behavioural theories in construction

A methodology for identifying and improving occupant behavior in residential buildings Energy - The International Journal, 36 (11), pp6596-6608. Yu, Z J., Haghighat F et al.

Reports on the development of a methodology for identifying and improving occupant behaviour in exisitng residential buildings.

Organizational Behaviour in Construction Walker, A. Wiley, 2011. Organizational Behaviour in Construction addresses the behaviour of individuals and groups within the different organizations which come together on construction projects and within the organizations created to manage projects. It describes how their behaviour impacts on the performance of construction organizations and their contribution to the project as a whole.

The role of organizational culture in motivating innovative behaviour in construction firms, Construction Innovation: Information, Process, Management, Vol. 6 Iss: 3, pp.159 - 172; Andreas Hartmann, (2006) The research this paper reports on addresses the motivational aspects of the relationship between culture and innovation in construction firms. Specifically, it focuses on those managerial actions through which the importance of innovation may be communicated and innovation-related behaviour may be induced and reinforced--includes a case study on the innovation activities of a Swiss contractor.

The construction industry as a loosely coupled system: implications for productivity and innovation Construction Management and Economics, 20 (7), pp 621-631, 2002. Anna Dubois & Lars-Erik Gadde Previous research suggests that the construction industry is characterized by (1) particular complexity factors owing to industry specific uncertainties and interdependences, and (2) inefficiency of operations. The aim of this study was to analyse the operations and behaviour of firms as a means of dealing with complexity.

Behaviour-based safety management in Hong Kong's construction industry: the results of a field study Lingard, H., Rowlinson, S. Construction Management and Economics, 16 (4), pp 481-488. 1998. Hong Kong's construction industry has had a poor site safety record for over a decade. Behaviour-based methods of safety management (BSM) have proved successful in other industries and in other countries. Hence, this study aimed to test the effectiveness of BSM by applying goal-setting and feedback interventions to specific areas of safety performance on Hong Kong Housing Authority construction sites.

Safety behaviour and safety management: its influence on the attitudes of workers in the UK construction industry. Engineering Construction and Architectural Management, 7 (2), pp 133–140, June 2000.  This paper identifies the critical factors that influence the attitudes of construction workers towards safe behaviour on construction sites. It studies these attitudes by using a research model that links three themes: safety management implementation strategies, attitudes of workers about safety and behavioural factors displayed by construction workers. This model is used to frame the responses of 126 directly employed construction workers in 10 companies. Some 56 variables were identified as having a potential influence upon attitudes to safety.


This list was produced by BSRIA Library--please contact for more