“It’s not the building engineer’s job to empower people,” Mazur-Stommen says, “But if you’re asking where these complaints are coming from, it’s a ‘kick the dog’ phenomenon.”
It is much more palatable to think of complainers in a facility as simple cranks who are avoiding doing their real jobs, who get some sort of perverse joy out of filling out work orders. But there can be a lot of layers behind a complaint, especially one that looks frivolous on the surface. Successfully managing occupant complaints often requires digging deeper to find the underlying reasons.
Take this story, as told by Susan Mazur-Stommen, behavior and human dimensions program director, ACEEE, about a string of complaints that occurred at a new administrative building for a federal renewable energy laboratory. The facility was daylit and some of the people located near the windows started complaining about glare. But when they were offered cubicles away from the windows, the complaints disappeared.
“Their real issue was status,” Mazur-Stommen says, because in the new space they had lost their enclosed offices…
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