Analysis of Attitudes to Student Housing

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CHAPTER ONE

INTRODUCTION:

1.1BACKGROUND TO THE STUDY

Student housing is an essential component of the infrastructure of any university campus. They are even more important in a private university. It is important that student housing facilities should allow students to carry out their academic activities freely while encouraging social interaction. Completed residential buildings should not only be fit for the purpose of the users, but also be able to perform their functions in such ways as to ensure relative residents ’satisfaction (Liu, 1999).

Research has shown that architects and building users’ differ in their standards or ideas about the way buildings should look or operate. The architect is usually concerned with aesthetics, economy, structural stability, functionality, satisfying the client; while the user is mainly concerned with how best the building accommodates his activities.

It is necessary for improvement of the design process especially in structured institutions with the potential to carry out similar design and construction projects that an evaluation of the performance of their existing facilities is carried out. The effect of certain physical and psychological aspects of a building on the users’ productivity cannot be understated.

It is necessary that an assessment of student hostel facilities and their functionality be carried out. This formal evaluation of the built environment is called “Post Occupancy Evaluation (POE)” and it is the evaluation of a building with emphasis placed on its functional features rather than the aesthetics, technical and economical features alone. Post Occupancy Evaluation aims to enable clients, decision makers, and operators of various facilities to provide better environments for customers, occupants, and users (Cubukcu and Isitan, 2011).

Student perceptions can be assessed in terms of both technical (i.e., acoustic and visual comfort) and functional (i.e., room finishes and room layout) requirements. However, technical and functional building performances are considered as two different aspects that can be used to explain student residential satisfaction (Hassanain, 2008 cited in Akinluyi, 2013).

Similar studies (Foubert et al, 1998, Amole, 2009a & Khozaei et al., 2010) in using a different approach have factored in management of the facilities, this includes elements such as hostel rules and fees and the attitudes of hostel employees. Several factors can be used to assess overall satisfaction with student housing, including physical variables such as facilities and extra services (Hassanain, 2008). Social variables such as student relationships, crowding and privacy may also be considered as factors used to assess user satisfaction.

This systematic method evaluates the success and failures of completed design projects. Such information could be utilized:

  1. To improve the completed and future design projects by better informing the designers of the users’ needs and improve existing building performance by modifying maintenance and management practices.
  2. To create an unbiased memory for specific types of design projects (such as hospital and airport design or design of a university campus).
  3. To develop design guidelines for future design projects.

1.2 STATEMENT OF PROBLEM

Many buildings do not perform as planned, some end up serving an entirely different purpose from that for which reason they were constructed. In some cases this can impact on running costs and maintenance, user and client satisfaction and performance, health, safety and comfort.

According to Akinluyi (2013), for repeat construction clients such as universities, learning from, and correcting past mistakes in design and commissioning of buildings can be extremely cost-effective and improve the performance of the institution in general, its facilities in particular and greatly improve all-round productivity of the students.

Housing facilities, as earlier stated, is especially important in universities and it is important that these facilities meet the requirements of the user for maximum user satisfaction. According to Awolesi (2008), designs are being constrained by extreme boundaries of cost and economy, aesthetic considerations, the space demands of the clients, or as prevalent in institutions, the need to make the building reflect the existing architectural style of its immediate environment or typology and this results in structures that sometimes compromise standards and most times do not consider the needs of the proposed users.

While there is a need for considerations of economy, aesthetics and the important needs of the client, the users’ needs do not have to be sacrificed entirely. Residents’ satisfaction is one of the major determinants of building performance, quality and the success of the design project.

This study seeks to examine the level of satisfaction of students with the housing facilities provided by the school. In particular, it investigates the first male and female hostels built by the Physical Planning and Development Department of the Covenant University and the level of satisfaction of students with the spaces provided within the halls.

1.3RESEARCH QUESTIONS

  1. How functional are the spaces provided within the halls?
  2. How do students respond to the spaces in terms of satisfaction?
  3. Does gender affect the level of user satisfaction of students?

1.4AIM AND OBJECTIVES

The aim of this study is to assess the post occupancy utilization of two of the student hostel facilities in Covenant University as it relates to the level of satisfaction of the students with the hostel facilities and how much these responses are determined by the gender of the students.

To achieve this aim, the more specific objectives are:

  1. To analyse the hostel facilities (namely Esther Hall and Peter Hall) in terms of users’ satisfaction.
  2. To evaluate the students’ use and response to these facilities and the spaces within.
  3. To examine how much this reaction is determined by the gender of the students.
  4. To examine the quality of the students’ housing based on the users’ responses and satisfaction with the facilities.

1.5JUSTIFICATION OF THE STUDY

This study is important because the student housing facilities are an important part of the built environment in university campuses. This is especially so in private universities particularly where it is mandatory for all students to reside on the campus in hostel facilities provided by the school.

It will evaluate to what extent the gender of students affect the use and perception of the spaces within the hostel facilities and the facilities in general and how these spaces can be better adapted to suit the demands and needs of the different genders without sacrificing economy in design and implementation (i.e. construction). This study will help to evaluate the success of completed design projects and evaluate the extent to which the designers’ intention and expectations are aligned with the users’ needs.

1.6 SIGNIFICANCE OF THE STUDY

The study is aimed at evaluating the level of user satisfaction of students in Esther and Peter Halls in Covenant University. It will assess how well the buildings match the needs of the male and female students and identify ways to improve performance and fitness for purpose.

It will also analyse the effect of gender on user response to spaces in terms of satisfaction. The study will therefore add to the body of knowledge as well as inform University administrators on how to student hostels can be better designed to suit the needs of the students. It will also provide feedback on the level of satisfaction of the users of the student hostels being studied.

1.7SCOPE OF THE STUDY

The study will evaluate the types of hostel facilities available in Covenant University with focus on Esther Hall and Peter Hall. Covenant University is a private university located in Sango-Ota. It was founded in 2002 by the Living Faith Commission in Canaan land, Ota. The University has 4 main colleges. They are: the College of Business, College of Leadership and Developmental Studies, College of Science and Technology and College of Engineering. The University is well planned with clearly defined sections such as the residential area, academic area, and recreational areas amongst others. The University is fully residential (for the students) with 10 hostel facilities (5 male and 5 female hostels) provided to properly house the increasing student population.

The male hostels are the: Peter Hall, Paul Hall, John Hall, Joseph Hall and Daniel Hall.

The female hostels are: Esther Hall, Mary Hall, Deborah Hall, Lydia Hall and Dorcas Hall.

Esther and Peter Hall are the oldest hostel facilities, built when the school was founded in 2002. These halls have the same design but are occupied by students of the two genders.

The study will evaluate the performance of the spaces provided in these halls based on the level of student satisfaction.

1.8LIMITATIONS OF STUDY

Due to the nature of the study, the following are the limitations that were experienced:

  1. The inexperience of the researcher.
  2. The unforeseen response of users/occupants.
  3. Insufficient time. The time constraint was a major limitation.

1.9RESEARCH METHODOLOGY

This study will essentially use primary sources of information. Data was obtained from occupant students across various programmes of study within the subject halls of residence using structured questionnaires.

Randomization is achieved by distributing these questionnaires across the various wings and floors in the halls of residence in a systematic way. There are 7 wings in each of the halls with 4 floors and 8 rooms on each floor, except for A and G wings with 5 rooms on each floor. The questionnaires will be distributed to at least 2 students on each floor.

1.10 DEFINITION OF TERMS

Assessment:

This is a judgement of a building based on certain selected criteria.

Building Performance:

This is the manner in which a building functions. It has different aspects some of which are quantitative in nature while others are qualitative. Some of these aspects are; energy management, life-cycle costing, lighting, acoustics, humidity, thermal comfort and spatial relationships.

Gender:

Gender may be defined as the properties that distinguish organisms on the basis of their reproductive roles.

Post-Occupancy Evaluation:

Preiser et al. (1988) defines Post-Occupancy Evaluation as ‘the process of evaluating buildings in a systematic and rigorous manner after they have been built and occupied for some time’. Friedman (Friedman et al, 1978) defines Post Occupancy Evaluation from an anthropometric perspective as “an appraisal of the degree to which a designed setting satisfies and supports explicit and implicitly human needs and values of those for whom a building is designed”

Student Housing:

Khozaei et al. (2010) define student housing as a densely populated building with many rooms in which each room contains several beds. According to this definition, student housing facilities provide sleeping and living quarters, usually without private bathrooms or toilets, for a large number of people. It usually consists of many communal spaces such as baths, laundries and in some cases common rooms. Student housing goes by many names, such as halls of residence, student dormitory and hostels.

User Satisfaction:

User satisfaction is a process of measuring what was received and what was expected. It is the positive experience expressed by occupants when their housing facility meets their expectations for unit features, services and facilities provided.

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