Shelter Assessment Matrix (SAM)

SAM is a shelter design assessment tool. It lists the issues we have identified from our field works and, where possible, provides guidance in the form of a tool, a short PDF or a pointer to a report or academic paper. This guidance will be particularly useful if you are new to the shelter, or to a topic, for example, ventilation. It scores a shelter in terms of a series of 9 design criteria, for example, privacy. Each design criteria is broken down into sub-issues for you to judge a shelter by. The separate design criteria scores are not than combined into an overall score for a shelter. This is because the criticality of any criteria will be context-dependent, however, it does allow a series of shelters to be compared issue by issue and for design or tender teams to see where a shelter is particularly strong or weak with respect to these issues. SAM can be used for the following tasks:

1. Education and overview of the issues. Shelter designers, particularly those relatively new to the topic, will hopefully find that by reading the list of "sub-issues" on each sheet they might become aware of things they might not have considered.
2. Shelter designers can score their design (if built-in one location), and hence see where it can be improved.
3. Thinking about where a solution is suitable, and where not. This might be to do with thermal comfort for example or cultural considerations.
4. Compiling a list of shelter requirements or a tender document. In this case, you might want to ignore some of the "sub-issues" or adjust them, or the scoring philosophy, to meet local conditions. For example, the maximum cost of a shelter you are willing to consider.
5. Assessing or comparing a group of shelters (in one location), or tenders.
6. Determining where the shelters in a camp need effort spent on them, or where the issues are, or what can be learnt from a SAM analysis of the pre-existing accommodation in a camp.

Refugee, IDP, Shelter, Thermal Comfort, Ventilation, Healthy Housing, Design Assessment Tool, Simulation, Housing for the displaced

Cite this dataset as:
Kuchai, N., Lo, S., Albadra, D., Coley, D., Natarajan, S., Hart, J., Paszkiewicz, N., Adeyeye, K., Moran, F., Ball, R., Holley, J., Orr, J., de Castro, M., 2020. Shelter Assessment Matrix (SAM). Bath: University of Bath Research Data Archive. Available from:


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SAM- Shelter … ssment Matrix.xlsx
application/vnd.openxmlformats-officedocument.spreadsheetml.sheet (1MB)
Creative Commons: Attribution 4.0

This is the Shelter Assessment Matrix (SAM). The tool can be used to assess the performance of any shelter design in a given context.


Stephen Lo
University of Bath

Dima Albadra
University of Bath

David Coley
University of Bath

Jason Hart
University of Bath

Natalia Paszkiewicz
University of Bath

Kemi Adeyeye
University of Bath

Francis Moran
University of Bath

Richard Ball
University of Bath

Juliana Holley
University of Bath

John Orr
University of Bath


University of Bath
Rights Holder


Technical details and requirements:

For best results, the tool should be opened in MS Excel 2016+ on Windows.

Additional information:

For information on how to use the tool, please consult the README sheet it contains.


Engineering and Physical Sciences Research Council

Healthy Housing for the Displaced

Publication details

Publication date: 19 November 2020
by: University of Bath

Version: 1

Alternative title: Shelter Design Assessment and Evaluation Matrix


URL for this record:

Related papers and books

Hart, J., Albadra, D., Paszkiewicz, N., Adeyeye, K., and Copping, A., 2022. End user engagement in refugee shelter design: Contextualising participatory process. Design Studies, 80, 101107. Available from:

Contact information

Please contact the Research Data Service in the first instance for all matters concerning this item.

Contact person: Noorullah Kuchai


Faculty of Engineering & Design
Architecture & Civil Engineering

Research Centres & Institutes
Centre for Doctoral Training in Decarbonisation of the Built Environment (dCarb)
Centre for Energy and the Design of Environments (EDEn)