A building condition assessment is a critical step in developing an optimal facilities capital budget. True to its name, a building condition assessment captures all the data about an organization’s facilities portfolio. This trove of information helps the leaders of that organization identify risks and opportunities so they can develop successful long-term facilities capital plans that help them reach their goals.
But shopping for a building condition assessment is a bit like shopping for a car. Some building condition assessments are like sports cars – sleek and fast and a little risky. Others are more like minivans – utilitarian, reliable and slow. Then there’s budget and maintenance. Organizational leaders must consider the financial and human resources they are willing to commit to a building condition assessment.
Here are a few options for gathering condition data that building owners can take for a mental spin before they sign on the dotted line.
Developed by industry experts, these building models offer high-level insights into building conditions – what you might call a 30,000-foot view – without anyone physically walking through a building. This method emphasizes speed and de-emphasizes accuracy.
Statistical modeling provides estimates of potential building or portfolio needs, and while a calculated estimate might be sufficient in some situations, organizations often use building models to direct a more detailed condition assessment to areas where they are needed most.
An in-house assessment is a cost-effective way to baseline building conditions, quickly identify problem areas, prioritize facilities projects and keep your data current. Here’s how it works: Existing staff use survey tools on tablets or other mobile devices to guide them through the assessment process, automatically creating maintenance requirements and costs from the data they enter. The appeal of the self-assessment is lower costs, but many organizations do not have enough in-house staff to conduct a reliable building condition assessment AND complete their day-to-day responsibilities.
Systems Lifecycle Assessment
With this kind of assessment, qualified professionals (engineers and/or practiced assessors) evaluate all the major component systems in a building to determine their age and condition. Using data collected about plumbing, HVAC, various electrical systems and more, organizations get a better sense of the big picture.
A detailed building/facility condition assessment consists of walk-through inspections conducted by qualified professionals. These teams survey buildings, systems and infrastructure assets in detail using tried and true methods to collect detailed and objective information on conditions and deficiencies. This type of assessment catalogs every building component from the foundation to the roof and everywhere in between.
The comprehensive assessment is the most expensive, but it’s also the most actionable, as it identifies opportunities for repairs instead of replacement and helps prioritize upgrades to improve the integrity of facilities. A detailed building assessment will even evaluate general compliance with codes and standards. With all of this data, organizations can route investments to the areas where they will have the biggest impact. This targeted, informed approach positions them for success.
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