“If something could go wrong with this building—and at the worst possible time—it probably will.”
This sentiment is often shared by facility managers and others facing a long list of repairs and upgrades that are all competing for often limited capital funds.
While taking a proactive approach requires some upfront investment, it can save building owners in the long run. When major mechanical and electrical equipment fails unexpectedly the costs add up for not only the repair or replacement of the equipment, but also lost productivity and/or delays.
A facility condition assessment (FCA) can be the facility manager’s best friend. This in-depth audit and report on the current conditions of building structures, systems and equipment along with recommendations for repair and replacement priorities can be used to mitigate unexpected expenses.
Nuts and bolts of a FCA
The in-depth audit requires an engineer or architect to review documentation such as building plans, maintenance records and lists of equipment with known deficiencies to become familiar with current facility and system conditions. He or she also interviews on-site maintenance staff and a sampling of occupants to understand their concerns, issues and desires. The consultant walks through the facility or facilities and captures notes on the severity of needed repairs or replacements of mechanical and electrical equipment, health and safety systems, and structural elements like walls and windows. The consultant then prepares estimates of replacement and repair costs along with recommendations for priority based on the most substantial needs and likely equipment failures or safety hazards. The report outlines risks and advantages to prioritizing certain improvements and investments.
Pay for peace of mind
Engineers and architects charge between $0.05 – $0.20 per square foot of space being evaluated for the assessment and report. This fee can sometimes be applied in whole or part toward project work when you hire the same firm to manage construction and engineering of the improvements and replacements identified within the report since some of the pre-work necessary for the firm to develop a project scope will have been completed as part of the FCA.