March 24, 2020 by Greg Swanberg, CEO Insparisk, LLC
Many companies are responding to the outbreak in a relatively coordinated effort across their company and remain focused on their employees’ health and safety. Monitoring your locations and buildings is also important during these interesting times. Understanding and maintaining the ongoing condition of one’s properties and corporate locations will ensure that the buildings are prepared to be utilized and reutilized in the future. For example, as office environments serve less occupants today with more and more employees working from home, this impacts how a building functions from the HVAC systems to the services provided such as, cleaning.
Engaging a professional who can provide a building maintenance or facilities condition assessment can help ensure proper cost savings today and healthier and safer facilities in the future. This includes engaging the help of experts such as public health officials, CDC and building services experts on cleaning to provide best practices and/or guidance as the situation evolves. This may include, increase cleaning (the number and surface wiping), proper outside air inflow for air quality, updating policies and standard operating procedures, to maintaining adequate supplies and materials.
A Facilities health check can include certain items that the landlord or occupant wants checked or evaluated (once or reoccurring). This might be to check that the temperatures and lighting are set for limited hours of operation, which can result in significant cost savings. In addition, some companies may choose to have a more extensive evaluation done such as a building maintenance, a Facilities Condition Assessment or a Property Condition Assessment. Building maintenance inspections assess the existence and condition of equipment and the physical space itself to ascertain the services, materials, and labor to service them. While a property condition is usually used as a report prior to closing a sale or renegotiating a lease. The facilities assessment provides the health of current assets (e.g., structural, roof, mechanical, plumbing, lighting, etc.). In addition, a company can ensure each asset condition is recorded (age and lifespace) to enable reactive and preventative maintenance, code or compliance concerns, capital budgeting and estimates of deferred maintenance. A facilities condition index can be completed and serves as an industry benchmark following an assessment. This rating is determined by dividing the total cost of needed repairs by the total estimated replacement cost of the location (e.g., score of 0.25 indicates a 25% deficiency). This score can be compared to other company locations and properties and as an indication of work orders that need to be completed. Completing them off hours or during lower occupancy is desired rather than impacting the productivity of the occupants.
Once the assessment is completed and a detailed report is created, facility and property managers can determine where to best allocate their capital and maintenance budgets to maximize their return on investment. For example, which work orders need to be completed now and in preparation for normal occupancy.
This assessment is completed by a trained professional conducting a walk-through inspection and/or computer modeling. The results are factually based and can help facilitate decisions to maintain, restore or replace assets to keep a location operational. Foresight can also help prioritize work and ensure lower repair or replacement costs, helping to maximize the useful life of an asset, increase capacity and reduce risk overall.
Insparisk recommended steps based on best practices to completing a successful Facility/Property Condition Assessment:
- Scope: Define the scope of the project where it is within the entire facility or specific asset checks
- Performance: Visual inspection, data collection, historical data review and on-site interviews
- Analysis: Reporting on current condition, capital planning review and property score rating
- Follow-Up: Creating a future schedule for re-assessments to continue property condition monitoring and follow-up on critical items noted