Facility Condition Assessments

While much attention has been given to energy audits — assessing a building’s energy consumption and identifying measures to reduce costs and increase system efficiency — an equally important auditing exercise is the facility condition assessment. These assessments involve inspecting and documenting the physical condition and functional performance of building and infrastructure systems and components. Over time, building envelope components can dilapidate, while associated building equipment and system performance deteriorates because of age. During the life of a facility, there are changes in operations and maintenance staff, space occupancy and usage; adaptations to meet these changes (along with associated code and industry standards); and periodic equipment repairs and replacement. Often, documentation of these events is not properly and accurately recorded.

A facility condition assessment involves performing a physical inventory and knowledge-based assessment of the facility’s envelope, structure and M/E/P/FP systems (HVAC, electrical, plumbing and life safety). This effort will identify the facility’s assets, their age, condition, operational characteristics and anticipated remaining useful life. Identification of this information helps the owner manage deferred maintenance liabilities to mitigate risk.

In addition, the information can be used for planning, including capital budgeting, facility master planning and corrective maintenance (repair versus replacement). Equipment/system information can be entered into a computerized maintenance management system to develop a database of the inventory and a comprehensive preventative maintenance program can be created, tracking the equipment, systems and maintenance going forward.

Results of facility condition assessments also are critical for future energy audits and retro-commissioning activities, evaluating the operational efficiency of systems and seeking to reduce energy consumption, demand and cost. Information from the assessments can help in developing and prioritizing energy conservation measures and facility improvement measures, so an owner is allocating funds where they will have the greatest benefit.

Today, facility managers and their consultants have a number of software tools to assist with facility assessments and associated risk-management activities. These tools offer customized checklists, create inventory databases and provide various algorithms to assist in gathering data and benchmarking the current condition and operation of building systems. The resulting information can then be used in creating scheduled work plans, prioritizing projects and developing future budgets for the owner’s facility management staff.

Hanson has extensive experience with facility condition assessments, including assisting clients with master planning and capital budgeting. For more information, please contact MGarcia@hanson-inc.com or RKnoedler@hanson-inc.com.

Posted on September 12, 2014