7 Key Benefits of Holistic Facility Assessments
*Originally posted by The Engineering Design
Facility assessments are vital to optimizing the lifespan of new and existing structures. Additionally, assessments play a key role in protecting the health and safety of the community at large. From small commercial facilities to large public safety organizations, facility assessments are also instrumental in optimizing efficiency and controlling costs for property owners. Below is a look at the reasons why facility assessments are important and the key benefits that assessments offer stakeholders.
What are the primary types of facility assessments?
Most facility assessments fall into one of two categories: existing facility assessments or new facility assessments. Both types are equally important and carry their own unique set of challenges that are best addressed by a trained professional. Below is a look at some of the key features and requirements of each assessment type:
– Existing facility assessments: Aging facilities are evaluated to identify structural deficiencies, safety issues, energy efficiency, and compliance with relevant codes and industry regulations.
– New facility assessments: Proposed facilities are assessed to ensure that buildings are designed and built to optimize safety, accessibility, efficiency, and energy conservation.
Why are facility assessments important?
Without facility assessments, developers and property managers are left to speculate about maintenance costs and their facility’s compliance with regulatory codes. Dangerous structural deficiencies are often not visible to the untrained eye and may go unnoticed without a thorough facility assessment. Below are three reasons why assessments are vital to a facility’s functionality:
1) To ensure compliance with regulatory standards.
While codes and standards may vary from country to country, most architects and developers across the globe must consider compliance codes and standards when designing or renovating facilities. For instance, facilities in the United States must adhere to standards established by the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA). Assessments help ensure that facilities are compliant with such standards and codes.
2) To promote smooth pedestrian traffic flow indoors and outdoors.
Facility assessments pinpoint bottlenecks in pedestrian and vehicular traffic surrounding structures. Additionally, assessments identify inefficient floor plans and offer recommendations for modifying them. For these reasons, assessments are particularly valuable for police and fire stations that must exhibit optimum accessibility and efficiency to save lives.
3) To promote cost savings.
In addition to bolstering efficiency and safety, facility assessments help property owners and managers enjoy lower operating maintenance costs. Assessments are also used to make preliminary decisions about expenditures and project funding.
Who can benefit from facility assessments?
Facility assessments yield valuable information regarding commercial properties. They can also help outline needs for public facility financing. Accordingly, anyone who is affiliated with the planning, construction, renovation, or repair of a structure can benefit from facility assessments. Below are some specific groups of people who can benefit from facility assessments:
– Developers and architects who design new facilities or restore existing facilities
– Financial professionals who must forecast facility maintenance costs
– Contractors who are responsible for executing construction plans
– Property managers and owners seeking to control operating costs
– Potential buyers who are concerned about energy efficiency and compliance issues
– Members of the public at large with an interest in building safety and operational efficiency
What is involved in a facility assessment?
While no two assessments are alike, there are some core elements that are often included in most facility assessments. Assessments typically feature an analysis of the facility’s overall physical condition and functionality. Other specific elements may include the following:
– Analysis of the facility’s energy consumption
– Evaluation of the building’s power infrastructure
– Analysis of a facility’s non-structural properties
– Evaluation of the facility’s floor plan
– A sustainability evaluation
What are the key benefits of a facility assessment?
In the case of an existing facility, an assessment helps identify structural deficiencies and sections of a facility that are in need of repair or replacement. New facility Assessments help identify potential barriers and opportunities for improvement in a proposed facility design. Below are seven specific benefits of a facility assessment:
1) Periodic assessments help estimate deferred maintenance costs.
In spite of recommendations, facility managers and property owners frequently defer maintenance. Estimating deferred maintenance costs can be difficult. Fortunately, assessments provide a cost-effective way of staying abreast of facility conditions.
2) Property owners and managers can prioritize their repairs and updates.
The most effective assessments offer more than a summary of findings. They categorize recommended repairs according to their severity and will frequently suggest critical priority items that should receive immediate attention.
3) Assessments can help prepare your facility for safety or fall protection audits.
Assessments are often instrumental in highlighting the need to increase facility safety. Examples of deficiencies discovered through facility assessments include the following:
– Sidewalks and walking paths that contain deep cracks that can cause trips or falls
– Poor exterior lighting or illumination of emergency exits
– Doors that cause injury because they swing open in the incorrect direction
– A lack of sustainable design trends that can hinder energy efficiency
4) Facility assessments help with forecasting and capital funding.
Assessments highlight the need for building modifications and repairs. In many cases, assessments pinpoint work that is required immediately as well as projects that should be undertaken in the future. This allows financial professionals to forecast short-term and future expenses.
5) Parking structure efficiency can be optimized.
Ongoing evaluation of parking structures is vital to ensuring the safety of pedestrians. Assessments identify the presence of structural damage, moisture intrusion, concrete beam distress, and corroded steel. Finally, parking structures are screened to ensure that they are accessible and safe for pedestrians and all types of vehicles.
6) Assessments help ensure that facilities comply with new building code requirements.
Compliance with building codes is often a key requirement for stakeholder approval, especially in the case of public facilities. Facility assessments can highlight key deficiencies that must be addressed in order to comply with code requirements. Examples include the following:
– Stairways that do not have the proper riser sizing or handrail height
– Entrances that lack the proper accessibility
– Door that lack sufficient width or floor clearance to comply with ADA standards
– Restrooms that lack the proper fixtures
7) Assessments can help organizations improve efficiency and operations.
Facility assessments often identify key deficiencies or performance bottlenecks that can prevent an organization from achieving its goals. By highlighting these deficiencies and recommending a course of action, assessments serve as a catalyst for improved operations.
What is the best way to secure a facility assessment?
Clearly, facility assessments offer a host of advantages to stakeholders. The surest way to obtain an accurate facility assessment is to enlist the support of a trained professional. Choosing a firm with expertise in engineering design will ensure you receive an organized and comprehensive assessment. Additionally, an experienced provider can help you prioritize your list of facility modifications to ensure that you tackle the most critical issues first. In general, you should choose an engineering firm with the following qualities:
– Training in the latest cutting-edge applications
– A minimum of ten years of experience assessing commercial and public facilities
– Ability to synthesize information and recommend a tiered course of action
– Familiarity with region-specific compliance regulations and building codes
– A focus on energy conservation
– Strict attention to completing assessments on time or ahead of schedule
At Hunton Services, we offer complete holistic facility assessments that provide real value to you and your business. Our in-house engineers and energy experts will evaluate each aspect of your built environment and make recommendations based on what needs to be improved or replaced. With our organization’s expansive scope of capabilities, we have the industry experience and resources to facilitate turnkey projects. Contact us today to learn more!