When you are responsible for the management and maintenance of one or several buildings, it’s a good idea to have arrangements in place for assessing the condition of such property and the assets within it.
Undertaking sensible building condition assessments can be greatly helpful, not least so that you can develop appropriate management plans and use your maintenance budget wisely. The data that you gain from a thorough building condition assessment will aid you in making informed and cost-effective decisions, to support the physical longevity of your building, not to mention the direction your business should take moving forward.
Up to date building condition data is essential not just for regular maintenance budgets and schedules, but in providing you and your peers with the business intelligence required if you are considering extending the lease or, with the shoe on the other foot, renting out or even selling the building.
What is a building condition assessment?
As the name suggests, a building condition assessment is a process by which the physical condition of a building and its fixtures and fittings are checked and analysed.
There are various aspects of a building that a building condition assessment is likely to take into account, including but not limited to its age, design, and assets.
Why do you need a building condition assessment?
Having an appropriate building condition assessment carried out can be a crucial part of the process of overseeing and managing the various assets and systems based within that building.
A building condition assessment can help you to determine what deterioration may be taking place in the building, and what the root causes of that deterioration are, so that you can take the best-targeted actions in response. You might also use it as a means of estimating the replacement value of the building.
You could, of course, attempt to keep an eye on and manage your buildings without resorting to a formal building condition assessment. However, in the absence of the accurate and up-to-date data that such an assessment can provide, you will be reduced to making important property management and maintenance decisions on the basis of little more than past experience and a ‘hunch’ as to what needs to be done to keep your building in optimal condition.
The fact is, not all maintenance issues in a building – whether with regard to the structure itself or the equipment contained within it – can be picked up at an early stage when dependent on informal arrangements alone.
Undertaking a building condition assessment can therefore greatly assist you in the longer-term monitoring of your property’s health and performance. It will provide the evidence needed in order to determine the costs of maintaining, restoring or replacing assets that will require attention over time. The associated data and reports will also be invaluable for prioritising expenditure, so that the most urgent maintenance or repair issues can be addressed first.
Completing a building condition assessment can therefore enable you to benefit from an accurate and objective overview of the physical health of your premises and associated equipment. This, in turn, will allow you to make the decisions that are crucial to keeping your building’s operations running smoothly, efficiently and reliably, while minimising the risk of unforeseen problems.
What does your building condition assessment need to include?
A sound building condition assessment is typically based on five key stages. These are:
- The preliminary preparation stage, including getting the team together to undertake the assessment, and arranging for access to the site
- The collection of data, including reviewing documents, field visits, interviews, testing and monitoring
- Data analysis, with the relevant quantities and costs being estimated on the basis of the data gathered during the assessment
- Preparation of the report, including peer review of the data to make sure it is accurate and complies with relevant standards
- Presentation of the report, if this is required by those that need to receive and act on the report’s findings
The following building condition assessment checklist will help you to carry out a building condition assessment that covers all the essential bases for responsible management of your property portfolio:
- Put together a comprehensive list of all the given building’s systems and assets
- Keep a record of each asset’s location in your property management software
- Make a note of the quantity of each asset contained within the building
- Record the age of each current piece of equipment in the property
- Note each piece of equipment’s expected useful life
- List any assets that are approaching or have already passed the end of their expected operational lifespan
- Keep a record of any issues related to the condition or operation of assets
- Record any compliance-related issues that require attention
- Prioritise any identified issues on the basis of their severity
- Estimate the costs of fixing or upgrading equipment
- Recommend projects to initiate in order to resolve issues and upgrade equipment
Once you have completed the building condition assessment, you should resist the temptation to simply ‘file it away’, given that this risks you not even referring to it again until you do another such assessment a few years down the line. Instead, put arrangements in place to address any issues within a set time period after completion of the assessment.
You are also likely to need to adjust and refine how you undertake building condition assessments over time, to reflect the changing circumstances, technologies, and condition of your building(s) and assets.
How can Vision Pro software help with managing a building portfolio?
If you are a property owner or an estate manager with an interest in taking the hassle and strain out of the management of the premises for which you are responsible, specialised property maintenance and building condition software can play an invaluable role.
For the clearest overview of your property’s condition, you are unlikely to find a more suitable software platform than our own Vision Pro solution.
Whether you are managing a single site or an extensive property portfolio, our building condition software makes it easy to check the current state of your buildings, a traffic light system being used to show what aspects of a particular property require the most urgent attention.
The software provides a comprehensive audit template for you or your staff to follow ensuring that all compliance issues are noted and adopted and, where necessary, remedial work undertaken. Alternatively, the development team can work with you to create your own, bespoke template/s.
Use of the Mobile App allows you and your staff or contractors to upload live data into the software from site level.
NFC Vision-tag technology allows for individual and collective management of the premises assets which can be embedded into the audit template, making the management of the premises so much easier and consistent; all in one place; accessible to those who need it. Documents, schedules, certificates, images, drawings and video footage (the use of a drone is often helpful for those hard to reach locations, ie. roofs) can all be uploaded to the software, again ensuring everything you need is kept in one place. Email alerts for impending remedial works or expiry dates can be set up and issued to relevant staff ensuring that compliance is always met.
For a more in-depth conversation about Vision Pro and the role it can play in your own monitoring and management of your property portfolio, as well as to book your demo of the software, you are welcome to enquire to our team of specialists today.