September 16, 2020

5 Steps to a Value-Driven Building Condition Assessment

Building Condition Assessment (BCA) includes a complete and multi-disciplinary inspection of an organization’s buildings. For facility managers, it is always the best practice to have a factual picture of where the building’s assets are in their useful operating life. A Building Condition Assessment not only gives us the ability to review the assets and equipment of the building but also to be better prepared to develop appropriate asset management plans and capital budgets.

This assessment is often expressed in a Facility Condition Index (FCI), which is an industry-standard metric that provides a benchmark of a building’s condition.

FCI is calculated as:

For a Facility Manager, knowing the appropriate process is the first step towards a value-driven building assessment.

Here are the 5 steps to conducting a successful Building Condition Assessment:

1.  Site inspection by a multi-disciplined engineering team

The first step of a Facility Condition Assessment is to do a preliminary preparation for the inspection. This includes the mobilization of the consulting team of engineers and arranging site access for them. The consulting team should include architects, a mechanical engineer, an electrical engineer, a structural engineer, and a cost estimator. In some inspection, there is also a need for civil engineers, security consultants, heritage consultants, environmental experts, and others, depending on nature and existing condition of the building.

While selecting an FCA team, make sure it has the most knowledgeable and experienced people required to undertake a detailed and comprehensive building inspection. The consulting team should be very clear about the full scope of the project, and the roles and responsibilities should be assigned as per the project-specific briefing. The team should be given the flexibility to bring in creative and innovative ideas to address the unique aspects of the individual project.

2. Collection of assessment data

While the consulting team inspects a facility, all the assessment data needs to be collected, reviewed, and stored at a place – drawings, digital pictures, documentation, contact information for all project stakeholders, etc. The consulting team also performs on-site walkthroughs and interviews with the building staff to gauge the conditions and challenges of working in the building. These interviews generally aim to answer some of the below questions:

  • Major projects performed in the last 5 years
  • Ongoing projects, their scopes, and estimated costs
  • In-plan projects and their scopes
  • Any recurring or high-maintenance issues regarding any of the systems
  • Any active leaks or infiltrations from the building envelope
  • Any particular concerns

This interview data, too, need to be listed somewhere in order to keep a tab of all the conversations that happened with the interviewees. Some consulting teams also use specific apps to take notes of all these findings so that all the information is collected properly.

All these findings during the building inspection play a very critical role in creating the assessment reports, and hence should not be missed in any case.

3. Building the assessment report 

The consulting team provides you with a detailed report of the assessment. This generally includes:

Executive Summary: The executive summary covers the below information:

  • 5 Year requirements
  • 30 Year budgets
  • 30 Year budgets based on Uniformat level 2

Introduction: The introduction covers the below information:

  • Terms of Reference
  • Project Team and Documentation
  • Limitations
  • Assumptions
  • Asset Details

Assessment Summary: An assessment summary consists of the below information:

  • Overview of Structural Condition
  • Overview of Architectural Condition
  • Overview of Heritage Character
  • Overview of Seismic
  • Overview of Site Condition
  • Overview of Vertical and Horizontal Transportation Condition
  • Overview of Mechanical Systems Condition
  • Overview of Electrical Systems Condition
  • Overview of Fire Building Information
  • Regulatory Testing Compliance
  • Code Compliance Summary
  • Overview of Environmental Issues
  • Compliance with Accessibility Standards
  • Overview of Project Grouping

5-year Expenditure Summary: The 5-year expenditure summary consists of the below details:

  • 5-year Expenditure Chart
  • 5-year Expenditure Graph
  • 5-year Detailed Expenditure Table

30-year Expenditure Summary: Similarly, the 30-year expenditure summary consists of the below details:

  • 30-year Expenditure Chart
  • 30-year Expenditure Graph
  • 30-year Detailed Expenditure Table

Detailed System/Requirement Analysis: The report also gives a detailed analysis of the different systems in the building:

  • System description
  • Service life
  • Actual age
  • Current Replacement Value
  • Requirement statement
  • Requirement justification and strategy
  • Implication of requirement deferral

Renewal needs and Facility Condition Index (FCI): This section of the report gives the renewal cost of the building, as well as the Facility Condition Index, that tells the condition of the building.

4. Analysis of the report

The assessment report needs to be thoroughly analyzed and taken into consideration for building future plans regarding the replacement/renewal of the building.

This is generally done by the facility managers and the other facility executives who are actively involved in the FCA process. Post this, the report is also reviewed by the peers to examine all the data and check for loopholes if any.

5. Presentation of the report to decision-makers

In the final stage of the Building Condition Assessment (BCA) process, the assessment report is presented to the management and the decision-makers. The ultimate purpose of a Building Condition Assessment is to make data-driven decisions about the facility and ensure that the budgeting needs are in line with the projections being made. The management and decision-makers of the facility need to ensure that accurate inference is drawn from the report, and a decision is taken accordingly.

Ultimately, Building Condition Assessments can only be accomplished with the right planning and course of action. To know how to perform a full-fledged BCA backed by scientific data, check out our step-by-step definitive E-book on Building Condition Assessment.