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 and 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 residential and 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