Why Upgrades are Necessary for an Aging Building

Categories Business Tips

Today many facility managers are faced with an aging infrastructure that requires extensive upkeep and service to maintain.

As a building begins to age, especially near the 30 year mark, the infrastructure begins to show signs of significant wear and tear, and may lead to breakdowns and problems with the actual structural integrity of the building.

Proactive care and regular preventative maintenance can go a long way in prolonging the life of a building.

However, what if you are unwilling or unable to invest significant amounts of money in maintenance, repair, and restoration of your building and assets?

To give you a better picture, here is a snapshot of the costly consequences you can expect if you don’t plan ahead and invest in upgrades…

Skyrocketing Maintenance Costs

The expense of maintaining an older building can increase significantly over the years.

For some aging facilities, the costs of continuing maintenance and repairs can take a large portion of a facility’s operating budget and may account for more than the actual energy expenses to run the building.

To put this into perspective, consider that a building less than ten years old may cost $20 per square foot for ongoing maintenance. As the building begins to age, the costs go up considerably.

A building 25 to 50 years old can cost up to $110 per square foot while a building even older can run the expense up to $160. This is a pretty hefty price tag for failing to maintain and upgrade a building’s infrastructure.

Inefficient Energy Systems

With the increased energy consumption needed for extensive computer, office and telecommunications equipment, older facilities are feeling the pinch of massive energy expenses due to outdated systems that are in desperate need of upgrade.

Add in the electrical needs for an aging cooling and ventilation system and you can begin to appreciate the ballooning costs caused by an aging infrastructure.

These older HVAC system pose an extra challenge.

With an outdated system, the reliability of the unit cannot be trusted and counted on to perform its important role in the facility.

Furthermore, the difficulty with finding spare parts for such an old system as well as tracking down filling refrigerants that may now be phased out due to environmental regulations make operating the HVAC system that much more difficult.

Limited Communication Capabilities

Facilities built 50 years ago were not designed to accommodate the growing need for IT and communication infrastructure. The availability of electrical outlets were especially not a high priority during that time.

Nowadays, there is a greater demand for abundant and accessible electrical outlets to support the efficiency and productivity of staff and residents within a facility.

Laptops, mobile devices, and other communication equipment are a mainstay in today’s highly connected society, and need to be supported by modern technological infrastructure.

Most older buildings are unable to support this progressive trend and therefore fail miserably at providing what is so commonly needed in a modern facility.

Despite these consequences, the good news is that buildings don’t break down over night.

This slow wear-and-tear is a gradual process that takes years to manifest, and as a facility manger gives you plenty of time to plan and budget appropriately.

References:
https://www.buildings.com/buzz/buildings-buzz/entryid/134/what-do-facility-managers-need-to-know-

https://www.bv.com/insights/expert-perspectives/risks-aging-infrastructure-and-value-asset-management

Managing Aging Facilities: Strategies to Maximize Building Life

https://controlyourbuilding.com/blog/entry/managing-an-aging-building-how-to-assess-and-plan-for-upgrades

The Challenges of Older Buildings

Four Strategies for Modernizing Aging Buildings

https://www.westernfgis.ca/amm/pdf/risk/articles/MaintainingAgingFacilities_Dec10.pdf

http://www.areadevelopment.com/AssetManagement/Q1-2013/assessing-facility-condition-function-usage-26181866.shtml

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