For many owners, when they purchase a building, they obtain a formal building conditions assessment to shed light on what costs to expect immediately and in the next few years. In fact, many lenders require a formal building conditions assessment to evaluate the conditions of the following:
- Site and grounds: pavement, curbs, loading docks, walks, landscaping, irrigation, site drainage, exterior lighting, walls, fencing/railings, signage, and exterior amenities
- Structural systems: foundations and structural framing of walls, columns, intermediate floors, and roofs
- Building envelope: roofing systems, exterior finishes, stairs and steps, exterior doors and windows
- Mechanical systems: electrical, heating ventilation, air conditioning, plumbing, and conveyance systems
- Interior building components: interior finishes of common areas and tenant areas
- Regulatory compliance: life safety and fire suppression systems
Once owning the building, the primary way they learn about changing building conditions is by walking the property, tenant complaints, and from service providers. Walking the property is a proactive habit and is observation-based. While some tenant complaints are fact-based (e.g., broken steps entering the building) and can be easily verified, others are more subjective (e.g., the building space is too hot or too cold). Service providers may or may not be looking after the building owner’s best interest.
Depending upon the building, existing systems vary in levels of sophistication. Many systems have been in place for 20, 30, and even 50 years. Control systems originally designed to add value to buildings can fail and buildings owners don’t even know they have failed. They also may be hesitant to change anything because they do not know whether the change will help or hurt. Data and alerts from existing building equipment may or may not be reliable and often require technical knowledge to understand.
For those building owners who want to make good decisions, they require awareness of building conditions wherever they are on a continuous basis from independent data loggers. A data logger is a compact, battery-powered device equipped with an internal microprocessor, data storage, and one or more sensors or sensor ports. Data loggers can collect all kinds of data and the frequency of data collection can be adjusted from sub-second to as high as hourly.
Until recent years, these data loggers were stand-alone devices, had short battery life, and were costly. Today’s data loggers are low cost, have long battery life, and can be connected to the Internet creating the opportunity for building owners to know what is happening in their buildings.
Key focus areas include:
- Health and Wellness: Is my building healthy? Does my building have power? Are my mechanical systems working properly?
- Thermal Comfort: Is my building comfortable for my tenants?
- Service Check: Is service needed for building mechanical systems? Did the services performed result in improved performance and a good return on investment (ROI)?
- Resource Efficiency: Am I wasting money and/or hurting the planet?
Building Assure has designed and developed my Building Alerts with the small building owner in mind. Our low-cost solution provides all the necessary data to monitor energy consumption and waste, air quality, thermal comfort (temperature and humidity), water leak detection, equipment maintenance, service quality check (was the service conducted, and did it achieve the desired results), and much more. All while providing full transparency to your tenants and service contractors.
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