Design and Construction, Maintenance and Operations, Training

Cost-Effective Strategies for Renovating Aging Facilities

As office, governmental, and educational facilities age, facilities managers face difficult decisions about what to do with these structures. They often face three options: renovate, rebuild, or demolish the aging structures altogether. Any of those choices comes with a hefty price tag that organizations and companies must consider before making their next move.

While removing or rebuilding on-site may seem like the most feasible option, that often isn’t true. Typically, the best cost-saving option for addressing old buildings is renovating them for adaptive reuse. It could take less money and time to renovate an existing building than it does to design and construct a new facility. Let’s consider how you can use renovation and other cost-saving tips to reuse your aging structure efficiently.

Planning and Preparation

Renovation is an adaptive reuse where construction companies fix, refurnish, or rebuild much of a structure’s interior while leaving the exterior untouched. The first step toward a successful building renovation is establishing clear goals for the project. Assess the facility’s needs and determine the current and future needs of the structure. Consider assessing those needs to identify the most pressing issues to address.

The facility’s age dictates when and where major maintenance and repair construction will begin. Prioritizing the projects involved in a renovation can assist in creating a budget to cover the costs of upgrading a building. For example, older hospitals may require more money to upgrade and improve air quality for patients and personnel to keep them safe, especially if the building’s air quality control is poor. Managers must factor the cost of upgrading older systems into the project’s budget.

The same goes for protecting facilities managers and construction workers during renovation. Air quality is of utmost concern, and managing air quality throughout the project results in additional costs. Budgets must account for all of these elements, including the safety and well-being of the people in and around the renovation.

Facilities managers should prioritize structural projects based on impact and cost, beginning with a cost analysis. Every part of the renovation, including financing, phasing, and initial construction, must be considered in alignment with the long-term operational costs of using and maintaining the structure.

Create a Realistic Budget

Budget planning is essential to renovating and maintaining any facility or building as it promotes a well-maintained, efficient space for its occupants. Once you have identified the facility’s needs and clear goals and objectives for the project, you can create a budget plan.

This plan establishes how to allocate the project’s funds. Budget managers should consider any potential for unexpected expenses and variable and fixed costs when creating their project proposal.

Facilities managers must review and adjust the budget repeatedly throughout the renovation. It’s necessary to ensure you stay within budget and meet your financial goals. Periodic budget reviews should include negotiating better rates with clients and vendors, finding areas to cut costs, and analyzing company spending patterns.

It’s critical to avoid wasting funds under the guise of saving money by creating a budget before following the above steps. The last thing any facilities manager wants to hear is that the planned costs don’t cover all aspects of the renovations. Remember to keep all essential parties informed of the budget and any subsequent changes.

Innovative Project Strategies

Employing innovative project strategies can make a renovation project less expensive without impacting the quality of the results. Here are some strategies to consider:

Design-Build Strategy

The design-build project delivery method calls for the builder and designer to work as a team under a single contract from the start of the renovation. This popular approach emphasizes focus and collaboration throughout the project. It also leads to better budget planning, faster renovation completion times, and an overall better brand. By having a team work under one contract and within the same budget structure, work is streamlined and highly unified with more collaboration and fewer risks and mistakes.

Using Value Engineering

Value engineering is another approach to reducing costs and finishing a project on time. Using technology and data, facilities managers can use value engineering to identify parts of the project where managers can find cost savings without sacrificing the quality of the renovation. This strategy allows contractors to determine which components affect the project’s cost. Value engineering lets managers better evaluate equipment, technological tools, labor rates, and material choices.

Resource Alignment and Leveraging Technology

There are many moving parts to a renovation project, which means even tiny mistakes can impact budgets and prospective project timelines. Aligning project initiatives with your goals can be messy if not done carefully. Resource alignment can prevent miscommunication, misplaced information, and errors that lead to project delays, safety issues, and budget problems. It encourages using digital tools and programs to create and access construction and renovation plans from anywhere.

These programs offer zoom and smooth pan functions to improve project visibility. Construction teams no longer have to carry around blueprints or try to decipher a colleague’s handwriting, which may result in mistakes or lost blueprints.

Many of these digital alignment programs contain markup tools for documents, including highlighters and pencils, and make real-time cloud collaboration much easier. This process makes it easier for all renovation team members to point out areas of the plan they may question or need clarification on at any time, no matter where they are. For example, if a team member has questions about where the light fixtures should go in a restroom renovation, they can simply mark that question using the program.

Another method for using technology in renovating an old building is layering. New digital programs allow a project or facilities manager to provide clarity to the construction team while also controlling the flow of information. Layering lets the manager determine which specific individuals or groups can access project details; managers can set each layer to private or public status.

For example, a manager may provide access to an information layer concerning an electrical plan to the electrician team but not other members of the project who have no role in that step. Layers keep everyone organized, stream information only to parties needing it, and encourage faster responses to concerns and questions.

Renovating Aging Buildings Equals Cost Savings

Adaptive reuse for aging structures benefits the building’s owner and the surrounding community. Renovation of old facilities is typically more cost-effective than building new ones and saves taxpayers money on public projects. Reusing these buildings may attract new businesses, create jobs, and boost tourism, a win-win scenario for all. With careful budgeting, innovative project strategies, and digital tools, facilities managers can renovate their aging structure for less while recreating a space that will make the community better.

Miles Oliver is an independent writer with a background in business and a passion for tech, news, and simply helping people live happy and fulfilled lives. He has lived and traveled all over the United States and continues to expand his awareness and experiences. When he is not writing, he is most likely mountain biking or kicking back with a cup of tea.

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