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Adding Building Envelope Inspections To A Maintenance Program
July 22, 2019

According to information provided by Western Specialty Contractors, the nation’s largest specialty contractor in masonry and concrete restoration, waterproofing and specialty roofing, building inspections are often thought of as a waste of time or are unnecessary or both. This perspective may have developed because inspections are usually used to find small problems, and the old admonition, if it ain’t broke, don’t fix it, seems to be applied more often than not as building owners and facility managers don’t want to take the time to search for problems that are not readily apparent. However, this is exactly why building inspections are so powerful.

“Inspections prevent significant problems from ever happening. They give building owners and facility managers a clear picture of their current and future maintenance needs, instead of them just hoping that they don’t have any expensive repairs this year,” said Teddy Williams, Western Specialty Contractors Content Marketing Manager. “The building manager is in control of which projects they do and when they do them, instead of just waiting for a system failure that puts them in a corner with no options.”

Because building inspections prevent significant problems from ever happening, building managers need to be proactive when it comes to inspections. A good maintenance program is based on preventing unnecessary costs for owners and avoidable disruptions for tenants.

“Reacting to major problems rarely works, but strategic preventative maintenance does. For building managers, a solid building inspection plan is one of the first things you’ll want to make sure you have in place. If you’re starting a brand-new maintenance program from scratch, I’d actually recommend that you put building inspections in place even before you make your budget or annual work plan,” said Williams.

What Constitutes a Building Inspection?
A building inspection is an inventory of major building components and a record of pertinent information about their current condition. An annual log should be kept of each component’s state to facilitate comparison to its condition at the time of the previous inspection.

  • What Function Does a Building Inspection Serve*
    The job of the building inspection is to look at the condition of each component, determine if any are in bad condition, and identify what needs to be repaired or replaced. Doing so enables building owners and facility managers to efficiently use the budgetary process to lower repair costs next year, thus paving the way for a cost-effective maintenance program.

“If you put together your budget and annual work plan, but an emergency repair pops up, to some extent you’ve wasted your effort. On the other hand, if you get a clear picture of what your maintenance needs are, you can come up with your priorities before anything else is in place. Your later work with budgeting and planning can be translated into lower maintenance costs this year and in the future,” said Williams.

The most effective inspections include the traditional “inventory” of building components. A building component inventory should determine the condition of a component and not any changes from the previous inspection. It should also include the component’s age and its typical useful life. This information will enable efficient advance planning for component replacement and greatly facilitate the creation of a far more accurate budget.

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