One of the most common decisions property managers and owners must make is whether they should invest in envelope maintenance or hold off and invest in envelope replacement.
The answer is always the same in our minds: Invest in preventative maintenance to reduce the costs of envelope replacement.
Although it might seem maintenance is an ongoing expense and therefore costs more, as the saying goes, an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure. Because heat/cold, moisture, and air transfer compromise building envelopes – a preventive maintenance plan is a must for older buildings. Without a maintenance and building asset management plan in place, every year, the costs to replace your envelope increase exponentially.
If you have an older building, the solution lies in asset management and planning to tackle repairs before the entire envelope’s integrity is ruined.
Building Asset Management
Proper oversight allows you to make informed decisions based on risk tolerance to protect your building assets. Risks are laid out against the expected expenditures for maintenance steps and the expected return on investment. Your building asset management and maintenance plan are more effective when you use inspection, as it provides ongoing monitoring so you can steer priorities based on the risks. A building asset management policy with a forward-thinking preventative maintenance plan and inspection schedule should include a detailed asset inventory, listing the following attributes of each asset:
- Asset age
- Quality of the materials
- Manufacturer of the asset
- Estimated useful life
This ensures your maintenance schedule is prioritized and the necessary information is available when issues are identified.
The Importance of Envelope Inspection
When you adopt an effective maintenance plan for older buildings, a major factor in success is envelope inspection. Visual inspections assess the following envelope elements:
- Exterior and interior walls to look for signs of penetration
- Door and window penetrations which can contribute to serious façade damage
- Ceiling conditions that also contribute to serious damage
- Foundation condition to determine possible contributing factors to overall envelope damage
An ongoing inspection schedule keeps an eye on building envelope conditions revealing minor issues today that will lead to major issues tomorrow.
By investing in inspections in the short term, you extend your building envelope life in the long term. As a result, you will see long-term savings providing the funds required for a major replacement much further down the line.
Common Cost-Saving Envelope Maintenance
Common repairs for older building maintenance include:
- Sealant replacement
- Tuckpointing of masonry walls
- Sealers on surfaces
- Crack repairs
These steps prevent quick deterioration while also improving the integrity of the envelope to improve energy efficiency. Repairing visible cracks and envelope damage helps maintain building envelope integrity and avoid the major expenditure of a full-scale concrete restoration a few years later.
If you would like more information about proper envelope maintenance, speak to the experts at WellDone Inc. a building restoration company specializing in building improvements for commercial and multi-unit residential buildings throughout the GTA.