The 5 Life Stages of Commercial and Residential Buildings

Buildings age much like humans, with the same life stages you can almost set your watch to. Although every building is unique, there are similarities in the expected lifecycle. Here we look at the five stages of commercial and residential building aging to help you become more predictive with maintenance and restoration budgeting.

Stage 1: Pre-Natal (under 1 year)

At the pre-natal stage, everything is new, meaning most elements are covered under their respective warranties. Maintenance costs are much lower at the first stage as they are primarily related to cleaning and upkeep as opposed to repairs. Inspections are not as critical but do provide insights that help you take a more proactive approach. If you conduct minor repairs, you contribute to a longer life expectancy of building elements and components.

Stage 2: Childhood (1-16 years)

During a building’s “childhood” you can focus more on maintenance, conducting repairs as needed. You can also envision a long-range plan with more insights gained from your early-day expenditures. Your preventative maintenance program helps you become more effective at reserving funds for future projects based on your findings. Also, you will contend with more, albeit smaller renewal and restoration projects during this stage. Some common replacements might include:

  • Water heaters
  • Circulating pumps
  • Parking garage gate motors
  • Exterior repainting
  • Exterior sealant renewals
  • Balcony membrane resurfacing
  • Hallway carpeting replacement
  • Sump pump overhauls

Stage 3: Adolescence (17-29 years)

Stage three introduces new costs that impact your current maintenance budget. The money spent in the past 16 years or so is not enough to cover the higher cost of maintenance and repair projects you’ll face in the coming years.

There will be more building asset deterioration calling for replacements of components likely to reach their limits during this stage. You will need more money for capital renewal projects, which careful planning at Stage 2 hopefully included. It is very common to require new calculations and reassess building conditions to better understand where to allocate funds to meet the current needs and renewals for the next 15 years.

Projects typically include:

  • Re-roofing
  • Elevator modernization
  • Heating boilers
  • Plumbing distribution systems
  • Exterior sealant replacement
  • Window replacement
  • Replacement of failed sealed glazing units
  • Overhaul of sump pumps

Stage 4: Adulthood (30 to 49 years)

Now you are into the most expensive asset replacements requiring significant funds. Once again, maintenance and capital expenditure reserves will need to be reassessed based on findings from commercial and residential building asset inspections.

When considering forward-looking replacements, many of the assets you replaced in the past might be approaching the end of life, which impacts operating costs. It becomes far more complicated in the adult years as you are managing funds to deal with assets of varied ages, meaning you’ve lost your benchmarks for predicting costs. Stage 4 replacements usually include:

Stage 5: Old Age (50 plus years)

Old age is when all your major assets have likely completed a full life cycle. As a result, you are facing major replacements and renewals. At this stage, you revisit the same predictive approaches to budgeting that you did at Stage 2. You need to plan and budget for all the same replacements and expect to re-enter Stages 3 and 4 as restorations and replacements begin to age.

Maintenance plans help control levels of damage at each stage so you can defer major replacements for years. Depreciation reports and capital plans ensure you put aside sufficient funds to meet the costs of replacements throughout each stage.

If you would like more information about restoration services, 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.