Do you know the condition of your built assets?
If you don’t, you are basically driving blind. Without visibility into the condition of your buildings and installations, it is impossible to assess risks correctly or to prioritize which assets need to be repaired or replaced. Being in the dark about the condition of your physical assets creates issues both from an operational (business continuity) and a financial (optimizing the asset life cycle) perspective.
Condition assessment: what can it do for you?
Conducting a facility condition assessment provides information about all current building deficiencies. This should be done using a standard (such as the Dutch NEN 2767) so that building inspectors can provide property managers with objective data about the condition status of building components. In this way, the results do not depend on the individual inspector and meaningful comparisons can be made.
A standard for condition assessment provides a benchmark of the current performance and allows organizations to plan and prioritize which assets need maintenance, repair or replacement. Building repairs that are done proactively, rather than in an emergency, are more effective and less expensive.
4 steps of condition assessment
During an inspection round, an assessor lists the deficiencies of all types of assets in scope and indicates their extent and severity. It is advisable to apply a standard that provides a uniform decomposition of objects, a uniform classification and list of defects, as well as a standardized scoring mechanism. Mobile apps can facilitate the process.
Based on this information and the type of asset, by applying the standard you will attribute a condition score. The Dutch NEN 2767 standard for example uses a 6-point scale, from 1 ‘as new’ to 6 ‘ready for the scrapyard’, based on 3 criteria: severity of the defect, extent of the defect and intensity of the defect. This score is (on purpose) a mere reflection of the condition of an asset, it does not reflect the importance of the asset and its criticality for your business.
In order to prioritize maintenance operations or replacements, in line with your business strategy, you should overlay your condition scores with a priority matrix. Depending on your organizational goals, a number of dimensions will get a higher or lower priority. Some examples are health and safety, continuity of primary processes, user/visitor experience, and sustainability.
Condition assessment supports managers to forecast maintenance and replacement costs, based on benchmark data and expected asset life cycle. It is a prerequisite for drawing up a multi-year maintenance budget.
Points of attention
Project scope and asset inventory
Clearly define the scope of a condition assessment before starting the field work: which buildings, terrains and technical installations are in scope? You will also need an accurate, up-to-date asset inventory.
Don’t ask an intern to draw up a list of deficiencies. Inspections always need to be carried out by competent assessors, who have technical knowledge with regard to buildings and their technical installations.
Avoid drowning by averages. When condition scores are consolidated on a higher level, the impact of a small element with a bottom score can be limited and the overall system score can still be acceptable. That is not a problem as long as the bad element doesn’t incapacitate the whole system. Otherwise, the inspector needs to point this out as a defect that requires immediate action.
When conducting a condition assessment, inspectors perform a visual inspection, not a functional and technical analysis.
Condition assessment as such does not directly take into account legal and regulatory compliance. It does not look at energy efficiency, nor does it provide improvement suggestions.
Condition assessment is a tool to underpin the long‐term maintenance expectations and budget forecast. It is not meant for preparing the detailed annual maintenance budget and planning of the work. Supplementary information is needed for preparing a detailed maintenance plan.
Too often, condition assessments are treated as snapshots in time that end up gathering dust on a shelf. The information they provide should not just be used to address current operational concerns, but also to improve facility renewal forecasting and make informed decisions about what is needed to sustain ongoing performance relative to organizational goals.
Contact us if you would like to learn more about how the MCS Advisory team can help you with condition assessment and asset maintenance, or if you are interested in software for condition assessment.