Facility assessments: Good for humans, good for buildings
What do you do when you realize something is wrong with your body? It seems that a majority of people tend to put off the obvious thing to do ' go to the doctor. I saw a commercial one evening where a man picked up a post-it note off his car and it read 'your heart attack is coming tonight.' Wouldn't it be a great advantage to know those types of things? Well the same goes for buildings.
We are seeing an accelerated rate of growth in the DFW market with regard to population. This has prompted many school districts to take a look at their current state of building structures alongside demographics. A demographic projection along with a capacity study can give a school district a picture of where they are and where they will be at a certain time. But, that only shows how full the building will be with students.
Much like a visit to the doctor where we could possibly hear the words 'if you stay at this rate, such and such will happen,' we can give a 'prognosis' for a building. Like our bodies and the intricate infrastructure inside that keeps us running day in and day out, buildings work the same. A facility assessment can show how a building is doing at any moment. When performing these assessments, VLK looks at every aspect of the building'inside and out. Our team of assessors take their findings and attributes a cost to each item to produce a plan to help the school district take care of the items over a span of time.
The HVAC system may be reaching its lifespan and an option could be presented on how an upgrade could extend the life of the building. Finishes could be replaced that could make a building better for our health. There are many more things that could be discovered and presented. Even a doctor visit and changes in our own lives can only at best extend the inevitable for us. But a facility assessment and good changes made in how a building is being run could extend the life of a building and deter some cost for new buildings. New buildings will be needed to support the growth, but keeping existing buildings living can only help a school district in the long run.
In the eight years I have been at VLK, I have worked on many of these assessments and gained a new respect for the existing buildings and the built environment. Many of the buildings we design and construct will be here years after we are. We can all do our part to keep that going and make the built environment only better.