ST. LOUIS—When used properly, condition ratings can save building managers and owners time, money, and effort, according to the waterproofing and façade restoration experts at Western Specialty Contractors.
To understand how cost-effective maintenance programs work, consider filling a car with gas. When does a driver get gas? Do they wait until the gas runs out and get stuck on the side of the road? Or when the low fuel light pops on, does the driver panic, drop everything, and head to the nearest gas station? Most people don’t do either. Instead, they get gas sometime between those two points.
A useful tool called “condition ratings” follows the same logic as a car’s low fuel light. And when used properly, this tool can help building owners and property managers make smart decisions almost automatically.
Property managers should assign a condition rating to each building component after completing an inspection. The ratings should be based on a scale created before the inspection, based on what works best at a given property. Condition rating scales can be as simple as good, fair, poor, or critical. Or they can be more involved such as a 1-10 numerical index.
Western Specialty Contractors suggests five ways to put condition ratings to work:
1Track condition changes
A building component’s condition dropping from good to fair is like a low fuel warning light. A change in condition provides building owners or managers with a valuable warning that helps them make the right maintenance decisions in critical situations.
2Know if something needs to be fixed
The low fuel warning light also takes the guesswork out of when to fuel a car. When should a repair be made? How can repairs be timed to save as much money as possible? Using condition ratings can automatically answer both questions.
3Make inspection data objective
Condition ratings that everyone understands help make inspections more accurate and reduce the subjectivity of individuals’ judgments. Providing pictures of each component will help the building staff use condition ratings more effectively.
4Make inspection data easier to digest
Condition ratings help owners and managers see the bigger picture on their property. By indicating the condition rating of each component in the building’s inventory, a view of the property’s condition can be made by a quick review of the document. This helps with strategy and efficiency.
5Make prioritizing and budgeting easier
By combining condition ratings with other risk management and cost evaluation tools, priorities and budgets can be easily set. Ratings not only make the process easier, but they also help managers communicate more effectively with ownership.