Albert B. Ashforth, Inc., The Ashforth Company’s management services division, manages millions of dollars annually in capital improvement projects throughout its managed building portfolio of over three million square feet of office space.
“We view building improvements as long-term investments to protect and increase the value of an asset, equally important is proper and proactive maintenance which is critical to extending the useful life of mechanical and electrical equipment as well as parking structures and roofs,” said Brian Heelan, SVP and Director of Operations.
Ashforth’s projects range from $50,000 to $15 million and include energy management system upgrades, elevator modernizations, garage/plaza restorations, HVAC replacements, roof replacements, and repositioning and amenities programs.
Heelan noted that completing ongoing improvements and maintenance reduces operating costs, optimizes energy consumption and helps maintain a healthy and productive environment for building occupants. Proper maintenance of equipment can help defer replacement costs over time and also decrease energy consumption costs as well. In fact, research from the Department of Energy indicates that deferred maintenance (the cost of doing nothing) can increase building energy costs significantly as maintainable mechanical and electrical systems account for 75% of building energy consumption. In addition, proactive retrofitting can reduce insurance costs during a property’s lifetime.
Also aiding owners and managers in proactive property management are computer based building management systems (BMS). This system helps property managers and building engineers have anytime, anywhere access to information such as temperature set points, water and air flow and energy consumption while allowing monitoring and measurement across building critical systems. The more energy a building consumes, the greater the risk that energy price increases could affect operational costs. With a BMS in place, operators can review set points against actual needs and conditions and eliminate overheating, overcooling, over lighting and unnecessary run time. Additionally, the BMS can help reduce a buildings electrical peak demand charge by staggering the startup times of major energy consuming equipment. The system helps staff identify priorities pro-actively, rather than reactively, extends equipment useful life, increases energy efficiency, lowers costs and helps reduce a building’s carbon footprint and impact on the environment.
“Property maintenance affects the physical and financial foundation of a building and should be a focus of both day-to-day operations and long-range management priorities. High quality building maintenance produces savings for owners and ultimately tenants,” added Heelan.