Article #299 Digital Transform the Condition Assessment Process for Buildings and Outlets to Improve the Buildings and Outlets Maintenance Management

Public and private sector capital assets project owners usually would have a policy for managing building maintenance to ensure that nothing will hinder the successful operation of their asset. Those assets could include residential, commercial, retail, education, healthcare, hospitality, fuel stations, restaurants, food and beverage outlets, supermarkets, cinemas and other types of buildings or spaces. One of the key requirements for any policy for managing building and outlets maintenance is the requirement to assess the condition of their buildings and other outlets by site inspection at specific predefined periods that depend on the nature of the facility.

Condition assessments are technical inspections by competent assessors to evaluate the physical state of building as well as outlets elements and services and to assess the maintenance needs of the facility. Reliable and objective knowledge of the physical state of their buildings and outlets along with the impacts on service delivery will enable project owners to develop appropriate strategies and actions for maintenance, major replacements, refurbishments and investment.

Condition assessments are also common with hotel operators who are usually requested by the owners of existing hotels who either want to change their current hotel operator or upgrade the hotel say for example from 4-star to 5-star hotel. The hotel operator will use the condition assessment to determine the required maintenance and rectification works for the hotel owner to undertake for the hotel to be acceptable by the new hotel operator or by the local authorities to upgrade the hotel star status.

Using a Project Management Information System (PMIS) like PMWeb, a comprehensive condition assessment process can be implemented. Each building or outlet space will be added as a project in PMWeb with all details of the building including its spatial coordinates. Virtually, there is no limit to the data that can be captured for each building where the condition assessment will be performed. In addition, drawings, certificates, pictures and other documents that are relevant to building can be uploaded and attached to the project.

Buildings or retail outlets that are of similar nature or belong to the same brand or hotel operator can be grouped under a single program, for example residential, commercial, etc. If the project owner is involved with different operators, then programs could be based on those operators, for example, it can be the Hilton brand. Again, PMWeb allows adding unlimited number of programs to capture all buildings (projects or space outlets) that are part of this program.

The condition assessment will be carried using PMWeb out of the box punch list module. Nevertheless, additional user defined fields will be added to capture additional data needed for the condition assessment. Accordingly, in addition to the default item number, attachment, defect description, defect location (PMWeb allows defining a structured location structure to allow dragging a dropping defects location), estimated date to rectify, estimated cost to rectify and days overdue, the additional fields of condition standard, actual condition, building asset, work to rectify, comments on estimate, defect cause code, category and priority fields will be added. Most of those fields will have predefined values to select form. Those lists and values will be created using PMWeb selection lists module.

The main page header of PMWeb punch list includes the fields for the punch list date, who has prepared the condition assessment and to whom it was sent plus additional fields to better describe the condition assessment. The category field will be used to identify that the punch list module is used for Condition Assessment as it can be also used for preliminary and final handover defects list and as a weekly observation log. It should be noted that there is no limit the number of condition assessments that could be done for a building or an outlet. For example, there could be condition assessments that are done by electrical-mechanical technical assessors while others are done by architectural or interior design technical assessors.

To provide an example of the details captured when performing condition assessment for buildings, I have used the Maintenance Management Framework (MMF) for the Department of Housing and Public Works for the Queensland Government, Australia for Building Condition Assessment. As per their guidance, for each reported defect, the assessor should provide a description of the defect, location of the defect, recommended time frame to rectify the defect, estimated cost of the rectification, required condition standard for the functional purpose and specified standard, actual condition (5 = Excellent, 4 = Good, 3 = Fair, 2 = Poor and 1 = Very Poor), building asset/element group in which the defect is located (e.g. IFAB = Internal Fabric, ELEC = Electrical, VENT = Mechanical Ventilation), description of the work to rectify the defect, comments on estimates such as the level of confidence and relevant references, cause code to indicate cause of defect (e.g. A = Design fault, B = Overload, C = Age deterioration, D = Hostile environment), category of the work (for example, WH&S = Workplace Health and Safety, IAPP = Image and Appearance, BC&S = Building Codes and Standards) and priority of work as per condition assessment priority which could be 1 for work that needs to be rectified within a year, 2 for work that needs to be rectified with 1 to 2 years, 3 for works to be rectified within 3 years and 4 for works that can be rectified after three years.

In addition, PMWeb allows taking pictures of each reported defect and attached to the defect item. Since PMWeb is a 100% web-enabled zero foot print application, the punch list module can be accessed anytime, anywhere using any smart device. If the smart device, like for example iPad which is equipped with a camera, PMWeb will give the user to take a photo or video of the defected work and attach to the defect item. Also, smart devices will enable capturing the defect description as a speech and convert into text.

The condition assessment data captured using the punch list by all assessors for a specific building, buildings and outlets can be consolidated in a single condition assessment report. The report will include a scorecard of the conditions assessment result as well as visuals to summarize some of the important information that relates to the condition assessment such as defect cause code, defect category and priority to rectify the reported defect.

The report can be configured to enable drilldown to each reported defect to preview additional details as well as captured pictures. Of course, a report can be designed to display all reported defects and their details along with the pictures for each defect.

For project owners who have portfolio of buildings and outlets, a report can be created to visualize the complete portfolio using a map-centric report. The report will show the spatial location of each building or outlet for which the building locations will be colored in accordance to the program they belong to. The report will also include a visual that will summarize the estimated cost for the defects’ rectification scope of work. Of report could also include other visuals if needed.

About the Authorfounder

Bassam Samman, PMP, PSP, EVP, GPM is a Senior Project Management Consultant with 40-year service record providing project management, project controls services and project management information system to over than 200 projects with a total value in excess of US $100 Billion. Those projects included Commercial, Residential, Education and Healthcare Buildings and Infrastructure, Entertainment, Hospitality and Shopping Malls, Oil and Gas Plants and Refineries, Telecommunication and Information Technology projects. He is thoroughly experienced in complete project management including project management control systems, computerized project control software, claims analysis/prevention, risk analysis/management (contingency planning), design, supervision, training and business development.

Bassam is a frequent speaker in topics relating to Project Management, Strategic Project Management and Project Management Personal Skills. Over the past 40 years he has lectured at more than 350 events and courses at different locations in the Middle East, North Africa, Europe and South America. He has written more than 300 articles on project management and project management information systems that were featured in international and regional magazines and newspapers. He is a co-founder of the Project Management Institute- Arabian Gulf Chapter (PMI-AGC) and has served on its board of directors for more than 6 years. He is a certified Project Management Professional (PMP) from the Project Management Institute (PMI), a certified Planning and Scheduling Professional (PSP) and Earned Value Professional (EVP) from the American Association of Cost Engineers (AACE) and Green Project Management (GPM).

Bassam holds a Masters in Engineering Administration (Construction Management) with Faculty Commendation, George Washington University, Washington, D.C., USA, Bachelor in Civil Engineering – Kuwait University, Kuwait and has attended many executive management programs at Harvard Business School, Boston, USA and London Business School, London, UK.


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