Ways to reduce building maintenance and operation costs

Building maintenance and operation costs need to be factored into your organisational budget. Although costs can be substantial and are expected to rise over the coming years, by taking a proactive approach to building maintenance you can stop them from spiraling out of control.

A well-maintained building will also help to reduce operating costs. A poorly maintained building will cost more to run. If maintenance is neglected, with repairs only being carried out on a reactive basis then operational costs are likely to increase, and any maintenance budget you’ve set will quickly be exceeded.

What are the most expensive aspects of building maintenance?

It’s crucial to maintain the physical condition of your building, with the roof usually being the most vulnerable part of any structure of significant size. It’s subject to year-round weather conditions, with extreme weather events becoming more commonplace as a result of climate change.

As a result, it’s important to ensure that your roof is robust enough to withstand whatever the weather throws at it.  A roof that leaks can quickly lead to serious damage to your building’s contents, as well as creating other structural issues within the building. A commercial building roof may also require regular access from a variety of tradespeople attending to another aspect of the building which in itself can lead to difficulties.

 Another element of the building which can be liable to spiraling maintenance costs if not properly looked after is the HVAC system. If this breaks down it might mean that you have to close your building until it’s repaired, resulting in lost revenue and working days. Significant repairs to HVAC systems can be costly, and in some cases cannot always be fixed quickly.

As well as the downtime associated with complete breakdowns, the operational costs of your HVAC system can grow considerably if it’s poorly maintained. It’s also likely to be less effective, meaning that the level of comfort it can provide is vastly reduced.

Regular maintenance can help to reduce the risk of downtime and gradually growing operating costs, but over time there may be a need for a more thoroughgoing approach.

How can retro-commissioning help?

Retro-commissioning is an intensive and systematic process through which the overall efficiency of an existing building’s systems and equipment can be improved. It addresses any problem that occurred during the design and construction processes of the building and tackles any problems that might have occurred as a result of the building’s use changing over time. If the building’s layout, occupancy rates or overall usage has changed from the time of the original commissioning, then it’s likely any HVAC system won’t be as efficient as it could be.

An inefficient HVAC system is also more likely to break down as well as being more costly to keep running. As equipment ages, it can become less efficient and more liable to breakdown, something which retro-commissioning looks to proactively address.  Retro-commissioning will also look at water and energy usage, as well as lighting systems.

Older systems may not be as energy efficient as their newer counterparts, and retro-commissioning looks to address efficiency issues. It will involve an extensive review of any opportunities that there are to improve the overall energy use of the system.

The retro-commissioning process will usually include a number of follow up steps, all with the principal goals of improving a building’s operation and maintenance costs.

It’s a much more thoroughgoing process than regular maintenance and can deliver more significant results in terms of performance and reduced costs over time.  

Retro-commissioning services from ECS Yorkshire

ECS Yorkshire is one of the UK’s leading providers of retro-commissioning services. Our experienced engineers can ensure that your existing installations are operating as effectively and efficiently as possible while meeting any changes to the design intent.

Contact us to find out more about how our retro-commissioning services can save reduce your building’s maintenance and operational costs.