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4  FM quick reads on Renovations

1. Make Sure To Get As-Builts After Renovations


Today's tip is about renovations to existing buildings and the importance of update-to-date as-builts. In today's economic environment, many facility managers are choosing to renovate existing buildings rather than build new.

One of the most important steps to a renovation project happens after the renovation is complete. Make sure to get up-to-date as-builts so that you, or your successors, aren't surprised if the building is renovated again some time in the future. If a building is renovated frequently over the course of its life, it may be completely different in a lot of ways than originally built. Up-to-date as-builts expedite the design and construction processes because they help limit the number of surprises.

As-builts show details of the facility that are essential for doing future renovations or improvements efficiently. Knowing exactly where and how every conduit and outlet is connected and what lies behind each wall can mean that there are no surprises, like accidentally shutting off power to an area that was slated to remain in service during a renovation.

If a contractor or designer uses Building Information Modeling, or BIM, it may be a good option to deliver the as-builts electronically. That way, especially if there is an electronic BIM file of the entire building, as-builts can be a matter of tweaking the BIM file, as opposed to redrawing the part of the building that was renovated.

It's easy to let this step of the renovation slide if you didn't plan for it initially. So as part of the bid process when hiring a contractor or designer, include a stipulation that as-builts be delivered after work is completed.


2.  Lessons Learned from Educational Building Renovations

Today's tip comes to us with an assist from Craig Hardee, senior project manager at Butler University. Hardee gives seven tips for making renovation projects on college or university buildings a success.

Many factors, including short timelines, input from a wide variety of sources, and shifting budgets make renovation projects at colleges or universities particularly challenging. But these lessons learned can help facility managers navigate the tricky renovation waters.

First, says Hardee, understand that renovation projects are a team sport, and therefore not only do you have your job to do, but you have to be willing to trust that others can do their jobs as well. Trust in your teammates is key.

Secondly, communication is critical. Make sure everyone understands what's happening, and who needs to be where when decisions are being made.

Third, collect emergency contact information for all the decision-makers on the project. This logistical step can really save some headaches when decisions are required in a matter of hours on these short timeline projects.

Fourth, hold regular update meetings to keep all stakeholders apprised of progress. It's easy for this one to slide as the project steams forward, but it's critical to maintain these meetings to keep everyone in the loop.

Fifth, always have one person who is responsible for the project from design to delivery. This ensures that one person "owns" the project. Stakeholders also will feel more comfortable raising questions because they'll know exactly who's in charge.

Sixth, make sure to understand how technology in an academic setting is changing, and how design and construction methods must shift as well to support that new technology.

And finally, be flexible. Keep it light, and keep it fun. There will be days, hours and even weeks of frustration, says Hardee, but keep in mind that everyone is on the same team and everyone does make mistakes. But nothing is ever the end of the world, except the end of the world.

3.  Accessibility and Restroom Renovations

I'm Dan Hounsell, editor of Maintenance Solutions magazine. Today's topic is, accessibility and restroom renovations.

Restrooms offer maintenance and engineering managers major opportunities to produce numerous benefits for institutional and commercial facilities, including compliance with the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA).

To meet ADA requirements during restroom renovations, managers must consider such factors as: occupant count and fixture requirements; space requirements; and structural requirements.

Most ADA-compliance renovations result in the loss of a stall or a urinal as a result of changes to meet the 5-foot diameter requirement for stalls. If the number of existing fixtures is appropriate for the code governing the area's population, the loss of a stall might require additional construction costs.

Similarly, space requirements for an ADA-compliant stall might require realigning the remaining stalls and stools. One possible cost-saving option is to make the ADA-compliant stall the size of two existing stalls, exceeding the size needed for a compliant stall but eliminating the need to move plumbing fixtures.

Structural requirements also come into play with grab bars required in the ADA stall. Often, walls must be reinforced to accommodate the potential weight-bearing capacities of these bars.

Omitting reinforcement of existing walls when installing grab bars can be problematic. In one example, the grab bar in a handicap stall in one facility was detached and hanging from the wall. On further inspection, inspectors discovered the grab bar had been installed into the wall using only mollies, which obviously could not support weight applied to the grab bar.

The problem not only cost more money to rectify at that point. It also created a hazard and an inconvenience for the public. The failure to consider this and the previously mentioned factors too often results in higher construction costs and potential post-renovation costs.

4.  Plumbing Systems and Sustainability

I'm Dan Hounsell, editor of Maintenance Solutions magazine. Today's topic is plumbing systems and sustainability.

Before taking on renovations or large-scale retrofits to improve water-use efficiency, maintenance and engineering managers should identify an approach for the project that will help them achieve the organization's sustainability goals. Properly specified, restroom faucets can help managers and their organizations achieve these goals.

Managers typically specify restroom faucets for three broad applications.

The first category is hand washing in public restrooms. Most codes require the fixtures use 0.5 gallons per minute (gpm). The Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED) rating system requires these fixtures for public toilets.

The second category is for private fixtures occupants use for moderate hand washing and light bathing — face washing, shaving, or teeth brushing. Codes usually refer to these facilities as private lavatories. Common applications in this category are dormitories, gyms, locker rooms and workout areas. These fixtures also are appropriate for clinical areas, where workers must wash their hands regularly. For such applications, managers should not specify faucets that use more than 1.8 gpm.

The third category involves private fixtures occupants use for heavier hand washing, such as medical, culinary, and maintenance. These applications require more water. As a result, managers can specify 1.8-2.2 gpm fixtures. Most codes limit these fixtures to less than 2.2 gpm.

Finally, in some applications, users might have to actively clean and scrub their hands for a predetermined amount of time. In most cases, the water does not have to remain flowing during scrubbing. In situations such as this, managers can specify sensor-, foot-, or knee-operated fixtures.


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Renovations , As Builts

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