By: Michael Frech
The 2 major components of an exterior restoration project are scope and budget. Clients often look to keep the budget low while also maximizing the contracted scope. Working together, an owner’s representative and a design professional can create a scope that provides the most value for the budget.
Several factors can influence the final project scope: work required by law, unsafe conditions that must be dealt with, proactive/preventative repairs, and accessibility to work areas, etc. Some of these factors, such as law compliance and unsafe conditions, must be addressed in the scope of work, while others such as proactive repairs and accessibility, are subjective. These subjective scope items are influenced by budget constraints.
Communication between the owner’s representative and the design professional will create the framework for the scope. The scope items required by law and/or unsafe conditions might exceed the available budget. In this case, the owner’s representative must seek outside funding to comply with the required repairs. Other times, the intent of the project must be discussed and determined upfront. Is this a historical restoration or a simple restoration? Does ownership want to preventatively address conditions that will likely surface in the next 5 years, or do they wish to wait until they become an issue?
During these deliberations, the design professional should point out that upfront expenses of proactive repairs might be less costly and disruptive when looking at a 5-10 year capital plan. Addressing minor low cost issues today can prevent larger more costly repairs a few years down the road.
Sometimes the comprehensive scope of work far exceeds the project budget. If this case, the design professional should assist in prioritizing and phasing the scope of work over the course of several years or FISP cycles. Considering factors in this decision-making include: reported active leaks, severity of necessary repairs, existing damage, and estimated deterioration timeframes of current deficiencies. These variables, combined with the necessary access/scaffolding, determine the most efficient project scope of work that will provide the most value for the client. For instance, it might be beneficial to complete all work along an entire building elevation so that redundant costs to install scaffolding (often the costliest item) along that elevation are not a factor during the next restoration project. This process of prioritizing and phasing the scope of work not only realizes the most “bang for the buck,” but also provides additional time to locate/raise more funds for future façade maintenance. This type of collaborative planning will set a building on course to be performing low cost maintenance on a routine basis, which creates predictable and achievable maintenance budgets.