While perhaps overlooked and under-appreciated, a long term view through the lens of a PPM is capable of unlocking the prosperity of a portfolio

 

For even the most tech-savvy of consumers, the comprehension of smart buildings and cities rarely extends beyond the contemporary conundrum of which gadget is best-equipped to be their home’s virtual butler. Those in the commercial property sector, however, can ill-afford to merely revel at the ability of Siri, Alexa or Google Assistant to adjust an apartment’s ambient lighting, open smart locks or pipe playlists to elaborate speaker systems.

A greater appreciation of digital-physical environments and planning for them is an issue for the here and now, not a factor which needs to be addressed decades down an ever-increasingly digital road.

Action and adopting a longer-term view today can help to address and, better still, prevent the problems of tomorrow and mitigate the costs of remedying them.

Urbanisation – regardless of any charges for the countryside caused by the coronavirus pandemic – is an irreversible trend, with three quarters of the world’s population expected to be urban dwellers by 2050 and living and working in intelligent buildings, towns and cities.

Throw in climate change – which is at its most extreme in cities – and societal issues such as an aging population, and it is clear there needs to be a switch from short-termism when it comes to considering a building’s likely lifecycle.

Unfortunately, while technology may be the catalyst of this shift, it is yet to deliver investors, landlords and tenants a crystal ball with which to plot a property’s future path and forewarn of fiscal pitfalls.

Fortunately for those with a financial stake to safeguard, however, adopting a proactive and pragmatic approach is not reliant on over-the-horizon, hi-tech innovations.

While perhaps often overlooked or under-appreciated, a Planned Preventative Maintenance (PPM) programme is a key capable of unlocking and securing property prosperity.

When based on reliable and accurate data – mined by specialists in understanding the condition of buildings, identifying shortfalls in maintenance and well-versed in emerging environmental requirements – such a strategic tool is critical to preserving an asset’s performance and value.

Why? Because to use a much-coined phrase and to state the simple, knowledge is power.

Forecasting the fate of the fabric of a building, its mechanical and electrical elements and landlord-managed areas, be it reception rooms or shared corridors, is a sensible step to take in commercial decision-making. The very purpose of a PPM is to spear any surprises through a thorough evaluation of potential operation and required investments, rather than relying on best guesses informed by building age alone.

An insurance policy for both landlords and tenants, they mitigate the risk of significant and unaffordable incidents such as flooding or fire caused by insufficient maintenance and allow investments in replacement costs to be targeted to ensure a maximum return in respect of asset lifecycle.

A PPM delivers financial peace of mind for as little as 0.01 percent of a building’s gross development value and such a safety net looks all the more appealing when considered against the backdrop of technology’s march and efforts to rebalance construction’s environmental impact.

A roof in need of repair or replacement a decade after purchase is no longer the proverbial glass ceiling to preserving or improving a property’s value and appeal. Whether installing intelligent lighting, smart security systems or upgrading a building’s connectivity, “maintenance” is taking on a very modern twist.

Similarly, climate change legislation to curb carbon emissions and companies’ carbon footprints is gathering pace and green credentials are set to rightly evolve from being a desirable quality to an essential characteristic.

The reliance on fossil fuels, gas in particular, as an energy source will dramatically decrease over the lifespan of current building stock and the need to adopt and incorporate alternatives demonstrates the financial danger of improper planning.

Even if a wholesale change in powering a building is deemed impossible, a PPM can factor in the proactive maintenance of installed components – irrespective of the energy source which drives them – so that capital expenditure can be invested in other means of making “old” buildings more environmentally friendly.

All buildings, regardless of their year of construction, need TLC but a PPM significantly reduces the risk of any unforeseen gaps in the care package – both in respect of the physical structure, its owner and those using it.

They can provide landlords with peace of mind through the protection of profit margins, allowing them to plan properly for the future from the perspective of service charges and maintenance budgets; and tenants preparing to sign a full repairing and insuring lease can do so knowing their future financial burden has been forensically analysed.

Although forward-thinkers rather than fortune tellers, the team at HartDixon have the necessary past experience and present expertise to advise clients on the future prosperity of their portfolios. So regardless of your preference for a virtual assistant, don’t rely on an artificial intelligence answer from Alexa when it comes to protecting your investment as proven human help is at hand.