About half of the nearly six million commercial buildings in the United States are at least forty years old. This means that almost three million buildings that are presently in service were constructed before most environmental and accessibility standards were even in place. As these buildings continue to age and as commercial programmatic demands change, adaptive reuse considerations grow increasingly important and the repurposing of existing buildings becomes more attractive.
WJCA uses a layer based and phase-guided analytic to help its clients assess these potentials for their current and future projects. This analytic examines physical feasibility, governance landscape and code restrictions, and cost forecasting.
PHYSICAL FEASIBILITY takes the physical properties and limitations of the existing building and site into account to assess the usefulness of the existing building’s assets like site capacities, structure, roof integrity, and utilities/ systems infrastructures.
Feasibility assessments also take other physical properties into account like building size, configuration, fenestration, and circulation. Existing building assemblies are also examined for integrity and potential upgrade requirements.
The GOVERNANCE LANDSCAPE and CODE RESTRICTIONS have the potential to significantly impact the repurposing of a building or site, especially if there is a Change of Use under consideration and/or if the existing facility has not been adequately maintained and updated to conform to current Codes and governing standards for life safety, energy consumption, material assemblies, and indoor air quality guidelines.
A small amount of targeted and efficiently gathered research can surface concerns and potential pitfalls before significant time and capital is invested in a repurposing project that may not be feasible. In addition, this research can also help a developer or property owner understand the scope involved with the proposed adaptation more completely.
COST FORECASTING that includes realistic and accurate budget estimates is essential for the successful assessment of ultimate project feasibility. An incomplete or inaccurate and uninformed economic analysis will almost assuredly predict a failed project outcome.
Accurate cost forecasting includes realistic scope-based cost estimating. However, cost forecasting accuracy is also highly dependent upon evaluation analyses of an existing property’s assets AND of its liabilities. The review and approval context and the time costs associated with securing approvals must also be considered when preparing a comprehensive cost forecast.