Why is a maintenance strategy important in building design?
When looking to design a building, it’s easy for some architects to get carried away with solely the aesthetic of the building – after all, it has to look good and make an impression.
However, in all the excitement of the quirky façade options, the fact that the building must be cleaned and maintained is often forgotten about.
The power of the early design stages
The exterior of a building is the first thing you see, so it’s no surprise businesses want it to be bold and memorable. The truth is that architects play a key role in ensuring the building specification doesn’t just fulfil the visual tick boxes but is also future proofed for many years to come – unfortunately, rarely is enough attention paid to the latter.
All too often shopping centres, multi storeys and office buildings are built with the wow-factor in mind – big, unusually shaped windows and doors, for example – and this is usually accompanied by a hefty price tag. That said, it’s an investment, so a little upfront battering to the bottom-line isn’t too detrimental.
However, as a maintenance specialist, what we encounter is that organisations are regularly faced with unexpected long-terms costs, due to the impracticality of such glazing assets. For example, as a consequence of having to employ expensive access equipment – such as city cranes – building occupiers can be left with the hefty costs for undertaking any rectification works, such as glass replacement.
Transportation of commercial glazing units
As well as the replacement fees, another element architects and business owners need to bear in mind is the building’s location and requirements for carrying out maintenance, cleaning and replacement services.
For large-scale structures, this is extremely important, as they’re frequently located in densely populated areas such as city centres, which can often be pedestrianised – and this process requires careful meticulous planning.
Not only are commercial windows and doors heavy, but they’re also susceptible to breakage or external damage to the glass, so heavy-duty equipment is required to guarantee a safe and seamless installation.
Whether stationed in the middle of a town or city, or residing in the countryside, both locations can prove very difficult for large vehicles – carrying heavy glazing fixtures – to access. In addition, depending on the size and scale of the job at hand, cranes and subsequent road closures can also be required, which also incur substantial costs to a business.
So, what’s the outcome?
For buildings clad with commercial glazing or containing a number of doors, the primary objective should be ease of access, but extra considerations around routine cleaning and planned maintenance should also be taken into account during the early design stages.
This will not only be economically kinder to budgets, but it will offer a more practical, secure and durable solution for businesses looking to get more from their glazing investments.