W.W. Grainger, Lake Forest, IL, recently published an interesting study on the state of the existing building stock in the United States that called attention to some major revenue opportunities for electrical contractors, electrical distributors and design engineers related to installation of new electrical and lighting systems.
The study, “The State of Aging Buildings: Today’s Building Management Challenges,” says that more than 72% of U.S. buildings were built before 2000, and that “operating and upgrading older buildings is becoming a primarily challenge for property and maintenance managers.”
The need for new lighting and electrical systems figured prominently in the top concerns of building managers who responded to the survey. Of the 48% of respondents who said they were planning overall building improvements, 64% said they would be upgrading lighting systems and 61% were planning electrical upgrades. Other building upgrades mentioned included HVAC (56%); plumbing (48%) and exterior & shell (59%).
Grainger said the survey of approximately 1,000 professionals who purchased building maintenance supplies in the last five years also revealed the following themes:
1. Managers of aging facilities are spending a significant amount of time evaluating older assets to determine the best course of action and when to take it. Scheduling a building upgrade to a significant system, for example, must have as little impact on the core business as possible. This is especially critical for aging healthcare facilities and other buildings that operate 24/7.
2. Finding parts for aging assets is a consistent issue and the primary factor when deciding to repair or replace. Once parts become unavailable and retrofitting a legacy system will no longer be an option, it’s time to plan and budget for a system upgrade.
3. Building managers have to weigh their options for bringing in third-party providers. Can they plan for and do the work in-house, or does it make more sense to bring in experts who can help them assess the condition of their aging assets and plan for and prioritize upgrade projects?
4. Managing costs, planning and budgeting is an ongoing issue among respondents, especially when it comes to inefficient energy use. Making sure older environments are both safe and energy efficient is driving up maintenance costs, particularly when it comes to lighting, electrical, plumbing and HVAC.
Click here to see the survey.