The facade is the first thing your residents and their guests see when they approach and enter your building. It's the aesthetic face of your community, as well as another layer of protection against the elements. Even though it may be made of limestone, brick, or steel and heavy-duty glass, a building's facade is far from invulnerable. Without good upkeep, your building's skin can suffer from an array of insults, from construction defects to everyday wear-and-tear—and a beat-up exterior may be indicative of more things going wrong inside.
Good Design, Good Maintenance
Part of any building’s maintenance plan should include protecting it against its enemies, repairing any damage and maintaining the building exterior on a regular basis. Neglecting the outside of the building can lead to worsening conditions and ultimately cause a hefty dent in your building’s bottom line. By maintaining the building, you are actually slowing down its deterioration.
Of course, the perfect scenario would be to manage a building whose façade is in tip top condition—but according to Mark Williams, president of Williams Building Diagnostics in Maple Glen, Pennsylvania, some buildings are born with facade problems, so to speak. A building’s façade should be well-designed and properly constructed from the start to avoid costly and potentially dangerous situations—if they're not, no amount of maintenance or repair is likely to fend off big problems for long.
“If you are managing a building that inherently has a design flaw or construction problem, it’s difficult to overcome those with whatever maintenance you may do,” says Williams. “Some buildings just have things that are built into them that are problematic— how they handle water, for example. If the [drainage] concept is inappropriate for the building, you can be dealing with a problem right off the bat.”
For example, another construction consultant working in Jersey City recalls a condo building whose façade was so poorly constructed and maintained that the occupants had to be moved to temporary accommodations while the building was stripped and reclad—or covered—again. The project cost millions, and shockingly, the building was less than five years old—almost brand-new, yet showing damage that a building ten times its age might not even have.