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ACTIONS AND STRATEGIES FOR AVOIDING OBSOLESCENCE

Avoiding obsolescence or minimizing its costs can be accomplished through actions in planning and programming; design; construction; operations, maintenance, and renewal; and retrofiting or reuse of a facility (throughout the facility life cycle). These actions generally have the purpose (or, perhaps, inadvertent effect) of (1) minimizing the impacts of obsolescence by anticipating change or (2) accommodating changes that cause obsolescence before the costs of obsolescence become substantial. These costs, in turn, may occur at various times during a facility's life cycle and must be viewed within this total life-cycle context. The committee drew on a variety of noteworthy cases, as well as on the members' broad experience, to illustrate the range of such actions and potentially useful strategies for avoiding obsolescence or minimizing its costs, as described in the following pages (see box).

ACTIONS IN PLANNING AND PROGRAMMING

It is impossible to foresee accurately all changes that will occur over the decades-long service life of a facility. Nevertheless, thoughtful planning and programming of a facility can do much to avoid early obsolescence, both for new construction or substantial reconstruction, by striving to assure that a facility's design is robust: capable of accommodating change without substantial loss of performance capability. Continuing to be alert to possible change is an essential prerequisite of effective management of individual facilities and facilities portfolios.



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The Fourth Dimension in Building: Strategies for Minimizing Obsolescence 3 ACTIONS AND STRATEGIES FOR AVOIDING OBSOLESCENCE Avoiding obsolescence or minimizing its costs can be accomplished through actions in planning and programming; design; construction; operations, maintenance, and renewal; and retrofiting or reuse of a facility (throughout the facility life cycle). These actions generally have the purpose (or, perhaps, inadvertent effect) of (1) minimizing the impacts of obsolescence by anticipating change or (2) accommodating changes that cause obsolescence before the costs of obsolescence become substantial. These costs, in turn, may occur at various times during a facility's life cycle and must be viewed within this total life-cycle context. The committee drew on a variety of noteworthy cases, as well as on the members' broad experience, to illustrate the range of such actions and potentially useful strategies for avoiding obsolescence or minimizing its costs, as described in the following pages (see box). ACTIONS IN PLANNING AND PROGRAMMING It is impossible to foresee accurately all changes that will occur over the decades-long service life of a facility. Nevertheless, thoughtful planning and programming of a facility can do much to avoid early obsolescence, both for new construction or substantial reconstruction, by striving to assure that a facility's design is robust: capable of accommodating change without substantial loss of performance capability. Continuing to be alert to possible change is an essential prerequisite of effective management of individual facilities and facilities portfolios.

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The Fourth Dimension in Building: Strategies for Minimizing Obsolescence STRATEGIES FOR AVOIDING THE COSTS OF OBSOLESCENCE The committee identified a wide variety of specific and detailed actions that can be taken at all stages of a facility's development and use to avoid obsolescence and its costs. Many of these actions fall within a few broad strategy-categories that can be pursued, particularly in design, to achieve these ends. Actions in Planning and Programming Scanning for trends that may foster obsolescence Programming for the possibilities of future functional change Preparing for design through predesign analysis Actions in Design Assuring currency of design guidance Targeting obsolescence—susceptible building Types Using integrated building system Making flexibility a design goal Adopting details that enhance flexibility Unconstrained interior space Accessible service areas Modularity Shell space Using prototypes to test performance Sizing components to serve demand growth Actions in Construction Separating procurement of sensitive components Commissioning Actions in Operations and Maintenance Using postoccupancy evaluation in facility management Adapting for reuse Managing the facilities portfolio Making do Action also may be taken in reuse and retrofit, which give a new service life to a facility and thus are similar to new design, but whose costs may sometimes meet or exceed those of new construction. Historic or other design value or very difficult construction conditions often justify the high costs.

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The Fourth Dimension in Building: Strategies for Minimizing Obsolescence Scanning for Trends That May Foster Obsolescence Many of the technological and sociopolitical changes that may lead to building obsolescence evolve over periods of several years. New medical technology, for example, typically is "on the drawing boards" some 10 to 15 years before its widespread adoption in hospitals. Similarly, current behavioral research that is now yielding a better understanding of how people find their way to exits in building fires will become the basis for future building code requirements. Also, new environmental and health regulations emerge from a legislative process that generally takes 3 to 5 years, and scientific and engineering publications, and even major newspapers, often report on developing trends that may have an impact on facilities performance requirements. For example, one participant at a BRB workshop suggested that the newest discoveries in analytical chemistry, in particular, may be a powerful predictor of the environmental or health concerns that will emerge within 3 to 5 years, for these discoveries advance our ability to detect new health problems and the environmental substances that may cause them (refer to Appendix C). Facility owners and designers can "scan" or "screen" published literature and other current information sources (e.g., computerized information systems and professional meetings) in order to spot emerging issues; indeed, the owners of large inventories of facilities (such as government agencies) have a substantial incentive to make this effort. Generally speaking, an essential element of professional responsibility for architects, engineers, and other building professionals is to keep abreast of new developments in their fields. Professionals who fail to do so can become obsolete themselves. However, the rate of change and growth of information in the building-related professions is such that individuals must work together in this effort. For example, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) staff currently is active, in professional forums and through informal professional networks, in alerting designers to emerging environmental problems and the likely governmental responses to them. Plans for establishing a more formal clearinghouse operation reportedly have been made. Such professional and trade groups as the American Institute of Architects (AIA) and the Electric Power Research Institute (EPRI) are active as well. The AIA has an environment committee formed to develop a resource guide, that focuses on the environmental implications of various building materials for architects. The EPRI is working with the EPA to alert energy engineers to utilities management issues having impact on the global environment. These organizations and others could take an effective leadership role in identifying newly emerging concerns that lead to facility obsolescence. Alternatively, private business might be able to provide this scanning function as a commercial service.

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The Fourth Dimension in Building: Strategies for Minimizing Obsolescence Programming for the Possibilities of Future Functional Change Recognizing that change is inevitable, the people who prepare a facility's functional program should view the specifics of use dictated by the building owner and its initial users as simply the first of many uses for which the building should be planned—what some designers term the ''opening configuration.''10 The facility owner and user can draw on their corporate memory of past organizational evolution to reflect on functional changes that may occur in the future. Programming and design professionals working with the owner then can prepare alternative program scenarios that reflect possibilities for the future. The most probable scenario is used as the primary basis for design, but the design can be tested for its ability to accommodate other scenarios, and modifications in the design might be made accordingly in to enhance the facility's ability to accommodate alternate scenarios. Scenario analysis should include consideration of when a change of user may occur, the degree to which the facility fits well with the short-and long-term needs of the assumed new users (i.e., subsequent to the user for whom the opening configuration is defined), and the consequences of poor "fit." Subsequent analysis of life-cycle costs of design alternatives is based on these scenario characteristics. Corporate strategic planning is a key source of information about new users and about other possible future changes a facility may be called on to accommodate. The U.S. Postal Service, for example, working to develop a better strategic understanding of the relationships among its administrative organization, functional requirements (e.g., mail handling and distribution, as well as sales), and building stock, has been developing concepts of what the postal "store of the future" should be. Competition (from such services as Federal Express) as well as changes in mechanical equipment are factors considered in this strategic planning, which could lead to changes in market characteristics, product mix, and consequent facility obsolescence. For designers and for owners of a substantial building inventory, postoccupancy evaluation (POE) is a valuable aid in programming. The POE yields an assessment of how well a facility's performance matches the design optima and users' needs. That assessment, typically made at the peak of performance (i.e., after the building's shakedown period), provides information useful in both management of the current facility and design of new ones in the future. Accumulated experience on (to adopt the term from statistics) "goodness of fit" enables the designer to assure better fit of new or renovated facilities to 10   Committee members attribute the term's origin to Ezra Ehrenkrantz, an architect and former member of the BRB.

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The Fourth Dimension in Building: Strategies for Minimizing Obsolescence present and future users. The U.S Postal Service, for example, has adopted a POE system, used internally by the staff, that has established an effective feedback of information from operating experience into subsequent planning and design activities. The POE system collects information on customers as well as employees, and it includes criteria on function, aesthetics and image, cost, and technical performance (giving rise to the "FACT" acronym of the system's name). The Naval Facilities Engineering Command (NAVFAC) distributes a concise POE evaluation form—the Design Feedback Form—to personnel occupying new facilities constructed under NAVFAC's control. The form asks various constituents (e.g., user, sponsor, maintainer, and visitor) to rate a long list of the facility's characteristics, including size, layout, and lighting; HVAC; elevators; communication and electrical systems; and others. Information gathered through the survey, which also includes more general questions regarding suitability to mission, best and worst features, and potential money-saving modifications, is used in subsequent operations as well as in future design. Preparing for Design Through Predesign Analysis Scanning and programming are preludes to facility design, and the consideration of future change should proceed smoothly from these prelude activities into design. Architect Richard Rodgers,11 for example, has made accommodation of change a basic element of his design philosophy (Caplan, 1988): I believe that many architects misjudge the private needs of buildings. The rate of change in society—and you can pick the computer or whatever you want as a symbol—makes long term prediction impossible and inflexible building unreasonable. A set of offices today may be an art gallery tomorrow. A perfume factory may switch to making electronics. What we can do—and this is the key to much of my work—is to design buildings that allow for change, so they can extend their useful lives.... Rodgers does this by separating the services from a building's usable space, making the services very accessible, and organizing the building so it does not 11   A designer noted for his uses of technology in a variety of laboratory and office structures, including the new Lloyd's headquarters in London.

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The Fourth Dimension in Building: Strategies for Minimizing Obsolescence have to close when the services are being renewed. (Rodgers' designs have yielded other economic benefits as well. Placing the services on the exterior of a building increases the proportion of usable space inside: to about 85 percent in his 1991 Lloyd's building in London as compared with 48 percent in the 1958 building his new design replaced.) One increasingly practical way to put such a philosophy into practice is by predesign analysis of major design options. Computer-aided design (CAD) software is reducing the costs and time required for developing conceptual design alternatives and for working out a variety of design details before the actual detailed design begins. The multiple-building owner with a substantial volume of repetitive building nevertheless will still derive a greater benefit from the investment in predesign effort compared to the owner of a single unique building. The Veterans Administration (VA), for example, has found its integrated hospital building system (VAHBS; see Appendix E) to be an effective tool for managing facility obsolescence and attributes the system's success, in part, to a substantial investment in predesign analysis of the VA's recurring needs and problems. According to VA estimates, from experience with more than 10 new VA hospitals built with the integrated building system and another 10 built in the private sector, VAHBS benefits are measured in remodeling costs that are only 70 percent of those for conventional designs. (In addition, faster construction and better performance have been achieved as well, purportedly with little or no increase in bid cost.) The Army has a somewhat similar system, developed under the acronym IBS (integrated building systems; also described in Appendix E). These integrated systems have provided space that is very flexible and easy to maintain—valuable attributes for such facilities as hospitals and research laboratories. ACTIONS IN DESIGN The design stage of facility development is crucial in avoiding obsolescence in that it determines not only the spatial relationships of activities the facility serves but also the interactions among functional subsystems (e.g., electrical, telecommunications, and HVAC), each of which may be influenced by obsolescence in any of the others. And just as these subsystems are related, so too is design to avoid obsolescence tied closely to activities in construction and later stages of development, as well as to planning and programming already described.

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The Fourth Dimension in Building: Strategies for Minimizing Obsolescence Assuring Currency of Design Guidance Current design guidelines and building codes are prerequisite's of effective design to avoid obsolescence. But rapidly changing technology, compared to the relatively slow rate at which the professional community and responsible authorities are able to adopt new standards and regulations, makes it difficult or impossible for facility designs to be both up to date and in conformance with codes and guide specifications. Many federal agency design manuals and guide specifications, for example, are reviewed and updated on a 5-year cycle. Other design guidance may be updated on different cycles. The National Electrical Code, for example, is updated every 3 years, but most ASHRAE and ANSI12 codes and standards are updated when participants determine that such change is needed rather than on any regular periodic basis. Computer technology is helping to support more frequent updating. Work by the Army Corps of Engineers, for example—focused on maintaining up to date technical manuals, regulations, and specifications—has evolved into an online system that significantly cuts down on time needed for review. In an activity initiated by the NAVFAC, several federal agencies have joined to support development of the Construction Criteria Base (CCB), a compendium of agency design criteria stored on compact disk13 and updated quarterly. Legislation (Public Law 100–678) mandates that agencies use national model codes and standards wherever possible, and it has been suggested that federal agencies simply adopt local building codes or commercial standards for all aspects of facilities for which such codes or standards are available, rather than develop comprehensive design guidance for each agency. Several agencies have, in fact, taken this approach. However, there is still the problem of assuring that local codes remain current—a particular challenge in the case of some smaller jurisdictions. (A BRB study of these matters has been documented. See Building Research Board, 1989, reference.) 12   American National Standards Institute (ANSI) and American Society of Heating, Refrigeration, and Air Conditioning Engineers (ASHRAE). These are two leading codes and standards organizations, operating through volunteer participation of professionals and manufacturers. 13   The acronym CD-ROM is often used, which signifies "compact disk—read-only memory." The CCB is maintained and distributed by a unit of the National Institute of Building Sciences (NIBS).

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The Fourth Dimension in Building: Strategies for Minimizing Obsolescence Targeting Obsolescence—Susceptible Building Types Any facility can become obsolete, but those types of facilities that serve more rapidly changing activities (such as hospitals, laboratories, and schools) are particularly susceptible to the problems of obsolescence. Mission-oriented agencies and other owners of large inventories of such highly susceptible facilities can benefit from the effort to develop broader insights into design configurations that are better suited to avoiding or delaying obsolescence. The VAHBS is an example of taking such a generic approach to a particular facility type. Research laboratories in both corporate and educational settings face problems similar to those of hospitals, for new procedures and technology can motivate researchers to change equipment and increase their use of sophisticated electronic instrumentation, which, in turn, places new loads on electrical and ventilation systems. (By some estimates, as much as 60 percent of laboratory building volume may be devoted to mechanical systems.) Although no single agency or other owner has motivated development of a research-lab equivalent to the VAHBS, designers and owners are finding that certain facility characteristics are consistently better suited to managing obsolescence. A most notable case is the Salk Institute in La Jolla, California, designed by Louis Kahn and built between 1964 and 1966. The building has been cited as "a wonderfully flexible building."14 Its interstitial floors and separate office units have made the process of renovation, undertaken at 3-year intervals, relatively easy. However, some critics suggest its construction was excessively costly. Lessons learned have appeared in newer buildings. One typical case—the Noble Research Center in Stillwater, Oklahoma—has laboratories designed as rows of modular units that can be combined to provide research areas of various sizes (London, 1991). Another example—the AT&T Solid State Technology Center in Breinigsville, Pennsylvania—has laboratories developed as 10,000-square-foot spines coming off of a central hall. The long spaces, which can be used as single units or subdivided, are split lengthwise by a service corridor that has a service tunnel under its floor. Supplies are delivered and waste is removed through these passageways (Slatin, 1991a,b). The spread of open-plan office building designs and modular furniture represents a similar search for increased ability to avoid or delay obsolescence. Design approaches for other facility types might be found if a means can be developed for comparing performance and costs of design alternatives from 14   The comment, by chemists familiar with the facility, made at a 1991 workshop sponsored by the NRC Board on Chemical Sciences and Technology.

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The Fourth Dimension in Building: Strategies for Minimizing Obsolescence many facilities. For example, the Army's Construction Engineering Research Laboratory (CERL) has devised a database that could be such a means; the data base summarizes building repair costs by task, by component, and by system for Army projects. In so doing, the database can provide insights on the costs of obsolescence associated with certain building features. With additional input on the reasons for change, over—time and across a wide spectrum of structures—this information could help pinpoint key change agents and the areas where effective management approaches could be developed. The General Services Administration (GSA) real property inventory classifications could serve as a framework for characterizing facilities types (Federal Register, 1989a,b). Using Integrated Building Systems Another possible lesson suggested by the VAHBS and the Army's IBS is that integrated building systems may offer benefits as a general strategy for avoiding obsolescence. There have been several notable attempts over the past 30 years to develop systems that are more adaptable than the traditional steel or concrete frame construction. One of the earliest was Stanford University's School Construction Systems Development (SCSD) project (see box). A parallel (but unrelated and less successful) effort was the University of California's University Residential Building System (URBS). More recently, the U.S. Postal Service developed the Kit-of-Parts as a "building system process" to be used for a variety of postal facilities. Six basic modules, having 8,400 to 35,000 net square feet of space, can be assembled to respond to a diverse range of functional needs. The it is computer based and comprises drawings, specifications, schedules, and other documentation necessary to take a designer from design to site-specific issues. The individual module types reflect the Postal Service's studies of the mail-handling functions, resulting, for example in definition of a 20-foot-square bay size for the optimum workroom. Actual construction uses conventional building components and accommodates various facade materials to harmonize with the local environment. Like the VAHBS, the Kit-of-Parts is a recipient of a Federal Design Achievement Award. The most successful examples of highly standardized integrated building systems are those for which there is sustained demand for construction of multiple installations. Arguments against such building systems include the time it can take to develop the system and its development cost. During the several years that the URBS was being researched and developed, anticipated future demand for new student housing declined. In the end, only three projects were built, making the development costs seem (with hindsight) very expensive. One participant commented, "The major implication is that the rate of change in our

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The Fourth Dimension in Building: Strategies for Minimizing Obsolescence SCHOOL SYSTEMS FOR FLEXIBILITY The School Construction Systems Development (SCSD) project—initiated in 1962 with funds from the Ford Foundation's Educational Facilities Laboratories—was intended to reduce construction costs; improve the ability to accommodate change; enhance lighting, acoustics, and air conditioning standards; and demonstrate the viability of involving manufacturers in building research based on a common set of modular specifications. The project involved school boards, architects, educators, and industry representative in extensive programming, development of some 200 pages of performance specifications, and subsequent construction (Spring, 1964). The project produce designs for components of the structure, integrated ceilings, an air conditioning system, and three wall/partition alternatives that were estimated to cost some 18 percent less than the same elements in a conventionally built school. In addition, project architect Ezra Ehrenkrantz asserted that each of the new components would provide "better performance than the conventional construction it replaces." The folding truss and roof plate system could span up to 70 feet, with trusses 5 feet on center and a corrugated steel deck substituted for a top chord. This design reduced the steel needed from 6 to 4 pounds per square foot. In addition, 10-foot-wide modules had hinged pivot joints so that they could be shipped flat, lifted into place, unfolded, and braced with diagonal tension bars. Modular lighting and air conditioning were designed to provide effective service in a variety of settings the structure enabled. To maximize flexibility, interior partitions were required to fit anywhere on a 4-inch-square planning grid. The fixed/demountable wall system consisted of gypsum panels sandwiched between prefinished steel sheets. Each panel was clipped onto steel studs, and working surfaces—chalkboards and tackboards—could be included as integral elements of the design. Folding panel walls were constructed in their own column and truss frame so that no additional reinforcing was needed for their use. Accordion walls also were self-supporting, a standard product modified to improve its acoustical qualities. An initial mock-up building was erected on Standford's Palo Alto campus. Based on that initial experience, 22 schools were constructed by 1967 using the SCSD system. institutions today, socially, politically and economically, is so swift that a large scale systems program which is dependent on long-term commitment and advance decision making is not viable" (Arnold, 1972). Making Flexibility a Design Goal Experience with various facility types demonstrates that flexibility or adaptability to change, no matter how it is achieved, is a valuable characteristic that helps delay or avoid obsolescence. Making flexibility—an ability to readily

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The Fourth Dimension in Building: Strategies for Minimizing Obsolescence accommodate changed uses, more intense uses, and new service systems—an explicit design goal can assure that the resulting facility is better suited to accommodate future programmatic changes or operational modifications. The Department of Energy, for example, has revised guidelines addressing design details that can enhance flexibility, and NAVFAC is developing similar guidelines. The latter's Flexibility Mandate highlights the use of such features as raised floors, cellular systems, and power poles that can help provide needed flexibility. The CERL is working to develop flexible facilities design guidance that will allow easy modification or renovation of government structures without sacrificing the quality of the interior space. Richard Rodgers's design philosophy and its demonstration in the Lloyd's building, already noted here for its flexibility in accommodating change, incorporated six attached towers for elevators, stairs, and other services, including toilet pods. Underwriting is handled in four galleries around a soaring atrium, and up to eight more galleries can be added as needs expand. (Indeed, as the building was being designed, business grew five times faster than Lloyd's highest projection, so four galleries were built rather than the initially planned two.) Similarly rapid growth of the Hong Kong Bank reportedly made flexibility a primary design goal in Norman Foster's 1986 design for that organization's new high-rise facility in Hong Kong (Cathcart, 1991). Rodgers's design for the P.A. Consulting Group labs, built in 1975 near Princeton, New Jersey, also involved a low, glass-sheathed steel frame with exterior services and interior spaces unencumbered and easily modified. The owner considered the building's openness a productive asset because it encouraged interaction among the scientists of different disciplines working in labs. None of the interior walls are fixed, so the layout can be changed periodically. Open spaces, private conference rooms, and mechanical shops can be moved by shifting the panels that fit into grooves in the structure's beams. One of the more dramatic illustrations of this flexibility occurred when, unforeseen at the time of the building's design, biotechnology labs were added. Today, this kind of facility represents 25 percent of the building's space, and the building has been extended twice without interrupting operations (Caplan, 1988). Adopting Details That Enhance Flexibility The details of each facility's design will be established within the context of the facility's life-cycle economics. Nevertheless, as learned from experience in cases such as those cited already, certain design details clearly have demonstrated their value as tools for avoiding obsolescence by enhancing flexibility or adaptability. Past experience also suggests that new materials and products are likely to reduce the relative costs of these details in the future,

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The Fourth Dimension in Building: Strategies for Minimizing Obsolescence making their use increasingly advantageous. These design details fall into several broad strategic categories. Unconstrained Interior Space. Constraints on interior space expansion may be imposed by structural or service (e.g., mechanical, electrical, and/or telecommunications) subsystems or by site characteristics. Provision of large, column-free areas gives maximum flexibility in moving partitions, and 24-to 30-foot column spacings continue to provide such areas without excessive increases in structural costs. Indeed, specialized users' needs, combined with increasingly economical higher-strength materials, often make use of longer clear spans (e.g., 40 feet) practical. Providing areas with increased floor load capacities also enhance responsiveness to changes in functional relationships within the user's organization. Assuring that exterior walls of those areas that may need expansion remain free of site obstructions similarly eases future change. Accessible Service Areas. Segregation of services from user-occupied space reduces constraint on the user space but, more importantly, facilitates modification and updating of services. Raised access flooring and interstitial ceiling space are becoming routine design features of even small buildings. Floor-to-floor distances of 15 to 16 feet are typical to accommodate this space.15 Clustering services into uncrowded service and mechanical bays or "canyons," particularly on the building periphery or along concentrated spines, facilitates access and minimizes conflict with interior space partitioning. Access to switches and other control devices for telecommunications, HVAC, electrical, and lighting subsystems is pivotal to the ability to change these subsystems as new technology is introduced. In general, organized plans for utility locations are needed to make accessible service areas fully effective. Modularity. Separation of major user areas into zones served by independent mechanical (e.g., chillers and blowers) and electrical (e.g., transformers and control panels) components facilitates equipment updating and modification. It also permits greater control in heating or cooling and lighting of the building. Modularity of plumbing elements can produce similar benefits in laboratories or other facilities where plumbing is a major investment and subject to rapid change. Changeable, movable, and demountable enclosure and partitioning systems, finding application in a broadening range of building types, enhance this modularity. New developments in power supplies (e.g., fuel cells), telecommunications (e.g., localized cellular systems), and HVAC control technology (e.g., personalized and wireless digital controls) may make modularity easier to achieve in the future, and professional organizations, such 15   The distance between working floors in buildings designed with interstitial space is approximately 19 feet.

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The Fourth Dimension in Building: Strategies for Minimizing Obsolescence as the American Institute of Plant Engineers, the Association of Physical Plant Administrators, the Building Owners and Managers Association, the Intelligent Buildings Institute, and the International Facilities Management Association, could help by framing integrated facilities standards that will encourage building systems compatibility and component interchangeability. Shell Space. Allowing for expansion by constructing "extra" structure, foundation, and unfinished enclosed space increases initial cost but offers substantial reductions in life-cycle costs of obsolescence. Few design elements highlight so clearly the design tradeoffs to be made between present and future costs. However, this approach conflicts with traditional facilities budgeting and procurement, which focus on first cost alone, preventing the effective consideration of these tradeoffs by dividing management responsibility. Using Prototypes to Test Performance Sometimes it is difficult to foresee how people will respond to particular configurations of space and furnishings in a facility, under actual working conditions, and how their response will, in turn, influence facility subsystems performance. Equipment manufacturers and owners and designers of large facilities (or portfolios of similar facilities) can benefit by developing full-scale mock-ups of rooms to test user and subsystem response. Such prototypes allow testing of alternative work patterns and subsystem characteristics that reflect possible future demands on the finished facility. This testing also provides a basis for projecting the implications of new technology that could influence facility obsolescence. In the design of the 500,000-square-foot CIGNA Corporation headquarters building in the 1980s, for example, the design team used a 5,000-square-foot office mock-up to test lighting, office furniture, and a variety of design details for both user response and construction difficulty (Lemer, 1991). Such prototypes may help to extend the service life of the facility with respect to its first use. Sizing Components to Serve Demand Growth The principle reflected in the development of shell space can be applied to other facility components that are very difficult or expensive to change at a later date (i.e., structural floor load capacity, and capacity of main trunk air ducts). This can be done by sizing these components to accommodate the range of activities considered plausible in the future, although the components may then seem to be oversized for the first building use. The committee's experience suggests that HVAC systems designed with an allowance for growth of 30 percent over current unit levels may be adequate, except perhaps in laboratories

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The Fourth Dimension in Building: Strategies for Minimizing Obsolescence and hospitals with significant research and advanced diagnostic activities, where very large ventilation systems are required. Adaptable components such as branch ducts or fans can be designed to be removed and changed at minimum expense as the building use changes. Recent growth trends in uses of telecommunications, data processing, and other electrical equipment suggest that substantial allowance for demand growth is prudent. However, increasing efficiencies and emerging control technologies make it difficult to estimate with confidence what future growth rates will be. In addition, properly sized and arranged grounding systems—frequently overlooked components of telecommunication, data processing, and other electrical equipment systems—are needed to support safe expansion. ACTIONS IN CONSTRUCTION The construction stage of facility development has relatively less impact on obsolescence than do other stages but is important nevertheless. Failure to achieve the quality in construction that is envisioned in design can lead to a more rapid decline in facility performance and earlier onset of obsolescence. Effective construction quality assurance will enhance the likelihood that obsolescence is avoided or delayed.16 Similarly, substitution, during construction, of materials or equipment specified in design should be done with care, in order to avoid inadvertent changes in performance that will foster earlier obsolescence. Separating Procurement of Sensitive Components In some cases the time period between development of design specifications and procurement during construction is similar in length to that between successive generations of products embodying new technology. Electronic control components, medical equipment, and data transmission and networking devices are examples in which new generations of products are appearing at intervals now approaching 1 to 2 years. In such cases delaying specification and procurement until immediately prior to installation can help to assure that the facility is not judged to be obsolete when construction is complete. Government agencies can accomplish this by designating such components as ''government- 16   Construction quality has been the subject of many other studies. See, for example, Inspection and Other Strategies for Assuring Quality in Government Construction (Ledbetter and Lemer, 1991).

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The Fourth Dimension in Building: Strategies for Minimizing Obsolescence furnished equipment'' (GFE) and procuring it separately from the primary construction contracting.17 Commissioning Commissioning is a more-or-less formal activity, commenced at completion of construction and often including initial user occupancy, that is intended to check functional subsystems, to determine that the facility is functioning properly, and to undertake any necessary remedial action. The activity typically spans a period of 6 to 12 months. Although commissioning is primarily a quality assurance activity, it can serve in a manner similar to POE, that is, to facilitate adaptation to user change and to feed information useful for dealing with obsolescence into subsequent design and facility operations. Owners and designers must be conscious of the need to make provisions for equipment and fittings to support adequate commissioning, such as pressure and voltage check points, access plates, and other details that may be used primarily to assure proper initial functioning of installed systems. ACTIONS IN OPERATIONS AND MAINTENANCE Management action to avoid or delay obsolescence becomes practically important in the facilities operations and maintenance stages of the life cycle. In these stages the owner and user can act to identify external changes that may signal the onset of obsolescence, while at the same time operating and maintaining the facility to achieve performance according to design intent. Good maintenance practices, in particular, have an effect similar to that of quality assurance in construction: enhancing the likelihood that performance will indeed conform to design intent. Responsibility for good practices—and for recognizing many of the factors that may lead to obsolescence—rests primarily with the facility manager and maintenance staff. Training of maintenance staff, preparation and updating of maintenance manuals, and use of appropriate materials in maintenance activities thus contribute to avoiding the costs of obsolescence. 17   However, as one reviewer has noted, using such methods without adequate forethought can result in procurement of equipment for which inadequate provisions have been made (e.g., too little space or insufficient electrical supply), exactly the opposite of intentions.

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The Fourth Dimension in Building: Strategies for Minimizing Obsolescence In addition, new computer-assisted facility management systems that support condition monitoring, document management, and maintenance scheduling can be linked in networks with other building automation and security systems. These systems provide a wealth of useful information that can help the facility manager detect problems that could presage obsolescence.18 Using Postoccupancy Evaluation in Facility Management Postoccupancy evaluations (POE) can help in both delaying obsolescence and extending an existing building's service life, when this after-the-fact assessment is used to make adaptations in the facility or its operations. Georgetown University, for example, uses a "Facility Survey" to track the expected life of building systems as well as the schedule and estimated costs of anticipated replacement. In another case, the H.E. Butt Grocery Company in San Antonio has established a POE process involving interviews, questionnaires, analysis of work records, and visits to employee work spaces to support reprogramming of the company's headquarters facility at intervals of about 5 years (Stubbs, 1989). The CERL is working to develop the concept of a Building Performance Interaction Model that would define, for office facilities, the optimal relationships among thermal comfort, lighting, acoustics, air quality, and spatial configuration. Such a model, used as a basis for POE, would facilitate comprehensive development of office environment "report-cards," which could be used to educate users and managers about how to achieve performance approaching the optimum from their facilities. These report-card evaluations could serve as early warnings of changes that may lead to obsolescence. The goal is to devise a self-reporting survey instrument that users would complete, and that would partially or entirely avoid the need for experts in preparing these report cards. Adapting for Reuse When the "fit" between facility and user deteriorates, changing the facility's use often is a reasonable strategy for dealing with this type of obsolescence. This "adaptive reuse" of obsolete structures has become increasingly popular in the United States, particularly where facilities have some historic value. Taking 18   This information might be used to develop an indicator—a multidimensional "obsolescence index"—that could alert building owners and managers to approaching problems. Developing such an index might be a useful target for research.

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The Fourth Dimension in Building: Strategies for Minimizing Obsolescence a structure whose service life has been exhausted and giving it a new function is one of the most dramatic responses to obsolescence. Although few cases approach the scope of architect Renzo Piano's proposed reuse of the 1925 Lingotto Fiat factory (a projected-mixed-use facility combining commercial, industrial, and educational institutions), earlier occupancy and savings on reuse of sound and current components of the structure are among the factors that make this strategy appealing. Conversion of an old grocery store into an outpatient medical center in Phoenix, for example, involved alterations to facades, and interiors, and to mechanical, lighting, and electrical components, as well as the addition of a sprinkler system, yet it was estimated to have saved more than $200,000 and was occupied 6 months sooner than a new structure could have been (Commercial Renovation, 1988). A study of Michigan factories concluded that the these facilities could be redirected and renewed for as little as one-tenth the cost of new construction, and such major corporations as Burroughs and General Electric have garnered praise for successful adaptive reuse of their obsolete buildings (King and Johnson, 1983). Obviously, adaptive reuse, to be viable, requires that an appropriate new use for the facility be found.19 As a matter of public policy, tax incentives may be used to enhance the viability of a broader range of alternative uses. However, sometimes facility location and the possible presence of hazardous materials may limit the appeal of this approach to accommodating change. Managing the Facilities Portfolio Organizations with a large facilities portfolio and diverse programmatic requirements have the greatest opportunity, in principle, for gaining the benefits of effective reuse. On large campus installations (e.g., military bases, and universities) adaptive reuse can become a significant continuing staff responsibility. In general, it is essential that these installations have a good recorded inventory of the portfolio, including current condition assessments and functional subsystem characteristics. Using shorter terms for leasing and cost recovery calculations, particularly within the context of agency or corporate strategic planning, facilitates management decision-making in dealing with obsolescence. 19   In what may be extreme cases, abandoned brick kilns, canneries, and breweries have been converted into fashionable restaurants and shopping malls in such cities as San Francisco, Pittsburgh, and Baltimore.

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The Fourth Dimension in Building: Strategies for Minimizing Obsolescence Making Do When obsolescence does occur in a facility subsystem, the user or owner typically pursues the strategy of "making do" for a period of time. Depending on the costs, this frequently may be a most-effective strategy. Making do often involves finding low-cost ways to supplement performance that is no longer adequate, and there are a variety of products designed to support this approach to reducing the costs of obsolescence. For example, installing clear polymer sheet over windows reduces energy loss, and using portable electric heaters can make work areas tolerable in facilities with obsolete or otherwise inadequate climate control systems. Making do generally is a short-term strategy with high user costs. Eventually, high complaint levels, loss of revenue, loss of tenants, or regulatory or legal action motivates refurbishment (or demolition) of the facility. However, a facility owner can permit and encourage users to modify the facility to forestall obsolescence, as they would define it. Sometimes efforts by the owner to improve facility users' morale or to otherwise shift their overall psychological satisfaction with a situation of which the facility is one part will reduce the costs of obsolescence. ACTIONS IN REUSE AND RETROFIT In many cases the owner or user's fundamental response to functional obsolescence is changing a facility's interior configuration. Faced with growth, downsizing, or reorganizations, or faced with the creation of new operations and the need for different spatial relationships among employees, these users or owners tear down some walls and put up others, and rearrange work stations and files. Sometimes a more comprehensive retrofit is undertaken, and changes include early replacement of electrical or communications systems, HVAC controls, life safety and security systems, lighting, elevators, and even exterior cladding. In such cases some facilities permit the changes to be made relatively efficiently and economically, with less disruption to ongoing operations and lower costs to the building's owner and occupants. As distinguished from adaptive reuse, the basic use remains unchanged, and the facility's users hope to continue operations, with as little disruption as possible, during the course of the project. In particular cases in which buildings may be obsolescent because they have barriers to access by disabled persons or fail to meet other newly enacted regulations, owners or users may call on architects or other appropriate professionals to determine the extent of the problem. Such determinations may change as new standards are issued. For example, standards of access for

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The Fourth Dimension in Building: Strategies for Minimizing Obsolescence disabled children currently are under development and will be important in some instances to making judgments regarding building obsolescence. The costs of extensive retrofit and renovation may be very high. One committee member described a teaching hospital when costs of $500 to $1000 per square foot were incurred to renovate (owing to the need to protect ongoing operations and sensitive equipment and to other problems) when new construction of similar space would have cost perhaps $200 per square foot. Such cases often reflect the premium that must be paid when demolition and new construction are not possible and obsolete structures must be altered to meet current needs and current codes. However, experience and research show that, even for major changes, careful planning and design can lead to retrofit and renovation costs closer to—and less than—those of new construction for facilities that can accommodate the change effectively (Building, 1985). For example, a Corps of Engineers study of proposals for a total renovation of the Reynolds Army Hospital at Fort Still, Oklahoma, calculated that the estimate for the most desirable renovation was 97.53 percent of the cost of new construction (U.S. Army Engineer District Corps of Engineers, 1984). The many and complex factors that determine relative cost and viability of retrofit and renovation defy easy analysis. The Singapore Construction Industry Development Board noted that the average age of facilities for which major retrofits are undertaken in that island nation is 13 years, and others have suggested that it may not be viable economically to undertake an extensive renovation of structures over 30 years old (Fong, 1990; Lockwood Green Engineers, 1989). However, some professionals have found that the older a building is, the easier it is to retrofit, because uses for which older buildings were designed typically were less specialized and sharply defined than they are today. Schedule, budget limitations, floor-to-floor heights, access, the presence of asbestos, energy costs, and who pays for operating costs—as opposed to construction costs—are among the factors influencing the evaluation of retrofit and renovation alternatives. The committee received information from Public Works Canada, a government agency, that work is ongoing to develop generic guidelines for evaluating rehabilitation projects. Procedures for conducting life-cycle costing analysis of a rehabilitation project, including methodologies for evaluating the remaining useful life of building systems, will be examined. Building electrical and mechanical systems are included in the study. Historical structures are treated in a separate category. To date, most of the efforts have been concentrated on structural rehabilitation, and specifically on the seismic upgrading of existing structures (P.C. Letellier, letter to Andrew C. Lemer, May 16, 1991).

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The Fourth Dimension in Building: Strategies for Minimizing Obsolescence RESPONSIBILITY FOR ACTION A variety of people must act to avoid or delay facilities obsolescence and its costs. As has been explained, extending service life and avoiding obsolescence are concerns that should be addressed not only before a structure is built—during design and procurement—but also after it is completed, through operations, maintenance, and refurbishment to accommodate functional, technical, economic, and social and political change. Owners pay many of the costs of obsolescence, and have the primary responsibility of managing their facilities in ways to avoid those costs. However, users of facilities—often not precisely the same people or organizations as the owners—often are burdened with costs of obsolescence as well. Facilities planners and designers should prepare plans that foster an appropriate flexibility and balance among initial investment and future expense to accommodate future change in owners' interests, users' needs, technology, and regulations. However, as was discussed in earlier chapters, several characteristics of the system that delivers the services of facilities to users (i.e., the design-construct-manage system) make it difficult to sustain action to avoid obsolescence: separation of owner and users; separation of responsibilities for design, construction, and management. These include separation of responsibilities for costs of construction and operations and maintenance; myriad professional groups, trade organizations, and manufacturers...the list goes on. Many of the strategies for avoiding obsolescence involve at least some effort to bridge the gaps among the various individuals and groups concerned with the problem. The procedures and administrative framework within which federal agencies must work frequently make these problems especially challenging, and there are other problems unique to government agencies (some have been mentioned in previous discussion). These are the topics of Chapter 4. References Arnold, C. 1972. Technology systems for college housing: The URBS Project. Building Research, Journal of the BRAB Building Research Institute 9(3):3–7. Building. 1985. Retrofit Revives. July:48–49. Building Research Board. 1989. Use of Building Codes in Federal Agency Construction. Washington, D.C.: National Academy Press. Caplan, L. 1988. Profiles: An architecture of possibility. The New Yorker. November:47–96. Cathcart, C. 1991. "High Tech Brits": The strains of technology. Design Book

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The Fourth Dimension in Building: Strategies for Minimizing Obsolescence Review. Summer:42–45. Commercial Renovation. 1988. Time and money favor retrofit. December:46–47. Federal Register. 1989a. Federal property management regulations, Amendment A-47. Revision of FPMR 101-3, Annual Real Property Inventories. September. Federal Register. 1989. Proposed Rules. November:(54[210]):46216–46220. Fong, C. K. 1990. The Construction Agenda. Singapore: Construction Industry Development Board. King, J. and R. E. Johnson. 1983. Silk purses from old plants. Harvard Business Review. March–April:147–156. Ledbetter, W. B., and A. Lemer, eds. 1991. Inspection and Other Strategies for Assuring Quality in Government Construction. A Report by the Committee on Inspection for Quality Control on Federal Construction Projects. Building Research Board, National Research Council. Washington, D.C.: National Academy Press. Lemer, A. 1991. Team building and quality buildings, Design Management Journal 2(2):54–58. Lockwood Greene Engineers. 1989. Retrofitting brings new life to existing buildings. Consulting/Specifying Engineer. August:43–53. Slatin, P. D. 1991a. Flexible spine. Architectural Record. February:100–102. Slatin, P. D. 1991b. Stepping out. Architectural Record. February:104–105. Stubbs, M. S. 1989. '80s Retrospective, attention to its users. Architecture. December:54–57. U.S. Army Engineer District Corps of Engineers, Tulsa, Oklahoma. 1984. Reynolds Army Hospital: Concept Design—First Submittal Analysis. Contract no. DACA 56-83-C-0044. February.

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