Determining When to Upgrade a Building's Systems and Equipment

Posted on: 29 September 2016

Determining when some major equipment and systems in a building have reached their usable life can be a difficult task. In most cases, many people wait until the equipment breakdown to upgrade them. Elements of a building's service such as HVAC equipment, chillers, heat pumps, motors, and electrical switchboards can bring operations to a standstill if they fail due to age and performance issues. For this reason, it is crucial to upgrade these systems so as to increase their efficiency, improve performance, and reduce maintenance costs.

Read on to find out some of the factors that may prompt you to upgrade your building's systems and equipment, and how to go about the process.

The usable life of equipment

Some equipment and fixtures in a building may not attain their manufacturer's specified usable life. As a result, you may end up operating with inefficient systems that may increase your energy costs, slow down operations, and increase running costs. When analyzing the usable life of equipment, you should look at the condition rather than the age.

The type of environment that a piece of equipment is exposed to, the frequency of maintenance, and handling plays a significant role in determining its usable life. Regular maintenance and proper handling are essential to keep equipment safe, functional, and durable.

When to upgrade equipment

How do you decide that a piece of equipment is no longer viable, and it requires an upgrade? Here are some of the key considerations that you should have in mind when making this decision:

The safety of the equipment

Any equipment within your building that raises safety concerns during operations should be replaced. For instance, electrical systems with loosely hanging or uninsulated wires which could easily cause electrocution should be replaced. Also, consider upgrading any equipment that poses a health risk to the users of the building.

Maintenance requirements

Equipment and fixtures whose maintenance requirements have increased over time may end up wasting your financial resources. For instance, if the equipment undergoes frequent repairs or has had most of its components replaced and it is still not functioning as expected, it may be time to get rid of it. You may end up spending a lot of money on maintenance and still discard it in the end.

Original design expectations

Equipment that does not meet the initial design expectations of your building regarding efficiency and functionality due to wear and tear, old age, or poor maintenance should be replaced.

Once you have determined that certain equipment, systems, or fixtures do not satisfy your requirements, it is time to consider replacing them. Talk to a building services consultant for insight on the type, design, and specifications of new equipment and systems that will meet your building's requirements and the current efficiency standards.