Impact of Design on Maintainability

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Impact of design on maintainability
Those involved in the maintenance of the built environment will invariably, at some stage, wish to be able to turn back the clock to the time of the design development. How often do we look at a building and think how wonderful it looks, without considering the practicalities of its maintenance? Similar consideration should also be given at the time of procuring refurbishments and adaptations, etc. Where the original design may have had some shortcomings, this point in time can provide the opportunity of correcting some of the original deficiencies in the design where maintainability is concerned. All too often the maintenance of a building only comes to the fore following construction. This change in emphasis from design and construction to maintenance and occupation also epitomises the challenge of gaining the right balance between the needs of design and construction and that of maintenance and occupation. It is critical therefore that the built environment is designed with some thought to future activities, including maintainability. Similarly, care should be taken to ensure that maintainability is not 'value engineered' out of a project at the design stage in an effort to achieve cost reduction. This can be a false economy in the long term. The balance between design/construction and occupation/maintenance can be viewed in terms of finance, quality and time. Minimising finance, quality and time on the design/construction side can give the potential risk of more significant maintenance issues and consequently greater finance, quality and time problems once the building is occupied, particularly if this minimisation was not the result of professionally undertaken value engineering. The potential impact of consequential maintenance problems is evident when viewed in the context of the ratio of construction (capital) to occupation/maintenance costs, which has been calculated as being as much as 1:5. It is therefore important...
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