16 Nov 15
Risk Scan identifies needed repairs or replacements based on the likelihood of failure for each building component (roof, HVAC equipment, plumbing fixtures, etc.), together with its consequences. Those components with both a high probability of failure and a high potential impact to building operability, security, safety and other values, are classified as High Risk.
13 Nov 15
Evaluating the facility costs of a real estate portfolio is one of the more difficult challenges faced by corporate real estate (CRE) executives today. The purpose of this paper is to present benchmarking in the context of other approaches for estimating and validating facility costs.
05 May 13
As part of a multiyear benchmarking program, New York City requires all privately-owned large buildings–50,000 gross square feet and over–to annually measure and disclose energy and water use. The survey results for 2010 are presented in a recent report.
01 Oct 12
We recently came upon an interesting survey of office building operating costs published by the Hong Kong Institute of Surveyors.1 Reported costs varied substantially by building grade, but building size and age had little discernable effect. Total operating costs for comparable buildings ($6.77 per square foot) were within 10 percent of Whitestone estimates. Specific costs for energy and management varied more widely and merit further study.
08 Sep 11
Data centers have proliferated among U.S. federal agencies, growing from 400 in 1998 to over 2000 by 2010. Alarmed by growing costs and potential inefficiencies, the Obama Administration issued a Presidential Memorandum directing all federal agencies to “adopt a policy against expanding data centers beyond current levels, and develop plans to consolidate and significantly reduce data centers within 5 years.” As a result, Whitestone was tasked by a large agency to approximate the facility savings that might accrue from the closure of a typical data center.
01 Apr 09
Recent declines in costs have mixed implications for the facility management industry. Two Whitestone indices turned negative in February, the most current data available. Maintenance and repair (M&R) costs declined 4.7 percent, year over year, the first time we have seen a real decline since the inception of the index in 1994. Overall, real estate operating costs declined by 1.5 percent.
30 Oct 08
A recent project for the Office of the Secretary of Defense assisted in developing new accounting policies for allocating facility costs among multiple users. Existing cost models— developed with Whitestone support—will be adapted to impute operation, sustainment, and recapitalization costs, and hasten compliance with federal accounting standards, particularly SFFAS 4. This approach could be readily adapted by other federal agencies.
01 Jul 06
A recent study for a U.S. Department of Energy National Laboratory assessed the cost effectiveness of achieving federally mandated energy savings for an older building. Energy performance and cost data for newer technologies required extensive primary research. While proposed changes affected all building systems, over 75 percent of energy savings came from modifications to HVAC equipment.
01 Jul 06
U.S. federal agencies are required to report an estimate of the asbestos cleanup liability for their facilities. A recent Whitestone study proposed a simple and defensible approach to approximate this liability. Two cost factors, one for asbestos surveys and one for cleanup, were estimated using secondary data. Applied to pre-1981 facilities, these costs were found to be close to engineer estimates and to results reported in an earlier study of California public buildings.
01 Jan 04
In this column I suggest that what is known (or just assumed) about the physical depreciation of facilities has little use in the estimation of recapitalization costs. I then argue that results from the study of economic depreciation provide a much better tool for this purpose. - Peter Lufkin, Senior Economist