Modern technologies are changing lifestyles and business practices, and their use was accelerated by the COVID-19 pandemic. Technology and social distancing have changed the commercial real estate sector, and some building types are now vacant while others are in high demand.
Many buildings are being repurposed to make them profitable again, since this is much less expensive than rebuilding them from zero. For example, vacant stores are being converted into micro-fulfillment centers or MFCs, which can act as automated urban warehouses in spaces smaller than 10,000 sf.
Do you plan to repurpose a commercial building? Reduce project costs and save time with a professional MEP design.
Repurposing a building is an investment decision, and there are many factors that can increase or reduce profits. By working with experienced MEP engineers, you can get the project design approved by the local building department in a short time. MEP engineers can also propose energy efficiency and water conservation measures, while designing an optimal layout that saves material and labor costs. Finally, a professional design will be clear for the contractor, helping you avoid change orders and delays during the construction stage.
1) Improve Energy Efficiency and Reduce Water Consumption
An adaptive reuse project is an excellent opportunity to reduce energy and water consumption, reducing your utility bills when the building reopens. Since many building features are changed while repurposing, there is an excellent opportunity to upgrade equipment and other components. This would normally be disruptive for tenants, but nobody is bothered while the building is being repurposed.
During a major renovation, building owners can upgrade lighting systems to LED, while installing HVAC units with a higher nameplate efficiency. The existing plumbing fixtures can be replaced with WaterSense products, and piping can be inspected carefully to find leaks. Energy efficiency and water conservation also provide a marketing advantage, since the idea of paying lower utility bills is attractive for potential tenants.
2) Quick Project Approval with the Local Building Department
Experienced MEP engineers can get your project approved with the local building department with little or no changes. This means you can start repurposing the building earlier, and you can use it for the intended occupancy in less time. For real estate companies, this also means the rent payments can be collected earlier.
When your design team is not familiarized with local building codes, the project approval can take a long time, especially if the building department requests many changes. This not only delays construction, but also the reopening date.
3) Optimize the MEP Layout and Reduce Project Costs
MEP systems use more materials than necessary when their layout is not planned carefully. This can affect components like air ducts, electrical conduit, cable trays and plumbing lines. As the total length of these installations increases, their material and labor costs also rise, while taking longer to install.
Experienced MEP engineers know how to make your layout as efficient as possible, reducing the total cost of the project. By using BIM software for automated calculations, engineers can analyze how design changes affect the scope of work. This way, they can find an MEP layout that minimizes material and labor costs.
4) Avoid Expensive Change Orders During Construction
Change orders should be minimized, or avoided completely when possible, since they represent additional expenses and project delays. Depending on contract terms, the cost of change orders may be absorbed by the owner, the contractor or both. However, the project is delayed and someone loses money.
MEP engineers can deliver design documents that are clearly specified, preventing confusion during the construction stage. They can also use BIM software to detect clashes during the design stage, preventing change orders during construction.
A professional MEP engineering firm can help you repurpose a building at an optimal cost, while recommending upgrades to save water and energy. You can also complete the project faster, avoiding issues like design corrections and change orders. When an adaptive reuse project is completed quickly, the owner can also start charging rent earlier. This is critical for commercial occupancies that are in high demand, such as data centers and warehouses.