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Resisting change unrealistic, unprofitable.

Resisting change unrealistic, unprofitable

In today's restrictive business environment, building owners, property managers, and investors are scaling back their lofty plans of just a few years ago.

There has been a real change from the free-wheeling times of only 500 days ago, when our drawing boards were covered with schemes of grand design and consumption. We all found it more convenient to put aside our cost efficiency design approaches and complex energy efficient mechanical systems, to leave the lights burning all night. Thoughts quickly waned as to the efficiency of window systems, energy savings in our mechanical plants and responsive lighting format and controls.

All of our attention was focused upon redoing lobbies and in such high style. Architectural design and authentic reproduction window replacement programs were the catch, and entire roofing replacement systems were considered at the drop of a hat.

Its not that times they are a-changing, its now that times have changed. The luxury, reserve budgets for upgrades and expenses have dried up. Corporate America has tightened their purse strings, and property managers scramble to keep the occupants of their spaces marginally satisfied, much less happy and content.

As time marches on, however, the problems of the aging building environment continue to press forward. Windows still insidiously leak. Boilers quietly waste fuel, and the old building stock gets older. It now, once again, falls upon the professionals to attempt to solve the problems at hand with anemic budgets, decimated staffs and rapidly accelerating problems.

In order to solve these problems, our thinking must also change in the analysis and available menu of options. The property manager should solicit the support of an experienced Architect to evaluate the cost effective decisions that are available today. Rather than a full window replacement program, time should be spent in evaluating the caulking and sealant system. These areas are far and away the most vulnerable aspect of the fenestration portion of a building and can be restored or replaced at a fraction of the cost associated with the window replacement project. Not only will this provide for the reduction, if not elimination, of moisture intrusion, but have an immediate impact on energy savings by the curtailing of cold air infiltration and warm air losses.

Roofing systems can be thoroughly evaluated for their continued longevity, identifying points of future problems and providing immediate spot repair. More importantly, an accelerated observation program of a 90-day cycle will prevent any major problems from developing before they become out of hand.

Flashing repairs, capping repairs and seam repairs can be accomplished on a stop-gap basis, immediately, when identified before they become uncontrollable problems, not only for the roof, but the living spaces below.

If we take the time to observe the changes that occur daily in the built world, we may stop and find many sources of work and needed repair.

It is clearly time to rethink the goals of yesterday and grasp the changes world of today. If we are to become part of the change back to a healthy and vibrant industry we must go with the flow and take these necessary steps toward improvement. In these times, a little will go far toward getting a long way back.

Michael J. Macaluso is a moisture intrusion and preservation expert who heads the firm M.J. Macaluso and Associates in New York City.

Michael J. Macaluso, R.A. M.J. Macaluso and Associates
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Copyright 1991, Gale Group. All rights reserved. Gale Group is a Thomson Corporation Company.

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Title Annotation:Energy & Conservation Supplement
Author:Macaluso, Michael J.
Publication:Real Estate Weekly
Date:Sep 18, 1991
Previous Article:Utility rebates add to owner bottom line.
Next Article:Managers must watch building environment.

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