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How to Enhance the Value and Perception of the Building

It’s estimated that the Australian construction industry accounts for 9 per cent of the GDP (source). Valued at approximately AUD150 billion, the construction industry is indeed a main growth driver of the economy.

Aside from its huge financial and economic contribution, the construction industry also solves huge problems and opens a lot of possibilities. For instance, construction of multi-level apartments gives more future options to tenants. They can choose the units closer to their workplace or desired amenities. Another example is in commercial construction wherein it can boost business activity (building practical sites for offices, warehouses, retail buildings and industrial facilities).

If you’re a developer, you’re now in a strategic position to make it all happen. And yes, it can be really profitable and lucrative. This is the case especially if you can enhance the value and perception of the building. You’ll get higher returns from your investment while also providing value to residential or commercial tenants.

How to enhance value & perception

These two things often go hand in hand. In fact, if you read below what affects the building’s value, you’ll notice that it’s inseparable from perception:

  • If the potential tenant thinks it’s a good location despite some inconveniences, a positive decision will take place.
  • This is related to Location above. Anyway, easy access to transport infrastructure (roads, railways) and economic activities (businesses, restaurants, cafes, entertainment facilities) makes a building more desirable.
  • Whether we like it or not, buildings often get associated with structures nearby. The overall image of the site can also affect the building’s value.
  • Future developments. The government has priority projects and initiatives on its list (source and further reading). This is to solve urban congestion, improve connectivity and create growth opportunities.
  • Building image. The building’s aesthetic appeal can also affect people’s perception of value of the structure. After all, businesses and residential tenants want to be associated with things that best reflect their personality and lifestyle.

There are other things that imply value is inseparable from perception. The costs of constructing the building may also have an effect, but often it’s not the whole story. There are several variables at play which may have nothing to do with high cost.

For example, a more sophisticated building facade can be achieved with a reasonably lower budget. This is possible because of the cost-effective processes from end to end. These include:

  • Facade system design (concept development, 3D modelling, advanced visualisation & simulation)
  • Facade consultation (facade structural engineering, windload report engineering, thermal analysis and more)
  • Facade documentation (e.g. detailed documentation for future maintenance)
  • Product sourcing & facade logistics (e.g. establishing a strategic supply chain for lower costs of materials and transport)
  • Factory inspections & quality control (ensure panels and other materials are up to standards and specifications)
  • Performance mock-up system & system validation (for wind resistance, water resistance, air infiltration, seismic performance, acoustical performance, and many other key parameters)

Cost control measures can be implemented every step of the way. This is proof that costs can still be kept reasonably low while increasing the value of the building. And this is possible if the facade system was properly designed and built. In addition, the facade system should be integrated with the overall and core being of the building.

How facades improve perception & value

First, it’s the biggest and most noticeable exterior architectural element of any building (especially highrises). In fact, the facade dictates the overall exterior aesthetic appeal of the structure. In other words, a great facade means a great building.

Second, the facade system initially creates the impression the building owner or developer wants to communicate. It’s true that first impressions last. Once potential clients or tenants formed their impressions, they might only accept information that supports their notions. Or, they won’t consider the building in the first place because the exterior doesn’t just feel appropriate or aligned with the image they have in mind.

Third, the facade system can greatly affect how natural lighting flows into the place. More and more people now are becoming aware of the benefits of natural lighting on productivity and well-being. Also, the customers of commercial tenants may prefer places that maximise natural lighting.

Fourth, we mentioned acoustical performance (under Performance mock-up system & system validation). Noise levels (whether coming from inside or outside the building) should be minimised and limited. This is important for people who want a quiet living in an urban centre.

Those are just some of the important ways on how a great facade enhances value. In the eyes of the potential tenants, value and perception are really important. On the other hand, in the eyes of the builders and developers, costs and performance are the most important. After all, the core engineering challenge is to achieve a certain outcome while using minimal resources.

Cost and energy performance

Aside from the upfront cost of constructing the building (including the facade and other features), engineers, developers and stakeholders also consider the long-term costs which may include the following:

  • Maintenance of the building (e.g. cleaning, inspection)
  • Replacement of the facade parts and panels and structural supports
  • Energy performance and how the facade contributes to it

Building envelopes and facade systems contribute to energy performance by controlling the flow of light and heat into the building. For instance, modern facade systems allow maximum lighting while blocking the entry of heat (perhaps by blocking infrared radiation while still allowing the visible light spectrum).

Building envelopes are also the first line of defence against wind, rain and other environmental externalities. These elements can enter into the building and affect interior humidity levels. This has a huge effect on comfort levels of the tenants and in fact, unchecked humidity levels could lead to mould growth and accelerated corrosion.

As a result, facade systems have a huge role in the long-term condition and health of the buildings. It also contributes to the building’s energy performance due to how it affects the flow of natural light and heat into the structure. For the succeeding years the cost savings could be significant if the facade system was designed with energy performance as a priority.

Aside from energy performance, the integrity of the building envelope is important as well. Maintenance, repairs and replacements can add significantly to the long-term cost of the building facade. Wind, rain, heat and moisture can gradually damage the facade and ruin its functionality and appearance.

Consequently, a deteriorating facade can negatively affect the building’s value. Corrosion sites and physical deformities would immediately bring down the perception about the building. Although repairs, maintenance and replacements can still be performed, it takes time to do all these tasks. Also consider the added costs to bring back the facade’s original glory and positive impression.

Enhance the value and perception of the building

A facade is just one variable that affects a building’s overall value. After all, it’s a complex interaction among several variables. We also have to consider that humans ultimately make the decision. If their beliefs and values align with something, a positive decision is likely to take place.

Although a facade is just one variable, it has the power to affect the short- and long-term value of the building. In addition, it has a huge contribution to the long-term costs of the building in terms of energy performance (lighting, cooling and heating costs) and future repair and maintenance.

The priorities and values of the developer and the tenants might differ. The tenants are more concerned about the overall upfront value of the building. On the other hand, the developer is more focused on both the upfront and long-term costs of the building.

There are many ways to satisfy both sides. One economic way to achieve that is by developing a cost-effective, high-performance and elegant facade. The elegance will enhance the building’s value (in the tenant’s eyes) and the cost effectiveness and high performance will make the developers gain higher ROI.

It’s just a start but it can result to long-term cost savings and increasing building value. That’s why many builders and developers contact us here at CGS Facade Group. We provide end-to-end facade solutions from concept development up to the installation of the fabricated products.

Our facade engineers and consultants (who have international experience in Middle East, China, Thailand, Hong Kong, and Macau, in addition to all major cities across Australia) aim to achieve architectural and performance excellence in each project. Phone us today at +612 9247 9732 if you want your resulting building facade to be excellent and cost effective.