When’s the last time you took stock of your HVAC capital planning strategy? After all, your HVAC system is one of the biggest expenses in your annual maintenance budget. Routine checks and repairs add up. And if you own multiple commercial properties, the financial burden can escalate quickly into the tens or hundreds of thousands of dollars.
As the commercial real estate industry continues to navigate the COVID-19 pandemic and a return to the workplace, tenants are rethinking their priorities. It’s no secret that tenants are looking to return to healthier buildings. Air quality, for one, is a higher priority for tenants as we found in our recent report, The State of Commercial Real Estate Building Operations for 2022. Air filtration, ventilation and purification will be top drivers for tenants returning to offices (and tenants are returning to offices). Businesses with existing leases will require proof that buildings are safe for employees. Green initiatives such as a rehabbed HVAC system will be competitive differentiators even in a post-COVID world.
The problem is that gleaning useable data from HVAC systems can often be a difficult and costly endeavor. There’s so much information to consolidate, particularly for owners and property teams with large asset portfolios to manage. So, how do you know where to focus your efforts?
Fortunately, with HVAC management software you can easily capture and leverage what you need to optimize HVAC capital planning. This will only become more important as tenant air quality and energy management expectations and cost pressures increase. To that end, here are two HVAC capital planning tips for 2022.
1. Plan Ahead to Master Your Annual Budget
HVAC problems never surface at convenient times. They always seem to crop up when parts are expensive or vendors are unavailable. The problem has been exacerbated by the pandemic as supply chain issues continue to plague contractors across industries. Landlords end up hiring low-quality contractors at the last minute at a higher price, eating more into annual maintenance budgets than anticipated.
You can prevent this from happening by establishing a more robust maintenance strategy that factors in these unexpected events (and their inflated costs) ahead of time. Building this strategy requires a comprehensive dataset that represents all HVAC units.
Tap into your HVAC capital planning checklist. When you have details like make, model, year, location and service history with ASRAE life expectancy scoring for every unit, it’s easier to estimate which assets will require repair or replacement in the coming year. You can make more informed decisions ahead of time about budgets and avoid scrambling to replace broken units. More data at your fingertips means better insight into what could go wrong and when, enabling you to allocate your annual budget more effectively. Working this type of planning into your strategy will be critical as the commercial real estate industry will continue to grapple with long-term effects of supply chain issues.
2. Make HVAC Upkeep More Efficient
As a property owner, you know that HVAC systems are all unique. No single maintenance plan would work across your entire portfolio. Yet, creating a custom plan for each HVAC system is not sustainable. That’s especially true if you have to sift through manuals, warranties and other physical documents every year. That’s why having HVAC management software for storing comprehensive records and unit-specific data is so valuable.
HVAC management software can help you cut down on guesswork and enable you to be more strategic in your HVAC capital planning. When your HVAC data is accessible and accurate, you can look up what you need at the start of every budget cycle and optimize maintenance schedules or service deployments accordingly. Committing to this way of recordkeeping increases HVAC upkeep efficiency and gives you more data points to empower better decision-making. These efficiency gains compound over time and create additional capacity within your budget and overall workload.
Find the Right HVAC Management Software
You need modern HVAC management software to take full advantage of the HVAC data at your fingertips. A digital platform that seamlessly replaces physical spreadsheets, manuals and lease terms without losing any critical information is essential. You need a tool that makes it easy to look up relevant data points for HVAC capital planning.
With more data comes more transparency. More transparency means more opportunity to prepare for the future, reduce risk and increase efficiency. Are you looking for more HVAC capital planning tips for 2022? Our team is here to help.