The owners of one of the oldest strata corporations in BC required a plan that recognized the life cycle requirements of an aging facility and evaluation of options for potential modernization of certain antiquated systems.

The Challenge

The Pallisades was constructed as an apartment building in the late 1960s and converted to a strata corporation (condominiums) in the mid 1980s. In the late 2000s, when the building was approaching its 40th anniversary, the owners completed the first of a series major infrastructure renewal projects, including replacement of the domestic plumbing distribution.

The owners were becoming increasingly aware that a number of their aging building assets required a combination of repair, renewal, rehabilitation, and/or modernization. Unfortunately, they did not have the means to establish priorities across all the systems of their building (enclosure, electrical, mechanical, fire protection, elevators, etc). Furthermore, the antiquated nature of some of the systems prompted the owners to undertake a cost-benefit analysis to determine whether to replace some assets on a “like-for-like” basis or whether to upgrade to newer technologies. The need for modernization was of particular significance in planning for the stewardship of assets such as the elevators and the single-pane windows.

The Project

In 2009, RDH was commissioned to prepare a comprehensive reserve study (depreciation report) to identify life cycle projects and estimate funding requirements. The study was carried out approximately 3 years prior to the introduction of mandatory depreciation report regulations in British Columbia. The age of the building had driven this proactive group of owners to seek out the help of professionals to develop a stewardship strategy for their building.

Recognizing the significant opportunities that can be realized through window renewal (such as improved thermal performance and comfort), RDH carried out an energy analysis to estimate the paybacks that could be leveraged through potential upgrades to the window system. That analysis established that the incremental costs of improving the original single-pane window system with more efficient glazing could be offset through reduced energy usage. The reserve study included a series of funding models to test the impact of different “like-for-like” renewal scenarios and upgrade options where this was deemed appropriate.

The Results

With a comprehensive report covering all building systems and identifying alternative solutions, the owners were able to make informed decisions and developed a strategy for phased asset renewal projects. The strata council called a special general meeting of the owners to raise funds for elevator modernization and a phased window retrofit. The depreciation report served as a compelling business case to support the additional funding requirements for the window upgrades.