Are Commercial Buildings Living Longer or Shorter? blog graphic

Are Commercial Buildings Living Longer or Shorter

Has the lifespan of commercial buildings increased along with that of the humans who built them?  The continual formulation of wonder drugs has steadily increased the human life span over the past 200 years. So has commercial construction gotten its fair share of “wonder drugs” to lengthen longevity?  Sort of, but there are key caveats to be presented here.

Lifestyle Affects Both Humans And Buildings

Once expected to live about 55 years, now people are reaching their late 70s by the millions.  And it’s the meds, not the lifestyle, which makes the difference. In fact, lifestyle for us humans, in general, has worsened.  Commercial buildings, however, are more subject to “lifestyle” factors, namely environment, maintenance, occupancy, utilization, and the luck of avoiding obsolescence.  No magic pharmaceutical can save them.

Certainly, the materials used in commercial construction greatly improved in the 20th Century, making them more resistant to corrosion.  The high-tech pipes for plumbing, air handling, and wiring for electrical are welcome life enhancers; while strategic placement for access to these systems has enabled us, humans, to repair or replace with more cost-effective materials when needed.

Why Are Todays Commercial Buildings Dying Younger?

If materials and construction techniques are better now than 200 years ago, why are there so many 200-year-old buildings still standing tall and functioning, yet the contemporary buildings are sadly given about 60 years to live?  There are three key reasons:

  • In the modern world, the older a commercial building gets, the more likely it has structures and features that become obsolete.  The old ways of doing things have been replaced by new ways. This gives owners tough decisions. Should I raze it completely and rebuild, remodel the obsolete parts of it, or sell it to someone for a different function?
  • With urban sprawl, inner cities deteriorate, discouraging developers from planting their enterprises in areas where homeless people and obsolete structures dwell.  Not many capitalists want to invest millions into a property in the middle of a dying, run-down area.
  • The 100- to 200-year-old commercial buildings have achieved such notoriety that the public demands their upkeep and preservation.  Not so, for a mere 50-year-old. The historical landmarks are coveted places to office in because everybody knows where are, and they possess plenty of panache.

How To Increase Longevity

To lengthen the life of your commercial child, don’t build near an ocean.  The salty air invades the building, gradually corroding it, especially the HVAC, plumbing, and electrical.  Plan ahead for likely advances in technology. You can set aside a budget for renovating when it’s the time is right.  Establish a long-term plan for inspections and maintenance, which prevents or catches issues before they become huge and expensive problems.  Hire a construction company which has a lengthy track record of quality and longevity in constructing commercial buildings.

Article By: Clear Content Marketing