Capital needs assessments (CNAs) are becoming an increasingly important part of the asset management toolkit for both rental and owner-occupied multifamily housing. This is welcome shift away from the “fixing it when it breaks” approach to the well-planned repair and replacement of components over the lifecycle of a building. By utilizing the Green Physical Needs Assessment (GPNA) framework, there can be additional opportunities to enhance the value of the asset while increasing energy efficiencies and lowering utility costs for both renters and owners.
A key element of implementing these approaches is phasing. Phasing is intended to strike a balance between (a) setting priorities for what needs to get repaired or replaced, and (b) making them fit within the cost constraints of operating budgets. Phasing is much more than just looking at scheduling replacement based on product warranties, as warranties often provide reduced coverage in their later years.
Even the most carefully crafted CNA or GPNA cannot predict the future with 100% accuracy. For multifamily properties, annual architectural reviews of CNAs and GPNAs that include visual inspection and meetings with property management and maintenance staff allow for ongoing refinement of repair and replacement schedules. In turn, this can help save money in operations, protect the value of the asset, as well as identify unexpected problems early enough for allow for proper planning.
Property owners and managers through ongoing collaboration with a trusted architect can protect, and even enhance, the value of their asset through skillful use of phasing repairs and replacements as part of a CNA and GPNA.