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Although building cannot have an infinite economic life, it is widely acknowledged that the process of fabric and structural decline can be slowed down by routine maintenance programs. Occasionally, a shortsighted slumlord will direct a property manager to operate a property to get the maximum returns in term of rental. This usually occurs when an owner refuses to make any repairs except those necessary to keep the property operating. This type of owner treats building as an operating asset in state of an investment. Nowadays, this kind of situation is getting lesser and lesser cause more and more office building is being held as investment by public listed company of good reputation. This is true especially for building acquired and maintained by REITs company as the property portfolio.
Nowadays, more building owners treat their property as an investment. This is especially true when they engage the service of a property manager. In this situation, property is being exploited by achieving the best return on capital possible and generates productivity from occupier. At the same time, the property will also be well managed in order to add capital appreciation to the property. Failure to maintain the property regularly can impair the structural integrity of the fabric, accelerating the decline in investment returns until the point where refurbishment options need to be considered (John R. Mansfield, 2000).
Technically, refurbishment is the process of making as good as new, including essential modernization and renovations. But, Quah suggests that â€œrefurbishmentâ€ has become a generic, interchangeable term, apparently distinguishable from other specialist activities. Therefore, a clear definition of refurbishment is being quoted from other researchers to clear the doubts.
Egbu (1996) considers â€œrefurbishmentâ€ to encompass rehabilitation, alteration, adaption, extension, improvement, modernization and repair work carried out to an existing building to permit it reuse for various specific reasons. This definition tells the main reasons of refurbishment, which is to make sure a building is able to operate continuously, and offer better services that suit the demand of the tenants.
Normally owners have different perspective when it comes to decide whether to refurbish or redevelop their office building. There are also no rules in the decision-making for refurbishment or redevelopment of office building. But, Reginald Lee from university of Reading has formulated three important issues when it comes to the stage when decision is required.
The existing condition of the building needs to be surveyed. If the structural was sound, refurbishment might be considered. If it was very dilapidated, demolition and redevelopment mould probably be the only realistic course of action. This might occur where the structure has been allowed to deteriorate over a no of years, beyond useful refurbishment.
The third issue concerning desirable level of refurbishment cannot be considered in isolation. As construction resource is limited and required a large amount of capital, a correct decision is important. Refurbishment by arresting decay extends the physical life of a building, thereby delays and defers expenditure on redevelopment to a large extend this will depend upon the degree to which it is possible to modify the internal layout to accommodate changing tenants requirements there is thus a relationship between the adaptability of the design, building life, maintenance costs and new construction cost.
Older building do not make the best possible use of space for modern-day use. Normally in Malaysia, a design efficiency of 75% is considered the desirable norm of an office building. New high rise building aim to have a design efficiency of above 75% whereas buildings constructed between 1920 and 1970 have at best 60% to 70% efficiency. In order to adapt a building for today processes, refurbishment may become so intensive to make redevelopment a better alternative. Better use of space can often be achieved by a completely new design. If the existing space available is insufficient, the possibility of extending the premises may be considered. If space around the site does not permit this approach, some form of redevelopment may become essential. Te efficiency ratio (net let table area divided by gross floor area) of older buildings. A well conceived building today can have an efficiency ratio of about 80%
If building cost is expected to rise drastically in the future, it is better not to postponed the decision for redevelopment by choosing refurbishment. The expected rise in building cost will have an effect on the decision