Check out five amazing ways to make your retrofit projects more attractive as to cost-benefit and escape re-work!
Renovation is an inevitable action by technology. In this field, inventions constantly challenge people. On the other hand, there is the unstoppable action of time. As it passes, objects suffer from deterioration until they are completely worn out. Innovations arise, and we are impelled to react due to many reasons. That is when the need for renovating comes up.
It isn’t any different in the civil engineering field. To keep the features of a project or its functionality, constructions need a partial restructuring of their system. This process is called retrofit, a procedure that contemplates the upgrading of the networks, equipment, and housing, stores, and building systems.
On markets with old buildings preserved by law – especially in Europe – this trend tends to represent up to 50% of the projects. In the country, the revitalization of urban centers will be a great opportunity for integrators of residential automation.
The development of retrofit projects has important quirks, which slightly elevate its difficulty level.
However, with integrated, well-developed projects and efficient automation solutions, you will be ready for any challenge. Do you want to know more? Check out these excellent tips that we have for you to succeed in the retrofit market.
On this post, you will have tips about:
- Differences between a common renovation and retrofit
- Quality of the return on the investment
- Building a professional facility
- Legislation limitations
- Origin of LED materials
DIFFERENCES BETWEEN A COMMON RETROFIT AND RENOVATION
Never get the concepts of renovation and retrofit mixed up! Despite being an “almost translation,” they are different when taking into account their main goals. A retrofit project focuses on the appreciation of a property through the preservation of its original features. At the long term, it intends to increase the lifespan and functionality of a construction regarding its current use. Other goals are the standardization of buildings in compliance with current regulations and the increase in energy efficiency.
A renovation predicts much more advanced modifications on the buildings’ structures since it is not subjected to legal and conceptual limitations. Consequently, the construction of extensions, tearing down walls, and finishing changes are more common than in a retrofit. Still, the replacement of the original material for more durable and sustainable ones will go through the level of intervention or depth of the construction.
What does this mean?
It means that the procedures will be classified as to their purpose and the subsystems involved (lighting, air conditioning, acoustics). Each one of those will have its own procedures, but the same goal: the appreciation of the property, increase in competitiveness (with energetic efficiency), and reduction of maintenance costs.
As to the installation of the residential automation system, the depth will vary depending on the solution that was used (cable or wireless). However, the efficiency level of the construction on these matters will depend on the professional ability of the integrated automation project.
We can see some key steps that integrations must have:
- Market study (commercial feasibility of the enterprise);
- Measures (luminance, charge distribution, etc.);
- Mapping the energy consumption;
- Documentation of the current and future subsystems;
- Interventions’ diagnosis
- Communication, cabling, and architecture blueprints.
It is noticeable that many of these techniques will be the same as those for a new construction project. However, the central point of the planning will be your ability to have a return on investment. It will justify all the effort and budget spent by the client.
QUALITY AND RETURN ON INVESTMENT
Guarantee the ROI of your retrofit by supporting the diagnosis
The success of the retrofit will be determined by your power of optimizing the performance of the subsystems of a residence. The benefit of the cost reduction is its clearer consequence and higher attractiveness for the property’s appreciation. Depending on the level of intervention, the price of the property will be multiplied in up to 10 times the price of the project investment.
Sounds very appealing, doesn’t it?
However, the development of the project will naturally have a high initial cost that must be justified to the user. The long-term benefits of the projects, especially regarding the automated energy consumption is the best persuasion strategy. For this reason, organize your activities so you can present – in the moment of the diagnosis – system measurements, and highlight its critical points.
Notwithstanding, show the client how the total investment on automation will be covered by the reduction of the bills on the house. Especially if you’re talking exclusively about a lighting retrofit. Besides that, an integrated project needs little maintenance, is flexible for expansion (if duly documented), and has a lifespan of approximately 50 years.
Many times, the client is wrongly led to fully rebuild an edification. Keep in mind that a retrofit is 20% cheaper than a construction like that! In general, this is a rough estimate to point out, because of the difficulty level offered by each project. However, know that the bigger your dimensions or, the more complex the construction’s final destination, the more expensive it will be.
Hotel or commerce projects will have their peculiarities. But, as we highlighted, the automation solution ability itself will be a cost containment factor. It will give enough flexibility to those involved in the construction, decreasing the level of intervention on the structure. With a professional installation that associates automation to the utilization of the house, the quality will be higher, and the ROI will be easily proven.
BUILDING A PROFESSIONAL INSTALLATION
So we get to the question: do you have a team that is properly prepared both for an integrated project and a retrofit?
This is a very complex subject because of two aspects. First of all, there is no fixed methodology, both for a retrofit standardization and an integration project. We previously said that the role of the integrator is not a profession, and most of their professional members are from correlated areas. As a consequence, the interdisciplinarity is always stimulated, segmenting the activities for a better conception of the project.
If the construction involves a contribution by the corporate member, the systems integrator will be limited to developing the executive project and the steps for the automation installation. His/her decision power will be reduced according to the dimension of the project and the company’s work method. The entire construction management – for example, scheduling, hiring additional services, human resources – will be handled by the contractor.
Eventually, the integrator can be called to supervise the cabling networks installation. Queries about new products and automation costs are also not unusual, when necessary to the retrofit’s readaptation.
On the other hand, smaller companies or a direct service provision will provide greater control over the integration. On these projects, the profit margin can be even bigger, depending on the service that is presented. The freedom to hire and organize the roles of the members of the construction is bigger, respecting the budget and the client’s desires. However, invest in building complementary teams, automation checklists, and have an open communication with the client.
As innovative as an intelligent retrofit might be, it will have legal limitations. Especially regarding the maintenance of the architectural project of the construction. Therefore, it is key that the development of the executive project features appropriate legal assistance so that the changes can be effective.
This norm is a warning for integrators, even if the projects are limited to lighting subsystems. It reinforces the importance of the involvement in all stages of the construction. Future modifications by architects and the absence of proper documentation of the systems can significantly reduce the performance of the automation. Therefore, keep your retrofit’s integrity and discuss possible changes with its designers and construction engineers.
ORIGIN OF LIGHTING MATERIALS
In this last advice, we highlight the responsibility of the integrators in using regulated equipment on their projects, especially on the lighting retrofit. The lighting project’s performance and safety are compromised if the low-quality cables and LEDs fail.
The use of LEDs and lamps with manufacturing certification has advantages to the economy brought by the automation project:
- Larger lifespan: the warranty proves the durability in hours/light of each equipment;
- Greater fidelity on the Color Reproduction and Color Temperature Index, allowing the customization of the space with different luminosities;
- Greater energy saving, with lightings which provide more light.
With the right choices, associated with good contrast and glare measurements, and the evaluation of natural lighting, the integrator will be able to achieve good results in the retrofitting. It will all depend on his/her ability on building systems that will preserve the edification’s aesthetic value, without setting aside the usability and preference of the automation users.
PROFIT FROM A NICHE
Retrofit is a recent innovation in the US civil construction, and it shows great synchrony with the residential automation market. It is only a matter of time until the benefits of smart home solutions are present in many commercial buildings. An example of this economic efficiency can be seen in office complexes, public buildings, and stadiums that were restored across the country.
There are niches for the residential automation market that are already being explored. The installation of building automation – focused on condominiums and private and public buildings – is one of them. From the renovation of lighting and air conditioning systems, many property owners are greatly interested in integrated projects, since they are looking for reducing their expenses with electricity and water.
However, the integrator needs to prepare for the specificity of the retrofit properly. That involves not only his/her technical ability of installation and interface installation: it is necessary to prepare for many scenarios. For example, strengthen the quality of the project by avoiding the bureaucracy of regulation and increase your management profile at the building site. These abilities are beyond the preparation sphere as a system integrator: you need to look for them in other areas, professionals, and companies.
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