Building Assessments: The SMART Way

Have an outdated facility that needs renovated? There’s a tool for that. Need to perform a building assessment? There’s a tool for that. Have detailed information about your existing building, but unsure which projects to tackle and in what order? There’s a tool for that.


Thanks for the doorstop?

Many building owners are familiar with building assessments (sometimes known as a facility condition assessment). They start with lots of boots on the ground and hours on-site, documenting existing conditions and determining what corrective actions need to be taken. The typical end product is the assessment book—a gigantic 3-ring binder filled with text, reports, charts, and a CD with thousands of photos. This binder is valuable because it contains very detailed and specific information for each component of the assessment project. The downside is, it’s not user-friendly, and it’s nearly impossible to extract specific scope information, particularly if you need to create unique or dynamic scenarios to respond to constantly changing budgets. How do we make building assessment packages useful as something more than a doorstop?

Work SMARTer, not harder

The Solutions Modeling for Assessments and Renovations Tool (SMARTool) was created by Design Collaborative (DC) as a simple digital interface that allows users to define dynamic project scopes and budgets based on recommendations from traditional building assessments. How does it work? Let’s take a look…

Step 1

A building assessment is performed and an itemized list of corrective actions created.



Step 2

Corrective actions from Step 1 are entered into the SMARTool database.



Step 3

Filters are created and assigned to each corrective action. It helps to think of these as the criteria you will use down the road to define projects.



Step 4

Use the SMARTool to select various filters and create dynamic project scopes and budgets based on your current, unique needs.


In this example, each corrective action is described by four filters: project type (architecture and MEP, just MEP, and structural), priority level (how crucial is this item), building level, and cost. Schematic square footage costs are assigned to each corrective action for high-level budgeting at the earliest stage of the project. Once all of the information is in the SMARTool, we can dynamically define a project’s scope and budget based on what’s important to you.


Let’s say you’ve identified several items that are a high priority because they could be a safety concern—using the filters, you can select only the items that affect occupant safety and define your project scope and budget. Maybe you have a donor that wants to fix-up the fine arts wing of your building—filter corrective actions that only affect that wing and you have a scope and budget. It’s as simple as that!

How can we help you?

The SMARTool takes all the detailed information of a traditional building assessment and turns it into a simple, highly functional tool created for you based on your unique needs and vision. It’s an objective and independent resource. It helps define, prioritize, and defend project scopes and budgets where resources can be limited. So next time you find yourself knee-deep in corrective actions, multiple phases, and changing budgets, remember—there’s a tool for that.


Kelsey Rowe PE
Electrical Engineer