Highlands East has been proactive in maintaining its buildings but work will need to happen to upgrade from a “fair” rating given to the municipality’s infrastructure portfolio through an assessment done this year.
Kevin Nelson of WalterFedy an architecture and engineering firm in Kitchener reported to Highlands East council on its condition assessment for 34 of the municipality’s facilities including sheds over pump equipment fire stations community centres and municipal administration facilities.
In May Nelson said the project began with site visits that involved visual inspections and input from municipality staff about elements of each building that include the foundation electrical mechanical interior features structure and site features. According to his presentation “building elements were assessed for physical and mechanical condition estimated remaining lifecycle and functional performance: are they doing what they are intended to do.”
The assessment did not involve any equipment being taken apart or removed back-up generators being turned on or fire alarm systems activated and the assessment done in warm weather meant furnaces and heating equipment were not operating but Nelson said “assessments and recommendations were made using knowledge of similar typical systems considerations of element age obvious physical issues plus the input of municipal staff knowledge.”
A Facility Condition Index for each building “provides an indication of the overall condition of the building compared to others in the portfolio and compared to industry standards” said Nelson in his report noting that it doesn’t give an indication with what specifically is wrong with any building but is intended as what he said is a high-level broad spectrum picture a good first step.
Overall Highlands East’s portfolio is in fair condition said Nelson noting that the buildings listed as having poor FCI were offsetting the overall rating.
According to the report most of the municipality’s buildings were in an “acceptable functional condition” and many deficiencies were aesthetic – aging flooring fading paint etc.
“There was a clear pattern of good maintenance practices and planned upgrades” he reported. “At several buildings much of the major and costly equipment had recently been replaced or was scheduled to be replaced in the next one to two years.”
Nelson recommended an entirely new pool facility be built in Cardiff to replace the pool basin which has aged past a normal lifecycle and is deteriorating and doesn’t have required features for today’s standards. The cost to do that would be about $2.5 million which Nelson acknowledged was a lot of money so recommended at minimum building a new change room and mechanical services room at a cost of $600000 and continuing cyclical repairs on the pool basin.
“That will get you five to 10 years maybe but eventually consideration has to be given to replacing that basin entirely” he said.
The Glamorgan equipment shelter and garage had the current worst FCI and Nelson reported it “has reached the end of useful life: [it] is at risk of total collapse.” The cost to fix “significant deficiencies” were estimated at $291796. Alternatively the municipality could consider combined bulk storage which he said would be more efficient than the current situation.
Highland Grove fire station No. 2 and workshop were considered to be in mixed condition since the fire station section is older than the workshop section the latter which is in better condition.
“The fire station physically it’s not in great condition” he said. “There are two bay doors but they’ve got three vehicles. I don’t know how you guys did it because when I was there it was super crowded.”
In recommending next steps Nelson said to “keep up the good maintenance” in comparison to what he typically sees in his line of work. “I have to say honestly the proactive practices I saw during my visit were very good” he said.
He also recommended to use the capital forecasts for each building to assist in the annual budget to prepare a municipal strategic asset plan and to do another building condition assessment in about five years.
Councillors had no questions and did not discuss the presentation receiving it as information.