Creating and executing a successful capital plan for your commercial real estate investments can be a difficult task. However, with the right capital planning strategies set in place, commercial real estate owners can ensure that their investments are well managed and have a high rate of return. As a building owner or facility manager, developing a successful capital plan is essential to the long-term sustainability of your property. A capital plan is a long-term strategic plan that helps owners prioritize and budget for necessary capital projects in order to maintain the building’s value over time. A well-structured capital plan takes into account current conditions, future needs, and financial constraints, allowing owners to effectively manage their assets. This comprehensive approach ensures that your building remains in good condition, reduces risks associated with maintenance and repairs, and saves money in the long run. Let’s explore some helpful tips and strategies for developing a successful capital plan.

Capital Planning Tip #1: Do Your Research

When it comes to developing a successful capital plan for your commercial property, it is important to do your research and work with a professional such as AEI who has extensive experience in different areas pertaining to capital planning. Take time to understand what capital planning entails and the different types of assessments and reports that are necessary in order to develop a successful capital plan. From there, the professional can provide a detailed report on the current state of the building and provide recommendations for improvements and repairs that should be done to ensure the building is safe and operational. Essentially working with a professional can help you ensure you have all the information you need to create a comprehensive plan.

Capital Planning Tip #2: Assessing Your Capital Needs

After conducting your research, the first step in developing a capital plan is assessing your capital needs. This involves hiring a professional such as AEI to conduct a Facility Condition Assessment (FCA) to evaluate the condition of your building’s infrastructure, systems, and equipment. The FCA provides a detailed report of the condition of each element, identifies any issues or areas of concern, and recommends potential solutions. Based on the results of the FCA, you can prioritize projects and establish a budget for your capital plan. It is important to gather input from stakeholders during the assessment process so that all interests are taken into consideration. For example, if the FCA identifies areas of concern that need to be addressed, such as outdated electrical systems or plumbing problems, you can prioritize those projects and budget for the necessary repairs or replacements. The FCA also provides an opportunity to review energy efficiency, operations, and maintenance costs, as well as projected future costs associated with operating and maintaining your building.

Evaluating Maintenance Costs and Prioritizing Projects:

When assessing your capital needs it’s critical to evaluate maintenance costs and prioritize projects accordingly. One tip for doing so is to categorize projects based on their urgency and impact on your building’s functionality. For example, if your building’s HVAC system is malfunctioning and causing discomfort for tenants, this project would be classified as urgent and high-impact. In contrast, a cosmetic renovation to a lobby area would be lower on the priority list. Evaluating projects in this way allows you to prioritize and allocate resources effectively, which can be a difficult task in and of itself. One strategy to help deal with this is to create a budget template that can be used for multiple years, with adjustments made as needed. This allows for consistency and easier budget forecasting. Additionally, you may consider creating a separate fund for unexpected capital expenses, such as a major system failure. By budgeting for these contingencies, you can reduce the financial impact and stress associated with unexpected repairs.

Capital Planning Tip #3: Creating a Capital Plan

Once you have assessed your capital needs, the next step is the creation of a capital plan. This involves developing a long-term plan that identifies and prioritizes necessary capital projects, establishes a project timeline, and assigns responsibility for execution. This plan should consider factors such as the age and condition of your building, industry standards and regulations, and stakeholder input. One tip for developing a long-term plan is to consider the lifespan of your building’s infrastructure, systems, and equipment. For example, if your building has an HVAC system that is 15 years old and nearing the end of its lifespan, it may be a priority project for replacement in the next 2-3 years.

Identifying Capital Projects:

Identifying and prioritizing capital projects is a key component of developing a successful capital plan. One strategy is to prioritize projects based on safety and regulatory compliance. For example, if your building has a fire safety system that is outdated and not up to code, this should be a top priority project. Additionally, considering the impact of the project on building operations and its potential to improve energy efficiency can help prioritize projects that will have a significant impact on the building’s bottom line.

Staying on Track with a Project Timeline:

To ensure that your capital projects are completed on schedule and within budget it’s important to establish a project timeline. One strategy for establishing a timeline is to break larger projects into smaller phases or sub-projects, with specific timelines and milestones for each. This can help you manage resources and prioritize projects effectively. Be sure to assign responsibility for execution to different team members to ensure that each project is completed efficiently and effectively. This team should include representatives from all relevant departments or stakeholders, including facilities management, engineering, finance, etc.

Capital Planning Tip #4: Implementation and Execution

The success of your capital plan relies on its implementation and execution. This involves ensuring adequate resources, managing risks, tracking progress, and reporting results. To ensure adequate resources, building owners and facility managers should consider creating a comprehensive budget that includes all necessary capital projects, staff, and resources. Doing so helps allocate funds strategically and helps filter high-priority projects. One effective strategy is to prioritize projects that have the potential to provide significant cost savings in the long term. For example, investing in energy-efficient HVAC systems or installing LED lighting can result in significant energy savings and reduced operating costs over time.

Managing Risk Strategies for Capital Planning:

When it comes to managing risks it’s crucial to identify potential issues that could affect the execution of the plan and implement strategies to mitigate them. For example, unexpected equipment failures or delays in obtaining necessary permits can delay projects and affect the timeline of the capital plan. To mitigate these risks, building owners and facility managers should establish contingency plans and have a clear process in place to address any unexpected issues that arise.

Tracking Progress and Reporting Results:

To ensure that the plan is executed as intended tracking progress and reporting results is essential. One effective way to track progress is by using a project management software that allows you to monitor the status of each project, assign tasks, and track deadlines. Regular status updates and reports can also help stakeholders stay informed and engaged in the progress of the capital plan. Reporting results can include metrics such as the percentage of projects completed on time and within budget, cost savings achieved, and any other relevant metrics that demonstrate the success of the plan.

Capital Planning Tip #5: Key Success Factors

Several key success factors can make the difference between a successful and unsuccessful capital plan. These include leadership and teamwork, communication and collaboration, flexibility and adaptability, and data-driven decision making.

  • Leadership and Teamwork: Effective leadership and teamwork involves establishing clear roles and responsibilities, fostering a culture of accountability, and promoting collaboration and cooperation among team members. In doing so, team members will be working towards the same goal, ensuring the success of the capital plan.
  • Communication and Collaboration: Building owners and facility managers should establish open channels of communication, facilitating regular meetings and updates, and promoting stakeholder engagement. By doing this, team members will be informed of the plan’s progress and any changes to it, which is vital to ensure that everyone is on the same page and that the plan stays on track.
  • Flexibility and Adaptability: Building owners and facility managers should be open to new ideas and approaches and adjust the plan as needed based on new information or changing circumstances. For example, if unexpected maintenance issues arise, the capital plan may need to be adjusted to address these issues before moving on to other projects. This is an essential factor in ensuring that the capital plan is effective and meets the building owner or facility manager’s goals.
  • Data-Driven Decision Making: Involves collecting and analyzing relevant data to inform decision making and measure success. Building owners and facility managers should be open to new ideas and approaches and adjust the plan as needed based on new information or changing circumstances. For example, if unexpected maintenance issues arise, the capital plan may need to be adjusted to address these issues before moving on to other projects. This is an essential factor in ensuring that the capital plan is effective and meets the building owner or facility manager’s goals.

Final Thoughts: Achieve Long-Term Sustainability with Capital Planning:

By having a thorough understanding of their current and future needs, commercial real estate owners can develop plans that maximize efficiency, minimize risk, and ensure that their investments remain profitable. Adopting a capital plan allows owners to proactively address any deficiencies and make strategic investments that will benefit the building in the long-term. A properly implemented capital plan can save businesses both time and money by avoiding costly repairs or replacements and ensuring that the building remains compliant with all relevant regulations. Ultimately, investing in a successful capital plan is not only necessary for the longevity of your property but also financially beneficial in the long run. However, developing a capital plan can be a complex and time-consuming process, which is why it is crucial to seek the assistance of professionals such as AEI consultants. With our expertise and experience, AEI consultants can provide tailored solutions that meet your unique capital planning needs and ensure the long-term sustainability of your property. Don’t wait until it’s too late, reach out to AEI today to get started on your capital plan. Reach out to speak with one of our consultants today.

Services Offered by AEI Capital Planning:

  • Deferred Maintenance and Capital Planning Studies and Reports
  • Capital Reserve Analysis
  • Building and Component System Remaining Useful Life Studies
  • Facility Condition Assessments
  • Baseline Property Condition Assessments
  • Limited Facility Condition Assessments
  • Asset Bar Coding
  • Pre-Lease Assessments, Lease Renewals and Lease Exit Strategies
  • Dilapidation Assessments
  • Building Envelope Assessments
  • Roof Assessments (Thermography, Inductance Testing, Roof coring, and Assembly Installation Oversight)
  • Computerized Maintenance Management Systems (CMMS) data collection and population
  • ADA Assessments
  • BOMA Area Measurements
  • Building Commissioning or Retro-commissioning Services
  • Energy Audits and Building Sustainability
  • Climate Risk & Resilience Consulting