Post 500 –by Gautam Shah
A building has two components, the land and the structure. The value of land is circumstantial, goes up or down, but does not translate into gain till one sells it or builds upon it. Structures are erected and then maintained till they offer some gain. When a structure does not provide sufficient return, it is altered in many ways, including complete replacement. A structure may have to wait for a very long time till an entrepreneur realizes its potential. The gains after the alteration or replacement must be large enough to pay off the new investments and return over the value of land. When a piece of Land is highly valued due to circumstantial reasons like location, neighbourhood, connectivity, etc. it also means the potential as a built space is also high.
Costs of maintenance usually come from the rents or lease charges. Even if the buildings are maintained by the tenants or lessee, they would not be contributing anything extra over the cost of having that built-space. Tenants and leaseholders have an immediacy with the utility of building through expenditure on maintenance. The owners of land-buildings, however, have long-term vision for continued returns.
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Costs of alterations are outlined by the safety of the structure. An unsafe building cannot be worth any alteration. Cost of alterations, within that limit, is determined by the new function to be accommodated. The new function must be supported primarily by the existing structure, and than by the site (location, neighbourhood, connectivity).
Costs of alterations are of many types, some directly related to the basic functionality, or for the image to be endowed to the building. The image could be for a changed look, for corporate branding or for matching with some local or alien image. A process of change could also add more amenities and facilities. Modern technology offers leaner entities there by saving floor space or increased volumes. Typically windows placed on an outer edge, without a sun-shading recess adds to floor space. Cutouts or light-wells make darker areas functional. Open office layouts, without structural partitions gain floor space. Mezzanine floors, reduced floor heights, creating new or using cellar spaces, plumbing-less toilet utilities, wireless communications, all are designed to gain spaces. Management of a retail or selling area spares spaces. Storage spaces are eliminated by continuous supply systems, home deliveries and digital display facilities.
Replacement of a Building is an extreme step. But it often represents change of ownership with fresh entrepreneurship. Options to demolitions are few. Demolitions have to be carried out in restricted areas where relocations of existing functions, safety, environmental corruption and disposal of debris are prime concerns. Displacements or relocations of the buildings can be done in very select cases, and involve great expense and risk. Relocation of building is carried out in two basic ways. Buildings are dismantled and reassembled, or transported as a whole at another location. The first approach requires building to be consisting of separable and re-unite-able parts, whereas the later one requires a building to be an integrated entity. In reality buildings are exclusively neither of these. It was possible to shift the Egyptian temple from the Aswan dam site as it consisted of units of rock. A modern integrated RCC frame structure cannot be disassembled. A small structure may be shifted as a whole, but a large structure may not have the required street width in an urban location. Displacements are conceived for highly sentimental entities, and only as a last resort.