Building health score: The 'Fitbit' for your building

Board member education
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March 11, 2024
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min read
Building health score: The 'Fitbit' for your building

In our lives, we constantly assess health and performance through familiar rituals: the yearly medical checkup measuring blood pressure and cholesterol levels, the insightful parent/teacher conference from grades to class engagement, and comprehensive business reviews from margins to employee turnover. These evaluations help us understand where we stand and what we need to improve. Yet, our buildings—central to our daily lives—rarely receive the same level of scrutiny. Isn't it time we extend the same care to where we live - cornerstone of our lives? 

Why buildings deserve regular health assessments

We meticulously track our health and business success with hard data, yet we overlook applying this same analytical approach to our buildings. Despite their central role in our lives, there's no clear, data-driven method to assess their health. But we can - and should! I believe by tracking five key pillars - maintenance, financial health, regulatory compliance, community engagement, and resident (and board) satisfaction, we can have a holistic view of a building’s health.

  • Maintenance: Is the building free from leaks, structural issues, or other ailments? Are systems running smoothly, are common areas maintained and clean? 
  • Financial health: does the building have enough in its reserves to not just handle emergencies, but also fund future investments to improve the building? Are financial obligations met on time? 
  • Regulatory compliance: Is the building adhering to the latest codes and regulations? Does it have a lot of violations? Beyond the obvious concerns - violations can make apartment sales and building loans harder and increase insurance premiums. 
  • Community engagement: Is there harmony amongst residents, do they feel comfortable in their building and connected to their neighbors? 
  • Resident/board satisfaction: Are we creating a partnership of trust in which residents and owners are confident and satisfied in the management of the building, and beyond that optimistic and excited about the future?

Building health score: The details are in the data

By focusing on key metrics, within those pillars, like board and resident satisfaction, number of violations and number of open maintenance tickets, we’ve developed the Daisy Building Health Score to provide a clear, data-driven assessment of our buildings. For instance, a building might have no violations and a low ticket ratio, indicating good physical health, but a board CSAT score under 75% could signal underlying management or communication issues needing attention. Conversely, a building showing an uptick in maintenance tickets, even with high CSAT scores, might be facing emerging physical problems. Our system categorizes building health into three simple color codes: green represents optimal health, yellow signals caution areas like a drop in CSAT or a rise in ticket ratios, and red demands immediate action for critical concerns. The health score is a living, breathing metric that updates in real-time, helping us keep our fingers closely on the pulse of our buildings. This method not only clarifies current conditions but also helps anticipate future challenges, guiding targeted improvements toward achieving and maintaining a healthy, vibrant building where people love to live.

Not just a number, but a lifestyle

Just as monitoring our own health and tracking our business success can have implications for others outside ourselves and our business, so can taking a data-driven approach to assess our buildings. Using a health score to assess a building’s health goes far beyond property managers. For board members, adopting this holistic view means more informed decision-making and prioritization, leading to more effective governance and happier residents. For residents, it translates into a safer, more engaging, and harmonious living environment. And for those considering moving into a new building, this provides a clear, quantifiable measure of what to look for in their potential new home. By adopting health scores, we're not just enhancing buildings; we're elevating the quality of life itself.

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