In the architectural and engineering world, as-built documents are typically created at the end of a project. In these cases, the as-built documents reflect what was built versus that which was originally designed.
Now fast forward several years to when a remodel or renovation is required. If reliable as-built documents are available from the time when the project was completed they may not accurately depict changes which occurred during the time between when the project was completed through current day; nevertheless, they do provide a valuable point of reference prior to the commencement of onsite due diligence. None of this is relevant if the project encompasses a total demolition of the entire foodservice operation; however, this is typically not a likely scenario as there are potentially valuable aspects of the current operation which may be considered for reuse (i.e. foodservice equipment/systems, beverage systems, ventilation elements, plumbing lines and electrical circuits).
As a renovation project evolves there is sometimes a disconnect between operations and ownership regarding what to demolish or sell/salvage versus what to keep and reuse. Operations usually proclaims that everything is broken or at the end of its useful life while ownership believes that everything can be reused as this was an existing, operating enterprise the day the operation closed. Usually the project budget is the primary determining factor directing a project but was the budget developed considering the reuse of equipment and if so has the existing elements been surveyed to determine what can truly be considered for reuse. This is where the foodservice consultant can provide real value.
As project scope and budgets are refined the foodservice design and consulting team should preform onsite due diligence to help determine what items should be considered for reuse in conjunction with the client’s culinary team and maintenance staff. This effort, although a cost to the client, typically nets several items which can be reused. Regardless of the consultant’s fee for this effort, it only takes identifying a few key items for reuse to more than cover the cost of the consultant’s service and provide tangible savings to the project. Equipment items are only one aspect of the onsite due diligence. A foodservice consulting firm who can identify and locate floor drains and floor sinks for reuse evaluation by the project engineers can further identify material cost savings and reduction in schedule if these various elements can be reused.
The result of the due diligence effort by the foodservice consultant team should be the development of as-built documents which clearly delineate a plan with equipment schedule indicating the status of each item of food and beverage equipment and its final disposition (i.e. reuse in place, reuse but relocate per new design, sell or salvage and trash or scrap at the end of useful life). This data is then reflected in the new project documents showing which items are to be disposed of via demolition plans and which items are to be stored for reuse in the new operation.
Additional consideration should be given to documentation provided by the foodservice consulting team which indicates cost estimates for repairing and/or re-commissioning existing items to be reused. This aspect of the due diligence scope and process is very important to ensure budget is allocated to cover these potential costs. The foodservice consultant team should develop a schedule and matrix which clearly describes the intent for each equipment item. The as-built effort can absolutely save costs, materially help improve the project schedule and provide real value to the client.