Technology in Architectural Practice


Quick Links

Who we are

The AIA Technology in Architectural Practice Knowledge Community (TAP) serves as a resource for AIA members, the profession, and the public in the deployment of computer technology in the practice of architecture. TAP leaders monitor the development of computer technology and its impact on architecture practice and the entire building life cycle, including design, construction, facility management, and retirement or reuse.

Expand all | Collapse all

Building Condition Assessment Software

  • 1.  Building Condition Assessment Software

    Posted 01-05-2018 12:42
    ​Seeking thoughts, recommendations, experiences, ideas about Building Condition Assessment Software products.  The task is to report on available technology which can accumulate building / facility condition assessments into a database for ease of retrieval to determine building / facility renovation program for government agency with multiple plants including multiple building / facility types including office, laboratory, pumping station, industrial process facilities.

    Michelle Gillette-Murphy AIA
    Associate Architect
    Metropolitan Water Reclamation District of Greater Chicago (MWRDGC)
    Submit for Innovation Awards

  • 2.  RE: Building Condition Assessment Software

    Posted 01-08-2018 17:28
    Check out Quire at

    I am their Technical Director, after spending 20+ years as an architect in the due diligence and Capital Needs Assessment industries. So I AM biased, but I also know a great tool when I see one.

    The costs can be generated on a per building basis, compared across a portfolio, projected out over just about any time period, with any imputed inflation rate.

    Take a look at the website, and if anyone wants to know more, contact me directly at

    Loraine DeBelser, AIA | Technical Director |
    o: 267.935.9777 x104


    Submit for Innovation Awards

  • 3.  RE: Building Condition Assessment Software

    Posted 01-08-2018 18:04
    Years ago I managed the condition assessment process and system for a number of facilities, at that time using an application called ReCAPP.  That company was then sold to VFA (who had their own product) which I believe was then bought by Accruent.  I looked at the VFA solution, but that was also a number of years ago.  IBM will also tell you that their Tririga platform has the ability to do condition assessments.  I'm sure there are many other systems out there that are comparable.
    One that I did use (for reasons I'll explain below) is eComet, by Parsons, the internationally known engineering firm.
    There are several important factors to consider when weighing these various systems:
    • Will the company using the application have the resources to do the initial population of condition assessment data and then sustain it over time?  If they do use their own resources, will the same persons be doing all the assessments (it's critical to have the same pair of eyes or at least consistent criteria when doing condition assessments - one persons' "poor" condition is another persons' "fair").
    • The data does go stale - typically not right away, but even with a very thorough assessment, especially if some of the projects are completed, the data should be refreshed every 5 years, if not sooner.
    • Costs - understand how the forecasted renewal costs are calculated - did someone actually do an estimate or was it a cost per sf parametric value that was used?
    • Understand that, depending on your business, you won't want to drive down to the same level of detail for every system, but every system should be accounted for.  I had people ask me why flooring as a system was in the database, as it's replaced by maintenance on an as needed basis or when area remodels were done.  Yet when someone needed a figure for an overall building upgrade, that data suddenly became very valuable.
    • The company using the application must have a very clear vision as to what is critical to their particular operation, including what systems are critical (e.g. HVAC vs. roofing) as well as understanding the implications of failure for these various systems.  Condition assessment applications typically have an algorithm that lets you weight certain systems or conditions, while the less sophisticated ones simply forecast future renewal costs based on theoretical system lifecycles.  Different asset types such as the ones you mention makes this exercise even more complex.
    • Most or all of these databases are proprietary to some degree, so make sure when you write the contract that if you and the company part ways, there is the possibility to at least get your data out in a flat file for your next system (but there will still be lots of data massaging)
    • Understand how (or if) you want the condition assessment app to play with your other platforms.  The IBM Tririga platform, for example, has many capabilities well beyond condition assessment, while the others mentioned here are designed solely for that purpose.
    As for eComet, here's what was unique about them at the time - many engineering companies will provide condition assessment services, but they use someone else's software (an IBM or Accruent product) to put your data in.  Parsons developed eComet internally and continued to refine it based not only on the feedback of their assessors who performed the field assessments but also their clients.
    Hope this helps!

    James Rodriguez AIA
    Project Manager
    Torrance CA

    Submit for Innovation Awards

  • 4.  RE: Building Condition Assessment Software

    Posted 01-08-2018 19:09



    About 13 years ago, I managed a challenging project to inspect and report on 60+ public housing projects for the purpose of determining recommended repairs, and estimating  the cost for funding.  We had been asked by our Client to use Microsoft Access, and they provided the files from a previous PCA/PCR.  We were able to "reverse-engineer" much of how the database worked, and were able to link portions of the database into a MS Word report format that did most of the work for us.  The biggest challenge was create a survey format that utilized pre-determined defect descriptions to help ensure consistent reporting among our three teams of two field inspectors, while minimizing the time spent in the field.  Once we had that in place, the next challenge was how to tie digital photos to the report items.  We did not have hardware then that is available now to take photos with a tablet or i-pad.  Finally, we had to manually create the cost estimates, using excel spreadsheets.  Again, we developed formats and  unit repair descriptions and costs that could be reused to both expedite the process and ensure consistency of approach.


    Since considerable time has passed since my project, I am sure that you could find software that is already more customized for  PCA/PCR work.  There were a few companies specializing in this type of work when I searched the internet back then, and there must be more today.  Most of the publically available software was for Home Inspections.  Not much help that is current, but the PCA/PCR process is the same.  In your case, it sounds like you may also have multiple, different consultants over an extended period of time.  All the more important to have inspection and report formats that are consistent.  We had to tweak ours as we went along, to add descriptions, etc.


    Good luck!


    Alan Atkinson, AIA, CSI CCS

    Submit for Innovation Awards

  • 5.  RE: Building Condition Assessment Software

    Posted 01-09-2018 19:25
    The Corps of Engineers developed its own facility condition assessment (FCA) software several years ago called BUILDER, which is being used by most federal agencies and by other entities as well.  In 2014, the Department of Defense mandated the use of BUILDER as its enterprise FCA for all the services.  Information paper is at  Feel free to contact me if you have any questions.

    Submit for Innovation Awards

  • 6.  RE: Building Condition Assessment Software

    Posted 01-09-2018 10:02
    When I was managing the buildings for the City of Evanston Illinois we used a product called Builder and Roofer.
    This was 7 years ago.
    They worked well especially Roofer.
    You had to train staff to work the inputs, but then you could see across your entire portfolio.
    Not sure if it is still out there, but at the time, it worked well.

    David Cook AIA
    Principal Architect
    Skokie IL

    Submit for Innovation Awards