“It takes a wise man to learn from his mistakes, but an even wiser man to learn from others.”

Zen Proverb


An important aspect of a facility assessment is a review of available documentation pertaining to the property. This step in the evaluation can uncover information otherwise unavailable once a building has been constructed.

From a review of the construction drawings one can identify many aspects of the building components that are now obscured by interior finishes and exterior cladding.

For example, analysis of the structural or waterproofing details can identify issues contributing to the poor performance of the building envelope.

In essence, the job is to learn from the mistakes of others who have participated in the facility’s construction or management in the past.

In addition, repeated and incessant questioning is integral to the facility assessment process. It is beneficial to ask similar questions in different ways during the assessment process to gain insight into the condition and status of the facility and associated equipment.

This is true for each phase of the process, including:

  • initial project set up,
  • issuing the pre-survey questionnaire,
  • requests for documentation,
  • physical inspection of the facility,
  • conducting interviews, and
  • report preparation.

While the assumptions and analysis of the expert engineer may be important, the success of an evaluation often depends more on the questions asked and analysis of the resulting information obtained.

The above was excerpted from Chuck’s 2014 book Zen and the Art of Facility Assessments