Interior Renovations: How long do things last?

How long will my facility interior products last? Window coverings, privacy curtains, lockers and toilet partitions all have a typical useful life of less than 10 years, whereas some products that are deemed “optional” like surface protection, handrails and doors actually prolong the life of the interior design elements they are designed to protect, and can typically pay for themselves. Here are some tips and tricks with each design element along with some of our thoughts of what to look for in each element if you are trying to maximize their useful life.

A good benchmark for major interior renovations is about every 20 years. By that point, your entire facility could see major renovations, and even if you have invested in high quality, long lasting interior products, it’s a good bet that style and technology have advanced, and will give an overall impression of the facility being outdated. In many cases that overall impression is so important. Regardless of your standard of care, or your reputation, visitors, clients and employees may not be able to move past that first impression of an older interior. That said, replacing products because they have just not stood up to the rigours of industrial usage can be costly from both a capital investment and employee downtime standpoint.

At Belroc, this is our business! We’ve seen many approaches and products over the years and here is our best take at some guidelines, for major product categories.

Wall Protection

In many renovations, surface protection is an afterthought. Interior designers often overlook the importance of cladding high traffic areas such as doors, corners and elevators. Most experienced facility managers understand that in many cases areas left unprotected will quickly break down for things such as drywall or doors, an interior will look worn in a few short years. A good wall protection system should extend the life of your interior from around 6-7 years to 10 years. Over the course of 20 years, it can mean one less additional renovation. Our experience suggests that surface protection actually pays for itself over the 20 year period. To view some examples of Wall protection, click here.

Privacy Curtains

Privacy curtains still remain the most popular means of offering patient privacy in multi-patient hospital rooms today. New curtains enhance the patient experience. However, curtains may also be a means to transmit germs and infections if they are not managed properly. Depending on the area of use, and the frequency of washes, privacy curtains are recommended to be changed out every 5-6 years, as curtains begin to lose anti-bacterial and fire retardant properties around this time.

Toilet Partitions

This is an area that has benefited from improved technology. Metal partitions are still quite popular, but their useful life in high traffic areas is likely only 5-6 years. Rust denting and warping occur over time, and often many visitors first initial experience is in the bathroom facility! Plastic partitions tend to last around 10 years. Solid polymer has become popular for areas subject to excessive abuse or dampness, as it will not delaminate, dent, flake, crack, rust, or break for a 20- 25 years. To look at some examples of bathroom partitions click here.

Lockers

Available in a wide range of sizes, colours, and tiers, lockers are an attractive and effective storage solution for various types of facilities. Lockers can often take quite a beating. Metal lockers typically last anywhere from 5 to 10 years, and are often replaced due to rusted out bottoms and bent doors. Options to replace the locker front give a fresh look from an interior finishes standpoint, without having to replace the entire unit. Plastic lockers are also an option which cost a bit more, but they tend to last much longer than metal lockers. Click here to view some locker options.

There is tremendous research that provides evidence that a more positive environment can lead to better patient outcomes. It can also improve employee morale, and give visitors confidence in the facility. Those aspects alone can help justify the investments you make to keep your facility in tip top shape, but hopefully the above tips, which are a direct result of our experience in the facilities management industry can help you minimize cost and maximize the time in between upgrades.

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