Functional and operational reliability of commercial buildings: A case study of Kampala central business district shopping malls
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The study of reliability is a wide discipline. Therefore, the major purpose of the study was to analyze and document the critical factors which affect the operational and functional reliability of commercial buildings in Kampala Central Business District (KCBD) with a view of improving on building reliability. A building can be structurally strong but functionally and operationally less reliable. In a building where water and power expenditures increase far beyond the planned budgets, maintenance and repair costs are high, vacancy costs are high, accessibility is hard, etc., the building is said to be less reliable. Many shopping malls in Kampala are noted to follow this trend. Questionnaires were administered to various malls in KCBD to collect information on the level of reliability metrics incorporated throughout the Life Cycle of the buildings. These data were processed and information revealed critical factors that impact on the buildings’ physical and functional performance states. The findings include; KCCA lacking adequate inspection of building works & testing of installed equipment to conform to the required standards; poor maintenance activities; occupying the structure when it is half-way under construction; omissions of building systems during construction; poor quality installations of building systems; not considering operation and maintenance personnel as part of the planning and design team at inception stages; continual increase in power rates by UMEME; population increase in the malls and water facilities being used by the public rather than intended occupants, etc. It was thus concluded that the most frequent factors affecting building performance in KCBD are; KCCA lacking adequate inspection of building works so that the works are certified to conform to the building regulations before commissioning; poor maintenance activities; omissions of building systems such as lifts and ramps during construction, continual increase in power rates and not considering operation and maintenance personnel as part of the planning and design team at inception stages. The key recommendations proposed include; Demand Response (DR) strategies to address increase in energy usage so as to curb a way to control the expenditure on power; KCCA to be more proactive with the testing and inspection of completed works and promoting the use of FIDIC guidelines; the increase in the population using water facilities to be addressed by conducting a risk assessment prior to design where a realistic population growth rate is estimated and utilizing RWH technology; and the MoW&T in association with KCCA to come up with a building maintenance policy, etc.