October 9, 2023

How Franken Can Help New Mexico Communities Upgrade Their Aging Infrastructure

Historic buildings can be a wonderful display of a community’s heritage and culture. But as they age, they often begin to pose safety, health and quality-of-life hazards for their occupants. The question is then: is it worth the investment to upgrade the existing structure? Or would it be better to rebuild?

It’s a legitimate question. Upgrading aging infrastructure is not just a matter of maintenance. It’s an investment in the future. One that enhances safety, promotes economic growth, reduces environmental impacts, and improves quality of life for a community’s residents.

Upgrading Infrastructure Enhances Public Safety

Upgrading an aging building for safety concerns is more than just checking for asbestos and lead paint. Many aspects of a building, if left unchecked, can cause safety issues for the occupants:

  • Building code compliance. Historic buildings are often grandfathered into the city building code. Upgrading to meet the current building code cycle will secure the building’s integrity. This is important for occupants in case of adverse weather or natural disasters. 
  • Ventilation upgrades. Proper ventilation is crucial to healthy indoor air quality. In a historic building, the original ventilation system may not be adequate for the building’s current usage or occupancy.
  • Electrical upgrades. Safety standards for electrical wiring and equipment have significantly changed over time. Old installations may increase the risk of shocks and electrical fires, especially if they’ve deteriorated.

Upgrading Infrastructure Encourages Economic Growth

Investing in historic building renovations can encourage growth in areas where a community is already developed. It places a tangible value on the character and heritage of the community. 

Renovating historic buildings also has financial benefits. New buildings require more energy, materials, and financial resources. Repurposing or upgrading old buildings can be much more cost-effective, especially with government tax incentives for preserving historic properties.

Upgrading Infrastructure Reduces Environmental Impact

When thinking about sustainability, energy-efficiency, and environmental impact, it’s important to consider the embodied energy of the existing building. Compare this to the additional energy and materials it would take to construct a new one. New buildings can take decades to recover energy outlays compared to renovating a similar building that already exists.

Reusing an existing building also creates less landfill waste and doesn’t use as many natural resources. There will be less construction and less hazardous material debris.

Upgrading Infrastructure Increases Quality of Life

Preserving historic buildings helps a community retain its history, along with attractive aesthetics and appeal. Colin Ellard is a neuroscientist and psychological researcher who has studied how a building’s façade affects passersby. He discovered that people tend to quickly walk by simple, monotonous storefronts. They respond positively to the ones that are complex and interesting to look at.

On a more tangible level, safety upgrades will eliminate electrical system failures and the downtimes that ensue. This will allow operations to continue without interruptions. As discussed above, improvements to HVAC systems and ventilation will increase indoor air quality (IAQ). There’s plenty of research to show how crucial this is for occupant health.

Upgrading Infrastructure is a Worthwhile Investment

Upgrading a historic building is not always easy. But the right contractor will make the investment worthwhile. It’s important to choose a contractor with experience renovating historic buildings. They’ll be able to help you with the assessment and planning, and discuss sustainability. And they’ll know the ins and outs of what to look for during the entire process.

Franken Construction has done multiple historic building renovations. We take great care to maintain the integrity of each project. Our team collaborates directly with the New Mexico State Historic Preservation Office, as well as conservation subconsultants. From the very beginning, we talk about protecting specific historic elements. Then we use special coverings and construction techniques to preserve them. 

Work With Us

We’re ready to help New Mexico communities preserve and restore their aging infrastructure. Franken Construction uses only highly qualified contractors, strict safety measures, and careful quality control on every project. We offer competitive bidding, and we’re dedicated to completing every project on time and within budget. Contact us today to talk about investing in your community’s heritage.