Approaching Retrofitting The Right Way
When we’re engaged to quote on a system, often it’s for a customer who wishes to install within an existing structure. Given Vanguard Wireless systems utilise a mesh RF and/or cellular connection, our systems don’t need to be hard wired into a building, particularly if the devices will be battery powered. Thus retrofitting our systems require little to no additional investment.
If you’re looking at systems that don’t offer these features then you’re looking at a solution that can – and does – tend to be cost prohibitive purely because hard wiring can run into the tens of thousands.
What is retrofitting?
When referring to a building, retrofitting means changing that building’s systems or structure after its initial construction and occupation. It’s generally undertaken to improve amenities or improve the technological performance of a building.
It tends to get expensive when the initial build doesn’t readily accommodate the changes, leading to significant effort and investment. Buildings may need rewiring, plumbing may need relocating, or spaces may need reconfiguring. Often the cost to undertake retrofitting is more expensive than the actual reason for the change, and the project is deemed cost prohibitive.
Not so much of an issue when it’s a cosmetic change, but if it rules out a business’ safety upgrade then it’s much more serious.
Key considerations when retrofitting systems
The primary concern for most businesses would be the perceived investment that’s required to install a system. Does the business own the building? If renting, what permissions are required from the landlord? If owned, should you undertake capital works on the building? Can this investment be recouped either as a tax write off or by increasing the value of an eventual sale? What will be the ROI? You can’t take the work with you so would this be considered a selling proposition for the next owner or tenant.
The next consideration is to compare what’s on the market and understand what additional investment is required for each option. Does an option require a specialist such an electrician to install? Does it run off batteries or does it need mains power? Are the batteries rechargeable, or do you need to allow for ongoing costs for new ones? Can you change the batteries yourself or does the manufacturer need to do this? The least expensive option may deliver a similar result to a more expensive one, but if the cost to retrofit, manage and maintain the system is high, the least expensive system could turn into the most expensive.
Lastly, how flexible is the system you’re looking at installing? Is it tailored to your site needs? Are there on site challenges such as range or interference that it needs to overcome? Does it seamlessly connect to other systems you’re using, including hardware or software? What will all of this cost your business?
Always Make Safety A Priority
Regardless of what you’re looking to install, retrofitting can deliver ROI if you make smart decisions upfront. It will create additional work but the result delivers a safer work site for you, your team, your customers, and your partners.