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Functional Obsolescence
One of four primary types of obsolescence.

When an asset is no longer able to effectively support the facility's mission.  A form of obsolescence that occurs when the owners needs have changed since the asset was first placed in service.  The asset may be in good physical condition  but not able to satisfy the owners/users needs.

Listed below are some of the key attributes of functional obsolescence:
  • It is more prevalent in the later lifecycle stages of commercial buildings than in residential buildings.
  • It usually results in a significant incremental cost.
  • It is oftentimes one of the most systemic forms of obsolescence that can affect groups of assets and may necessitate the need for redevelopment or repurposing of a facility.

A fire station wants to purchase a new fire truck but realizes that the new trucks are heavier and larger than the old ones, thereby placing different live load on the floors in the apparatus bay and also won't fit through the doorway.

Assessment Methods
Functional obsolescence can be assessed as part of a Facility Performance Evaluation (FPE) and measured, in part, by the Facility Needs Index (FNI).

Measuring Functional Condition

The following table provides an outline of the different levels of functional condtion.
Types of ConditionDescriptionExamples of Distress Indicators
Physical conditionAn asset's degradation in terms of the individual physical elements in the overall assembly

The condition of the physical infrastructure that allows it to meet its intended service level
Demand conditionAn asset's capacity to meet the service needs of existing customers (and future customers)

The ability of the physical infrastructure to meet the service needs of existing customers.
Overloading, underutilization
Functional conditionAn asset's ability to meet the program and service delivery needs in an efficient and effective manner.

The ability of the physical infrastructure to meet program (e.g. community services, etc.), technology, regulatory and/or code requirements
Technological obsolescence (eg. spares availability)

Economic obsolescence eg. energy efficiency)

Legal obsolescence (eg. code changes)

Functional obsolescence

TThe following table provides a 5-point grading scale for measuring degrees of functional obsolescence.
1Very GoodaThe infrastructure in the system or network meets all program/service delivery needs in a fully efficient and effective manner.
bBest available technology
cResource consumption: 100% of baseline efficiency
2GoodaThe infrastructure in the system or network meets program/service delivery needs in an acceptable manner.
bIndustry Standard technology
cResource consumption: 91 to 100% or baseline efficiency
3FairaThe infrastructure in the system or network meets program/service delivery needs with some inefficiencies and ineffectiveness present.
bTechnology considered appropriate
cResource consumption: 76 to 90% of baseline efficiency
4PooraThe infrastructure in the system or network has a limited ability to meet program/service delivery needs.
bTechnology nearing obsolescence (no vendor support or OEM parts available)
cResource consumption: 51 to 75% of baseline efficiency
aThe infrastructure in the system or network is seriously deficient and does not meet program/service delivery needs and is neither efficient nor effective.
bTechnology obsolete (replacement parts unavailable)
cResource consumption: Less than 50% of baseline efficiency

Management Principles
The effects of technological obsolescence can sometimes be managed and mitigated through the following:

Facility Life cycle model indicating get ahead costs
Fig. Lifecycle model to indicate the stages at which functional obsolescence ("yellow") is most prevalent.

The forces of retirement mapped onto the P-F curve
Fig. Functional obsolescence mapped onto the P-F curve alongside the other forces of retirement.

I. Care is in a panic as some of his assets are "fading" away while others are "degrading"
Fig. I. Care is in a panic as some of his assets are "fading" away while others are "degrading". Functional obsolescence is a form of fading.

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