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Sitework System

One of eight primary systems in a building. 

The sitework system contributes to the exterior appearance of the property and provides access to the building perimeter. The system includes assets such as: 

  • Hard landscaping (such as roadways, walkways, retaining walls; perimeter fencing) and 
  • Soft landscaping (such as trees, lawns, plants and shrubs). 

Also included with sitework are other miscellaneous items, such as irrigation sprinklers, playground equipment. 

The sitework is sometimes considered to be an entirely
separate system from the building and its renewal costs are sometimes calculated with the land. Grounds that are properly maintained create a good first impression for guests and others who arrive at the property.

Risk Management
Risk management is about identifying the undesirable things that could happen to the organization, to the people who live and work in the building(s) and the things that must be done to avoid (or to lessen) the negative impact.
Some of the primary risks (the “consequences”) that are to be avoided or mitigated through management of the interior finishes are as follows:
  • Dangerous slips, trips and floors on uneven/poor paving surfaces, particularly at high traffic locations
  • Potential litigation due to property damage or bodily injury from a fall
  • Low community pride due to unsightly appearance of the grounds
  • Poor organizational reputation due to unsightly appearance of the grounds
  • Increased insect and rodent activity
  • Poor storm water runoff due to blocked drains
Some of the hazards (the “causes”) that can affect the performance of the interior finishes are as follows:
  • Inadequate removal of vegetation growth from drains
  • Inadequate inspection for hazards
Once the organization fully understands and appreciates the significance of the consequences that may arise from inadequate care of the sitework assets, the team can start to make appropriate plans for operations and maintenance so as to mitigate the impact on the organization and its people.

Operations is about the day-to-day activities in the building that must be coordinated amongst different people with a variety of skills.  Listed below are some of the things that should be considered in estimating the level-of-effort to directly operate (or indirectly care for) the sitework assets and the composition of the team that will be required.
  • Durability & Service Life - The site work system typically has long-life assets (greater than 30 years) with the exception of certain kinds of fencing. Since most of the sitework assets are quite durable, they do not require much day-to-day care by the organization.
  • The Asset Inventory – The average building has approximately 10 site work assets in its inventory that includes horizontal surfaces (such as roadways and walkways) and vertical surfaces (such as fences and retaining walls).
  • The Team – The team responsible for the sitework assets can vary dramatically depending on the size of the site around the building(s). For example, townhouse projects will include additional roadways and landscaping that is not typically present at low-rise and high-rise buildings.  Notwithstanding, the operations and maintenance of the sitework system is generally provided by a combination of staff (for general groundskeeping activities) and external contractors (for landscaping and pest control services).
  • Equipment and Supplies – Depending on whether the organization does its own groundskeeping and landscaping, there may be a need for an equipment room/shed for things like mowers, power-washers, rakes and hoses.
  • Documentation & Recordkeeping – The extent of recordkeeping for the sitework system is generally quite minimal other than a caretaker logbook of periodic walkabouts and security checks.

Maintenance is work done to preserve the sitework assets over their useful service lives, without unforeseen repairs or major renewal. Included below is a summary of the things to consider for ongoing maintenance and periodic repairs of the different components of the sitework system.
Maintenance is focused on grounds keeping activities, such as weeding, pruning, mowing and fence painting. Site work assets can either be maintained by 3rd party contractors or building staff

      Routine Maintenance Tasks

     Seasonal Maintenance Tasks
  • Mowing of the lawns
  • Pruning of the vegegation

      Major Maintenance Tasks


Repairs to sitework assets consist mainly of relevelling uneven surfaces and carrying out localized repairs. 
The maintenance and care of the site work assets is focused primarily on vehicular and pedestrian routes across the property as this is where there are the highest concentrations of people.

Capital Planning
The Sitework system is principally subject to physical degradation and is not susceptible to any forms of obsolescence. This means that major components are eventually replaced when they are physically deteriorated beyond an acceptable point.

Effective financial management requires an approach that considers the different building systems in an integrated way.

Listed below are some common examples of retrofits with this system.

  • Wood fence to concrete fence retrofit
  • Wood privacy to vinyl privacy retrofit

Energy Considerations
Trees can have an impact on the internal temperature of buildings and resultant energy costs to cool or heat spaces. While shading opportunities that can potentially reduce cooling costs in the summer months, the close proximity of trees to buildings can increase maintenance costs by having to remove vegetation that is shed onto roofs and staining of exterior surfaces. 
Fig. Asphalt paving and draw gate.

Conceptual representation of the interconnected systems in buildings
Fig. Conceptual representation of the interconnected systems in buildings.

Distribution of medium-life assets within each of the eight primary physical systems
Fig. Distribution of short-life, medium-life and long-life assets within each of the eight primary physical systems. The sitework system contains some of the most durable assets.

See also:

The maintenance plan organized by system across a 12-month cycle.
Fig. The maintenance plan organized by system across a 12-month cycle.

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