May 22, 2018 8:01 pm

A look at how the City of Lethbridge maintains buildings

The City of Lethbridge is solely responsible for the upkeep of 170 tax-based buildings in the community. But how do they decide what takes priority? Matt Battochio reports.


Lethbridge is a growing city whose population is closing in on 100,000 people and is also filled with all kinds of buildings. Of those buildings, 170 are tax-based, which means the city is solely responsible for their upkeep.

Conrad Westerson, the City of Lethbridge’s facility services manager, is charged with maintaining all those buildings.

READ MORE: Lethbridge is the fifth-fastest growing city in Canada

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“In the green zone, the likelihood of an unplanned failure is very, very small,” Westerson mentioned as he looked at his computer screen on Tuesday.

Westerson is able to track a building’s status with a program called asset management. It shows if a building is in good, fair, poor or critical condition. The program also indicates a 30-year projection as to where the facility will be if it receives no maintenance.

“The intent is to prevent any real damage,” Westerson said. “Because the damages usually cause more effort and funds to actually make good on fixing the problems after they occur.”

The projections Westerson works with are based off of information provided by an asset inspector.

“This person goes around and inspects all of our facilities for condition,” he said. “So they look at all the different systems and equipment in the facilities and identify what part of their life cycle each of those pieces of equipment are in.”

READ MORE: City of Lethbridge hosts a renovation update on the Yates Centre 

Using a $9-million annual budget, Westerson and his staff are tasked with maintaining buildings for a minimum of 50 years, with an understanding they will last 75.

“Surveying each piece of equipment on a recurring four-year basis so that we’re pretty on top of where everything is,” he said. “We’re about 85 per cent through all the buildings now.”

Westerson added that buildings with high public use, like city hall, are frequently maintained, while others focus primarily on functionality.

© 2018 Global News, a division of Corus Entertainment Inc.

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