Bolt-on vs. Built-in

While quoting bolt-on canopies from plans showing built-ins, we mainly work with the G.C., one of our dealers, or a corporate client. Rarely do we have an opportunity to explain to the architect the advantages of designing the architectural elements as bolt-on rather than built in. So, let me offer that explanation here.

Commercial buildings usually represent a large asset on the owner’s balance sheet. The value is not just the value of the facility and location, but also the ease of selling that asset when the time comes. If the building has the architectural elements built into the structure, the appearance of the building cannot be changed without a significant remodeling investment. If the architectural elements are bolted onto the building, you can more easily and with less expense remove those elements and bolt on new. This is particularly important with chain stores that want those elements as part of their brand image. With bolt-on architectural elements, you can turn any generic building into your own unique design.

Take all the Pizza Hut stores out there that are now owned by someone else. It is very hard to disguise that double mansard roof. So, the new owners either still look like a Pizza Hut, or they spend a lot of money to change that. With the architectural elements as bolt-on, the design of the building becomes much simpler. Simplifying the GC’s scope of work not only saves you money but saves the inevitable complications in the field that typically results in change orders and disagreements.

Another benefit to bolt-on architectural elements is the rate of amortization. As a bolt-on, you can often claim it as equipment, giving you a 5-7 year amortization rate rather than the 20-30 year rate with the building. This means that when you want to refresh the look of the building (typically in 7-10 years) those elements are already written off.

Refreshing the look of the building is much easier with bolt-on elements rather than built-in. The average refresh rate in the country is about 7 years and shrinking. Planning ahead with bolt-on architectural elements could save a lot of money later.

The last, but not least, benefit with architectural bolt-on elements is the consistency in both cost and quality. If you are using a single source that can service the same geographical area you’re in, you can be assured of consistency in the quality of the fit and finish of the product. The cost would only vary with the amount of product and distance to ship, both being easily determined on the front end of a project.

Bolt-on architectural elements can be anything from awnings, canopies, shutters, patio covers, fascia band soffit brackets fencing, or walkway covers. If you want assistance with designing these things as bolt-on elements rather than built-ins, please contact Awnex, Inc. and talk to one of our representatives.

John Dicks

CEO, Awnex, Inc.