Open building management is a form of management in which we apply the level distinction. A household manages the fit-out, a housing corporation manages the base building and the municipality or district council the urban fabric. Each one manages its own domain. That also applies to renovation.
At urban fabric level, the municipality preserves the quality of public spaces, the green areas, the paving, lighting, furnishings and public pipelines. In case of renovation, the municipality together with stakeholders, takes care of the building complexes that arose separately, so that the dialogue between the owners of complexes and the municipality leads to a strengthening of the district. In this way we improve play areas, traffic and the spatial composition by adding a building here and there or, if necessary, by removing one.
Parcelled out land falls outside the government urban fabric management but the municipality wants to encourage and check that the domain of the base building is not soiled or abused, in violation of the agreements. For a housing manager, a foundation or corporation for example, it is important that the allocated living space remains leasable or sellable. This means that the structure of the building must be properly maintained: the lobbies, lifts, facades, roofs, main pipes, in short, the entire base building. The organization does not interfere with the management of the fit-out section, i.e. everything behind the front door; that is the responsibility of the residents. In fact, Open Management is the obvious choice since the real estate section retains its value thanks to continuous input from the residents in their own domain. The property can continue to follow and respond to the living needs.
The resident takes care of maintenance and replacement of fixtures and fittings, of course with all the financial consequences. He takes responsibility for changes, in the same way tenants in office buildings have done for years. A base building manager may have a certain interest in residents maintaining the interiors of the houses properly; he will certainly want to encourage residents and lend them a helping hand. After all, a dilapidated building is not much value to him. Particularly the last two projects described in the Open Design Pocketbook show that residents treat their fixtures and fittings with care because they feel that with their own layout, the (rented) house has become much more their ‘own’.
A logical consequence of that is ‘cell-wise renewal’: renovation of the fit-out per house, separate from the renovation of a base building. The most important benefits are:
- only the home that needs it is renovated;
- the (new) residents are immediately involved;
- for every home a completely individual layout can be made;
- the whole change /renewal takes place in less than two weeks;
- during the renovations the house – certainly the building – remains liveable.
According to the OBOM report Open Building Neighbourhood Renewal (in Dutch), the level distinction provides significant benefits, also in the renovation of post war neighbourhoods. After a few test cases in Voorburg calculations show that this method of renovation is economically superior to working per block, with no discomfort to residents.