Managing Aging Facilities: How A Facility Conditions Assessment Can Help You!
For professionals tasked with capital planning and budgeting, success usually starts with one thing: accurate, timely data on the condition of their assets. An asset can be in the form of site improvements, building envelopes, mechanical, plumbing and electrical systems or production equipment. How well they are managed is based on a number of factors:
- How it is used, maintained and operated
- Value or purpose it provides to operations
- Initial investment and replacement cost
Through the use of Facilities Conditions Assessments, Russell can help your organization with the proper management of assets and support financial, operational and production goals and objectives.
Part I: How Can You Successfully Manage Your Assets?
A Facility Conditions Assessment (FCA) allows an organization to optimize the use of resources, inventory assets and evaluate their conditions and importance – leading the way for short term budgeting of funds, as well as, long-term capital planning strategies to be developed. This process sets the stage for developing a predictive, proactive, and managed asset management approach in lieu of a reactive approach.
A third-party Facility Conditions Assessment gives a facility owner an objective look at the condition of their buildings while using industry benchmarks and standards to identify future replacement and maintenance cost. This report can lend creditability to capital requests and help an organization understand the necessary commitment to maintaining their facilities.
It also allows issues to be addressed before failure and a crisis is created. When a failure occurs, operations and production are affected. Unplanned and unanticipated repairs can be more disruptive, time-consuming and costly. The peaks and valleys in production, operations, comfort, and cost can be reduced.
Part II: FCA’s in Action – UW Health Case Study
Recently, Russell successfully developed an asset management plan for University of Wisconsin Healthcare and Clinics (UW Health), through our comprehensive Facility Conditions Assessment that was completed in October 2017.
- Owner Goal:
The UW Health Facilities Department, in an attempt to develop a more proactive approach to maintaining their current facilities, hired Russell to perform a Facility Conditions Assessment. A key component of this process was to be predictivewith asset maintenance and repair, and have the funding budgeted to allow future servicing needs. Energy saving opportunities were also identified.
- Scope of the Project:
At the owner’s request, the scope was a high-order of magnitude assessment of major building components for 15 buildings, ranging in dates constructed from 1965-2010, to create a five-year budget projection for maintenance, repair and replacement of the components surveyed.
- Facility Conditions Assessment Process:
Throughout the summer/fall of 2017, Russell’s dedicated staff toured the facilities to observe infrastructure, building envelope, critical mechanical and electrical system components at each site. Our staff also researched site conditions through available facility drawings, supplemented by work order and asset records. This was then reviewed and discussed with UW Health staff. Each individual site and component received a rating on the following scale:
- Excellent – a very new component exhibiting no signs of wear and appropriate for the intended purpose
- Very Good – a component that is appropriate for the intended purpose, has most of the average life expectancy remaining, has been maintained well and is showing little signs of wear and tearGood – a component that is appropriate for the intended purpose, is near the midpoint of the average life expectancy period, has been maintained well and is showing normal signs of wear and tear
- Ok – a component that is appropriate for the intended purpose, is near the end or has exceeded the average life expectancy period, is still functioning as intended, has been maintained well and is showing normal signs of wear and tear.
- Poor – a component that is serving the basic function as intended, is near the end or has exceeded the average life expectancy period, is distressed and is no longer reliable or acceptable for its intended purpose
- Out of Service – no longer in use or required
All of the information obtained through our research and walkthroughs was analyzed and organized into a final report detailing our findings of the 15 facilities. The content of the final report was based on the Building Owners and Managers Association International (BOMA) guidelines, defining average useful life expectancies of building components. The BOMA metric was then compared to the actual life of various building components currently in use to show remaining useful life.
Costs for maintenance, repairs, and replacement of building components were also gathered from various sources; including Russell’s extensive database of construction costs, trusted partners providing specific cost data, RS Means Facilities Maintenance & Repair Costs manual, RS Means Cost Data Workbook and RS Means online cost data. This data provided guidance to calculate today’s costs for specific components while reflecting adjustments for the Madison, Wisconsin area, where the owner is based.
Specific recommendations were also provided within data sheets for each building and summarized, including current site photos. Russell also provided a five-year breakdown of projected spending across the 15 buildings to UW Health to be used in their future budgeting process.
- Deliverable to Owner:
Russell combined five years of budget planned maintenance activity for 15 buildings into one sortable electronic resource. Hard copies of the 200+ page document were also provided to the owner for their exclusive use.
- Value to Owner:
For the owner, the ability to predict what systems will need replacement and/or repair and know the amount and timing of the expenditure are critical to successfully managing their facilities. We have helped transform a reactive, emergency-repair based facility management program into a proactive process that maximizes useful life while avoiding the emergency breakdown scenario. This is one of the major goals of a quality third-party Facility Conditions Assessment.
Part III: Do I Need a Facility Conditions Assessment?
Any owner operating with a fixed budget can benefit from a Facility Conditions Assessment. Either by planning improvements over budget periods or by identifying the financial resource needs over time for budgeting – allowing a proactive approach to be established. Owners whose operations or production are affected by equipment failures receive significant benefits. If adverse conditions and business disruption or shutdown can be avoided, operations continue as planned. In any case, making repairs or replacing systems in a planned, scheduled approach allows for less disruption and reduced cost because the activity was not processed as an emergency. Preventing a fire before it starts is always better than fighting a fire and the consequences of it.
Cost of Services
You may be asking – what will a Facility Conditions Assessment cost my organization? Well, there are general guidelines for Facility Conditions Assessments; however, every situation will be different. Some of the basic cost guidelines include:
- Is there one site or multiple sites?
- Where are they located in relation to each other?
- How large are the sites/facilities?
- What types of systems or facility assets are being assessed?
- Is it a “snapshot in time of conditions that currently exist or will we be forecasting efforts and costs?
- What level of detail is required?
Understanding the needs of each individual client and the individual resources will help our team tailor a facilities assessment document meeting those needs.
The more access Russell has to building and systems drawings the better. Accurate identification of systems and their sizes allow for more precise estimates for maintenance, repair, and replacement of those systems. The owner often has knowledge of how systems have functioned, how they have been maintained and any costs incurred related to the asset over time. This information all adds value to the assessment study and will be reflected in better accuracy of the final report.
Part IV: What Can Russell Do For Me?
Russell employs individuals with years of experience dealing specifically with constructing and managing building assets. Some have completed these assessments for years as building owners and operators and understand the cycles of funding and a need to work within a budget. Russell also has a great deal of experience with calculating costs related to replacement of these assets and their cost database is constantly being updated by current market knowledge.
Once a Facility Conditions Assessment is complete, Russell can also provide services to manage the implementation of planned replacement of building components. This can come in the form of generating requests for proposals, preparing bid documents and work packages, providing construction management or providing program management for implementation of activities. We are a full-service construction and development firm and we are ready to partner with you.
Contact us to learn more!
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