Maintaining a facility is no easy task and the financial support needed to effectively do so is often overlooked or underestimated. By developing a “Facility Study”, you will have the tools to ensure that you and your organization have a proactive and comprehensive plan to address these needs and their associated costs.
The term “Facility Study” is general and often means something different to different people / organizations. We consider the term to include Facility Assessment and / or a Long-Range Facility Needs Plan.
A facility study can be defined as an assessment that looks at each part of a building's infrastructure and records information regarding system condition, code deficiencies and functional effectiveness. These items are then categorized by year needed and assigned a cost for replacement or repair. These estimated costs include costs of work, soft costs (design, testing, FF&E, etc.), escalation costs, and contingency, all of which are needed to develop an accurate and detailed financial projection. Facility Study’s only focus on facilities that are currently in an Owner’s inventory and develop a proactive approach for managing all cost liabilities associated with deferred, current, and future maintenance needs.
Deferred maintenance is a term coined by Facility Owners and Managers that were unable to effectively forecast and manage facility maintenance needs. Deferred costs include items that were needed in previous years that have been push into future years. This practice can cause a major financial hardship by “piling on” many projects until the overall cost overwhelms an Owner / Facility Manager. A sample scenario of Deferred Maintenance: continual patching of a roof, well past the expected life expectancy, until an emergency failure occurs. This failure can result in a multi-million-dollar emergency roof replacement that was not budgeted.
Current maintenance includes all work that is required within a 12-month time period to replace building components that have reached their life expectancy. In some cases, building components require more maintenance than typical and the life cycle cost of maintenance might outweigh the cost of replacement, even though the useful life of said component has not been reached.
Future Maintenance and preventative maintenance is critical in the reduction of the cost of ownership of any facility. Every building requires typical milestone maintenance, whether it be patching, sealing asphalt parking & drives or filter changes for an HVAC unit. If these maintenance items are done periodically, the life expectancy can be maximized, and small problems can be corrected before expanding into expensive, full replacement projects. We identify the typical maintenance needed and establish a timetable to address.
A LRFNP includes all the components of a Facility Assessment but can also include demography (enrollment forecasts), capacity assessments (K-12), forecasts of new capital projects based on
need / growth, as well as additional support facilities needed to address growth or facility replacement all over an extended period of time (typically 10 years).
The process includes developing multiple options that address future needs that are vetted with the administration, board of trustees, county / town council, and the community. Once all input is received, the options are further defined to a single option and ultimately adopted by the organization and developed into a building plan.
Demographic Study / Enrollment Projections– there are many methodologies that can be used to develop enrollment projections, live births, cohort survival, real estate transactions, etc.. The method used should be tailored for each community and it is important to be aware that each projection model uses only actual enrollments, births, and retention rates to formulate these projections. Other factors which may exist in a community or school district, such as a significant change in new home building, may need to be considered in conjunction with the projections to most accurately estimate future enrollments.
Capacity Study (K-12) – A prerequisite to developing a comprehensive LRFNP is knowing the educational capacity of each facility. This educational capacity differs from the “building capacity” and the blurring of these two terms causes much confusion so it’s important to know the difference and make sure all parties and the community speak the same language.
Growth Based Capital Projects / budgeting / Scheduling – By using projection data, one can determine space needs, date when needed, and an accurate budget based on said date. This a proactive approach to growth-based needs and is critical to developing space needs prior to existing facilities being saturated and overcrowded.
Extended Period of Time – One of the hallmarks of a LRFNP is the associated time period. Often, these Plans include a 10-year period of time but can be custom to each client. The key is that the study offers enough of a cross section of time to allow each client to be proactive in their pursuit.