Maximizing Facilities Resources: Advice from the 2019 Building Matters Interview Series

Money. Time. Space. Manpower. If you manage, finance or maintain a facility, every working day is an exercise in making the most of these four resources. The budget always needs to stretch a little further. Project deadlines approach faster than work is completed. Doubts linger about whether your organization is using its space to its full potential and deploying its facilities staff most effectively. And advice about making the most of what you have is in short supply.  

In 2019, we interviewed facilities experts from state government, asset management and higher education about how they maximize their resources and get the most out of their budgets, timelines, spaces and workforces. Here are some of the best suggestions they had to offer.  

Maximizing Facilities Budget

John Gillette, District Director of Facilities, Community Colleges of Spokane 

“The challenge I have is trying to figure out how to stretch the dollars I am allocated. My number one way to obtain more funds is through savings from eliminating waste. I hate waste and I see it everywhere. We’re removing waste from services and a portion of what’s saved returns to facilities so we can invest it back into our buildings. I’m turning HVAC systems off earlier and implementing LED lighting projects to save on utility costs. We’ve also optimized trash and recycling pick-up schedules. We’re saving approximately $100,000 every year just by changing trash and recycling pick-up.”  

Eddie Rodriguez, Physical Plant Director, Arizona Department of Juvenile Corrections

One of the ways we are maximizing our resources here at the Arizona Department of Juvenile Corrections is using ezIQC from Gordianto get projects done. With ezIQC, there’s no big markup. We can finish three projects for what one would cost in the private sector. Plus, we always have access to qualified contractors. I can call up my Gordian rep and have people on-site fast.” 

Maximizing Project Timelines

Harlan Kelly, Jr., General Manager, San Francisco Public Utilities Commission (SFPUC)

“SFPUC uses Job Order Contracting (JOC) for projects that don’t require plans and specs and tasks that need to be completed quickly. JOC gives us a lot of flexibility, which we need because our customers rely on us to deliver services 24/7. By using JOC, we can respond to urgent requests to repair and upgrade our infrastructure in a responsive manner while maintaining transparency and accountability to our ratepayers.” 

Maximizing Facilities Staff

Dan Costello, former Assistant Vice President of Facilities Services and Operations, Washington State University

“As your staff gets smaller, there are opportunities for breaking down silos and integrating similar work groups…A lot of universities separate their construction group from their maintenance group, but we’ve integrated those two work groups and they are now managed under a single supervisor. That gives us the flexibility, for example, to send a plumber to either a maintenance job or a construction job — they are not limited to only one type of work. 

Integrating groups has helped us create a natural battle rhythm in that we can balance our seasonal workflow. We do a lot of construction and renovations during the summer and winter breaks because that’s when the facilities are available to us. The rest of time we focus heavily on maintenance. We have found that to be helpful.” 

John Gillette

“We are also actively looking at facility staffing since the space utilization study. We know we’re a morning institution, so we are discussing whether morning is the right time for facilities staff to come in. Should they come in six hours later when classrooms are unoccupied? Another aspect we are considering is if we can leave shifts the same but put underutilized buildings on a different cleaning schedule. Right now, all buildings get the same attention; we might be cleaning a clean building.” 

Maximizing Facilities Space

David Totman, Director of Asset Management, Innovyze

A key deliverable of asset management is an understanding of future need. We use science, engineering and mathematical analysis to predict the future. That’s our proverbial crystal ball. Even with no specific data, we can use surrogate information to develop a virtual, modeled understanding.  However, this alone is not advisable. We require real data to calibrate our understanding. The more data, the better. The timelier data, the better. Smart sensors and the IoT provide us comprehensive, real-time information that is valuable from an operational perspective.” 

Planning, building and maintaining facilities in any sector means maximizing the effectiveness of your budget, the time of your staff and the space you have on hand. These professionals have been in your shoes and know the pressures you feel exactly. May the advice they provide help you make the most of your resources in 2020. 

Gordian

About Gordian

Gordian is the leader in facility and construction cost data, software and services for all phases of the building lifecycle. A pioneer of Job Order Contracting, Gordian’s solutions also include proprietary RSMeans data construction costs and Sightlines Facility Intelligence Solutions. From planning to design, to procurement, construction and operations, Gordian’s solutions help clients maximize efficiency, optimize cost savings and increase building quality.