Facilities Condition Assessment FAQs: How to Write a Strong RFP and More

You know your university campus could benefit from a comprehensive Facilities Condition Assessment (FCA). Now comes the hard part: writing the Request for Proposal (RFP). Below are answers to frequently asked questions about how to write an RFP that results in a thorough FCA.

How do you write a strong RFP for a Facilities Condition Assessment?

There are countless ways to structure an RFP, but good RFPs tend to contain the same elements.

  • A clear purpose statement. This paragraph explains why your college or university wants an FCA, the outcomes you expect as a result of the assessment and a brief outline of contracted services.
  • A general Scope of Work. This expansion of the contracted services from the purpose statement describes the actions you expect your assessment partner to take. The Scope of Work must be comprehensive; that is the only way to end with a usable FCA. If you expect a root cause analysis or a project scoring model, you must put it in writing.
  • A list of qualifications. Be clear about who you will permit to perform your FCA. What type of expertise and experience is necessary?
  • Detailed submission requirements. The quality of responses you receive is directly proportional to the quality of your submission requirements, so it’s important to be precise and clear, leaving no room for ambiguity.

Writing a strong RFP for an FCA is a lot of work, but the results are worth it. Download this sample RFP to use as a reference.

Are there engineering requirements for a Facilities Condition Assessment?

You might be surprised to learn there are no licensing requirements for performing a facilities assessment. Engineers are typically associated with FCAs, but many trained and competent professionals can evaluate facilities’ lifecycles and fundamental conditions.

What do I need to do to prepare for a Facilities Condition Assessment?

Start with a firm grasp on the strategic objectives of your institution and a clear understanding of how you expect to utilize the results of the FCA. Evaluating the results of past assessments is critical to ensuring everyone is clear about the scale of the project and the effort required. Forecasting future resource capacity and the political forces that could potentially influence the use of those resources will help you devise an approach that carefully balances those factors. Finally, identify all the data points you’ll need to help guide the process and consider the time needed for your internal stakeholders to share information and discuss the outcomes they desire to see. The conversations will steer your FCA efforts.

Bonus tip: Don’t forget to determine who is paying for your FCA. It’s important for someone to “own” the outcome. This affects your ability to implement the assessment’s findings.

How detailed does my Facilities Condition Assessment need to be?

If you have the financial resources to add an asset inventory to your condition assessment and the personnel to manage and utilize the extra information that is gathered, combining both efforts to minimize disruption on campus makes sense. But be cautious, an asset inventory can be an expensive and demanding addition to an FCA. A team prepared to take advantage of such information will need to be larger and, as a result, require greater expense to fully optimize the campus maintenance systems for the most effective planned, predictive or fault detection focused programs.

How is a Gordian Facilities Condition Assessment different from the traditional FCA?

Our Sightlines Assessment & Planning solution is more than the assembly of a project list. It transcends the traditional FCA and ends with an actionable, long-term capital plan. This comprehensive approach helps campus decision-makers target investments that reflect university goals and ensure each dollar is allocated to the highest priorities.

Our process starts with a technical assessment and a detailed evaluation of project needs. This step is the cornerstone of your FCA and includes:

  • Reviewing and consolidating facilities data from existing drawings, reports and previous evaluations.
  • Inspecting and collecting asset conditions in the field.
  • Interviewing facilities operators to confirm observations and validate the project list.

However, successful long-term planning requires more than a technical evaluation. This process should result in a plan that is credible, affordable and actionable. And that means going beyond the traditional FCA. This strategic step includes:

  • Coordinating project needs with institutional objectives and strategic planning documents.
  • Separating campus needs into project portfolios and analyzing investment criteria to create a framework for rational, mission-based funding distribution.
  • Creating a multi-year capital plan that manages backlog deferral and guides future investment decisions.

What outcomes should I expect from a Gordian Facilities Condition Assessment?

Fundamentally, a facilities assessment should help you get realistic costs of campus facilities’ needs. But a list of needs with no context is not all that useful. Ideally, this list is strategically categorized and arranged into a field-validated project inventory. With our assessment approach, a “new way FCA,” this technical foundation will lead to an actionable framework for project prioritization and implementation that can be understood by all constituents across campus. This includes:

  • Strategic assessment of the condition of campus assets to include repair, modernization and potential new space needs.
  • Segmentation and sequencing of the facilities backlog based on both technical and program needs.
  • Development of scenarios based on various funding levels and reinvestment.
  • Strategies for slowing the rate of backlog accumulation.

Sightlines Assessment & Planning enables a campus dialog and provides the framework for all stakeholders to act in solidarity to address the highest-priority needs. A plan that reflects university goals and objectives will establish a rationale for funding allocation that is broadly supported, and it will create confidence that the actions being taken will propel the institution forward.

Who on my campus will benefit from a Gordian FCA?

When you have a strategic assessment of asset conditions and a mission-driven capital plan, the entire campus community wins.

  • Facilities staff gets a comprehensive inventory of the conditions of their physical assets and an actionable plan to help them communicate and prioritize project needs.
  • Finance administrators gain a complete understanding of facilities’ challenges and the opportunities to optimize fiscal resources.
  • Fiduciary leaders have transparent access to the condition of the property and its impact on the mission of the institution.
  • Faculty and students receive affirmation that the critical issues are identified and part of the investment plan.
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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.