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Three Things a Facilities Condition Assessment Must Identify

By Gordian

The most important sectors of North American life depend on effectively managing facilities and other physical assets. Government administration requires physical structures to function, to say nothing of public safety services, school districts and housing. While telehealth is on the rise, the lion’s share of healthcare is delivered in hospitals and doctors’ offices. The physical campus endures as a vital part of the higher education experience.

Organizations that rely on functioning physical assets emphasize strategic facilities planning to meet their objectives and serve the community. Effective planning begins with collecting a trove of asset data via a Facilities Condition Assessment (FCA). An FCA is a technical assessment that measures the condition and functionality of all the assets in a facilities portfolio. This assessment is largely concerned with major building systems but may include a facility’s every component. Historically, infrastructure and any other physical assets that require funding to maintain are also evaluated in an FCA.

A useful FCA, one that leaders can lean on during the facilities planning process, should identify three important aspects of the facilities portfolio.

Three Things a Facilities Condition Assessment Must Identify

1. Existing Physical Assets

One of the most important pieces of information that must appear in any successful facilities plan is a thorough accounting of all physical assets in an organization’s portfolio. It sounds like common sense to expect organizations to maintain a complete and current asset inventory. But it’s not that simple.

Consider an organization with a large physical asset portfolio to manage like a state university system that oversees many campuses, the U.S. Army or the Canadian federal government. With so many facilities to care for in so many locations, inventory discrepancies are bound to happen. Couple that with the fact that the portfolio is liable to expand or contract at any time, plus the realities of staff turnover, and it’s easy to understand why organizations may be unclear about exactly what they own.

An effective facilities plan will list the name, location, size and type of each asset. This information, collected and cataloged in a consistent format, will lay a foundation for success.

An effective facilities plan will list the name, location, size and type following of each physical asset.

2. Asset Conditions

In addition to knowing what physical assets they have, organizations must understand the condition those assets are in. Asset condition data should include known deficiencies and problems, asset age and all maintenance and repair activities that have taken place since the last assessment of the facilities portfolio.

Bear in mind that this data will be shared across departments and functions, including with financial professionals and others who don’t speak the language of facilities. Clarity is paramount. Condition data should tell a story that resonates with any audience. All stakeholders should be able to grasp current needs and connect those needs to strategic objectives with minimal effort.

One widely used tool for telling a resonant story about the asset portfolio is the Facilities Condition Index (FCI). Accepted as a standard across the facilities management industry, FCI provides a snapshot of conditions using a simple equation: The cost to complete all required projects divided by the cost to replace an asset exactly as it is.

FCI Equation

Expressed as a percentage, the lower an FCI, the better condition the asset is in. A building with an FCI of 10% is in excellent shape. Conversely, a building with an FCI of 65% has serious deficiencies and will require significant investment. It may even be a candidate for taking offline.

FCI quickly demonstrates facilities needs in an understandable way and can be applied at the individual asset, asset group or portfolio level. It’s a best practice to include it in any assessment.

A facilities condition assessment should include known deficiencies and problems, asset age and all maintenance and repair activities completed since the last assessment.

3. Repair and Renewal Costs

Any understanding of asset conditions is incomplete without reliable estimates of repair, replacement and improvement costs. Further, successful facilities plans will include both the immediate costs of mitigating existing deficiencies and all associated long-term expenses. Leaders must know how much to budget for a project now and into the future.

Even the largest budgets are finite. Thus, it’s crucial that accurate and verified construction costs undergird an organization’s estimated repair and renewal costs. Using trustworthy material, labor and equipment costs ensures that leaders allot the appropriate amount of funding — no more, no less.

Find out more about obtaining data for facilities planning in this free eBook.

Collecting Facilities Data

A proper Facilities Condition Assessment requires gathering a massive amount of data. The effort and expense of collecting this data often dissuade organizations from doing it. Instead, they rely on past assessments, the facility staff’s impressions of asset conditions and the opinions of their colleagues. They do so at their own peril. Without a data-driven foundation, a facilities plan is likely to fail.

Yet time and budget constraints are very real. That’s why Gordian offers an array of facilities assessment options that organizations can deploy to maximize their resources, align with their strategies and objectives and gather the data they need to plan effectively.

The Engineering Assessment is our version of the classic FCA, and the most comprehensive option we offer. These assessments are conducted by Gordian engineers and/or experienced assessors, who inspect a facility from the boiler room to the roof and document every system, every subsystem and every individual building component. This evaluation results in a thorough and complete accounting of every inch of the facility.

Next, we have the Detailed Assessment. This type also requires an experienced assessor to catalog your assets on-site, though not as granularly as with the Engineering Assessment. The Detailed Assessment delivers data on all major component systems, like plumbing and HVAC.

Unlike the previous options, Gordian’s Core Systems Assessment does not require one of our assessors to collect data. Instead, we provide an organization’s in-house team with the tools to conduct assessments using tablets and/or mobile devices. While not an intensive component-by-component assessment, this option produces baseline performance data for major building systems.

Finally, we offer the Life Cycle Assessment. This option uses statistical modeling to estimate renewal and replacement costs for major building systems of a given age. This assessment does not provide details about a specific facility, but it does provide a general idea of costs.

Not sure which Gordian assessments apply to the facilities in your portfolio? Watch this on demand webinar for more info.

Replacement and Renewal Costs Powered by RSMeans Data

All Gordian facility assessments use RSMeans Data to estimate replacement and renewal costs. This is a major advantage for organizations. RSMeans Data is North America’s most trusted construction cost database and has been for decades. It’s also the most comprehensive, with 92,000 line items localized to over 970 locations and verified by 30,000 hours of annual research. This reliability is crucial for accurate budgeting.

Better Assessments, Smarter Decisions

Given the importance of functional facilities both to the organizations that own them and the communities that rely on them, effective facilities planning is more important than ever. With the stakes as high as they are, it is incumbent upon leaders to insist on FCAs that accurately reflect the facility portfolio, including age, condition and replacement costs.

About Gordian

Gordian is the leading provider of Building Intelligence™ Solutions, delivering unrivaled insights, robust technology and expert services to fuel customers’ success through all phases of the building lifecycle. Gordian created Job Order Contracting (JOC) and the industry-standard RSMeans Data. We empower organizations to optimize capital investments, improve project performance and minimize long-term operating expenses.

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