Building Condition Assessments

I want to start doing better condition assessments on all of our buildings.  

In he past, when money has been available for upgrades or projects, we've been doing projects based on a list of requests submitted by building users or from some ad hoc lists we've been keeping.  We haven't had a system for keeping track of and regularly reassessing the condition of parking lots, roofs, flooring, etc. Because we don't have great data on the condition of all building components, We don't always make the improvements where they are most needed.  I'm hoping to shift  the department toward letting the condition of building components drive our to do list.

I'll probably just come up with an excel spreadsheet to track this.  We've got 13 properties and just over 1million square feet of space so I don't need anything overly complicated.  I also like to keep my life simple.

I'm wondering if anybody has any forms they've used or other suggestions they'd be willing to share to make this a success for us.

Thanks in advance

-Ryan

16 Replies

  • Ryan, consider a buidling audit. I do building audits to orginize and facilitate the direction that must be taken to maximize the function of the buildings envolope. Imagine an umbrella (Building Audit) and under the umbrella are the components of a buidling. These components consist of items such as electrical, gas, water & sewer, machanical operations (equipment), general operations (contractors, waste management, venders, ect). Then for each component I will do an analysis and start documenting as much information I can (MDL's, S/N, Manufacture, phone numbers, ect). Also, there are items within the componets that will need an evaluation to determine corrective action to resolve an issue such as motors having issues, improper installation or operation of equipment designing PM progams, management changes to increase work completion and  much more. I hope this helps.  Michael Rickard ---- Siemens Water Technologies

  • Hi Ryan,

    One of hte services we provide our clients are  PCA's and CNA's . We have a great system that can help you track the needs of your facilities. It's very user friendly and the process is not complicated and developed specifically to fit the client's needs.

    I would be happy to discuss with you in more detail , if you like. You can reach me by email at info@fcmconsultinggroup.com

    Best regards,

    Al Diefert,  FCM Consulting Group LLC

  • it sounds like you plan to do this in house rather than use one of the professional businesses.  Start with breaking down each structure by building systems and components: HVAC- compressors, chillers, ductwork..., building envelope- roof, ext walls, windows..., electric- wiring, panels, ATSs... etc.  Check PM records for equipment to identify items near, at or beyond useful life; try to determine when last cosmetic upgrades (paint, flooring) were done, and use industry standards for renewal timeframes.  We use a matrix to determine a priority rating.  One factor is criticality: 1- critical, needs to be done in the 1st year; 2- potentially critical, needs to be done in year 1 or 2; 3 - necessary, not critical, years 3-5; 4- plan for years 6-10; 5- plan for years 11-15.  The last two are used for identifying scheduled renewals.  if an item in years 2 or 3 is deferred, it moves to 1 or 2  for the next year planning. The other factor is the type of need: 1- emergency, life safety, anticipated failure, security enhancement ; 2- expected maintenance, planned replacement, unreliability, renew or upgrade; 3- general safety (not emergent),regulatory, operational improvement; 4- study/evaluation, aesthetic improvement.  Multiplying the criticality by type of needs gives us our priorities.  Then we go down the list and recommend as many as we can expect to do. We are an internal fund operation, so the finance directors for our clients tell us how much they will fund.  Otherwise the CFO and Fac Dir should decide. 

    The prioritization can also be used for customer generated work requests throughout the year, which puts them in the same mix with facilities generated items so there is a transparent approval system for all items.

  • Hey Ryan,

    First and foremost - I'm not selling anything!   :)

    Second, I think it's great that you want to take a big picture approach to the long term care of your properties.

    Several years ago, we were contemplating some of the same issues with which you are concerned.  Our division is responsible for about 45 properties.  In our case, we realized that we would never be able to retain or justify full-time or required staff that would provide us with the multi-disciplinary skills we needed. 

    The solution?  We retained the services of an external A&E firm.  Their first task was to gather data about all of our sites from original plans, specs, and interviews with our in-house personnel who were most familiar with the operation, locations, and histories of the facilities.  Based on this information, they assisted us in assembling short and long term maintenance strategies ( annual, 5 year, 10 year, 20 year, and 30 years out)as well as projected costs for the replacement of various components that typically make up a facility.  This is allso sometimes referred to as "life cycle"  costing.  There are empirical industry data plus your own knowledge that can be used as a baseline to establish a foundational PM and replacement program that you can adjust from that point.  While not written in stone, these financial and other planned projections helped us to flatten our budgets, reduce surprises (not always  :)), and better plan for the upkeep, long term care and administration of our sites.

    We still struggle with in-house versus out-sourced services because of some past experiences, but the A&E firm isn't in that business.

    The A&E company we use has been attentive, skilled and we are very happy with their performance.  They are compensated only for the category and amount (usually hours) of work they perform.  We have forged a very effective working relationship with them and they have developed a sense of ownership with us.

    In summation, doing what is described above gave us a plan - we are always tweaking it but that seems to be the nature of facilities operations.

    Good Luck to you!

     

  • Ryan,

    Our Condition Assessments are done every 2 years and are funded by the State as part of their Capital Improvement Program.  However, the assessments often only provide general information and not the detail needed for making proper decisions on exactly when to replace equipment and components.  One of the things we do is keep spreadsheets on all of our major equipment and components such as roofs, chillers, boilers, cooling towers, etc.  Each has a suggested useful life that can be found in owners manuals, from technical organizations such as ASHRAE and R.S. Means, and from manufacturers.  The expected "end dates" of these items are entered as well as all other pertinent information (manufacturer, nameplate data, size, warranty dates, types, tag numbers, etc.).  We perform periodic inspections via our PM program and make notes on conditions that could jeopardize the expected useful life.  If need be, we update the expected end dates on the spreadsheet.  As we get within 3-4 years of the expected end date, we start our capital submission process so that money will be available when the replacement is needed.  We also take a harder look at the condition of the soon to be replaced equipment and components.  Is the end date accurate?  Does it need to be decreased or increased?  If we've done a good job maintaining these items, we can often extend the end of useful life date on the spreadsheet, thus freeing up money to do other work.  Eventually the items do need to be replaced and the idea is to do proper planning in advance so the money available when needed.  The spreadsheet also serves as a nice forecast for future requests and expenditures.  As we are in a budget crunch right now like many institutions, we are able to look at these forecasts and paint a much more graphic picture on the ramifications of delaying this important work.

    Frank Lucas
    Assistant Director, Work Management
    University of Nevada, Las Vegas

  • I definitely think you should develop a database of some sort to contain this information.  A spreadsheet is fine, but it will quickly become unwieldy.  If you or someone in your organization is familiar with Microsoft Access or another off the shelf database program (Filemaker, Alpha 5), you might want to look into that as a future improvement over a spreadsheet.

    I highly recommend you organize your data around a recognized system.  I recommend using the Uniformat system published by CSI.  They normally charge for a copy, but if you search on the keyword "uniformat", you can probably find a free version of the publication on the web.

    The data structure we use in my organization is a top down structure that goes as follows:   Level 1 - Campus or Site, Level 2 - Assets (Buildings or Significant Site Features), Level 3 - Systems, Level 4 - Requirements.  Each site has assets.  Each asset has systems (that's where Uniformat comes in).  And each system has a life span that will generate a requirement when the life expires.  You will want to calculate a capital replacement value for each system and roll that up to an asset replacement cost.

    One key metric to keep track of is the facility condition index, which is total current requirements/total capital replacement value.

    This should give you a basic starting point to set up your spreadsheet.  If you have any other questions you can contact me at tdstrucely@interact.ccsd.net.

    P.S.:  For pavement assessments, check out the Univ of Wisconsin PASER documents.  Search at http://epdfiles.engr.wisc.edu/pdf_web_files/tic/manuals/.  These are really good.

  • IFMA has several publications.  We have "Building Maintenance Forms, Checklists and Procedures" that we were going to use internally.  However, we have since hired 2 consultants to perform assessments for us.  This provides us with a 3rd party review so that we are either not accused of ignoring customer concerns, or adding projects to be self-serving.  Plus, it gets some current experts in touch with our maintenance folks to learn from each other on new technologies along with the knowledge our folks have of the older systems.  I have 2, dual-purpose agreements for On-Call A/E work, along with the Assessments.  They are multi-year and should help us significantly.  We are in the process of having the consultant sign them, after going thru a solicitation process and evaluating the respondents.  If you'd like more info, call at 505-663-1873 or e-mail me at wayne.kohlrust@lacnm.us  Good luck!

     

    Wayne

  • Hey Wayne:

    Like many who have replied we are a consultancy that provides the assessments and so on and will be glad to work with you for a fee.

    Having said that, if you are looking to do it internally and belong to IFMA, IREM, BOMA or similar groups they all have forms/programs that you should be able to find and utilize.  Also, do a search for CSI and AIA forms and you should find some free or low cost ones available.  If you go to the Whole Building Design Guide web site, at w ww.wbdg.org (extra space after the first w intentional so it would not hyperlink) you can click through and around to a variety of sources for assessments mostly funded by our tax dollars.  There are a number of military, NASA, and Army Corp of Engineer systems and forms.

    Also, you should check the ASTM website for a variety of guides, specifications and so on with formats and forms.  We are on a number of the committees and if nothing else you should be familiar with the thoughts, guidelines, and requirements for the variety of possibilities.  Additionally, you may want to nose around ASHRAE.  Again we belong to some of the committees and it could be beneficial to you to see what all they have going on in this area.

    Finally, although a number of folks have said they have done it, we urge you to never hire any firm for hourly services for this type of or any related work.  It should only be done fixed price as that ALWAYS yields lower costs and no concerns over hours or categories of hours.  Any firm that can not provide you a fixed price most likely cannot figure out the work necessary and/or (most likely both) is looking to pad your bill.  The vast majority of consultancies and A&E's will argue against this but it is the plain simple reality.  There is no work for which we will not provide you a defined scope and a fixed known cost and we have always seen that when someone chooses the hourly rate or non defined scope they pay more than they would have to us.

    thanks and take care,

    Andy

  • Ryan:

    This link will allow you to do free on-line assessments of your sites.  

    http://www.nrgadvocate.com/iba/c-interactive-building-assessment.html 

    They also have MANY tools that they can send you to assess, track, trend, etc your sites.  There is one tool (Rcx Check-List) that has over 200 things to evaluate that are no-cost, low-cost up to capital cost items. 

    You can also go to www.EPAct2005.org to learn about the tax deductions and how they apply to different segments of the buildings.  What you will be able to show your team is that by doing small individual projects like they are doing, they are leaving valuable deductions and incentives on the table that would help cover the costs of the projects.

    We can discuss this further if you want to call my office to schedule a conference call.  You can reach Jeanette at 951-679-3483.  Good luck with your project Sir...

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    Hi Ryan,

     

    We develop a software solution called PlantLog, which is specifically designed for asset condition tracking and analysis.

     

    The general work flow for this would be:

     

    1.       Input the assets within your buildings you wish to track along with what metrics you wish to track for each as well as the frequency you wish to track their conditions.

     

    2.       Collect detailed condition assessments using our ruggedized handheld computers.

     

    3.       Analyze the collected data through a suite of integrated reports to see  trends of single assets or compare multiple assets side by side.

     

    The software is incredibly flexible, yet dead simple to use.

     

    More information is at: www.plantlog.com

     

     

    Jim

     

  • As for the roofing, I suggest that you find a contractor that you trust.  They should do at least an annual inspection of your roofs (preferably twice a year).  You should get a roof plan and a report with pictures of the roof condition along with recommendations for the coming year.  This should be timed to coincide with your budget planning. 

    If you have them do minor repairs at the same time as they do the inspection, it should cut down on the cost and prolong the life of your investment.  We like to provide before and after pictures of the repairs, so that you can see what work was done.  This process allows you to be proactive in preventing leaks rather than having to react to an angry tenant when the roof leaks and dealing with the resultant damage.

     

    Joe Heidler

  • In reply to dstauffe:

    dstauffe is right on.  Start with an assessment system that you can develop in house.  Use consultants/A&E firms to help out.  Once you've done the initial assessment you'll know how much more info you need and whether more sophisticated software is necessary.  I've been involved in several assessments where the client needed some basic information and bought a sophisticated software package that just didn't work.  It really wasn't the SW providers fault.  It's training and ramping up that can take forever.

    By the way, don't wait for the perfect system to start the assessment.  Start with the basics right away.  Basics are:  building, address, size, type of use.  Depending on the number of facilities you manage that can be a lot of work. 

  • From an industrial flooring perspective, I know that quality contractors and manufacturers are willing to do the flooring part of the facility assessment for you.  A good company will systematically evaluate the traffic surface of each work area and point out to you what would benefit from attention this year vs. next, etc.  Flooring is highly specialized and it can be hard for someone outside the industry, such as a general facilities maintenance consultant, to know what they're looking at.  If you don't have a flooring company in mind - or even if you do (a second opinion never hurt!) -- you might take a look at the folks I work with.  I can vouch for their quality & service.  They have a full R&D lab and have been around for 50+ years.   They also have experienced local reps all over the country: Florock.net. 

  • I was a facilities program manager for a federal agency and used facility condition assessments conducted by an outside A&E firm (Jacobs Engineering) that used Whitestone Research Life-Cycle Management software.  These reports were great for budget defense, justification, and establishing a facilities sustainment program.  The report will include a facility condition index (FCI).  So, basically, I agree with justajanitor's response. 

    However, if you want to do this in-house, you might want to start with a document like the FAA's Order 6480.17. This approach is similar to the response provided by dstauffe.

    Either way, I recommend using the same person or team to evaluate all the facilities so you get consistent, comparable results from building to building.

  • Conducting an organized building envelope condition assessment is critical to prolonging the lifespan of building components.  Scheduling repairs to build on one another over time not only cuts costs, it also helps to ensure the success of rehabilitation projects by integrating building systems.  Isolated repairs can sometimes do more harm than good if the impact on related components isn't considered. 

    A recent issue of the Hoffmann Architects Journal, "Regular Inspections are Key to Building Envelope Integrity," provides a sample checklist for building managers to use in conducting routine facade, roof, window, and door assessments.  The inspection results can be used to prioritize repairs, anticipate major replacements, and assist an architect or engineer in addressing any areas of concern.

    You can dowload the article at:  http://www.hoffmannarchitects.com/public/journa/direct/pdfs/vol27n1.pdf

    Or, go to www.hoffarch.com and follow the links for "Publications," then "Journal," then "Journal Directory."

    Hope you find the checklist helpful. 

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