Capital Maintenance Planning: What is the right formula?

– Blog written by Findorff’s Director of Project Management Matt Breunig

All schools have budget concerns that impact their abilities to appropriately fund maintenance projects, but it is imperative to remember that proper maintenance influences achievement and impacts the way children learn in the classroom environment.

Though one may think there is a simple formula applied to any facility that would give confidence it has an appropriate maintenance budget, the reality isn’t quite that simple because every facility is unique.

Examining the makeup of a building and its systems, how it serves its occupants, and what maintenance has been performed in the past are just a few factors to review as a capital-maintenance plan is developed. The first step in understanding these factors is to complete a facilities assessment of all building components. Ultimately this assessment will be an important foundation from which to build a capital maintenance plan. The facilities assessment will identify current deficiencies and maintenance items to be considered, as well as be used to identify new projects for improvements.

Once facilities have been assessed, the capital-maintenance plan is developed. The plan allows for a better understanding of potential short- and-long term maintenance expenses and serves as an important communication tool for a variety of stakeholders. Findorff’s preconstruction team has experience estimating typical capital-maintenance projects. We know what they cost and will work with school districts to prioritize as appropriate to balance the goal of maintaining the facility with the reality of budget limitations.

What this all means is that a capital-maintenance plan is a vital tool to understanding facility needs and how much addressing them can cost. The plans should be updated periodically to adjust with changing needs and priorities. Although there is not a simple formula to identify an appropriate capital-maintenance budget, the effort to complete a facilities assessment and capital-maintenance plan pays off. Giving districts the confidence to properly plan their budgets and maintain their facilities is priceless.