– Laura Blood Velotta, Findorff’s MEP Group Lead
Having a clear picture of the current condition of your facility is a critical first step in establishing a long-range master plan. Aging infrastructure, inefficient mechanical, electrical, and plumbing systems, and a lack of a consistent maintenance schedule can negatively impact annual operating budgets. Planning proactively to address building infrastructure needs allows your team to better support business decisions by defining budget and schedule.
A long-term capital maintenance plan informed by a facility condition’s report (aka facility assessment or facility study) should include estimated costs for updating, replacing, or repairing building components. Findorff successfully uses a three-step process to help clients navigate current and future building needs. The plan includes prioritizing projects based on life cycle estimates and recommendations and known deficiencies that are identified as an additional layer for consideration during annual budgeting exercises.
The three-step process includes establishing building evaluation criteria, the actual evaluation, and presenting informed recommendations. It’s important to include your facilities team as a key stakeholder in this effort. They are the eyes and ears of your building(s), and their input is vital to your success. The entire process usually takes three to four months.
Here is the three-step process we’ve successfully used when developing a comprehensive facilities plan.
- Determine what your building needs to accomplish. Findorff’s team engages in conversations and strategic planning sessions with clients to learn about their vision. Part of this exercise includes identifying the internal resources and knowledge to perform the assessment yourselves.
- Access how your current building works for you. A facility assessment includes a review of existing facility documents, evaluation of current facility conditions, the identification of energy deficiencies and savings opportunities, and the creation of a capital maintenance plan. This information provides a clear understanding of how well the building is performing and determines where improvements can be made, either through renovation or in a new building.
- Identify solutions to help your building do more. After the facility assessment, Findorff compiles a list of improvement options including new construction, renovating in place, or expanding and renovating, and the advantages, disadvantages, risks, and costs associated with each option. An important consideration that helps inform these recommendations includes input gathered from a design partner and other stakeholders during the visioning process.
One final item to take into consideration when performing a facility assessment is how sustainability initiatives can benefit operational expenses needed to maintain a facility. There are numerous energy efficiency options for existing facilities to explore that can lower costs, enhance the workplace, and benefit the environment.
By developing a facility assessment roadmap, you can identify accurate, objective insights about your facility’s health and condition. Being informed with actual data will lead to more knowledgeable and successful decisions about your facilities.