From learning and cheering on the home team to providing a place to call home and serving up meals around the clock – facilities are at the heart of all higher education campus activities. A lot is expected of buildings too. From daily use to adjusting to accelerated technology and changes in academic studies, capital programs and projects need to optimize facilities, all of which are getting older and creating a unique challenge for those who manage higher education facilities.
These challenges are just as real as the reality of budgets and schedules. That’s why Facility Condition Assessments can be a big help as you look to prioritize improvements to your facilities.
Facility Condition Assessments (FCAs) are more than site investigations before a renovation project. FCAs involve a combination of on-site assessments of the existing facilities and review of available existing building drawings.
Why spend some of your budget on a FCA? There are many reasons why, and here are just a few:
- Documentation and information to help make decisions: FCAs typically involve documentation in the form of a report that summarizes the condition of an existing facility’s building systems, finishes, equipment and features. As it’s common for repairs, alterations and upgrades to be made over time, FCAs help document the state of your building in one report. Typical reports describe the status, condition and age of each existing building system and feature, including apparent code deficiencies along with recommended repairs, alterations, upgrades and/or replacements along with needed building modifications required to meet current Building Code and Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA).
- Opportunity for fresh and diverse perspectives: An outside A/E and building consultant brings a fresh set of eyes. Diverse perspectives from an architect, engineer and other specialists can provide a more holistic review of a building’s existing conditions and recommendations for upgrades that align with your budget, immediate maintenance needs and long-range capital improvement goals.
- Forecasting your building needs: FCAs outline and prioritize recommended repairs, alterations, upgrades and/or replacements along with needed building modifications required to meet current Building Code(s). This helps you plan for future upgrades within your allocated capital budget for current and future years.
- Proactive maintenance schedules: FCAs help you monitor the health of your buildings and plan for preventative maintenance and equipment servicing needs. This helps you put in place a proactive plan for routine maintenance, while also addressing more urgent needs that if not addressed, could negatively impact your building operations.
- Comprehensive building information ready to go: As-built drawings or detailed information as found in a FCA is a necessity prior to any renovation. Having comprehensive existing conditions information assembled in a single report enables your renovation project to start with a better and more complete understanding of the building.
- Digital information resources: With advances in technology, FCA reports can go beyond paper printed copies with more detailed information that you can more readily use. From photos tagged to electronic drawings to 360 degree images of spaces, cataloging this data enables you to use the information as a resource and add to it as future projects are completed.
While conducting an FCA may seem daunting or time consuming, it is an important step that helps you monitor the conditions of your buildings, better understand needs for improvements and assemble comprehensive information to better plan and streamline your next project.
Facility Condition Assessment Case Study: Edinboro University, McComb Fieldhouse, Facility Condition Assessment & Deferred Maintenance Plan
Interested in learning more about how a Facility Condition Assessment of your facilities can help you plan for or benefit your next building project? Our team can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org or 412.585.2273.
The AE Works team will also be at the KAPPA Spring conference at Penn State and can answer any questions you might have- we hope to see you there!