A Roadmap to the Future of Your Facility
Written by Bret Paden
Could you imagine jumping into your car without a clue as to where you are headed, if you have any gas in the tank or if your tires will withstand the trip?
That’s exactly the unfortunate mentality of many facility owners and managers who aren’t taking advantage of a simple diagnostic tool—the facility condition assessment (FCA). Keeping tabs on facility conditions is a time-consuming task, and many facility managers rely on unqualified maintenance personnel to handle day-to-day fixes. Deficiencies and major problems may go undiscovered—and unaddressed—until they erupt, costing valuable time and money.
An FCA is a resource-saving and cost-effective way to guide strategic and proactive facility maintenance. During an FCA, facility data is gathered and analyzed in seven key areas—building envelope, interior, HVAC, plumbing, site, electrical and fire protection—to provide a fully customized assessment that supports informed decision-making.
FCAs are commonly used for applications such as these:
- Capital planning: Let’s say a facility manager wants to replace an outdated HVAC system. Opting for an FCA prior to the HVAC project, the facility manager uncovers a need for unexpected electrical updates. By discovering this need before replacing the HVAC, the facility manager can schedule the electrical work to occur alongside the HVAC install to leverage construction time and cost.
- Setting budget priorities: While mechanical system lifespans are finite, routine maintenance does impact their functional longevity. FCAs encompass standards that help facility managers set priorities and expectations for system repair or replacement, as well as projections for how that maintenance could affect the overall budget.
- Improving operations: An FCA clearly assesses whether a system is on its last legs or will last for another decade. FCAs can assist in evaluating repair needs, improving energy efficiency or even increasing comfort for expanded operations. As each area is observed, managers can weigh the benefits of low-level fixes beside more expensive repairs or even full system replacements.
FCAs provide the accurate data that facility managers need to make informed decisions—whether for corrective action, cost estimates or prioritizing fixes. Do yourself a favor—before jumping into that car and heading down the road, get an FCA. It’s one map you’re sure to use.
Bret Paden is the MEP/Structural Discipline Leader at Woolpert. He has extensive experience designing and managing MEP engineering projects, including HVAC, plumbing, sprinkler, lighting and power systems. Bret is part of the Woolpert team responsible for amassing more than 100 million square feet of FCA experience.