Tuesday, March 10, 2015

Asset Management for Educational Facilities

Have you ever found yourself wondering when you should replace the roof so that you get the most bang for your buck while making it last as long as possible? Or, have you ever considered when might be the optimal time to address that old, deteriorated masonry wall? Perhaps you have asked yourself: when is the best time to apply a coating to your wood floor in the gymnasium? Moreover, how does one prioritize, plan, coordinate, and budget any number of such projects?


Asset Management is an engineered approach that determines what facility assets you have, their condition, their performance, and if they are doing what you need them to do at the best cost. It is a strategic approach that creates solutions to address shrinking budgets and rising demands on the built environment. More formally defined, asset management is the systematic and coordinated activity and practice through which an organization optimally manages its physical assets and their associated performance, risks, and expenditures over their life cycle for the purpose of achieving its organizational strategic plan. Due to the fact that there are fewer dollars that organizations have available to renew assets, they must become better at maintaining the assets they have, mitigating risks, and extracting their highest value.
How it Works
An Asset Management project is a multi-step process. A group of engineers and/or architects performs a comprehensive organizational needs assessment. This helps the professional team evaluate where a particular organization falls on a maturity scale by looking at the policies, practices, and capabilities while identifying gaps and shortfalls in the overall Asset Management strategy. The figure below summarizes the maturity categories.

The next step is to conduct on-site condition evaluations while considering and maintaining goals set forth in master planning strategies. This helps each organization create an inventory of their assets. Each area evaluated is then rated and a roadmap is developed that charts specific actions. Roadmap recommendations may include: training for O & M workforce, facility commissioning and/or retro-commissioning to create maintenance strategies for new and existing facilities, building system monitoring for real-time performance feedback, and/or implementation of a Computerized Maintenance Management System (CMMS) and Sustainment Management System (SMS). [Note: A CMMS records, manages, and communicates the day-to-day operations, while a SMS is a decision support tool to forecast the aging of systems to determine best scenarios for investments to prolong remaining service life.] The full breadth of an Asset Management framework that can be provided is illustrated below. 

Guiding Concept
Asset Management is the powerful approach to evaluating component degradation while balancing financial inputs for asset maintenance or replacement. It ensures the longest service life and brings the best and highest value to the organization. Every element and aspect of the built environment experiences degradation over time, so it is vital for organizations to know when to apply maintenance to components or when to replace them in order to reduce the impact of degradation to the overall condition of the built environment and the organization itself. To illustrate this point, refer to the graph below. After a component is installed, its degradation is slow at first, but it then accelerates as time progresses. The organization can apply maintenance to the component to extend the lifespan. However, maintenance will only extend the life of the component for a finite amount of time before total rehabilitation or replacement is needed. Asset Management helps map out the best scenario(s) for the most beneficial time(s) to apply maintenance or rehab that align with the organization’s financial capacities and budget capabilities. 

For example, referring again to the figure above, when a roof is installed, it will show little aging for the first 10-15 years as illustrated by the blue line. After that point, the performance of the roof will begin to degrade more rapidly. If a coating or other maintenance strategy is applied to the roof at 15 years from the date of original installation (blue dot), it could extend the life of the roof for another 5-10 years before rehabilitation is needed as demonstrated by the blue-gray line. The green line demonstrates a complete replacement of the roof at year twenty. This model, of course, impacts plans and budgets, creating opportunities to contend with and balance against other degrading components through the built environment.

Next Steps
Would you like to know more information about Asset Management and how it can help you optimize financial inputs? Contact the Asset Management specialists at Farnsworth Group to help map out your Asset Management strategy. Call Scott Burge at 217.352.4169 or email him at sburge@f-w.com.