Canadian Facility Management and Design

Sustainable Architecture & Building Magazine


Time: 11:00 AM Pacific/2:00 PM Eastern
Length: 60 minutes
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Facility managers are constantly under pressure to justify budgetary needs when requesting additional funding. But how do you get the accurate, relevant, and creditable facility data you need?

One approach is a self-assessment solution that allows organizations to use their own staff to gather condition information on facility portfolio assets at a fraction of the cost of a Facility Condition Assessment (FCA). Self-assessment data provides quick, affordable budgetary estimates, enabling you to focus an FCA on mission-critical buildings that are most in need of attention. Gain immediate insight into the condition of your facilities and capture the data necessary to make more informed and strategic capital planning decisions.

Join us to learn how you can capture mission-critical asset data, whether you have a concentrated campus of facilities or a widely dispersed facility portfolio.

You’ll learn how to:

  • Streamline capital budget creation, requisition processing, and reconciliation of expenditures
  • Leverage existing facility resources to quickly assess assets of all types, portfolios of all sizes
  • Greatly enhance the management of geographically dispersed facilities
  • Finally address “low profile” assets that have been traditionally overlooked in facility assessments due to budgetary or logistical reasons

Keith O’Leary, Director, VFA Product Marketing, VFA, Inc.

By Ray Dufresne

Is the physical infrastructure of your organization capable of supporting your company’s goals?

Maybe you’d be surprised to learn that some school buildings are not actually ready to house students and faculty, or that some laboratories are not physically equipped for scientists to perform experiments. Organizations today need to work overtime to determine whether their facilities are “mission-ready” – and to identify at-risk facility assets that could jeopardize that mission.

Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory (LBNL), one of the leading government-sponsored research centers in the U.S., has worked hard to ensure mission readiness. LBNL is overseen and funded by the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE), which requires all national labs to meet certain standards, including reporting on facility condition information and facility value.

Until recently, LBNL used a hodge-podge of spreadsheets and databases to track information related to the conditions of its facilities and infrastructure. They were able to meet basic reporting requirements, but had no method in place to analyze their facilities based on mission readiness or to prioritize their facility requirements accordingly. To get a handle on mission readiness, LBNL modeled its buildings using data in VFA.facility based on risk and mission criticality. They were then able to develop priorities based on mission, and run “what if” scenarios to see what level of funding would be necessary to reduce the risk portfolio of their facilities.

According to a recent study, LBNL’s overall economic impact on the national economy is estimated at $1.6 billion a year. Technologies developed at LBNL have generated billions of dollars in revenues, and thousands of jobs. And, the organization’s facilities are finally able to fully support the scientific mission carried out by its faculty and staff.

Can your organization do the same? If not, how much do you stand to lose?

Buildings Magazine

By Ameeta Soni

Facilities planning and budgeting within your organization can be hard enough; but what if your organization has real properties around the globe? Where do multi-national organizations begin in their planning?

Don’t worry! Even with a vast and complex real estate portfolio, it is possible for a global organization to get a handle on this issue.  To do this, start with two basic steps:

1.       Create a central repository for facility data. This repository will enable regional facility managers to maintain current, accurate data and develop long-term capital budgets. It’s great to have a single place that helps facility managers accurately estimate the cost of both products and labor in many local markets, often with differing currencies.

2.       Make it a priority to cultivate multi-currency capabilities. Multi-currency capabilities will help you to develop and maintain productive relationships with international customers and vendors while handling transactions in any number of currencies.

It’s best if you use a standard reporting structure that allows FMs to view project information in a common currency, enabling comparison of costs across different regions as well as centralized cost reporting. The frequency of associated transactions typically drives how frequently the exchange rates used to calculate reporting currency totals are updated. This could be an annual, monthly or daily occurrence.

By eliminating the pain point of multi-currency reporting, it’s easier to evaluate the needs of an organization’s facility portfolio across multiple geographies and then to target areas for where you can be more efficient.

Do you work in a global FM environment? Can you share any other tips for facilities capital planning?

By Paul Gatland, VFA U.K. Director

In an article published by Ben Clovers on October 20, 2010, “NHS capital spending to fall by 17 per cent,” Clovers discusses the impact of the National Health Service’s capital budget cut for the next three financial years; in summary, the NHS will now be expected to get the best possible value from its existing premises.

With capital becoming increasingly scarce, healthcare organisations are challenged to deploy it as effectively and efficiently as possible. They must also ensure that they are not spending valuable funds on the wrong projects, and that they can avoid costly emergency repairs and downtime that affects the delivery of critical services.

With a continuous influx of patients and with aging facilities and infrastructure, healthcare facilities experience continued wear and tear. Items that are critical to the continuous operation of a hospital must be prioritised to the top of the capital spend list and cannot be lost in the chaos of budget cuts.

By employing a capital planning and management software tool to view this information in aggregate from a variety of perspectives – for example, by cost, priority and category – hospitals can make better-informed decisions and begin to convert facilities data into action plans with achievable deadlines as part of a larger plan. While this ability is important for a single hospital, it is even more valuable to larger healthcare organisations with hefty real estate portfolios.

Comprehensive overview of estate as well as cost benchmarking provides valuable insight

London, 6 December 2010 – University College London (UCL) has announced the successful completion of phase one of their facilities management project led by VFA Ltd., a leading provider of end-to-end solutions for facilities capital planning and asset management.

Founded in 1826, UCL has 175 buildings covering over 400,000 square metres in Central London. The maintenance of the estate which includes many historic buildings is one of the most important support roles in the University. It is important that the standards of facilities are not only compliant to regulatory requirements such as health and safety protocols, but also serve the needs of over 8,000 staff and 22,000 students.

“At UCL, we have always tried to plan long-term maintenance by using our own in-house professional teams; we have a team of Building Services Engineers, Property Maintenance Surveyors, M&E Designers and Architects who meet to collectively discuss and make decisions on the current estate condition, priority projects and expected liability of costs. The resulting report gave us a snapshot of the estate condition, but that has a fairly short shelf life, and once it was beyond three to four years old, it was out of date and useless,” said Jim Hood, Director of Facilities at UCL. “This was no longer an effective way of managing the estate, and we needed a solution that enabled us to address long-term strategy and project priority.”

Hood and his team decided that a solution from an integrated software provider that could also provide insight into long-term facilities capital planning and asset management would be the best way forward. Turning to a leader in this field, Hood selected VFA to undertake an initial project.

“After a successful survey of a part of the estate, we were able to provide UCL with the platform which it needs to make informed, up-to-date decisions about the condition of the estate and the projected timeline of deferred maintenance issues,” said Paul Gatland, sales director, VFA. “VFA.facility, our facilities capital planning and management software, can also provide current benchmarking information from other, similar estates, which makes predicting costs over time much easier.”

“Unlike other software, we were able to start using VFA.facility immediately, as soon as we had the preliminary information from the VFA condition survey. Being a hosted service, we didn’t have to compete for UCL server space either,” confirmed Hood. “The first phase has validated a lot of things we already knew, but that data is now captured in a system that will be automatically updated.”

Phases two and three will integrate further condition survey data and allow the team at UCL to estimate the value of the condition backlog, determine budget priorities, and understand what effect increased or decreased spending in specific areas will have on the estate as a whole. “The reports will help us with a range of different issues that are a constant strain at the moment,” said Hood. “Regulatory compliance, the timely highlighting of structural problems, as well as environmental and sustainability issues are all aspects of facilities management that VFA’s solution can help us deal with over the coming years.”