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of the estate condition, but that has a fairly short shelf life, and once it was beyond three to four years old, it was out of date and useless,” said Jim Hood, Director of Facilities at UCL.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.”