By Ameeta Soni, Chief Marketing Officer, VFA, Inc.

In October, the Council of the Great City Schools released a report called “Facility Needs and Costs in America’s Great City Schools.” The report finds that 50 major city public school systems have approximately $15.3 billion in new construction needs; $46.7 billion in repair, renovation, and modernization needs; and $14.4 billion in deferred maintenance needs. The total facilities needs in these 50 major school districts amount to about $76.5 billion or approximately $8.9 million per school.

The types of needs identified include HVAC upgrades; plumbing, roof, window, and door repairs; fire code and other safety upgrades; interior and exterior painting; sidewalk and parking lot repaving; electrical and lighting upgrades; locker and boiler replacements; bus-depot repairs; and masonry repairs.

Some of these school districts have detailed, objective information on their facility needs and are able to forecast required funding for the next several years. Others are lacking the tools to do so. These schools enroll over five million children, so clearly, the aging facility portfolio in these districts must be addressed in order to provide appropriate, healthy and safe learning environments. The need for accurate facility condition data and costs is clear.

VFA’s Facilities Assessments can help organizations carefully maintain the necessary data for optimal decision making.

VFA’s Capital Planning Software Helps Academic Institutions to Prioritize Facilities Projects, Obtain Needed Funds

BOSTON—November 09, 2011—VFA, Inc., the leading provider of end-to-end solutions for facilities capital planning and asset management, today announced that The University of Texas at Austin has been selected by Maintenance Solutions as the winner of its 2011 Maintenance Solutions Achievement Award. The University of Texas at Austin, with more than 19 million square feet of buildings, uses VFA.facility®, VFA’s capital planning and management software solution, and VFA.auditor®, a Web-based guided self-assessment tool, to help the university to make accurate funding decisions to support renovation and renewal projects.

The Maintenance Solutions Achievement Awards recognize accomplishments in maintenance, engineering and grounds management. The University of Texas at Austin, one of the largest public universities in the United States with over 51,000 students, was selected as a winner in the Financial Management category for its prioritization of facilities projects to maximize efficient use of funds. The University worked with VFA to provide campus-wide, detailed facility condition assessments over a period of eight years. In 2010, the university began to use VFA.auditor, a Web-based guided self-assessment tool, to conduct assessments with its own facilities staff. Based on the use of accurate, current condition data to show the need for more renovation funds, The University of Texas at Austin secured a funding increase from $12 million in 2002 to $18 million in 2010.

“We really wanted to be able to show everyone, from the president to the associate deans and the student body, the condition of the school,” said Dr. Steven Kraal, Senior Associate Vice President for Campus Planning and Facilities Management at the University. “We wanted to show them that every time you give us a dollar, we’re going to give you back every cent of it.”

“In 2002, the majority of facility improvement dollars at The University of Texas at Austin were going to renovation rather than renewal; today, the university dedicates 85 percent of funds to renewing building systems,” said Jerry Kokos, president and CEO, VFA, Inc. “We are pleased that the Campus Planning and Facilities Management department has been recognized by the 2011 Maintenance Solutions Achievement Award.  With their long-term strategy to gather objective information about facility needs and successfully leverage that information to obtain needed funding, they set a powerful example for other academic institutions.”

From state university systems to private colleges, VFA helps educational institutions maximize their current investment in facilities and infrastructure while effectively planning for future needs. VFA has assessed hundreds of educational facilities, including academic institutions with a specialized focus such as medical schools and research centers.

To connect with VFA, please follow us on Twitter at @VFAINC, or visit our blog, Foundations, which is aimed at providing information to readers that serves as a foundation for intelligent capital spending and facilities capital planning and management.

Register today for VFA Connections, the annual conference that brings VFA customers together to share insights, discuss product directions, and participate in interactive workshops and roundtables.

VFA Connections 2012 will be held on April 29 – May 1, 2012 at:

Seaport Hotel Boston
200 Seaport Boulevard
Boston MA, 02210

Learn more and REGISTER TODAY!

Questions? Need More Information?
Please contact or (617) 772-8221.

Date: Thursday, January 26th
Time: 11:00 AM Pacific/2:00 PM Eastern
Length: 60 minutes

Fees: This webinar is complimentary
Location: Available Online Using WebEx

Do you have a clear understanding of the current condition of your facilities? Are you lacking a centralized database for your facility asset information? Are you able to justify requests for the necessary capital funding?

Are you being asked to do more with less? For you a facilities capital management professional this translates to you prioritizing the “important projects first.” How can you make smarter spending decisions?

 In this webinar, we’ll present a case study describing the capital budgeting process implemented at BaylorUniversity. We’ll describe how they created a capital budget that objectively balanced the concerns of diverse functions and constituencies and aligned with the strategic mission of the University. Our speaker will describe a process for prioritizing capital needs, ranking different types of physical capital investments—facilities, capital equipment—and comparing various budget scenarios to see the impact of different investment levels.

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

Which technologies and innovations will likely play a critical role in your corporate real estate strategy in the next 6-12 months? What products and services are available today that could help you run your portfolio more efficiently and effectively?

VFA will be participating in the CoRE Tech Innovation Pavilion at the CoreNet Global Summit in Atlanta, where VFA will have a booth on November 7-8, and where we will be discussing the answers to these and other technology-related questions. The CoRE Tech Innovation Pavilion is a dynamic and interactive new area that will include a technology theatre showcasing continuous demonstrations of the latest technology products, personal mobility devices and on-line communications tools. There will also be a networking lounge where you can kick back and talk tech with the experts.

If you’re attending the CoreNet Global Summit at the Georgia World Congress Center, please stop by – I’ll be giving a demonstration of VFA.auditor guided self-assessment software in the Technology Theatre on Monday at 4:30 pm and Tuesday at 1:50 pm.

Facilities Net

Date: November 10, 2011
Time: 8:00 am – 10:00 am
Venue: US Embassy, Ottawa, Ontario
Speakers: Darryl Boyce, Carleton University and David Taggart, City of Burlington
With limited resources, facilities professional are struggling to find the most effective way to manage and track data about their facility assets.  Many organizations lack the ability to get a holistic view into deferred maintenance requirements and costs, an objective process to prioritize projects, and a methodology to rapidly and accurately update existing data.  Attendees will be able to hear about solutions for their pressing challenges and network with other facility management professionals.

Date: November 15 – 17, 2011
Time: November 15th 7:30 am – 3:15 pm; November 16th 7:30 am – 10:00 pm; November 17th 7:30 am – 4:00 pm
Venue: Ottawa Convention Centre, Ottawa, Ontario

VFA’s Susan Buchanan is speaking during session: Stream 2: Collaborative Approaches to Facilities Management and Space Accommodation discussing “Working with Stakeholders  to Meet Sustainability Objectives”

VFA client, Canadian Forces Base Esquimalt, will receive the Best Practices – Comprehensive Planning Award during the Gala Evening and Awards Ceremony with Entertainment at the National Arts Centre.

Building Operating Management