Higher Education Benefits from Self-Assessment Programs by Empowering Facility Staff, Standardizing Data Collection Process
BOSTON—July 30, 2013—VFA, Inc., the leading provider of end-to-end solutions for facilities capital planning and asset management, today announced that North American universities and colleges have been successfully deploying its facility self-assessment solution, VFA.auditor®, as a tool to gather facility condition data, enabling self-sufficient facility teams to stay on top of pressing issues and maintain an accurate database of information.
VFA.auditor offers facility managers an efficient and cost-effective way to keep facility condition data up-to-date, identify trouble areas or capture information across the portfolio. The software provides users with surveys to rapidly collect data about the condition of facilities and major building systems. With more than 600 professionally engineered and designed systems included in the survey library, VFA.auditor guides and standardizes the collection of facility condition data. Consistent data collection leads to less “stale” data and defensible budget requests, as well as the validation that previously captured deficiencies have been addressed.
Dennis Gillis, P.E., assistant director of planning at Dalhousie University, observed the challenges that come with a lack of insight into building condition. “Before VFA.auditor, if we weren’t actively doing work on or in a building, we had no insight into the condition of the building since its last assessment,” he said. “Only the buildings with active projects had updated information, even though the condition of non-targeted buildings was still changing. Questions from management were difficult to answer because we had to acknowledge that reports were based on outdated data. VFA.auditor has enabled my team and our management to regain confidence in the data.”
Marco Benitez, director of analysis, assessment and risk management at Florida International University, is an advocate of ensuring that upper management understands the benefits of a strategic facilities capital planning program. “They will see the value of being able to call you and get an accurate answer in a timely manner because data is current and available,” he said.
At James Madison University, Charles Grimm, property inspector/assessor supervisor, has seen the benefits of VFA.auditor for his staff. For example, when a facility employee leaves, he is able to use other staff members who can follow the embedded process in VFA.auditor. Grimm observes, “Using VFA.auditor allows us to get ‘shop’ buy-in, and to involve those who know the facilities well.” JMU’s use of VFA.auditor Mobile™ has reduced office time from two weeks to two days, and the facility team has surveyed four times more square feet.
VFA.auditor Mobile supports the flexibility and versatility of condition data collection using mobile tablets. Designed to work across multiple mobile platforms including iPad, Android and Windows tablets, mobile surveys speed data collection by providing a secure, offline means of data capture. Surveys can be created and assigned to facility staff that can check-out the surveys to a mobile tablet and walk the facility easily collecting data.
“Higher education facility departments are looking for the right approach to obtain and maintain current facility condition data—one that meets their needs and budgets,” said Jerry Kokos, president and CEO, VFA. “When budgets are tight, facility managers need to effectively manage their campus facilities and make smarter capital planning decisions. Yet, it is challenging to prioritize capital projects with incomplete, inaccessible or dated facilities condition information. VFA.auditor is transforming the way facility managers are managing their capital investments.”
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