VFA.auditor Product News

Custom Field Support (Mobile app)

  • Full support for Asset and System level custom data, limited* support for Requirement level fields.
  • Custom data has joined the survey party… now they are so popular and the standard data is jealous.

Enhanced Mobile App Settings

  • New app setting options allow you to enable/disable photo date-time stamps and default to specific content in the mobile library (great if you’re looking to use custom content)
  • We’re testing the option to detect when you’re hungry so Auditor can order your lunch from the local Subway (the unofficial lunch spot of VFA assessors).

Enhanced Data Entry and Navigation

  • Updated System “Years Remaining” Editing – Now users can directly edit the year instead of using the +/- buttons – yes I know those buttons were so 2013.
  • “Age-based” shortcut button – A button so advanced it gives you the information before you press it… NASA might be calling us on this one.
  • Requirement Count – No more guessing if a Requirement is hiding behind the System curtain; we now tell you. Communication is essential for a happy assessment.
  • Editable Renewal Requirements – Didn’t we already do this? Yes I know, Auditor is like the little brother, always getting the hand-me-downs.
  • Previous / Next Buttons for Requirements – From the Requirement detail view, you now can go to the previous or next Requirement… this is amazing stuff!

For more details about the features listed above, check out What’s New in VFA.auditor v4.8.

Don’t have VFA.auditor yet? Learn more about it!

 

Robert Dodd American Blower Sketch

“Recently I was working at Stanford University in Palo Alto, California.  My colleagues and I found ourselves in a mechanical room that had this very old American Blower chiller unit.  This TONRAC packaged centrifugal was a liquid chiller, the name being derived by reversing the surname of Nicolas Carnot, the father of Thermodynamics.  In the days when the industrial era in the USA was just gaining momentum, the American Blower company was among the first to manufacture ventilating fans, blowers for pneumatic conveying systems in sawmills, vertical steam engines, and hot blast heating equipment.  This particular unit, installed circa 1958 has seen better days and is no longer functional.  My mechanical engineer partner is reviewing other more functional pieces of equipment.”

Robert Dodd, Facilities Consultant (Architectural),
VFA, Inc.

 Robert Dodd, Urban Sketcher

About the Artist

Robert Dodd, originally from New Zealand, was a bone and stone carver before discovering urban sketching in 2012. He loves using pen, ink and watercolor on location, in Bellingham, WA, where he lives and in other cities when he travels. Robert has sketched in the white villages of Andalusia, Spain; Suzhou, China; Puerto Vallarta, Mexico and in cities throughout the U.S and Canada. He also enjoys meeting other artists on sketch crawls all over the world and is a member of Sketching Workshop, an international group of artists who sketch and share their work on-line.

About UrbanSketchers.org

“This blog site features sketches, and often equally colorful stories behind the scenes, by invited artist correspondents in more than 30 countries around the world. Some are architects and illustrators; others are graphic designers, web developers, painters or educators, all sharing the same passion for drawing on location.” Learn more about Urban Sketchers and find a regional group near you!


Note: this sketch was based on a photo taken during a facility condition assessment. Learn more about VFA’s facility assessment services.

Focus on How Current, Accurate Data Allows Facility Professionals to See the Big Picture

BOSTON—March 24, 2014—VFA, Inc., the leading provider of end-to-end solutions for facilities capital planning and asset management, today announced it will host a complimentary webinar on “Keeping Your Facility Asset Data Current” on Tuesday, March 25 at 2 p.m. EST. The webinar will feature Lee Kaufman, VFA’s Vice President of Professional Services.

Attendees will learn how stale and incomplete data can lead to poor decisions regarding capital spending, leaving facility teams vulnerable to bad outcomes including increased risk of system failures, the high cost of emergency repairs, and missed opportunities to bundle projects and purchase in bulk. Without access to data on current facility conditions across the portfolio, mistakes are inevitable and costly. Data becomes less valuable as time passes, but with a a cyclical program of data maintenance and facility re-assessments, facilities professionals always have a clear understanding of facility condition and in turn, are able to make informed,strategic decisions.

This webinar is part of an ongoing series around the theme, “Deliver Strategic Value From Your Facilities Capital Investment.” The series features one webinar each month with speakers including industry leaders and rising stars in facilities management.  To view the schedule and register, visit http://www.vfa.com/news-events/webinars/.

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

Questions answered

Huh? Get your questions answered!

Get answers to your specific questions from both VFA experts and your peers. You can also answer VFA’s questions about what features are most valuable to you as well as provide feedback on future enhancements. We have questions for you, too!

Networking Opportunities

Have you met Bob? Networking!

Grow your circle with our networking opportunities. Talk to other professionals in your industry about solutions to common problems and software features that you find valuable. You can always keep in touch and extend your online network via the VFA LinkedIn Forum.

See Product Demonstrations

Wait, how’d you do that? Get a demo!

Sometimes it’s easier to learn in person. Grab a front row seat in our demo room and see the software in action. Ask questions along the way and chat with your demo neighbor about potential uses for our new features.

Customer Appreciation

It’s Customer Appreciation Day!

In addition to providing valuable content to our customers, Connections is also a way that we at VFA like to show our customer appreciation. And who doesn’t like feeling appreciated? Our Monday night reception at the Metropolitan Waterworks Museum is a great time to share the love while also sharing some food, drinks and stories from the past year. Explore the remarkable machinery, wonder at the massive wrenches that kept the pumps running, and marvel at the beautiful architecture.

Boston Innovation District

So much to see and do in the Seaport District!

Boston’s newly developed waterfront area is buzzing with activity. The Seaport area is designated as Boston’s Innovation District and in addition to the many companies located here, this area features a wide variety of entertainment, including museums, breweries, restaurants and lounges. There is plenty to do should you decide to arrive early or stay on after Connections. Check out this list of places to visit:

 

Now that you’re convinced, visit our Justify Your Trip page to convince your manager!

Ready to sign up? Register for Connections 2014

VFA Helps Healthcare Organizations to Ensure their Facilities Support Highest Standard of Patient Care

BOSTON—March 20, 2014—VFA, Inc., the leading provider of end-to-end solutions for facilities capital planning and asset management, today announced it is featuring its solutions for an ongoing program that enables clients to manage facilities strategically  at the New England Healthcare Engineers’ Society (NEHES) Spring Seminar on March 21, 2014 in Leominster, Mass. VFA will be exhibiting in Booth 47.

VFA has shown hundreds of hospitals, health networks and government health organizations how to ensure that their facilities support the highest standard of patient care. Facility condition data, gathered by expert assessors, coupled with the analytical tools in VFA.facility, provides healthcare organizations with the ability to create effective long-term capital plans, projects and budgets.

VFA has enabled healthcare facility teams to identify and manage risk, reduce deferred maintenance, positively impact the patient experience, and strategically align with the overall healthcare mission.

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

Lee Kaufman

Learn more about our upcoming webinar speaker, Lee Kaufman!  

Meet Lee Kaufman, VFA’s Vice President of Professional Services. Lee serves as the most senior executive overseeing the formulation, delivery and financial performance of the company’s assessment and data analysis services. A graduate of Northeastern University, Lee’s role at VFA has progressed from Project Manager to Project Director to his current role as Vice President.

Lee has the responsibility of managing facility consultants and software developers who provide comprehensive facility condition and code assessments and web-based survey questionnaires for self-assessments worldwide. Lee oversees the data collection and software applications his clients use to manage over 1 billion SF of facilities.  His fifteen-plus years of experience have provided him expertise in all aspects of facilities operations, maintenance, and standards, as well as with software and systems management and integration.

Tune in for VFA’s free webinar, Keeping Your Facility Asset Data Current, on Tuesday, March 25th at 2:00pm EST as Lee discusses the importance of keeping asset data current and accurate. You will learn how planning a cyclical program of data maintenance and facility re-assessments lets you see the big picture across your portfolio and make the right moves.

Click Here to Register!

The $51 billion price tag of the Sochi Olympic facilities shone a bright light on the capital investment required to host the Games. Many financial analysts speculate that although the bid committees for the Games suggest financial benefits, many cities are left with aging structures that they need to support.  As the 2014 Olympics draw to a close, Sochi will pass the torch to the next venue while joining the ranks of past hosts. The question is, can future venues like Rio de Janeiro and Pyeongchang learn from the past, effectively evaluate the present and thus plan for the future? Below are some lessons learned from past Olympic attempts at program change.

Athens: Understand your future funding needs

While London has been successful driving traffic to their 2012 Olympic venues, cities like Athens have not been so fortunate. Athens allowed their once breathtaking facilities to fall in to disrepair and continue to pay millions of dollars to maintain their unused structures, increasing the financial pressure on a country already in crisis.

Athens Olympic Stadium

Athens Olympic Stadium

Athens staged the Summer Games in 2004, with a final price tag of more than $15 billion. That contributed to the country’s enormous debt load, which sparked the current economic crisis and bailout. The games did spur development that may not have been built otherwise, including an impressive metro, highways and an international airport. But a decade after the games, many of the 24 Olympic venues remain unused.

The Games Are a Great Party, But Not a Great Investment
NPR Blog

Vancouver: Use what you have, build only what you need, plan for future use

The 2010 Winter Olympics in Vancouver featured a $7 billion price tag. Vancouver made use of existing structures like the BC Place Stadium for opening and closing ceremonies and GM Place (now Rogers Arena) to house hockey.  They also used the event as a chance to make investments in infrastructure that would have long lasting benefits.

BC Place Vancouver Program Change

BC Place Stadium

…there were major benefits in the form of three massive infrastructure projects – the Sea-to-Sky Highway upgrade, which changed a dangerous, winding mountain road into a safer, faster highway; the construction of the Canada Line, which provided rapid transit to Vancouver International Airport and several communities on the route; and the Vancouver Convention Centre, which gave the city a large, modern conference venue overlooking the harbor.

Vancouver Olympics worth the $7-billion price tag, study says
The Globe and Mail

London – Plan for changes in programmatic goals

In 2005, London won the bid for the 2012 Olympics and from that point on, the Olympic Delivery Authority and politicians alike hammered home the idea of legacy. This place that would be built for a few weeks in the summer and cost $13.4 billion would also transition to a functional community for years to come.  Since the closing of the Games, the park has been under construction, converting it to its permanent use.  Unlike many of its predecessors, all 8 of the permanent Olympic structures have found a post-Games use.

London Olympics Future Use

Queen Elizabeth Olympic Park

When it is completed there will be two new schools, 1.9 million square feet of retail and entertainment areas, 22 miles of cycle- and footpaths, nine miles of new roads and four miles of waterways – and five world-class sporting venues. To help ease London’s housing shortage there will be about 8,000 new homes.

One year on: the transformation of London’s Olympic park
The Telegraph

This can all be attributed to a more progressive approach to developing the Olympic site. Ingrained in the planning process for the Games was the flexibility for post-Games use, which so many cities fail to plan.

‘In the future the park has got to have many functions. We want it to have that magic we saw at the Olympics and Paralympics, but it can’t be a Disneyland with razzmatazz every day. It has to have days where it is tranquil, when people can walk the dog, fly a kite and have a picnic. Then on other days we want major events, to have it as a fantastic destination and visitor attraction. We want to get that balance right, and that is quite difficult.’

Dennis Hone, the chief executive of the London Legacy Development Corporation (LLDC)
One year on: the transformation of London’s Olympic park
The Telegraph

 

Sochi – Choose partners and suppliers wisely

Now that the 2014 Games at Sochi have come to a close, Russia must now take on the task of supporting these investments. Though building the winter venue in a subtropical location may have seemed like a daunting challenge, the real challenge now is repurposing the $51 billion investment for the future.   Sochi will be the site of the 2018 FIFA World Cup but can it attract enough visitors to otherwise support such expenditure? And more importantly, how did they run up such a bill?

Sochi Olympics Future USe

Sochi Coastal Cluster

In 2007, Russia estimated it would cost $12 billion to host the Sochi Games but ended up spending more than four times that, making it the most expensive Olympics ever. The source most analysts point to is corruption.  According to a prominent former Russian deputy prime minister, Russian officials and businessmen have stolen $30 billion during the years leading up to the Games. As reported in our previous post, Developing and Managing the Sochi Facilities, missed construction deadlines, changes in leadership, and corruption led to a swiftly inflating budget.

In the six and a half years since the I.O.C. awarded the 2014 Winter Olympics to Russia, the state has disbursed more than $50 billion to prepare Sochi and its surroundings for the Games. Most of that money is being paid directly from the federal budget to various contractors. Billions go through Olympstroy, the state Olympic construction authority, which has had four directors in six years…How much of Russia’s $50 billion has gone to fund Olympics-related activity and how much covers kickbacks, bribes, and shakedowns is anyone’s guess. Basic bookkeeping is not prioritized. A Moscow friend, a foreigner who has worked as a senior manager for several Olympics, says, “I have never seen a budget in Sochi.’

Putin’s Run for Gold,
Vanity Fair

The Future: Rio de Janeiro

Rio de Janeiro has both the 2014 World Cup and the 2016 Summer Olympic Games ahead. They will be the first South American city to host the Summer Games. As their projected spend passes the $30 billion mark, citizens are protesting as they suspect corruption as well as limited improvements to public services. Rio is also under the microscope after Sochi’s highly publicized rush to completion. But with funding coming from several sources and multiple levels of government involvement, the on time completion of the 2016 Olympic venues hangs precariously in the balance.  And with such a push to be ready for 2016, one can only wonder if there’s time to consider the fate of all this work once the Olympics have passed. While projects like the cleanup of the sewage-filled Guanabara Bay will have lasting benefits, the future benefits of other projects like the addition of 80 new hotels and 31 apartment buildings will face the true test of time. Brazilians wait and watch anxiously to see if Rio can learn from past host cities and transition these new structures into useful and productive facilities once the Olympic banners are lowered.

Planning Rio

Maracana Stadium, Rio de Janeiro.  Maracana Stadium, built in 1950, will be upgraded for the 2014 World Cup before converting to the site of the opening and closing ceremonies two years later. 

 

New Web Tool Allows  Facility and Corporate Real Estate Managers to Model Future Needs in Minutes

BOSTON—March 12, 2014—VFA, Inc., the leading provider of end-to-end solutions for facilities capital planning and asset management, today announced “Model My Building™,” a new web tool that provides facility and corporate real estate managers with a simple, rapid way to preview their facilities’ potential capital spending needs over the next 20 years.

VFA’s flagship software service, VFA.facility, allows users to analyze current facility condition data by demonstrating when future funding needs will occur, and to use that information  to help develop defensible capital plans and budgets. Model My Building™, accessible on vfa.com, provides a rapid preview of what facility managers can learn about their buildings and capital planning needs. By entering just five basic pieces of information about a sample building, they can see when large spikes in spending are likely to occur; what types of systems, such as HVAC, boilers, roofs, electrical, will require replacement, including when and at what cost; and the details of renewal costs by year or by system. The results are derived from a model of typical buildings and are not intended to be used for  decision-making regarding specific buildings.

Anyone can access Model My Building via a registration form at http://www.vfa.com/model-building-capital-planning-tool. Once registered, visitors can run and print reports multiple times for different building types.

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

VFA has released a new web tool that allows facility and corporate real estate managers to model future needs in minutes. Model My Building™ provides a rapid preview of what facility managers can learn about their buildings and capital planning needs over the next 20 years. At the core of the tool is VFA’s flagship software service, VFA.facility, which allows users to analyze current facility condition data, demonstrate when future funding needs will occur, and use that information to help develop defensible capital plans and budgets.  By entering just five basic pieces of information about a sample building, users can see when large spikes in spending are likely to occur; what types of systems, such as HVAC, boilers, roofs, electrical, will require replacement, including when and at what cost; and the details of renewal costs by year or by system. The results are derived from a model of typical buildings and are not intended to be used for  decision-making regarding specific buildings.

Model My building

 

Gain Immediate Access to This Tool

Anyone can access Model My Building via a registration form at http://www.vfa.com/model-building-capital-planning-tool. Once registered, visitors can run and print reports multiple times for different building types.

 

 

Healthcare Facilities Today