Case Studies

Virginia Department of General Services

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With more than 600 employees and a budget of approximately $131 million, the Virginia Department of General Services (DGS) provides a wide array of services for other state agencies, local governments, and citizens. As part of these services, DGS sets policies and procedures for and generally oversees the Commonwealth’s design and construction programs. The Commonwealth of Virginia owns approximately 120 million square feet spread across 12,000 facilities. DGS directly manages about 6.45 million square feet of these buildings, many of which are historic. Additionally, the Commonwealth leases approximately 13 million square feet of rental space in 1,500 locations.


The 2004 Special Session of the General Assembly directed the Auditor of
Public Accounts (APA) to conduct an audit to determine the amount of
deferred maintenance in the Commonwealth and propose options to fund the
backlog of deferred maintenance and ongoing major maintenance needs. The
2004 Interim Report indicated a lack of accountability for the condition of the
Commonwealth’s facilities, budgeting based on historical needs as opposed to
current data, incomplete inventory of state-owned facilities, and the lack of a
maintenance policy. The report concluded that the current capital outlay and
maintenance programs were not functioning as intended, and would continue to
accelerate the growing deferred maintenance backlog if not corrected.

The 2004 report contained several recommendations, including reforming
the operating, maintenance, and capital outlay budget process, establishing a
standard condition level for state-owned assets and requiring agencies to develop
a plan for reaching this level, establishing a Capital Preservation and Renewal
Reserve Fund for long-term funding, and requiring agencies and institutions to
demonstrate their performance on operating and continuous maintenance.


As a part of the new process, the APA was to procure software to develop and
implement a system to be used by all state agencies and institutions to gather
information on the maintenance needs of all Commonwealth-owned buildings.
VFA.facility® capital planning and management software was selected and
implemented by the APA, then the program was transferred to DGS for ongoing
operation. The resulting Facility Inventory and Condition Assessment System
(FICAS), a centralized Web-based facility database, went live in June 2005.

Facility data to be entered into FICAS was gathered using a variety of methods.
In some cases, VFA conducted Facility Condition Assessments (FCA). In others,
Virginia agency personnel with the appropriate experience and training conducted
the FCAs. Given the limited amount of resources available, a third solution was
to use VFA.auditor®, a facility self-assessment solution that uses guided surveys to gather
facility data. These surveys can be completed by less experienced facility staff
and allowed the Commonwealth to identify building repair and maintenance
requirements across its sizable portfolio quickly and cost-effectively.


VFA.auditor provided a cost-effective way to quickly capture assessment
information, leveraging existing facility staff. The Commonwealth was able to
rapidly deploy a standardized data collection process across the entire facility

FICAS provided a central facility data repository, as well as the analytical
capabilities to understand the relative condition of facility portfolios, assets, and
systems. The Commonwealth gained insight into the magnitude of deferred
maintenance costs, and visibility into system renewal costs and time horizons as
well as building replacement values. Individual agencies and DGS can now forecast
funding needs, prioritize work items and projects, bundle work items into projects
for volume cost savings, and negotiate bids using baseline cost estimates.

In 2008, Virginia received the top score of A- from The Pew Center for the
States, an assessment report on the quality of management in the 50 states. The
Commonwealth received a B+ for infrastructure, with capital planning indicated as
a strength. The improvement in Virginia’s performance can be directly linked to the
FICAS program.

With decision-support software and reliable, up-to-date facility condition
information, DGS was able to identify and rank maintenance, capital renewal and
renovation projects, estimate financial requirements, and develop capital plans. The
agency met the requirements set out by the Commonwealth, and created defensible
funding requests. The program has become an integrated end-to-end solution
that provides agencies, the Governor, and the General Assembly with an effective
capital planning tool to ensure the maximum return on facility investments. The program has become an integrated end-to-end solution that provides agencies, the Governor, and General Assembly with an effective capital planning tool to ensure the maximum return on facility investments.

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