Demonstrating the Value of Renewing Building Systems
The University of Texas at Austin (UT Austin) is one of the largest public universities in the U.S., serving over 51,000 students. UT Austin includes 17 colleges and schools, encompassing more than 19 million square feet. The university’s Facilities Services division, made up of over 850 employees, is responsible for the ongoing management of its facilities.
With a fixed annual budget of $12 million for renovation, renewal and compliance-related improvements, the Facility Services division needed an objective and repeatable method of prioritizing facilities projects and creating its annual budget and 10-year plan.
UT Austin engaged VFA to provide campus-wide facility condition assessments as a starting point. VFA.facility software became the university’s central repository of building condition data, providing decision support tools for capital project planning, prioritization and budgeting. VFA.facility is accessible via the Web to a wide range of university personnel, from facility managers to Associate Deans. This access enables the Deans to make decisions about how to allocate space for their individual colleges. The staff is also able to conduct self-assessments on critical buildings within the portfolio using VFA.auditor, a Web-based self-assessment tool.
UT Austin now has accurate, detailed information about facility needs, and a mechanism for sharing this information with various stakeholders across the university. Facilities Services participates in monthly meetings of the Budget Council, and has effectively demonstrated the need for renovation and renewal funding, resulting in an increase in annual funding for facilities improvements from $12 million to $15 million. UT Austin has reversed a trend which saw the majority of facility improvement dollars going to renovation rather than renewal, and today dedicates 80% of funds to renewing building systems. The University continues to conduct regular facility condition assessments every three years in order to ensure it has accurate information for ongoing planning and budgeting.
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