VFA NEWSLETTER / MARCH 2012

Facilities Capital Planning Solutions: Evaluating the Investment and Return

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

In today’s tight economic times, most corporations require a return on investment (ROI) justification for key expenditures. Securing the best solution for an effective, strategic facilities capital plan is no exception.

Typical Investments for the VFA Solution
The combined VFA solution typically includes an approach to facility condition data collection, cloud-based software and decision-support tools and training. There are no hardware requirements and internal staff support costs are minimal.

Data collection methods will vary and are dependent upon the ultimate use of the information. The greater the data accuracy needed, the greater the level of investment. Clients often use the following approaches in conjunction to attain their organization’s specific required level of accuracy.

Baseline Modeling – often used for budget estimation. Modeling establishes asset condition metrics, replacement costs, renewal requirements, and funding needs. It is the most affordable assessment method because it utilizes industry benchmarking data for standard building system models based on asset type.

Facility Self-Assessment – used for rapid budgeting and identifying facilities requiring a detailed audit. Guided survey self-assessment is a cost-effective data collection method that employs a structured, consistent and repeatable process, enabling internal staff to collect condition data. Completed surveys can be used to identify “hot spots” within the portfolio that require a more detailed professional condition assessment.

Detailed facility condition assessment (FCA)- used for budgeting and defining action plans with the highest level of accuracy. A detailed FCA requires the highest level of investment as it requires walk-through inspections by qualified professionals (mechanical, electrical and architectural engineers) to capture facility condition data and deficiencies.

The Return
The greatest benefit of gathering accurate facility data is not only that the true condition becomes clear, but also that when data is analyzed using a capital planning software solution, it results in an objective benchmark regarding necessary investments in facility improvements, as well as the impact various levels of investment will have on facility condition.

Benefits of Benchmarking using the Facility Condition Index (FCI)
This industry benchmark standard is the ratio of deferred maintenance dollars to replacement dollars and provides a straightforward comparison of an organization’s key facility assets.

VFA.facility® auto-calculates the FCI and enables facility managers to:

  • Compare facility condition across the portfolio
  • Prioritize deferred maintenance and capital investments
  • Set target condition ratings
  • Demonstrate the impact of investment levels on condition

Funding Justification
One of the major causes of under-funding is a lack of budget credibility. The VFA solution delivers accurate data and predictive tools that enable development of realistic, defensible multi-year capital budgets with:

  • The ability to present and validate key findings
  • The ability to define objective options and alternatives
  • The use of on-going project and budget status updates

Reduced Risk
With accurate and up-to-date condition information, there is reduced exposure to business interruptions due to critical asset and systems failures. The VFA solution identifies:

  • At-risk assets and systems
  • Corrective actions required
  • Estimated costs to maintain critical assets and systems

Strategic Capital Planning
The VFA solution provides a consistent approach to evaluating the property portfolio across all geographies and enables facility management teams to:

  • Make investment decisions based on objective, analytical and transparent information
  • Reduce financial, operational and legal risks
  • Deliver substantial cost savings and efficiency gains
  • Ensure that facilities are meeting the organization’s evolving needs
  • Attain quantitative results and actual savings

The VFA Capital Planning solution aligns an organization’s facilities with its mission and objectives. It provides facility capital planning and management teams with the tools and data required to justify value and optimize capital investments.

For more information, contact Ameeta Soni at asoni@vfa.com.